Betty McCann, a volunteer at Wolverhampton City Archives, carried out the research on this man.

Alexander Coburn was born 16th March 1896 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. His father was James Coburn who was a golf professional and his mother was Rebecca Coburn. In 1901 the family were living at 11 Princess Terrace, Portrush and consisted of father, mother, Alexander age 3, Thomas 1 year and baby George, together with a servant.

By 1911 the family had moved to live in Nursery Place, West Derby. Their child George had died in 1901 aged only a few months and they had another son called Kenneth.  The family subsequently moved to Wolverhampton where James became the professional Golf Coach at Oxley Golf Club, Stafford Road, Fordhouses, Wolverhampton where the family lived in the Club House.

Alexander enlisted in the Royal Marines Naval Division in Liverpool on 6th October 1914 Reg. PO/17953, serving as Acting Cpl on HMS Zealander with the first RM draft for BEF. He was appointed paid acting lance corporal on 17.4.1917, and acting corporal on 19.10.1917. He was killed by enemy action on 29th October 1917. His body was not recovered for burial; his death is listed on the War Memorial at St.Mary’s Church, Bushbury, Wolverhampton.

The Commonwealth War Graves website gives this information “Rank Corporal Service No:PO/17953 Date of Death: 26/10/1917 Regiment/Service: Royal Marine Light Infantry 1st R.M. Bn. R.N. Div. Panel Reference: Panel 1 and 162A. Memorial: Tyne Cot memorial.” His name is listed on the Memorial at Portrush NI and he is commemorated in Holy Trinity Parish Church, Portrush


Betty McCann, who volunteers at Wolverhampton City Archives at the Molineux Hotel Building, has carried out the research on this man.

Edward Burton was born in Wolverhampton in 1899. His father was Edward Burton, who was a Fitter in the Gas Works, his mother was Emily Burton.

In 1901 the family were living at No.6 Holly Court, Bushbury. By 1911 they had moved to Henwick Terrace, Shaw Road, also in Bushbury, Wolverhampton. By this time the family consisted of father, mother, Edward, Charles 9 years, Frederick Arthur 5 years and  Leonard Francis aged 2 years.

Edward enlisted in the Army Training Corps on 10th October 1916, aged only 17 years, and was given the Reg. No. 3163. After training he was transferred to the Durham Light Infantry and given the Reg. No. 77579.

Edward was posted to France in 1916 and was reported missing in action in the field on 21st March 1918,  and subsequently assumed killed. No further records are available apart from his medal index card. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, and on the Memorial located in St Mary’s Church, Bushbury.



The research for this blog entry has been carried out by Volunteer Betty McCann.

The parents of Frank and Charles Clinton had 7 children altogether but by 1911, 3 of their children had died.

Charles was born in 1880 in Wolverhampton. Records show that by 1911 he  had already enlisted in the South Staffordshire Regiment, his Regimental No. was 8366, in ‘A’ Company.

At the start of the war Charles was posted to serve in Belgium. No further records of his service are available but we know that he disembarked on 4th October 1914, and died in Belgium on 3rd November 1914, when he was 26 years old. The Register of Soldiers Effects shows that a sum of £14.8s.4d was paid to his father, and the Medal Index Card for him shows that his father made a request to receive his medals on 6th August 1919, when the family were living at 32 Gough Street, Wolverhampton.

Frank Clinton was born in 1886 and he was a Machine Tool Fitter. He enlisted on 24th August 1915 into the 9th Service Battalion (Pioneers) South Staffordshire Regiment, Reg. No. 15957, and he was posted to France where he was killed in action on 31st October 1915.

The parents of the two brothers were Thomas who worked as a Jobbing Gardener and Harriett Clinton. In 1901 the family were living at 108 Sweetman Street, Whitmore Reans, Wolverhampton; by 1911 they had moved to 179 Coleman Street, still in Whitmore Reans.


Thomas Robert Price was born at Bushbury in 1889. His baptism was recorded in St Mary’s Bushbury Parish Register on 1st December 1889. His parents were Alfred Thomas Price, a Painter’s Labourer, and Louisa Jane née Burton. The family’s address at the time of the 1901 census was in Fordhouses. The family consisted of 5 boys and 4 girls. In 1911 the family were still living at Fordhouses but Thomas doesn’t appear on this census form. A Thomas Price, age 21, born at Wolverhampton, Occupation Army Private, appears on the 1911 census living at Southampton.

The CWGC entry for him reads “Rank: Private Service No: 4862 Date of Death: 15/11/1918 Age: 29 Regiment/Service: Royal Army Medical Corps attd. Director General Medical Services. Cemetery: Bushbury (St. Mary) Churchyard Additional Information: Son of Alfred Thomas Price and Louisa Jane Price, of Fordhouses, Bushbury”. His name is on the memorial at St Mary’s Church, Bushbury.

He enlisted in the RAMC on 21st August 1914. The Register of Soldiers Effects shows that £32 12s 8d, including War gratuity £25, was authorised to be paid to his father on 1st May 1919. He died in the General Hospital at Wolverhampton on 15th November 1918, presumably of the effects of wounds inflicted during his army service. His death was registered at Wolverhampton during the quarter ended December 1918.


The research for this entry was carried out by Archives Volunteer Betty McCann.

Samuel Rutter was born in Wolverhampton in 1891. His Occupation was Wood Sawyer. His marriage to Jane Foster was registered at Wolverhampton in the 3rd Quarter of 1920. The births of 3 children of the marriage were registered at Wolverhampton, Samuel J 4th Quarter 1921, Stanley J 1st Quarter 1924, and Edna M 2nd Quarter 1928. His parents were Joseph Rutter, an Iron Moulder, born at Wolverhampton and Emily Ann Rutter, née Agar, born at Wapping, London.

At the time of the 1901 Census Samuel was living at 87 Bilston Street Wolverhampton with his parents and his brothers Edgar, (also the subject of a post on this blog) Joseph and Frederick, and his two sisters Emily Alice and Minnie. By 1911 the family, living at 3 Salisbury Street Wolverhampton, had 3 additional family members, Elsie, Dorothy, and Lily Esther. Samuel, age 19, was a Wood Sawyer.

Samuel enlisted on 9th December 1915 into the 3rd South Staffordshire Regiment, 16 Bde. R.G.A. Due to his profession he was given a special qualification of Wheeler. His Regimental Number was 72763. He left Southampton for Le Havre on 30th July 1916 to join the 117 Heavy Battery Field. During his service he was admitted to Hospital and diagnosed with Synovitis ( a complaint of the knee). He was found to have a 20% disability and awarded a pension of 8/-  a week.

His death at the age of 72 was registered at Wolverhampton in the quarter ended June 1963.




The research for this entry was carried out by Archives Volunteer Betty McCann.

Edgar Rutter was born at Wolverhampton in 1896. His parents were Joseph Rutter, an Iron Moulder, and Emily Ann Rutter, whose occupation was Grocer’s Shop Keeper.

At the time of the 1901 Census Edgar was living at 87 Bilston Street Wolverhampton with his parents, and his brothers Samuel, Joseph, and Frederick, and his two sisters Emily Alice and Minnie. By 1911 the family were living at 3 Salisbury Street Wolverhampton, and Edgar by now had 5 sisters, with the additional family members being Elsie, Dorothy, and Lily Esther. Edgar was now an errand boy.

Edgar enlisted into the South Staffordshire Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Regimental Number 9435. His Medal Card shows that he served with the BEF, having disembarked 12-8-14. He was killed on 2nd December 1917, age 21 years. The CWGC website shows his Rank: Corporal, Grave Reference:IV. C. 19. Cemetery: Rocquigny – Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt, Additional Information: Son of Joseph and Emily Ann Rutter, of 3, Salisbury St., Wolverhampton.

Edgar’s brother Samuel served in WW1 and has also been the subject of Betty McCann’s researches. A post about him will follow.

James Amery

James Amery is on the Wolverhampton Roll of Honour at

Although they weren’t locally born, he and his wife were living in Wolverhampton in 1911. James Amery was a Petty Officer, Ist Class, in the Royal Navy, (R.F.R./Ch./A/1116) HM Yacht “Kethailes,” Service No: 129483. His death occurred on the 11th of October 1917, and he is buried in the South-West part of St Mary’s Churchyard at Llanaber, per CWGC Records.

At is this mention of him: “H.M. Yacht Kethailes was the 600 ton steam yacht donated to the Great War effort as an armed patrol vessel. It sank in the Irish Sea after a collision on the 11th October, 1917, after which several bodies of the crew were washed up in the Barmouth area of North Wales, UK, one of which carried a tag inscribed with J. Emery.P.O.RNR 12948 – John Crawford Ex commercial fisherman and retired 2nd Mechanic Barmouth Lifeboat.”

The UK Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll 1914-1919 has James Amery, Rank: PO 1st, Birth Date: 13 March 1869, Birth Place: Kilkenny, Ireland, Branch of Service: Royal Navy, Cause of Death: Killed or died by means other then disease, accident or enemy action, Official Number Port Division: 129483 (RFR ChA 1116) (Ch), Death Date: 11 Oct 1917, Ship or Unit: HM Yacht Kethailes; Location of Grave: 3.1.14, Name and Address of Cemetery: Llanaber Churchyard, Barmouth, Merionethshire, Wales, Relatives Notified and Address: Widow: Rose Eliza, 39 Larches Lane, Wolverhampton. The National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations) has the entry AMERY James of 39 Larches-lane Wolverhampton first class petty officer No 129483 belonging to HM armed yacht “Kethailes” died 11 October 1917 at sea in home waters. Probate Lichfield 19 November to Rosanna Eliza Amery widow. Effects £296 17s.

Information found on line is that “Kethailes” was a Gentleman’s Steam Yacht owned by William Johnston (founder of the Johnston Line which became part of Furness Withy), built in 1903, crew 50+, at Thornaby-on-Tees, County Durham. She was named KETHAILES by the owner for his four daughters: Kathleen, ETHel, AILeen, EStele. On 24 September 1914 she was voluntarily handed over to the Royal Navy for use as an Armed Naval Auxiliary (also known as an ‘Admiralty Armed Yacht’) and renamed ‘H.M. Yacht Kethailes’. Initially she patrolled in the North Sea, then transferred to the Irish Sea. On 11 October 1917 she was sunk in the Irish Sea in a collision near the Blackwater Light Vessel, off Wexford on the south-eastern tip of Ireland. The CWGC records 16 lives lost. 6 bodies were buried (only one identified) at Llwyngwril (St. Celynin) Churchyard, and one identified body at Llanaber (St. Mary) Churchyard, both near Barmouth in Merionethshire, mid-Wales. Cause of death in all instances is given as drowning, even for the bodies with no known graves. The identity of the ship that ran the ‘Kethailes’ down, which as confirmed by modern divers’ photographs of the wreck, is what actually happened, is unknown.

James Amery age 12 appearson the 1881 census living in Paddington with his grandparents Richard and Caroline Gillingham in Paddington, London. He next appears on the 1911 Census, living at 31 Queen Street, Wolverhampton, age 42, Occupation: Navy Pensioner Curator Commissionaire, with his wife Rose Eliza, age 34, Birthplace: Northampton. The couple had been married for 14 years; there were no children of the marriage.

Susie Marie Colbourn Smith

Susie Marie Colbourn Smith was a Staff Nurse, Service No 2/Reserve 670 in the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, daughter of Ellen R. Smith, of 67, Allen Rd., Wolverhampton, and the late John I. Smith. She died 12/2/1916 at the age of 36, and was buried at the Wolverhampton Borough Council Merridale Cemetery, Grave Number 2981.

National Archives holds records at WO 399 for the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, and there are 63 digitised record pages for Susie Smith, including lengthy correspondence dated after her death, concerning queries about her funeral expenses and entitlement to National Insurance payments and sick leave pay. Also in the papers are:

  • the Declaration forming part of her application to join the service, dated 20th August 1914, when her address was the Staff Nurses’ Institution, Stoke on Trent, and a written reference from Thomas ?Withering of Caynham Court Ludlow, dated 23rd August 1914, who said that she was “home nursing for him, in good health and quite fit to do any nursing that she be called upon to perform.”
  • the Form of Application with Date and place of birth, March 1st 1879, Wolverhampton, Father’s Occupation: Master Wheelwright’s Engineer, Whether Parents Living and address: Father dead, 67 Allen Road Wolverhampton, Single, educated at Miss Pearson’s Private School, Health: Good – a medical certificate was required. Her training: three years and six months at the General Hospital, Nottingham, November 1906 to June 1910, when she had left. Her position: Staff Nurse, Sister’s Duties temporarily. Private Nursing had followed, at the Staffordshire Nursing Institution at Stoke on Trent from September 1910 to the present – August 1914. Mrs Beddows of “Beulah Villa”, Wergs Road, Tettenhall would provide a reference. The Application required Names and addresses of the Matron under whom she had been trained : Miss Knight, General Hospital Nottingham, and other Matrons under whom she had served: Miss Wolseley Lewis, Staffordshire Nursing Institution Stoke on Trent.
  • the Report by A B Cameron a/c Matron on Staff re Nurse Susie MC Smith, which is quite detailed. Summarising, she had joined at the Military Hospital on 16th November 1914, and her health had evidently caused concern. Annoyed about seeing the Medical Officer, when she did see him she was diagnosed as diabetic, and put on the sick list on July 15th 1915. Her great anxiety had been to return home and she had been considered quite fit to travel, and was seen off at the station.. The Report stated that she should have received a Railway Warrant for her journey and “I don’t know how this omission occurred.


The birth of Susie Marie C Smith was registered at Wolverhampton in the second quarter of 1879. The 1881 Census records Susie M B Smith age 2 living with her parents John J Smith and Ellen P Smith and her 3 year old brother John H S Smith age 3 living at 14 Dunstall Street with Harriet A Huband domestic servant. By 1891 Susie age 1 was a scholar, and living at St James Square Wolverhampton with her parents, her brothers John F. and George, age 13 and 8, her sister Nellie age 7 and their Domestic General Servant Annie E. Dukes age 16 . The Smith family is recorded on the 1901 Census living at 11 Union Street, and includes daughter Jessie M Smith a domestic. In 1911 the Census shows Susie Marie Smith living at Hartshill Road, Stoke on Trent, relationship to Ellen Frances Mary, Widow, of private means, head of household, Servant, Occupation Trained Nurse. The household included 4 more servants.









Thomas William Allwright

Thomas William Allwright, Private, 18th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, Regimental Number PW/3088, was killed in action on 20th July 1916. He is commemorated on St. John’s Church War Memorial at Wolverhampton, and on the Thiepval Memorial Grave/Memorial Reference: Pier and Face 12 D and 13 B. UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 shows his Regiment as the Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex) Regiment.

His Military records show he was a widower, age 33 at the date of his death, and had lived at 3 King Edwards Row, 13 Poutney Street, Wolverhampton. His occupation was Brass worker, he was 5ft 8¾ inches tall, weighed 166 lbs, and had 3 tattoos on his right arm. He had enlisted at Bilston on 24th May 1915, when his Short Service Attestation Form showed that he was enlisting in the South Staffordshire Regiment, but this was crossed out and replaced with Middlesex Regiment. He was in the 19th and then the 25th prior to the 18th Battalion. His young daughter Sarah Ellen had been born 7th November 1904, so his sister Mrs SE Andrews, known as Nellie, was listed as his next of kin. The Military History Sheet in his military records shows his military service lasted I year and 58 days, of which 172 days were at Home, and 251 days with the BEF in France. His decorations are recorded as British War Medals 1914-1919 and the 1914-15 Star.

On 27th February 1917, 5s a week Guardian Allowance was awarded. On 12th September 1917 Staff Captain RE Field, on behalf of the Director of Organisation at the War Office, sent instructions in the form of a memo to the Officer in Charge of Military Records that any decorations awarded to Thomas William Allwright “should be forwarded to Mrs SE Andrews to be retained by her until the deceased’s daughter is of an age to appreciate their value when they should be handed over to her.” The UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1912 for Thomas William Allwright shows a payment of £4 7s 4d on 29.12.1916 to Sarah E Andrews, and £4 on 13.12.1919 to “Daughter + Note regarding Sarah E.”

On Page 171 of the parish records of St John Wolverhampton, the baptism is recorded of Thomas William there on July 5th 1852, when his father, also Thomas William Allwright, was a blacksmith living at 10 Poutney Street with his wife Thomas William’s mother Rosina.

The marriage of Thomas W Allwright to Sarah Ann Walker was registered at Wolverhampton in the 2nd quarter of 1904, although there is an entry on the Army Form “Descriptive Report on Enlistment” showing marriage to Sarah Ellen at St Johns 2.4.99, but this is crossed through. On the 1911 census Thomas W is recorded age 30, living at 3 King Edwards Row Poutney Street with his wife “Sahar” age 27 and daughter Ellen age 7. The census form also records 2 children of the marriage, and one surviving. Both parents were Polishers by Occupation, Thomas in the Brass trade and his wife in the Cycle trade. Sarah A. Allwright’s death was registered at Wolverhampton in the second quarter of 1914.

Samuel Richard Lorne Allen


Samuel Richard Lorne Allen’s name is on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Memorial Reference 27, recorded at . His rank was Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class, aboard HMS Seagull, his Royal Navy Service Number was M/1550, his date of death was 30th September 1918. National Archives Reference ADM 188/1021/1550 via the Ancestry website has his Naval Record, a single page, which shows his Official Number M1550, Place of Birth Tettenhall, Staffordshire, Date of Birth 15th October 1894, a list of the ships that he served on, and his description – height 5ft 2 inches which increased to 5ft 4½ inches, Hair Dark brown, Eyes Light brown, Complexion Fresh, Two marks on R Cheek. He was a Boy Artificer when he joined the Navy at the age of 16, and passed to become an Engine Room Artificer Grade IV while serving on HMS Ajax, then Grade III while serving on HMS Seagull on 14th August 1917. Throughout his service his Character is consistently noted as being V.G. Further information from the UK Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 is Cause of Death: “ Killed or died by means other than disease, accident or enemy action”, Location of Grave: “Not recorded”, Name and Address of Cemetery: “Body Not Recovered For Burial”, Relatives Notified and Address: “Mother: Ann Blything 21 Montrose Street Wolverhampton.” The UK, Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services, 1900-1928 has First Service Date: “1 Jan 1910” and First Ship Served On: “Tenedos.”


Information on two websites: and is that HMS SEAGULL was a 735 ton Sharpshooter Class torpedo gunboat, built by Chatham Dockyard in 1889, and converted to a minesweeper in 1909. It sank in the River Clyde, after a collision with the SS CORRIB. It lies in water 84 metres deep, three miles south of Dunoon. After the collision 4 officers and 21 ratings were picked up. Sadly, Samuel Allen was one of the 53 men who went down with her.  No further information was to be found on the web about this terrible tragedy.


Samuel Richard L Allen’s birth was registered at Wolverhampton in the 4th Quarter of 1894. The 1901 Census has Samuel R L Allen, age 6 living at the house of his second cousin Charles Webb, age 35, Occupation Coachman, born at Mainstone, Shropshire, a widower, with his mother Ann Allen who was Charles’ cousin, age 34 a widow, also born at Mainstone, Shropshire, at Stretford St Matthew Barton upon Irwell, in Lancashire.


The 1911 Census records him age 16, living in the Parish of Devonport, aboard HMS Indus, Occupation: Boy Artificer Engineer. His mother’s remarriage to Albert E Blything was registered in Wolverhampton in the 4th Quarter of 1901. Mr and Mrs Blything were living at 25 Junction Street Wolverhampton when the 1911 census was taken. Albert Edward, who was born at Tettenhall. was a “Coachman, Gents Service.” Ann Blything’s death at the age of 54 was registered at Wolverhampton. Probate record shows that she was living at 21 Montrose-street Wolverhampton, (wife of Albert Blything) when she died 16 May 1922, and probate 14 August to Arthur James Henshaw motor van driver, Effects £198 6s 6d.






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