On 28th January 1943 22-year-old Pilot Sgt Cecil Francis Beechey 656761, a pilot with 197 Squadron RAF, was killed when the tail of his Typhoon IB DN364 broke off and the aircraft crashed in East Linton, East Lothian, Scotland. His family home was in Hall Green and he was buried at Robin Hood Cemetery, Solihull on 4th February 1943.Continue reading “Sgt Cecil Francis Beechey (1920-1943)”
Military funeral of Lieut G. G. Cates
Lieutenant Gerald George Cates of the headquarters company of Solihull Home Guard (5th Warwickshire), died in Shaftesbury Military Hospital on 20th April 1942 after suffering an abdominal injury during a battle exercise at Imberdown, near Warminster, on Salisbury Plain. He was 44 years old and was one of some 25 officers and men who died as a result of the Imber “friendly fire” incident on 13th April 1942 when a Hawker Hurricane fighter plane (similar to those pictured above) taking part in a demonstration accidentally opened fire on a crowd of spectators.Continue reading “Military funeral of Lieut G. G. Cates”
Totehill, Blossomfield Road, Solihull
On 15th November 1940, a new Red Cross Auxiliary Hospital opened at Totehill, Blossomfield Road, Solihull. The house was built during 1901/2 and was originally the home of Stephen William Challen (1842-1937) of the Birmingham engineering firm, Taylor and Challen. It became a Red Cross convalescent home during the Second World War and was subsequently known as Red Cross House.Continue reading “Totehill, Blossomfield Road, Solihull”
Solihull War Memorial
The unveiling and dedication of Solihull War Memorial in The Square, Solihull, took place on the afternoon of Sunday 19th June 1921 in a ceremony arranged by Brigadier-General Walter Robert Ludlow (1857-1941) whose youngest son had been killed at the Battle of Beaumont Hamel in 1916. This was not the first memorial to the fallen that Solihull parish had erected – a Calvary shrine had been unveiled at Easter 1917.Continue reading “Solihull War Memorial”
Police Sergeant Harry Brooks GM
On Tuesday 17th June 1941, Sergeant Harry Brooks, of the Warwickshire Constabulary, based at Shirley Police Station, was presented with the George Medal by His Majesty King George VI at Buckingham Palace. The George Medal was instituted in January 1941 to reward “acts of great bravery” and arose out of the strong desire to reward acts of civilian courage during the Blitz.Continue reading “Police Sergeant Harry Brooks GM”
Catherine-de-Barnes War Memorial
At 5pm on Trinity Sunday, 22nd May 1921, the Bishop of Birmingham dedicated the war memorial at Catherine-de-Barnes mission church, five years after a war memorial fund was begun.Continue reading “Catherine-de-Barnes War Memorial”
German war deaths in Solihull
On the night of 10th/11th May 1941, a German Heinkel He111 bomber was brought down by a Lewis gunner at a Searchlight Battery near Fulford Hall Farm in Rumbush Lane.Continue reading “German war deaths in Solihull”
Evacuees’ School, Herbert Road, Solihull
Shortly after the devastating blitz of Coventry on 14th/15th November 1940, Miss Caroline (“Carrie”) Amelia Morgan (1889-1963), Headmistress of Moseley Avenue School, Coventry, together with a small group of teachers, brought a party of 160 children aged 2-14 to Solihull. The children were billeted in foster homes and, a few weeks after their arrival, schooling began to be provided.
V. J. Day in Solihull, 1945
V. J. Day, 15th August 1945, marked the day when the Second World War effectively came to an end as Japan surrendered and all hostilities ceased.
The Warwick County News, 18th August 1945, summarised local events with the headline “Neighbourly co-operation was the keynote of Solihull’s VJ-Day celebrations” and the observation that the day was marked by a “mood of quiet thanksgiving or in the exuberant relief of pent-up feelings according to age or nature.”
Solihull in Wartime 1939-45 eBook
To mark the 50th anniversary of V. E. Day in 1995, Solihull Libraries collected people’s memories of wartime Solihull and published them in a booklet which was available from the library.
In 2004, to mark the the 65th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, we converted the booklet into an electronic format.