Bernard Horace Richards

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Bernard was born on 25 November 1923 in Wolverhampton, the son of Edward and Florence Richards. In 1939, the family were living at 18 Harrowby Road in Bilston, and Bernard and his parents were joined by his siblings Thomas and Kathleen. Bernard was working as an assistant tool tender.

Bernard served as a Gunner with the Royal Artillery (service number 1906114). Unfortunately on 27 July 1947 he died in a military hospital in Catterick in Yorkshire of tuberculous meningitis. He is buried in Bilston Cemetery.

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The research for this blog post was carried out by remote virtual volunteer, Ann Eales.

Thomas Hooke Child Pemberton

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Thomas was born in Wolverhampton in 1888, the son of Howard Perton and Mary Jane Pemberton. He was baptised at St Mark’s Church, Wolverhampton on 8 April 1888. In 1901, they were living at 11 Clifton Street in Wolverhampton, along with Thomas’s brother Hugh Stevens. By 1911 they were at 59 Tettenhall Road, Wolverhampton and Thomas was working as a metal broker. In 1913, he married Lilian Thurstans in Wolverhampton, and the couple had a daughter, Mary Hooke Thurstans, born in 1917.

He enlisted as a Private in the 2nd Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers (service number 32507). On 12 April 1917 he died of wounds received in France, by which date his address was 9 Summerfield Road in Wolverhampton. The value of his effects was £189 2s. 10d. He is buried in the Point-Du-Jour Military Cemetery in Athies in France.

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The research for this blog post was completed by remote digital volunteer, Jacky de Escofet.

William Frederick or Frederick William Oakley

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William was born in Wolverhampton in 1906, the son of Harry and Ethel Oakley. In 1911 they were living at Court 2, Eagle Street, Wolverhampton, along with William’s brother, Bernard. William married Beatrice Marandola in Wolverhampton in 1926, and the couple had three children – Anthony J. (1927), Josephine P. M. (1929) and Jessie J. B. (1933).

William enlisted in the 115 Company, Aux. Mil. Pioneer Corps (service number 2182016). The HMT Lancastria was sunk by a German bomber on 17 June 1940 while the ship was evacuating troops from St Nazaire. For a ship that was meant to take 2,200 passengers, estimates of numbers on board range from 2,500 right up to as high as 9,000, so nobody knows exactly how many people died on board, but it is presumed that William was one of them. He is remembered on the Dunkirk Memorial in France.

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The research for this blog post was done by remote digital volunteer, Ann Eales.

Charles Theodore Nicholls

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The son of William and Eliza Nicholls, Charles was born in Wolverhampton on 5 September 1890, and baptised in St John’s Church, Wolverhampton, on 5 October 1890. In 1891 they were living in Church Lane, Wolverhampton, along with Charles’s siblings William and Henry. By 1901 they were at 251 Newhampton Road, Wolverhampton, with two additional siblings, Eliza and Agnes. In the same year, Charles started attending Ss. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Junior School in Wolverhampton.

Charles enlisted in the 4th Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment (service number 11543), and was serving in India with his regiment at the time of the 1911 census. Unfortunately he was wounded at Gallipoli and died of those wounds in Mudros in Greece on 17 August 1917. He is buried in East Mudros Military Cemetery in Greece.

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The research for this blog post was carried out by remote digital volunteer, Jacky de Escofet.

Arthur Martin

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The son of William James and Florence Louisa Martin, Arthur was born on 26 July 1916 in Wolverhampton. In 1939, they were living at 45 Powell Street, Wolverhampton, and Arthur was working as a grocery shop manager. In 1941, Arthur married Kathleen Emma Bayliss in Wolverhampton.

Arthur served as a Sergeant (Flight Engineer) with the 153 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (service number 1160427), enlisting at Cardington sometime after April 1940. Unfortunately, he was killed in action on 21 February 1945 when his Lancaster aircraft was shot down by a night fighter at Hassilinghausen, northeast of Wuppertal, during a raid on Dortmund. Four crew members survived and were captured. He is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery in Germany, and his name is remembered on the Old Intermedians War Memorial in Wolverhampton.

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The research for this blog post was carried out by remote digital volunteer, Doug Lewis.

Arthur Edward Lester

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The son of William Thomas and Jane Lester, Arthur was born in Wolverhampton in 1881, the youngest of six children, and was baptised in St George’s Church, Wolverhampton, on 17 July 1882. By 1901, Arthur and his father were boarding in the home of Henry Cutler at 156 Park Street, Wolverhampton. Arthur was working as a brass dresser.

A year later, Arthur enlisted with the 3rd Worcesters (service number 9018). His enlistment papers give his trade as brass finisher. He had numerous distinctive marks, including a circular scar on the back of the left shoulder and several tattoo dots on the back of his left forearm. He went on to serve nine years of active service, including 7 years in India, where he managed the mineral water department of his battalion. He later spent three years in reserve, working for Sunbeam for a year and living at 11 Park Street in Blakenhall. When war broke out, he rejoined his regiment without waiting to be called up. On 28 October 1914, he was reported as missing at La Querque. By 26 February 1916, the Midland Counties Express was stating that he was presumed to be dead. He is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial in France, as well as on the memorial in St Luke’s Church in Blakenhall.

Crutchley Brothers

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The sons of Edward Harry and Ethel Crutchley of Low Hill in Wolverhampton, Samuel was born in 1915, and Charles Henry was born in 1922. Neither of the brothers have been tracked down on the available censuses, although their mother, Ethel, appears at 59 Carlyle Road in Wolverhampton on the 1939 Register, with at least one person’s record closed, which could be one of these men.

In 1939, Samuel married Freda May Drewitt in Trowbridge. The couple had two children – Valerie M. (1939) and Graham A. (1941), both born in Warminster, Wiltshire. Samuel enlisted with the 33 Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery (service number 553306). He died on 31 October 1942 in the UK (his death is registered in the Surrey Mid Eastern district). He is buried in Edington (SS. Mary and Katherine and All Saints) Churchyard in Wiltshire.

Charles enlisted as a Private with the Pioneer Corps (service number 5734228), but he, too, sadly died, on 8 July 1943. He is buried in Bushbury (St Mary) Churchyard.

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The research for this blog post was carried out by remote digital volunteer, Jacky de Escofet.

Arthur Thomas Bailey

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The son of Thomas and Charlotte H. Bailey, Arthur was born in Exeter on 28 November 1889. In 1891, Arthur was living with his mother in the home of Christopher W. and Mary Ann Bartlett in Exeter. In 1894, Arthur started attending Holloway Street Infants’ School in Exeter. In 1914, Arthur married Elsie Mary Fullwood in Wolverhampton.

Arthur became a Private in the 2nd Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 23828). Unfortunately, he was captured at Oppy on 28 April 1917 and became a Prisoner of War. On his capture, he was injured in his right thigh. Unfortunately he died in captivity on 5 June 1917. His next of kin was listed as Mary Bailey of 11 Edward Street, Wolverhampton. He is buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery in Germany. His name was listed in the Express & Star on 29 January 1918 under the heading “Previously reported missing, now reported died as prisoners of war in German hands”.

Harry Jones

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The son of Thomas and Ellen Jones, Harry was born in Wolverhampton in 1897 and baptised at St Luke’s Church on 16 September 1897. In 1901 they were living at 50 Cobden Lane in Wolverhampton, along with Harry’s sister, Annie. By 1911 they were at 44 Bridge Street in Heath Town, Wolverhampton, with an additional child, James.

Harry enlisted as a Private in the 10th Battalion of the Worcester Regiment (service number 39992). On 31 October 1916, Harry was killed in action. Harry is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial in France, as well as on the Heath Park memorial.

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The research for this blog post was carried out by remote digital volunteer Jacky de Escofet.

Edwin Bertram Idiens

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The son of Walter Harry and Elizabeth Jane Idiens, Edwin was born on 7 December 1915 in Wolverhampton.

He served as an Able Seaman with the Royal Navy (service number D/JX 135883)on board the HMS Matabele, but unfortunately he died at sea on 17 Jan 1942 when the ship was hit by a torpoedo. Matabele’s magazines blew up and the ship sank within two minutes. Survivors of the initial blast were forced to jump overboard, and many died of hypothermia in the icy water before they could be rescued. Edwin is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial .

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The research for this blog post was completed by remote digital volunteer Doug Lewis.