Two local men lost their lives on 1st November as a result of their war service. Captain William Alfred Foley, 1st Battalion, Princess Victoria’s (Royal Irish Fusiliers) died of wounds after being hit by a bullet and Second Lieutenant Richard Alured Waller, 5th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers died of pneumonia.
Four local men lost their lives on active service on 26th October 1917. Three of them were serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment – Private Albert Edward Lewis (14th Battalion), Private William Richard Parry (15th Battalion) and Private Albert Charles Thompson (15th Battalion). All three have no known grave and are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
Also killed was Private Sydney West, who was serving with the 58th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment), having emigrated from Solihull.
Three local men are recorded as having been killed on 21st September 1917, the second day of the Battle of Menin Road Ridge: Private Arthur Paget, 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Private William Skidmore, 8th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment; Lance Corporal Thomas Wells, 12th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment.
Second Lieutenant Kenneth Selby Waters was killed on 30th May 1917, whilst serving with the Indian Army Reserve of Officers, attached to No. 1 Mountain Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. He was born in Nuneaton on 18th June 1890, where his father, Rev. Samuel George Waters, was headmaster of King Edward VI School from 1880 until 1908. Kenneth was the eldest of the two children of Rev. Waters’ second marriage to Ellen Selby.
His sister Winifred Mary was born in 1897. They also had five half-siblings from their father’s first marriage to Laura Ann Batchelor (1849-1884) – Harold William (born 1875), George Cecil (born 1877), Eveline Laura (born 1880), Sybil Bertha (born 1881), and Aubrey Eustace (1883-1945).
Gunner Josiah Wilkinson, aged 20, died of wounds on 1st October 1916, whilst serving with “A” Bty. 77th Bde. Royal Field Artillery. He was born in Meriden and baptised at St Laurence’s Church, Meriden on 8th November 1896. He was the second of the three children (all boys) of parents William (a farm labourer) and Annie. His two brothers – William and Frank – were born in 1895 and 1899 respectively.
Four local men lost their lives on 26th September 1916 serving with the British Army in France – Lance Corporal Herbert Arculus, 16th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Private William Herbert Keel, 9th Battalion, Notts and Derby (Sherwood Foresters) Regiment; Major Guy Egerton Kidd, “A” Battery 70th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery; and Corporal Sam Chidler Ravenhall, 64th Brigade, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry).
On 9th September 1916, Lieutenant Philip Leo Beard, aged 33, died of wounds whilst serving with the 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. On the same day, Private Louis Callow was killed in action serving with the 11th Battalion Hampshire Regiment. Philip Beard, known by his middle name of Leo, was a Birmingham-based barrister but was a member of Copt Heath Golf Club. Louis Callow was born in Meriden.
Three local men died on 18th August 1916: Private James Samuel Hopkins (Worcester Regiment, attached to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment); Private Herbert John Massey (6th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment); and Private William Henry Bolton (6th Battalion, Duke of Edinburgh’s (Wiltshire) Regiment). All three were gardeners by trade, although James Samuel Hopkins had previously been a soldier in the militia and served in the Boer War.
Private Arthur Barnwell died on 9th August 1916 whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment. He was born at Meriden Union Workhouse in 1895 and baptised at Meriden parish church. His parents, William Barnwell and Kathleen Capewell, had married at Berkswell on 5th November 1889. William was a labourer and Kathleen a servant.
Four local men serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment are known to have died on 30th July 1916 whilst on active service; Olton resident, Private William Dobson, 14th Battalion; Private Howard John Hutchinson, formerly of Shirley, (14th Battalion); Private William John Lawley of Shirley (10th Battalion) and Solihull resident, Lance Corporal John Manning (14th Battalion). Also killed was Meriden’s Lieutenant Reginald Ernest Melly, The King’s (Liverpool Regiment). Four of them have no known grave and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. Private Hutchinson was also recorded on the Thiepval Memorial but is now buried at the London Cemetery and Extension, Longueval.