David Bayliss

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The son of Alfred and Harriet Bayliss, David was born in baylissWolverhampton in 1890. In 1891, they were living at 16 Noakes Buildings, Wolverhampton, together with David’s brothers Thomas, Charlie, George and John, sisters Elizabeth and Clara, and a boarder, James Brown. They were at the same address in 1901.By 1911, David was a Private in the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (service number 8477), and was still serving at the outbreak of war.

David was killed in action on 26 October 1914. An article appeared in the Midland Counties Express on 20 February 1915, which now gave his home address as 23 Vale Place, Merridale Street, Wolverhampton. According to the article, David was a keen boxer and had been heavyweight champion of the 1st South Staffords. David is commemorated at Perth Cemetery (China Wall) in Belgium, and he may be the “D. Bayliss” listed on the St Paul’s Church war memorial.

Harry Ward

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wardHarry was born in Wolverhampton in 1875, the son of Harry and Margaret Ward. He married Mary Jane Beards in 1897, and by 1911 they were living at 110 Beacon Street, Springfields, Wolverhampton, together with their son, Richard Thomas, and niece, Fanny Cross. Harry became a brass draper or finisher and at one point worked for Tonks and Sons, Church Street, Wolverhampton.

Harry enlisted with the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 10444), but was killed in action after only being at the front for seven mothers on 16 May 1915. His picture appeared in the Express & Star on 14 June 1915. He is commemorated at the  Le Touret Memorial.

George Thickbroom

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George was born in Wolverhampton on 25 August 1895, the son of James and Elizabeth Thickbroom. They were at 46 Ward Street, Wolverhampton in 1901, with George’s brothers William, John and Edward.  In 1911 he was living with his parents at 8 Ward Street, Wolverhampton and was a Glass Beveler at a picture frame works. He married Nellie Grafton in 1912, but they do not appear to have had any children.

He enlisted with the South Staffordshire Regiment on 6 August 1915 at Wolverhampton (first service number 4500, later 214267). On 1 July 1916, received a gun shot wound in his right thigh and a compound fracture in his femur. He was taken as a prisoner of war the following day. After his repatriation he was interviewed on 12th January 1918, a record of this is held in the National Archives, and there is a transcript available of this interview.

He was discharged on 31 January 1918 at Lichfield, when his address was given as 75 Duke Street, Wolverhampton, and his occupation was a labourer. He was discharged as he was no longer physically fit for War service. By this date, the movement in his knee was very limited and he had to walk with crutches. He was issued with the Silver War Badge (number 309119) on 3 February 1918. George died in Wolverhampton in 1944, at the age of 48.

Sidney Peake

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The son of Moses Henry and Sarah Ann Peake, Sidney was born in Heath Town, Wolverhampton, in about 1895. In 1911, he was living with his parents at Deans Road, Heath Town, alongside his sisters Gladys, Dorothy, Rose, Florence and Lilly, and brothers George and Leonard.

Sidney became a Lance Corporal (Acting Corporal) in the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment, (number 40652). His name was listed in the Express & Star on 4 May 1917 among the wounded, but he recovered. Sidney was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal following his service in Italy, as cited in the London Gazette on 11 March 1920:

He has invariably shown himself to be a most gallant and energetic soldier and a good leader of men. He did excellent work in August 1918, during a raid on Canove. When his Lewis Gun jammed he led his section forward armed with his revolved, entered a dugout and captured five prisoners. He again distinguished himself during the attack on St Michele di Piave on 27th October 1918.

He married Gladys L. Ashfield in Wolverhampton in 1939, but they do not appear to have had any children. He died in 1956 at the age of 60.

James Howard Marr

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James was born in Blaby, in Leicestershire, in 1886, the son of James Dunlop and Martha Marr. By 1891 they were living in Wolverhampton, at 25 Montrose Street, together with James’s sisters Jessie, Isabel, Helen and Marian and brothers William and Archibald. They were at the same address in 1901.

By 1911, James was serving with the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (service number 8444). Once the War broke out, he disembarked on 4 October 1914, but died of wounds received on 17 January 1915. He is buried at Merville Communal Cemetery, and commemorated on the roll of honour in the Lady Chapel at St Peter’s Church, alongside his brother Archibald, who also fell during the War.

Arthur Henry Chowen

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On 2 June 1915, Mr Chowen, a confectioner, of Queen’s arcade and the corner of Darlington Street and North Street, Wolverhampton, appeared before Mr Registrar G. B. Cope at the Wolverhampton Bankruptcy Court.

Having started off as a confectioner’s assistant in Luton, and having worked in Plymouth, Oxford, Great Bridge, America, Bournemouth and Willenhall, he had started his business in High Street, Dudley after his marriage in Wolverhampton in 1902. In 1911 he sold the business at Dudley for £490, having opened premises in the Queen’s arcade, Wolverhampton, in May 1910. He expanded to the shop on the corner of Darlington Street and North Street in December 1913, including a café which took about £40 a week during the first half of 1914. During the same period, the corner shop took about £50 a week. However, there had been a slump with the beginning of the war. The Express & Star article on 2 June 1915 stated that he “attributed his insolvency to loss of turnover and considerable increase in the cost of ingredients and material. The statement of his affairs showed liabilities of £831 12 s., and a deficiency of £502 8s. 1d. The examination was adjourned, and I have been unable to find out the outcome of the case.

Arthur was born in Liskeard in 1876. He married Minnie Louisa Charles in 1902, and they had six children – Arthur Washington, Lincoln, Raleigh Gordon, Leonard, Alexandra and Grace – between 1903 and 1913. Arthur died in Smethwick in 1935 at the age of 64.

William Henry Green

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William was born in Wolverhampton in 1888, the son of William Frederick and Mary Green. In 1901 they were living at 111 Steelhouse Lane, Wolverhampton, together with William’s sisters Mary, Lizzie and Lily and brothers Tom and Daniel.

On 25 June 1915, William joined the Leicestershire Regiment (number 18955), when his address was given as 45 Marsh End, Wednesfield, Wolverhampton. His occupation was given as “Vice hand”. He was promoted as unpaid Lance Corporal in February 1917, and served in France and India. On 29 March 1918 he was transferred as a Private to the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 47379). He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, along with the British War and Victory Medals. He was discharged from  service on 6 June 1919, having been 50% disabled due to sickness and was therefore “no longer physically fit for war service”. He was awarded the Silver War Badge (number B310884). I have been unable to confirm further details about the life of this man.

Joseph Embery

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The son of John and Ann Embery, Joseph was born in Wolverhampton on 14 August 1889. By 1901, he was living with his widowed mother at 50 Hall Street, Wolverhampton. He became a brass worker. He married Winifred J. Chapman in 1915, and they had five children – Josephine, Ronald C., Derrick, Winifred C. and Roger – between 1916 and 1926.

On 27 March 1907, he joined the Royal Navy (service number SS104650), serving on a number of ships including the HMS Nelson, Victory II and Hermes. He was “Transferred to C. S. [Continuous Service] as Stoker I” on 12 February 1912 (service number K13863). He continued serving on various ships, including the HMS Ariadne, Dolphin and Maidstone up to and throughout the War. In 1915, a note on his service record states “Unofficially reported Prisoner of War in Turkey”, and there are further details about this period of his life on this forum discussion. He was released after the Armistice and left he Navy in 1919. Joseph died in Birmingham at the age of 53 in 1943.

John William Anthony

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John was born in Wolverhampton in 1898. In 1901 he was living with his parents, Frederick C. A. and Emma Jane Anthony, at 42 Brook Street, Stourbridge, alongside his sister Florence E. and Emily and brothers Charles and Alfred. By 1911, he was living with his mother, Emma Jane, at 46 Ward Street, Wolverhampton, along with seven siblings – Charles Aurthur [sic], Alfred, Emily, Phyllis, Earnest, Doris and Edwin. John was still at school but was also a part-time errand boy for what appears to be a “tin + crock shop”.

John enlisted as a Private in the 10th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry (number 24106), first serving in France from 16 December 1915. He was killed in action on 16 September 1916 in France. His entry in the Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects has “Death pres[umed]?” for that date, so it appears that his death was not confirmed straight away. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Robert Thomas Seager

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Robert was born in Wolverhampton in 1890, the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Seager. In 1891 they were living at 24 Bristol Street, Bilston, together with Robert’s sister, Lilian J. By 1901 they were at 7 Bristol Street, and Robert had an additional sister Nellie and brother Wilfred. In 1911 they were at 8 Bristol Street, with a further four brothers – Frank, Leonard, Edward and Ernest. By this date, Robert had become a roofer for an iron roofing contractor.

Robert enlisted with the 1st/6th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 3250). He first served in France from 5 March 1915, but was killed in action there on 13 October 1915. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, as well as on the rolls of honour for Bilston Priestfield and for Bilston Town Hall Ward.