Lieutenant Ralph Heaton Ward, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died in Durham on 30th September 1920. aged 38. He was born in Solihull on 1st June 1882 and was baptised at St Alphege Church, Solihull exactly one month later. His parents were Henry Arthur Ward, a master gunmaker, and Fanny Jane (née Heaton) who had married in Solihull in 1878.
On 13th July 1990 the official opening took place of the new Sixth Form block at Saint Martin’s Girls’ School. The Sixth Form occupied the site of the former stables at Malvern Hall, adjacent to the former Solihull Lido in Malvern Park.
Saint Martin’s School had moved to Malvern Hall, Solihull in 1989 and was the third school to occupy the historic site – the previous two being Solihull High School for Girls (1931-1974) and Malvern Hall Comprehensive School (1974-1989).
On 1st September 2020, Saint Martin’s School merged with Solihull School, so Malvern Hall now houses its fourth educational establishment – Solihull Preparatory School. It seems timely to look back at the schools that have occupied this stately home over the last 70 years.
On 10th June 1949, Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery (1887-1976), 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, visited Solihull School, inspecting 250 cadets from the school’s Combined Cadet Force (CCF) and having lunch with the Headmaster and 15 senior cadets. “Monty’s” attendance at the school’s annual parade fulfilled a promise made to the school’s Headmaster, Mr Harry Butler Hitchens (1910-1963), ten months’ previously.
Three men with a local connection died on 7th November 1918 whilst on active service – Private Edward Allen, Reinforcement Depot, Tank Corps; Private George Terheege, Labour Corps; and Second Lieutenant John Shilvock Wright, 219th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.
Captain Wilfred Eric Wright, 5th Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment, died in hospital in Scarborough as a result of contracting pneumonia following influenza. He was born in Solihull in 1894 and the family was living in Lode Lane by 1897 before moving to Acocks Green by 1911.
Old Silhillian, Private Albert Edward Else, was killed in action on 14th October 1918 whilst serving with the Army Service Corps, attached to the 251st Siege Battery, Ammunition Column, Royal Garrison Artillery. He was 21 years old and died at Remy Siding, Belgium.
Two local men lost their lives on active service on 29th September 1918 – 38-year-old Private Allan Hobbins, 4th Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps, and 20-year-old Second Lieutenant Christopher Ernest Neale, 10th Battalion, attached 2nd Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment.
Three officers with a local connection lost their lives on active service on 27th September 1918 – Major Percival Charles Edwards DCM, 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Captain Edgar Godfrey Izon, 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; and Lieutenant Maurice Jones, of the East Lancashire Regiment, attached to the 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The 14th and 15th Warwicks were attacking African Trench on 27th September, the first day of the Battle of the Canal du Nord. The trench was 1500 yards west of the village of Gouzeaucourt.
35-year-old Private Edwin Guy Silk was killed in action on 20th September 1918 whilst serving with the 14th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Edwin was the youngest of the five known children of parents Edwin (a coal merchant) and Eleanor Maria (née Prosser) who had married in Coleshill in 1875. A sixth child had died in infancy.
Three local men lost their lives on 30th August 1918 whilst on active service – Private Henry Baughan, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Private Robert Woods, 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; and Private Alline Mountford Woollaston, 11th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers.