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.

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Solihull’s war shrine

Easter Sunday, 9th April 1917, saw the unveiling in Solihull of a War Shrine to the Fallen of the First World War, pictured above (image courtesy of Gordon Bragg).

The Calvary shrine was the gift of a parishioner and was designed by local artist Elphege Pippet (1868-1942). It was built by Charles Timms of Messrs. Thompson, builders of Knowle, causing the Rector of Solihull to note: “everything connected with it has been done in our village, which is as it should be.”

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James Evans of Solihull

Solihull War Memorial includes two people with the name James Evans – Driver James Evans of the Army Service Corps, and Private James Evans of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

We haven’t been able to identify these men on the Commonwealth War Graves website, or in the Soldiers Died in the Great War list.

If you have any information on either of these individuals, please let us know.

Heritage & Local Studies Librarian

tel.: 0121 704 6934

Private John Parr – the first British death on the Western Front

One hundred years ago today, 21st August 1914, the first British soldier is believed to have died on the Western Front.

John Henry Parr was the son of a milkman from Finchley, London. He joined the army in 1912, giving his age as 17, although the census a year earlier shows him as 13 years old in 1911. He was baptised at St John’s Church, Holloway on 4th September 1898. He would, therefore, have been about 14 years of age when he joined the Army in 1912 as a Private with the Middlesex Regiment.

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Can you help identify casualties from Hockley Heath?

The war memorial at Hockley Heath lists only initials and surnames, and doesn’t include details of rank, regiment, or year of death. This can make it difficult to research the casualties in official records.

We’re struggling to identify some of the people named, and would be very grateful if anyone can give us any further details on the following:

  • S Capewell
  • G Hawkins
  • J James
  • H J Keel
  • T Perkins

If you have any further information on any of these men, please let us know.

Heritage & Local Studies Librarian

tel.: 0121 704 6934

Can you help identify casualties from Castle Bromwich?

It can be very difficult to identify in official records people who who have minimum information included on the war memorial.

The war memorial at Castle Bromwich is one of several that lists only initials and surnames, not ranks, regiments or years of death. We are struggling to identify the following people who are mentioned on the memorial:

  • B. T. Harris (is this Benjamin James Thomas Harris, died on Royal Edward 13/8/1915?)
  • C. Stone
  • A. W. Watton

If you have any further information on these men, please let us know. We’re especially keen to know their full names and when they died, so that we can be sure that we remember them on the centenary of their deaths.

Heritage & Local Studies Librarian

tel.: 0121 704 6934

More September 1914 casualties

Three more men from places now within the Solihull Borough are known to have died in September 1914. They were:

  • Private Albert Newell, of West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own), died 20th September 1914. He’s commemorated at Bickenhill and Marston Green.
  • Private George Edward Paston, of King’s (Liverpool Regiment), died 21st September 1914, aged 32. He was apparently born in Berkswell but was living with his wife and his son at his father-in-law’s home in Leicester. His peace-time occupation was a brick-burner. As far as we know, he’s not commemorated in the Solihull Borough, so please tell us if you know differently.
  • Corporal Claude Percival Wilks, of the 2nd Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, died 26th September 1914. He’s commemorated on memorials at Catherine-de-Barnes, Elmdon and Solihull.

If you have any information about any of these soldiers, please let us know – email or phone 0121 704 6977.

Heritage & Local Studies Librarian

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