Charles Evans


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This blog posting has been prepared by one of our volunteers, Ann Eales.


In the Midland Counties Express edition of 25 November 1916 “Lance Corporal Charles Evans of Wolverhampton” is honoured. The text tells that he was enrolled 31 August 1914 in the South Staffordshire Regiment, and after taking part in many engagements, he was seriously wounded on 9 July 1916, and died from wounds on 12 July the same year. His officer described him as a splendid soldier. He was educated at St Luke’s  Schools, Blakenhall, where he had resided all his life, and he left a widow and one child, at 34 Derry Street. His only brother (not named in the article) was at the front, with the Royal Field Artillery. He was age 27, and had been employed at Messrs Holcroft of Ettingshall.

Further details are as follows:

Rank: Lance Corporal

Service No: 11848

Date of Death: 12/07/1916

Age: 27

Regiment/Service: South Staffordshire Regiment 8th Bn.

Grave Reference: II. C. 10.

Cemetery: Daours Communal Cemetery Extension.

Additional Information: Husband of Jane Evans, of 32, (not 34) Derry St., Wolverhampton.

Charles Evans’ Medal Index Card records that he served in France from 4.8.1915. The Register of Soldier’s Effects has an entry for him, and records that payments of £5.1.6 and £8.10.0 were made to “Jane Widow and Sole Legatee.”

Charles appears on the 1891 Census, age 2, living at Pond Lane St George’s Wolverhampton with parents Thomas J age 33 Hurdle Maker, born at Broseley, Salop, Jane age 28, and siblings Eliza E age 6 and Beatrice 5 months. Also present was Charles Shaw age 27, brother in law occupation packer.

At  the time of the 1901 Census Charles Evans  age 12 was living at 7 Duncan Street with his father Thomas John age 43, mother Jane age 38, and his siblings Beatrice age 10, Christopher age 4, and Marion age 3.

On the 1911 Census Charles, age 22, Occupation Caster, is shown living at 7 Hall Street, Blakenhall with his father Thomas John age 53, a Hurdle Maker, his stepmother Mary Elizabeth age 24, and his siblings Beatrice age 20, a Charwoman, Christopher age 14, Iron Worker, and “half daughter” Nellie May Fletcher, age 1.

Charles Evans’ marriage to Jane Blower was registered at Wolverhampton in the 1st quarter of 1913. Evans’ births registered at Wolverhampton between 1913 and 1917, Mother’s maiden name Blower, include Thomas J. , and Edith M. The “one child” mentioned in the Midland Counties Express appears to be Edith, as there was a Thomas Evans, age 0, whose death was registered in 1913.


A Brave Act: Wolverhampton Soldier gives his Blood to save Comrade


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This blog posting has been contributed by one of our volunteers, Ann Eales.


The article in the Express & Star on Monday March 26th 1917 is particularly interesting, as it tells us about an early example of a blood transfusion.

An instance of splendid self-sacrifice by one who had already fought and bled for his country, and was still lying wounded, has been afforded by the act of a young Wolverhampton soldier named Charles Evans, a shoeing smith in the Royal Field Artillery, one of the three sons serving in the colours of Mr and Mrs Evans, of Stafford-road.

He was severely wounded in the leg recently and whilst lying in hospital in France volunteered to give some of his blood in order to save the life of another soldier, who had been badly wounded. Writing to his mother from Northumberland War Hospital, Gosforth where he had since been removed to, shoeing smith Evans says he is going on all right, and adds :- “I did not want to tell you about my arm, as I wanted to give you a surprise. I volunteered in France to be operated on, after my leg was fractured, to try to save a chap’s life, who was shot through the popliteal artery in the knee and the colonel, the doctor, and three more operated and took one pint and a half of blood from me and transferred it into the other chap’s artery and he was alive when we went away two days later. The doctors and nurses gave me their addresses to go to after the war, and they will set me up. They told me to write to my local paper about it, But I don’t like to, but the chaps pals say they will if I don’t, as I was a half hour and twenty minutes on the operating table, and they did not give me anything to stop the pain.

Although he says it has “knocked him about a bit”, this young hero remarks that he thinks he has done something to open people’s eyes as regards nerves – a statement with which all who learn of his action will agree. Before volunteering for service in the Army, Evans was in the employ of the Wolverhampton Gas Company at the works on the Stafford-road. His brother Private John Evans, RAMC, volunteered on the outbreak of the war, and has been in France since, and another brother Corporal WH Evans, is in the ASC.

Charles Evans was a shoeing smith in the Royal Field Artillery, and his parents lived at Stafford Road, so he appears to be the Charles Francis Evans shown on the 1911 Census, age 20, Occupation Blacksmith’s Striker, living at 64 Stafford Road, with his parents John Chas, age 52 Gas Stoker, born at Westbourne Worcestershire, and Sophia age 52 a Certified Midwife born at Brewood Staffordshire. A blacksmith’s striker was apparently a blacksmith’s assistant who carried out heavier duties by swinging a heavy hammer.

The 1901 census has the Evans family living at 64 Stafford Road, John age 42, Sophy age 41 and their children Miriam, Thomas and Charles age 10.

Military records traced for Charles Francis Evans show that he enlisted at Woolwich 28/7/1911, and his Army number in the Royal Regiment of Artillery was 66376. He was a Driver. His address was 64 Stafford Road Wolverhampton, and his next of kin were John (father) Sophie (mother) and brothers William John and Charles. The records show that on 19/12/1911 he was discharged as “Medically Unfit” and “Docs to Chelsea 22/12/11″. No records could be traced  for his subsequent military service during the First World War.

There is a record of a Charles Francis Evans, date of birth 11th March 1891, employed as a Cleaner by the Great Western Railway, Wolverhampton Division, from 3rd October 1906 at a rate of 1/6. A record was also found of a Charles Francis Evans, born March 11th 1891, employed as a Labourer on the London and North Western Railway Line at Bushbury Depot on July 25th 1912, rate 20/-, and resigning spontaneously August 20th 1912.

No record of his marriage was traced, although Charles did survive the war. The death of Charles Evans, at age 75, birth date 11th March 1891, was recorded at Wolverhampton in December 1975.

Frederick Lockley


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lockleyFrederick Lockley was born in Wolverhampton in 1898, the son of Frederick and Sarah E. Lockley. In 1901, they were living at 56 Sweetman Street, together with Frederick’s sister Elizabeth and a boarder, Henry A. Rogers. He attended St Jude’s Church of England School and later worked for Messrs. Gibbons of Church Lane.

Frederick enlisted with the 1st/6th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 3362) on 17 October 1914. He was sent overseas in March, but was killed on 13 October 1915 at the age of 17. The only photograph his parents had of him was when he was a boy. An article appeared about him in the Midland Counties Express on 6 January 1917. He is commemorated at the Loos Memorial, as well as on that of St Jude’s Church, Tettenhall.

George Reynolds (1889)


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reynoldsGeorge Reynolds was born in Wolverhampton on 13 December 1889, the son of John G. and Elizabeth Reynolds. In 1901 they were living at 6 Fordhouse Road, Bushbury, along with George’s brothers, Tom, John and William, and sister Nellie. George became a police constable, and by 1911, he was living in Police accommodation in Tipton.

On 12 July 1913, he enlisted in the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd Class (number K19786). He served on 4 different boats, including the HMS Hampshire. On 5 June 1916, the Hampshire was destroyed by a German submarine, with the loss of most of her crew. As well as Lord Kitchener, who was on board at the time, amongst those killed was George Reynolds. He appeared in an article in the Express & Star on 14 June 1916, alongside two other Wolverhampton men who lost their lives on the Hampshire, George William Bowen and William C. Squire. George is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, as well as the memorial in St Mary’s Church, Bushbury, and he may possibly appear on other memorials within the area.

William Cecil Squire


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William Squire was born in 1893 in Wolverhampton, the son of William and Agnes Squire. In 1901, they were living at 60 Graiseley Lane, Wednesfield, together with William’s brothers, Arthur and Leslie. Like his father before him, William worked at Butler’s Springfield Brewery.

In 1913, he joined the Royal Navy (number K/15752) and became a Stoker 1st Class. He was on duty in China when war broke out and he was called back to the war zone. On 5 June 1916 he wrote to a friend in Springfields “stating that he was quite well but very busy”. Unfortunately, he was serving on the HMS Hampshire, and this was the date that the ship was sunk by a German submarine. William was one of many members of the crew who lost their lives on that date. squireHe was mentioned in an article in the Express & Star on 14 June 1916 as one of the Wolverhampton men lost on the Hampshire.  He is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

James Duffy


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James Duffy was born in 1882 in Wolverhampton, the son of Thomas and Catherine Duffy (nee O’Connell). He was the uncle of John Duffy, featured in a previous post. In 1901 he was living at the same address as John, 9 Faulkland Street, together with his sisters Catherine, Ann, Winifred and Mary, and brother David. By 1911, they were at 7 Herbert Street, and James had become a General Labourer.

James enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment, embarking for France on 9 November 1914. By 25 September 1915, he was reported as missing, assumed dead. His death was later confirmed. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial.

Arthur Edwards


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Arthur Edwards was born on 8 May 1896 in Wolverhampton, the son of Charles and Margaret Edwards. In 1901, they were living at 47 Charlotte Street, together with Arthur’s unnamed sister who was a day old, his grandmother Margaret White, his uncle Eli White, and a visitor, Catherine Burwood. By 1911 they had moved to 24 South Street, and Arthur and his parents are joined by his three sisters Leah Margaret, Francis Eliza and Elsey Selma, and a brother Richard William. The household is also joined by five boarders, a servant (Mary Alice Elstab), and Arthur’s grandmother, Margaret White. By this date, Arthur is a riveter in a shipyard.

On 8 May 1914 Arthur enlisted in the Royal Navy (number J19667) and served on numerous ships throughout the war. He was eventually discharged in November 1926. Whether or not he got married is unclear.

George Reynolds


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George Reynolds was born on 1 September 1893 in Wolverhampton. In 1901, he was living with his parents, Henry and Emily, at 21 Albion Street, alongside his sister Mary, brother William and two boarders, Ellen and Rosey Reynolds. By 1911 he was living with his brother Thomas at 4 Bilston Street, together with his sister-in-law Ellen, nephew Henry, sister Rosy and four boarders – Lizzie Cocking, Tom Clavery, Arthur Clarke and Ben Jordan. By this date George has become an Iron Worker (Scaler) at the Sheet Mills.

On 15 November 1911, George enlisted in the Royal Navy (Number K13270), serving as a Stoker 1st Class. According to his military records, he appears to have had a number of tattoos, including an Indian’s Head and the “Lizzie” ship on his right arm, and a sailor and clasped hands on his left arm. He suffered a hernia in December 1913 when he was serving on the “Cornwallis”, and was invalided out of the Navy on 19 January 1914. He later appears to have joined the South Staffordshire Regiment and survived the war, having been awarded the 1914-15 Star.

Wolverhampton Record: Two D. C. M. Winners in One House


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John Kelly

John Kelly

The Express & Star on 21 September 1917 proudly proclaims that 28 Little Park Street in Wolverhampton is now the home of two men who have received the Distinguished Conduct Medal – Sergeant J. Kelly (No 240729) of the South Staffordshire Regiment and his brother-in-law, Sergeant John Wilson (No 73014) of the Sherwood Foresters

John Kelly was born in Wolverhampton in 1889. He married Lizzie Wilson in 1909, and they went on to have two children, Ethel and Edith, by 1914. He worked as a welder at Gibbon’s lockworks. In 1914, he joined the army. The Express & Star gives the following account:

During a daylight raid by five officers and 100 rank and file of the South Staffords on enemy trenches, he was in charge of a party which came upon a large dugout from which the enemy were commencing to emerge. The first German was shot, and the remainder retired into the dugout and fired from the entrances. Bombs were thrown into the dugout, and Kelly, with great personal bravery, descended into the place with a flashlamp and discovered that the enemy were still alive. He returned to the trench and called for volunteers. With Private S. Jones (10082) and Private R. L. Mountford (242031) he again went down the dugout and brought up four Germans, leaving six dead men behind.

John Wilson
John Wilson

John Wilson was born in about 1897 in Wolverhampton, and appears together with his sister Lizzie at 153 Bilston Street in 1901. This house appears to be some sort of boarding establishment as, as well as John and his family, there are an additional 17 individuals listed as boarders in that property. John worked at Pinson and Evans’s in Dudley Road when the war broke out, and he promptly enlisted. He received the Military Medal, and later was awarded the D. C. M. “for having single-handed attacked and killed two of a team of German gunners and captured their weapon.”

John Kelly died on 30 December 1917, and is commemorated at the Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe. Kelly’s receipt of the D.C. M. is also recorded in the Express & Star on 29 January 1918. John Wilson appears to have survived the war, and there are a few possible marriages for him.


Albert Nicholls


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This blog posting has been prepared by one of our volunteers, Ann Eales


The Midland Counties Express of Saturday 18th November 1916 reports the death of Albert Nicholls:

ONE OF THREE SOLDIER BROTHERS Private Albert Nicholls, a brother of Mrs K Evans, 58 Maxwell road, Wolverhampton was killed in an important theatre of war on September 25th 1916, and was 25 years of age. The deceased was educated at Wombourn National School. Another brother is a prisoner of war in Germany, and two others are also in the Army. Private Nicholls and his brothers live at Maxwell road.

Wombourne War Memorial records J Nicholls and two T Nicholls but Albert’s name doesn’t appear. The Commonwealth War Graves entry reads:


Rank: Private

Service No: 9217

Date of Death: 25/09/1915

Regiment: South Staffordshire Regiment 1st Bn.

Panel Reference: Panel 73 to 76.


Soldiers and Officers Died in the Great War 1914 -1919 says Albert Nicholls’ Birth place was Wombourne, Staffs., and Penn, Staffs., was his residence. Cause of death was “Killed in Action”, place of Death: France & Flanders. The UK Army Registers of Soldiers Effects 1901 to 1929″ entry for Albert Nicholls shows that on 4th May 1905 a payment was authorised to be paid to his father William Henry  [£13 3s 6d], on 16th December 1919 to his step mother Ellen [£3 15s 2d], and finally on 1st June 1920 to his brother Isaiah [4s 10d.]  The Medal Index Card has the date of his disembarkation as 17/12/1914, and “Killed in Action 25/9/16.” His name also appears on the South Staffordshire Regiment’s Medal Roll, but no other military records for him could be found.

Albert Nicholls’ birth at Wolverhampton, was registered in the 3rd quarter of 1890. The death of Albert’s mother Kezia was registered at Wolverhampton in the 3rd quarter of 1893.  The remarriage of William Henry Nicholls to Ellen Emma Woolley was registered at Wolverhampton in the 2nd quarter of 1900.

The 1901 Census shows the family living at Home Lane, Upper Penn. Wm Hy Nicholls age 46 is a House Painter, his wife Ellen E Nicholls age 33 was born at Cookley in Worcestershire, Caroline Nicholls is now age 12, Albert S Nicholls is age 10 and Harry Wooley age 10 is recorded as Wm’s step son, born at Cookley.

The 1911 Census shows Albert S Nicholls age 20 living with John Evans age 31 at 58 Maxwell Rd, Wolverhampton, Occupation Iron Works Labourer in a Foundry. John is married to Kezia, Albert’s sister, who is now age 29. The Evans’ have a daughter, Kezia Elizabeth, age 7, born at Church Village Bilston. Albert’s brother William Henry age 34 working as a Horse Driver in a Foundry is also living at Maxwell Road. In 1911 William Henry Nicholls senior was living with wife Ellen at The Fold, Penn, his step son Harry, and their 4 boys age 2 to 10, the eldest 3 of whom were attending school.







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