Eunice Cicely Boys Adams

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The British Red Cross has recently launched a new website providing access to the First World War service records of members of the Voluntary Aid Detachment, including ambulance drivers, nurses, stretcher bearers, etc. The first tranche of 30,000 records (surnames A and B) is now available (www.redcross.org.uk/ww1), and I did a search to see if I could find people from Wolverhampton.

The first person who came up (alphabetically) was Eunice Cicely Boys Adams. Information on her record included the following:

  • Her address was Pendeford Hall, Wolverhampton
  • She had served from January 1916 until November 1918
  • She worked as a V.A.D. nurse in Christ Church Hospital, Beckenham
  • She was deceased.

Using the information, I was able to do a bit more research. Eunice was born in Wolverhampton in 1895, the daughter of Charles Lemesh Adams and Margaret Maria S. Boys. I have not been able to find her on the 1901 census, but we have a file of papers relating to a C. L. Adams selling the fixtures of Pendeford Hall in 1903 to an L.B. Moreton, so presumably this is Eunice’s father.

Unfortunately Eunice died in 1919, aged just 24. We do not appear to have any further details about the circumstances surrounding her untimely death. If anybody is able to find out more, please get in touch.

William James Doley

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On 20 June 1917, the name of W. Doley (number 240987) of the South Staffordshire Regiment, was included among a list of the wounded in the Express & Star. He does not appear among the casualties listed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, so he appears to have recovered from his wounds.

William James Doley was born in Wolverhampton in 1896, although I have not been able to find any more details about him and his family from the 1901 census. After serving his country during the First World War, he married Lucy Perks in 1923, and they went on to have three children – Ivy, Olive and William – between 1924 and 1932. He died aged 49 in 1945.

Charles Wood

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Another appeal in the Express & Star in February 1916 for information on a missing soldier came from the parents of Private Charles Wood (number 10305), D Company, 7th Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment. He had been missing at the Dardanelles since 9 August 1915.

Charles Henry Wood was born in 1890, the son of George and Mary Wood (nee Leonard). In the 1901 census, the family appear at 39 Great Brickkiln Street, and Charles and his parents are joined by his brothers George and William and sisters Kate and Lily.

Charles was killed on 9 August 1915, aged 25, and he is commemorated on the Helles memorial in Turkey.

James Jones

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According to an appeal sent to the Express & Star in February 1916, Private J. Jones (number 25848) of the 1st Royal Montreal Regiment, 14th Battalion, had been reported wounded and missing on 24 April 1915 at Hill 60. Mrs Jones of 23 Bagnall Street in Springfields was seeking information about him.

James Jones was born in Wolverhampton in 1896, the son of William and Eliza Jones. According to the 1901 census, the family were living at 57 Cannock Road, and James and his parents were joined by his two sisters, Kate and Polly. At some point, James presumably emigrated to Canada, hence him joining the Canadian Infantry.

Unfortunately the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site confirms that Jones died shortly after he was wounded, on 27 April 1915. He is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium.

T. Simmons

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Express & Star, 15 Feb 1916

Express & Star, 15 Feb 1916

Thomas Edward Simmons was born in Cannock in 1890, the son of James and Emily Simmons. By the 1901 census, the family were living at 15 Vicarage Road, Wolverhampton, and Thomas and his parents were joined by his brothers James and William, sister Emily, and grandparents William and Mary Simmons.

Thomas joined the 3rd North Midland Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery as a Gunner, and he clearly gave a good acount of himself. An article appeared in the Express & Star on 15 February 1916, which stated that he had been “mentioned for distinguished conduct at the front. His Major-General wrote as follows:

Your commanding officer and brigade commander have informed me that you have distinguished yourself by conspicuous bravery in the field. I have received their report with pleasure, and am bringing you under the notice of the superior authority.

By this date, his address was given as 13 Charles Street, and the article proudly stated that Thomas’s father also had two other sons serving with the colours (his mother had died in 1914.)

Harry Austin White

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Harry Austin White was born in Bury, in Lancashire, in 1883, the son of David and Mary White (nee Birch). By 1901, the family were living in Wolverhampton, and Harry appears at 141 Park Street together with his parents, brother James and sister Lizzie. He married Ethel Marian Haynes in 1906, they had a daughter (Florence Jessie) in 1909, and had moved to London by 1911, when they were at 4 Sidney Road, West Ham. According to the 1911 census, he was a mineral water maker, and he later became a Director of Midland Counties Dairy Co. Ltd in Wolverhampton.

Mayor Harry Austin White (centre) at the visit of King George VI c.1939.

Mayor Harry Austin White (centre) at the visit of King George VI c.1939.

During the First World War he joined the Flying Corps as a motor driver, stationed in Mesopotamia. By 1932, he was elected to Wolverhampton Council as a Conservative, becoming Mayor in 1939. He lost his seat in 1945. He died in 1947

J. Newton Williams

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J. Newton Williams

J. Newton Williams

There is a sad story detailed in the Newhampton Road Wesleyan Church Roll of Honour about a Corporal J. Newton Williams of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (number 266790), as follows:

While training in Southern Ireland he was in involved in an accident which broke his leg. After a long spell of hospital treatment involving six operations he died in Blackrock Hospital 19/04/1919

The only corroboration of this information is his entry on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site, which includes the fact that he is buried at Beaumaris Cemetery on Anglesey.

Without a first name, I have not been able to find out any further information on this man, including finding his birth records or being able to find him on census returns. I have also not been able to find a medal card for him at the National Archives under his service number, although he might possibly be this man, Newton Williams. If anybody can supply any further information on this man, please get in touch!

Raymond Bishop

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Raymond Bishop was born in Quinton, Gloucestershire, in 1895, the son of George and Jane Bishop (nee Neale). By 1901, the family had moved to Wolverhampton and were living at 5 Manlove Street. In 1911, they were at 36 Burleigh Road, by which stage Raymond had become an assistant to a milk Dealer.

Raymond signed up with the 1/7th Royal Warwickshire Regiment (number 25046) in 1915. He was killed on 27 August 1917, aged just 22. He is featured on the panel of Beckminster Methodist Church in Penn Fields, and the Wolverhampton War Memorials site has the following further information about his death:

On the previous day Raymond’s Company, who were taking part in a precursor to the notorious Battle of Passchendaele, were near the village of St Julien and had moved into outposts in front of their trenches in readiness to attack a German strongpoint known as Springfield Farm, a strategic point on the St Julien – Zonnebeke Road which had already changed hands five times in the previous 48 hours. An idea of the prevailing conditions can be gained from a letter that one of the officers wrote to his mother; “…… The ground was a mass of shell holes and the mud was real bad. To give you one instance of what the mud is really like, one of our pack ponies got stuck and then gradually sank lower and lower until he disappeared. But just before his head went under, the transport officer shot him with a revolver.”
Heavy rain during the night made the ground even more difficult and when they eventually attacked, after having spent several hours in waterlogged shell-holes, they found the ground almost impassable and their attack floundered in the mud. 30 of Raymond’s comrades died with him that day.

He is also listed on the memorial of St Chad and St Mark’s Church, as well as on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium.

Frank Squires

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Squires in 1917

Squires in 1917

Frank Squires was born on 8 January 1888 in Birmingham, the son of John Henry and Marie Sophie Squires (nee Pitt). By 1901, the family had moved to Leicester Street in Wolverhampton, and Frank was listed living with his parents and brother Raymond. In 1911, they were at 16 Newhampton Road West. Frank began working as a hospital clerk at the Royal Hospital in 1902, and gradually rose to become Chief Administrative Assistant. He retired in 1955 after over 53 years of service.

Having served for four years in the Terrotorials (with the 3rd North Midland Field Ambulance), he joined up in August 1916 with the 1st Lincolnshire Regiment (number 280944). He was discharged out of the army in July 1918, on the grounds of “mitral systolic”, a heart murmer. According to his medical report, he had “commenced with dyspnoea and shortness of breath on exertion and after excitement”, which had been going on for five years.

Squires in 1932

Squires in 1932

During his work at the Hospital, Frank met his future wife, Gladys May Lloyd, whom he married on 14 January 1928 at Kingsbury Parish Church. They had three sons – John, Richard and Roger – between 1929 and 1932. Unfortunately Richard died in infancy, but the other two served in the army during the Second World War. Frank was also Secretary of the Royal Philatelic Society for 8 years, and was a member of the Albert Lawn Tennis Club for 20 years. He died in 1978.

Bernard Lockley Nicholls

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Bernard Nicholls

Bernard Nicholls

Bernard Lockley Nicholls was born in Walsall in 1896, the son of Lester and Eliza Nicholls (nee Lockley). In the 1901 census, the family were living at 29 Mill (Hill) Street, Walsall, and Bernard was listed together with his parents, three sisters (Mary, Lilian and Ada), and a servant, Harriett Humphries. By 1911, the family had moved to Wolverhampton and were at 203 Coleman Street. The household were joined by three further sons (Benjamin, Lester and Jon) and another daughter (Lydia). By this time, Bernard was an errand boy working for a dye works.

During the First World War, Bernard enlisted into the 1/6th South Staffordshire Regiment (number 240703). His military records do not survive, but his entry in the Newhampton Road Wesleyan Church Roll of Honour confirms that he was killed in action on 3 October 1918 by machine gun fire near Sequemart, 6 miles north of St Quenten. By this date his parents were living at 42 St Mark Street. He is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois memorial in France.

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