George Clifford

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George was born in Bilston in 1890, the son of Samuel and Ann Clifford. They were living at 36 John Street, Bilston, in 1901, with George’s siblings Richard, William, Annie and John S. George had a daughter, Maud Ethel, in Wolverhampton in 1909, and he married Sarah Reynolds (the mother of his child) in Dudley in 1910. By 1911, George and his wife and daughter were boarding at the home of Thomas Fullard, at 51 George Street, Ettingshall, Priestfield. They had a further two children before the war broke out – Annie S. (1912) and George S. T. (1914).

George enlisted with the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 16354), serving first as a Private and later as a Corporal. His name was listed in the Express & Star on 10 February 1917 as having been wounded, but he appears to have recovered from his wounds and survived the war. The couple went on to have five more children – Stephen (1920), Norman H. (1921), Albert E. (1923), Beryl I. (1925), and Ronald V. (1930). George died in Bilston in 1937.

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John Wright

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John was born in Wolverhampton in 1897, the son of Edward and Agnes Wright. They were living at 31 Russell Street, Wolverhampton, in 1901, along with John’s siblings Joseph, Agnes, William F. and Victoria M.

John enlisted as a Private with the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 9309). He was killed in action on 11 January 1917, and his name was listed in the Express & Star on 10 February 1917. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Samuel Woolley

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Samuel was born in Bilston in 1883. In 1907 he married Mary Ann Shelton in Wolverhampton. By 1911, he was living with his wife, and sons John Harold and George Lenoard [sic] at 32 Gough Street, Wolverhampton. Samuel was a stamper at an Edge Tool works.

He enlisted with the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 10059), and served with D Company, 15 Platoon. He first served in France from 17 December 1914. On 7 March 1916, the Express & Star carried a notice, stating that he had been reported missing since 25 September 1915 in the Battle of Loos. His wife’s address was still given as 32 Gough Street, Wolverhampton. Unfortunately, it was later confirmed that he was killed in action on that date. He is remembered on the Loos Memorial in France.

The Whitehouse family

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whitehouseWe have seen previously on this blog occasions when the local newspaper printed photographs of groups of brothers who were all serving during the First World War. This instance from the Express & Star on 22 February 1916 (also appeared in the Midland Counties Express on 26 February) is more unique, as it includes sisters as well as brothers. These are the children of Mrs Whitehouse, of 13 Ash Street, Wolverhampton, a widow, who “has cheerfully released her family of five to do their bit for their country”:

  • Corporal Jack Whitehouse, in the 1st Field Ambulance, 61st Division
  • Private Edward Whitehouse, A Section 2/1st S. M. Field Ambulance R.A.M.C.
  • Private George Whitehouse, C Section 1/3rd N. M. F. A., R. A. M. C.
  • Alice and Ellen Whitehouse, working on munitions in Birmingham

The family were living at 33 Ash Street in 1911, the children of Sarah Fanny Whitehouse. Their father, Albert Edward Whitehouse, had died in 1903. Jack (listed as John on the census) was a carpenter, Edward was a machinist, and George was a labourer, all three working for a Timber Merchant.

John was born in Wolverhampton in around 1892. He enlisted as a Private with the Royal Army Medical Corps (number 2076), before becoming a Corporal (number 435265). He appears to have survived the war, but I have been unable to confirm further details about his life.

Edward was born in Wolverhampton on 17 March 1893. He was baptised in St Mark’s Church on 6 April 1893. It is unclear which is his military service, as there are three men by that name serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps. However, he, too, survived the war. There is an Edward Whitehouse who married Susannah Stanhope in Wolverhampton in 1928 which may be the same man. This couple had a son, John E., in 1933. Edward died in Wolverhampton in 1970

George was born in Wolverhampton on 10 December 1894, and was also baptised at St Mark’s Church on 3 January 1895. He enlisted with the Royal Army Medical Corps (service number 1658) and first served in France from 4 March 1915. He, too, survived, and died in Wolverhampton in 1971. I have not been able to confirm further details of his life.

Alice was born in Wolverhampton in 1896, and was baptised at St Mark’s Church on 18 October 1896. I have not been able to confirm any further details.

Ellen was born in Wolverhampton in 1898, and was baptised at St Mark’s on 20 March 1898, but again have not been able to ascertain any further information.

If anyone can find out more about this family, we would love to hear it.

 

Thomas Joseph Shaw

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Thomas was born on 12 June 1896 in Wolverhampton, the son of Walter and Elizabeth Shaw. The family were living at 206A Lea Road, Wolverhampton, in 1901, along with Thomas’s siblings Mable [sic], Horace, William and Nora. By 1911 he was a pupil. at the Grammar School in Brewood, Staffordshire.

Thomas enlisted with the Royal Flying Corps (later the Royal Air Force), but he survived the First World War. Ancestry has records showing that he had got married, and emigrated to Brazil by 1950. His immigration card lists his trade as a farmer, and his home address is listed as Newlyn, Shiplake on Thames, Oxfordshire.

I have not been able to confirm further details about Thomas’s life.

Frederick Norman Willcock

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Frederick was born in Wolverhampton on 12 July 1896, the son of Frederick Albert and Ruth Blanche Willcock. In 1901 they were living at 71 Victoria Street, Wolverhampton, and were at the same address in 1911. From January 1908 until December 1914, Frederick attended Wolverhampton Grammar School, where he was a member of the Officers’ Training Corps. According to the Express & Star, “he gave ample evidence at school of a most promising career”.

In January 1915, he enlisted with the 8th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment, becoming a Second Lieutenant. He first served in France from 20 December 1915. On 10 July 1916, he was killed in action. This was covered in the Express & Star on 17 July 1916 and again on 22 September 1916. Frederick is remembered at the Thiepval Memorial.

Theodore Thomson Heath

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heathTheo, as he was known, was born in Wolverhampton in 1892, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Heath. In 1901, they were living at 25 Newbridge Street, Wolverhampton, together with his brothers Leslie O. and Donald E. A. Theo attended Wolverhampton Grammar School, and later worked for Sunbeam Motor Company as a Petrol Engine Tester’s Assistant. In 1911, Theo was boarding in the home of William Walters, at 14 Clifton Street, Wolverhampton. He moved to Sunbeam’s Edinburgh depot after his initial work in Wolverhampton.

Theo enlisted as a Rifleman with the 12th Battalion London Regiment (number 2743), first serving in France from 9 March 1915. On 6 May 1915, he was wounded, and he died of these wounds on 4 June 1915. This was announced in the Express & Star on 10 June 1915 and in the Midland Counties Express on 12 June 1915. He is buried at East Sheen Cemetery in Surrey.

William Victor Bevon

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One of our readers has shared the following story about her relative:

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The archives has a School Logbook record from Graiseley School, written by Samuel Horatio William Bevon. He writes about his absence from school due to the death of his son, Lieutenant William Victor Bevon BSc. on November 17th 1917.

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Bevon as a student

 

William Victor Bevon attended the Wolverhampton Higher Grade School, and Wolverhampton Municipal Science and Technical School in Garrick Street, where he was “Chief Student” of his year. (Birmingham Daily Post 19/11/17). He went on to The University of Birmingham where he Graduated with a degree in Engineering in Summer 1916. Sir Oliver Lodge, Vice Chancellor and Principle, described him as, “A brilliant student, one of the best we have had.”

bevon 4He joined the Royal Flying Corps, and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, then Lieutenant, in the Special Reserve of Officers, working at the RFC Orfordness Experimental Station. (The Aeroplane 4/10/16 p590). The research there was to help to give the pilots scientific and technical advantage in the war.

He died of Cardiac Failure following illness, at Ipswich Military Hospital, aged 24. He is buried at Wolverhampton Merridale Cemetery, plot 11805.

He was remembered on War Memorials at Wolverhampton Higher Grade School, Cable Street Mills (his brother Herbert Bevon who was seriously injured, but survived, is also named) and on the Compton Road Memorial, and The University ofbevon 3 Birmingham Memorial.

His grave was marked with a granite slab with engraving and a kerb. The family visited the cemetery to mark his centenary of his death.

Reverend Reginald William Thompson

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An article appeared in the Express & Star on 31 July 1916 detailing the experiences of the pastor of Queen Street Congregational Church, the Reverend R. W. Thompson, who had spent three months at the front. During his time there, he spent six weeks in charge of a Young Men’s Christian Association hut at the base camp at Calais. Then he spent a period attached to a training school of one of the armies for advanced training, before spending a week in the Ypres salient “going from place to place”.

At the YMCA hut he stated that

Two billiard tables were always in use, and we also provided at the hut a ‘rest room’, where the men might attend to their business affairs and read and write in perfect silence. This is much appreciated.

Near the army training school there was a convent, who had taken in 123 little girls found orphaned and abandoned in the streets after recent bombardment. One or two of them had been found “enfold in the arms of their dead mothers”. During his week in Ypres, the Reverend Thompson himself was also under fire, spending the night in a hut behind a hill which was being heavily bombarded, and “one shell burst so near that pieces of shrapnel fell all round him”. The newspaper congratulated him on his safe return to Wolverhampton.

Reginald Thompson was born in Cardiff in 1880, the son of William and Ellen K. Thompson. He married Dorothy Mabel Holmes at St Marylebone, London, in 1908, and by 1911, he was living with his wife and daughter, Dorothy Joan, at 11 Parkdale, Wolverhampton, and his trade was given as Congregational Minister. On 4 February 1953 (when his home address was given as 2 West Dene, Westbury on Trym, Bristol, he travelled to Sydney, Australia. He died on 23 March 1953, whilst still in Australia. The value of his effects was £17922 1s. 8d.

 

Robert Thomas Griffin

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The son of William and Jane Griffin, Robert was born on 12 April 1885 in Bilston. In 1901, they were living at 32 Church Lane, Wolverhampton, along with Robert’s siblings Jennie J., William and Samuel A. Robert was employed as an apprentice working with photos and engravings.

He emigrated to Canada. He enlisted in Canada as a Lieutenant with the Royal Flying Corps, and was awarded his Royal Aero Club Aviators’ Certificate on 14 November 1915 at Curtiss School, Toronto. His address by this date. was given as 111 Rainsford Road, Toronto. A small item appeared in the Express & Star on 22 September 1916 stating that his relatives in Wolverhampton had been informed that he had been wounded and taken a prisoner of war. The prisoner of war records confirm this. He had been shot in the upper arm and the right hip bone, and he was kept at a camp at Friedberg.

He survived the war, and moved back to the United Kingdom, marrying Winifred A. Hall in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire, in 1919. He died on 17 February 1955 (when his address was given as 152 Fir Tree Road, Banstead, Surrey. The value of his effects was £6105 10s. 9d.