William Aaron Albiston


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William was born in Wolverhampton on 2 June 1897, the son of William Charles and Mary Ann Albiston. In 1901 they were living at 8 Franchise Street, Wolverhampton, together with William’s sisters Elsie and Nellie, and brother Samuel Henry. They were at the same address in 1911, with additional siblings Joseph and Harry. William later became a metal presser, working for the hollowware and enamelled goods manufacturer, S. J. & E. Fellows Ltd.

He enlisted at Portsmouth with the Royal Navy (number J23785). He first served on the HMS Impregnable, and he served on various ships from 6 March 1913 throughout the war until 24 March 1923.

William married Beatrice or Beate Joan Margaret Saide Bergstraesser in Islington in 1949. He died on 26 June 1955 at the Central Middlesex Hospital in London, by which date his address was 35 Mowbray Road, Willesden, London. The value of his effects was £2488 2s. 6d.

James Philip D. Church


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James was born in around 1867 in Bridgend, Glamorgan, the son of William and Emma Church. He married Mary Ellen Sarah Wade in Wolverhampton on 6 April 1893, and they had one son, James Robert, in Wolverhampton on 28 December 1904. James joined the police force, becoming a Sergeant by 1901 and a Police Inspector by 1911 with Wolverhampton Police Force. Throughout that period the family were living at 76 Harrow Street, Wolverhampton.

Despite his age, there is a note in the Chief Constable’s Report Book for 19 October 1914 listing Inspector Church as one of the men who had applied to rejoin his regiment. In James’s case, this was the Royal Garrison Artillery (service number 2420). Unfortunately, according to an entry in the Report Book for 7 December 1914,

he was discharged after 3 weeks as medically unfit & has been on the sick list since rejoining.

His pension records confirm that he was discharged on 23 November 1914 with chronic sciatica. James’s wife, Mary, died in Atcham, Shropshire, in 1924, and James remarried to a Sarah Anne Colley on 7 July 1925. He himself died on 22 March 1949.


Martin Banks


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Martin Banks was born in Wolverhampton on 27 February 1896, the son of Martin and Emma Banks. Martin’s father died the same year as he was born, so by 1901, Martin and his mother were living with his grandmother, Elizabeth Guest, at 13 Bristol Street, Bilston. Martin’s mother remarried to a William Seager in 1905. In 1911 they were living at 15 Bow Street, Bilston, together with Martin’s step-sister Mary Ann and step-brother John. Martin had become a moulder for an iron foundry.

Martin’s name is listed on the Bilston Methodist Church roll of honour as a local man who served (but did not fall in action). However, I have not been able to confirm details of his military service, as there are a couple of possibilities. Martin married Jemima Higgins in 1927, and they had a son, Reginald, later that year. Martin died in Wolverhampton in 1978.

Thomas Lyttleton W. Pearson


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Thomas was born in Bilston in 1885, the son of James and Elizabeth Pearson. In 1891 they were living at 11 High Street, Sedgley, together with Thomas’s brothers Frederick and William, and sisters Helen, Edith and Lillie. He attended the Higher Grade School in Wolverhampton.  They were at 649 Parkfield Road, Sedgley by 1901, and Thomas had become a commercial clerk.

Thomas enlisted first in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (number 20121), and later became a Lance Sergeant in the 7th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (number 28678). He died in France on 27 April 1916, and the circumstances surrounding his death are given in the log book of the Higher Grade School on 18 May 1916, as follows:

Received an account of the heroic self sacrifice of Sergeant Thomas Pearson (Sedgley) of the Shropshire Light Infantry, an “Old Boy” who gave his helmet to a private who was buried in a dug-out (all but his head). Sergeant Pearson was overcome by the poison gas & taken to Hospital – where he died.

Wrote to the bereaved parents.

Thomas is remembered at the Philosophe British Cemetery in Mazingarbe, France, as well as on the roll of honour for the Higher Grade School.

Joseph Henry Bailey


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Joseph was born in Wolverhampton on 7 July 1894, the son of Henry and Harriet Elisabeth Bailey. In 1901 they were living at 208 Staveley Road, with Joseph’s sisters Emma Elizabeth, Florence and Gertrude, and brothers William Henry, Frederick and Arthur. By 1911, they were living at 55 Mostyn Street, Wolverhampton. Joseph was a boiler maker’s apprentice for the Great Western Railway company.

At the age of 17 on 17 April 1912, Joseph enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps (number 1860, later 421065) at Wolverhampton. He joined the 3rd North Midland Field Ambulance. He lef this apprenticeship on 29 July 1914, and disembarked for France on 8 March 1915. He was awarded 7 days “F.[ield] P.[unishment] No 1“on 8 February 1916 “for Improper reply to N.C.O.”. On 23 May 1917 he was suffering from “N.[ot] Y.[et] D.[iagnosed] Fever”. He was gassed and wounded in action on 4 October 1918, and was taken to hospital in Rouen, before being sent to England. He died in Wolverhampton General Hospital on 16 December 1918 of Phosgene poisoning from being gassed, and suffering from jaundice. Tragically, his mother Harriet had died a few months earlier, on 16 October 1918, of a carcinoma of the uterus.

His father, Henry, received Joseph’s 1914-15 Star on his behalf on 2 October 1920, and his British War Medal on 22 June 1922. Joseph is buried at Wolverhampton Borough Cemetery, and he is commemorated on the RAMC memorial in St Peter’s Church.

Levi Jeffries


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Today we remember Levi Jeffries, who died 100 years ago today.

Levi was born in Long Compton, Warwickshire in 1873, the son of Frederick and Maria Jeffries. In 1891 they were living in Ingestre, Staffordshire, together with Levi’s brothers Albert, George and Charles A., and Levi was a servant at Ingestre Hall. He married Louisa Mary Bulmer in St George’s Hannover Square in 1899.

By 1911 he was a Detective Sergeant with Wolverhampton Borough Police. He was living at 109 Owen Road, Wolverhampton, together with his wife Louisa, sons Charles and Claude, daughter Sheila, and his sister-in-law Kate Bulmer.

An entry in the Chief Constable’s Report Book on 19 October 1914 lists Sergeant Jeffreys [sic] as one of the police officers who have applied to rejoin their regiments. In the case of Levi, this was the 185th Heavy Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery (number 2419 and later 277419). He had previously served in the South African Campaign. He first served in France from 7 July 1915. Levi died at home in Wolverhampton on 23 October 1916, and is buried in the Wolverhampton Borough Cemetery. A brief entry in the Report Book for 4 December 1916 states that “D.S. Jeffries died in Hospital Here on 23rd Oct 1916 & was accorded full Military & Police honours.”

Wolverhampton Archives has the report from the Coroner’s inquest that was done following Levi’s death. This states the following:

That on the Twenty-third Day of October in the Year aforesaid, at the General Hospital in the said Borough, the said Levi Jeffries died of misadventure under an anaesthetic properly and carefully administered for a proper operation for a sebaceous cyst which arose from an accident in the trenches, the heart being injuring by gassing at the front.

A small newspaper clipping contained in the coroner’s file gives more details about the incident in the trenches:

During the course of an attack he was flung back in the trench where he was engaged, and subsequently complained of an injury to his back, being allowed special leave to return home.

The article also stated that Levi had received medals from three monarchs – Queen Victoria, King Edward and King George, as he had received medals for both military campaigns but also a medal for bravery during his work with the police.

Archibald Marr


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The brother of James Marr, Archibald was born in Wolverhampton in 1890. By 1911, he was living at 16 Paget Street, Wolverhampton, with his parents, James Dunlop and Martha Marr, brother William, sister and brother-in-law Jessie and Archibald Owen Haskins, and niece Norah Haskins. By this date, Archibald was an elementary school teacher for Staffordshire County Council.

Archibald enlisted with the 6th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 2822). He first serviced in France from 5 March 1915, but was killed in action on 13 October 1915. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, and joins his brother on the Roll of Honour at the Lady Chapel in St Peter’s Church, Wolverhampton. he also appears on the war memorial at St Michael and All Angels Church, Tettenhall.

Daniel Kidson


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Daniel was born in Wolverhampton in 1894, the son of Richard and Maria Kidson. In 1901 they were living at 30 Hall Street, together with Daniel’s step-brother Alfred Williams, his sister Maria and brother Richard. They had moved to 6 Bellevue Street, Woodcross, near Bilston, by 1911 (their surname now written as “Kitson”), and Daniel was a pot maker for a hollowware manufacturer. He had an additional sister Alice and brother Arthur.

Daniel enlisted with the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 12826), and first served in France from 16 March 1915. His name was listed in the Express & Star on 10 February 1917 as having been wounded. However, he clearly recovered from these wounds, as he survived the war. Daniel married Phoebe Morgan in Wolverhampton in 1920, and they had a daughter, Alice, born the same year. He died in Wolverhampton in 1974

James Charles Griffiths


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James enlisted at Birmingham with the 2nd Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 16699). He first served in France from 17 March 1915. James was awarded the Military Medal, as mentioned in the London Gazette on 6 January 1917, but he had been killed in action on 28 July 1916 at Delville Wood. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Tracking James’s birth and family details has been more tricky. the Army Register of Soldier’s Effects gives his widow’s name as Ellen, but I have not been able to confirm details of his marriage. Equally, without more details of his age, I have not been able to track down his birth entry (although he was apparently born in Bilston). There is a James Charles Griffiths living with parents John Thomas and Sarah Scholfield Griffiths at 71 Queens Hotel, Bloxwich, Walsall, in 1911, but that is the most likely one I have found.

John Wise


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Originally from Birmingham, John Wise was born in 1879, the son of Samuel and Mary A. Wise. In 1906 he married Clara Adams, and they went on to have six children – Francis, John, Samuel, Clara, William and Hilda. John became a Police Constable and at some point moved to Wolverhampton Police Force. In 1911, he appeared with his wife and two of his children at 9 Mitre Fold, Wolverhampton.

A note in the Chief Constable’s Report Book on 19 October 1914 states that PC Wise (among others) has applied to rejoin his former regiment and left on that date. I have been unable to confirm further details of John’s regiment, but as his last daughter was born in 1920, he clearly survived the War.