Thomas Cyril Morrell

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Thomas was born in Wolverhampton in 1894, the son of Theophilus and Sarah Ellen Morrell. They were living at “Avondale”, 110 Wellington Road, Bilston.

Thomas enlisted with the 10th Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment (number 25394) but died of wounds received on 12 March 1917. He is buried at Sucrerie Military Cemetery in Colincamps. More locally, he is commemorated on the Bilston Town Hall Ward Roll of honour, as well as on the memorial at Salem Baptist Church.  

Updates

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  • Edgar Arthur Belcher served with the RAMC service number 147810 reaching the rank of Corporal. Previous to this he served with the South Staffordshire Regiment service number- 36396 and with Royal Lancashire Regiment service number 41316.
  • There is a Margaret E. Cooper who married a Samuel E. Broomhall in King’s Norton in 1917, and so this is presumably Margaret Broomhall. According to this site, Margaret was born in Lower Mitton, Stourport, in 1886, and the couple had three children. There is certainly a Margaret Ethel Cooper whose birth is registered in Kidderminster in 1886.
  • The names of David Bowdler, Leonard Lawson and Francis Sayfritz were published in the Express & Star again on 30 October 1914, as one of the local men who had enlisted with one of the non-manual companies.
  • Sir Alfred Hickman was wounded and taken prisoner following the charge mounted by the 4th Dragoon Guards and 9th Lancers at Audregnies on 24 August 1914. There are a lot of reports in the local press from around the Midlands about him, and also the death of his mother, which occurred shortly afterwards. He was stationed at Preston Cavalry Barracks in Brighton at the time of the 1911 Census.
  • William Leighton’s birth was registered in the 4th quarter of 1878 in Kings Norton registration district (the district that included Smethwick).
  • Frank Membery left the Army due to sickness, his Silver War Badge (number 86077) Record records his surname as MEMBURY, his Medal Roll Record records his surname as MEMBERY. He served with the 1/6th Bn South Staffordshire, he enlisted 4/9/14.
  • Sydney Morris’s unusual middle name of Colenso was in fact his mother’s maiden name. There is a marriage of a George Morris to a Florence Ellen Colenso in Wolverhampton in the December quarter of 1892. Her birth was registered (again in Wolverhampton) in December 1863, and her parents (according to the 1881 census) were born in Cornwall and Worcestershire.
  • There is further information about John Newton Williams available here.
  • The following men were listed in the Midland Counties Express on 5 Septemebr 1914 as men who were “Willing to Join” the Special Service Companies:
    • Godfrey Ricketts’ address on enlistment was given as 154 Wednesfield Road, Wolverhampton.
    • The address for James Thurstan was Holmdale, Penn Fields
    • An “A. Whitehead” was listed, whose address was given as 129 Waterloo Road, Wolverhampton.

Bertie Samuel Kendrick

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Bertie was born in Wolverhampton in 1895, the son of John and Elizabeth Kendrick. In 1901 he was living with his parents at 36 Merridale Street, Wolverhampton, along with brothers Fred and John. By 1911 they are at 29 Merridale Street (although Bertie is now listed as “Albert”), together with brothers Frederick and William and sister Elizabeth. By now the 15-year-old Bertie had become a locksmith.

He enlisted with the 1st/6th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 3077 and 240630), first serving in France from 28 June 1915. but was killed in action on 1 July 1916. He is commemorated at the Gommecourt Wood New Cemetery Foncquevillers (although his service number is incorrectly listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site as 240638).

William Yeomans

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William Yeomans was born in Wolverhampton in 1891, the son of George and Maria Yeomans. In 1901 the family were at 5 Hall Street, Bilston, along with William’s siblings Thomas, George and Sarah A. In 1911, he was living with his brother George and his family at 4 Rowley Square, Gozzard Street, Bilston. William was an iron plate worker.

On 23 August 1915 he enlisted with the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (number 23190). His name was listed in the Express & Star on 21 May 1917 as one of the local men who had been wounded. He was discharged on 2 March 1918, and awarded the Silver War Badge (number 321821) as a result of wounds on 22 February 1918. I have not been able to trade further details of his life.

Frederick William Chambers

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Frederick was born in Wolverhampton on 22 December 1894, the son of James and Emmeline Chambers. In 1901 he was with his parents at 31 Heath Street, Heath Town, Wolverhampton, along with sisters Bertha and Gertrude, and brother Herbert. By 1911 he was with his widowed mother at 43 Vernon Street, Springfields, Wolverhampton, together with additional siblings Elsie, Horace and Charles. Frederick was an apprentice pattern maker.

Frederick joined the Royal Navy (number J16083) on 22 December 1912. He served first on the HMS Ganges II and a number of other ships, before serving on the HMS Indefatigable as an Able Seaman from 17 June 1913 onwards. This ship was sunk on 31 May 1916 during the Battle of Jutland, and Frederick was killed in action. He is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, as well as on the Springfields World War One Roll of Honour.

An Appeal by the Mayor of Wolverhampton

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On 2 December 1914, the Express & Star published a letter from the Mayor of Wolverhampton, Albert Baldwin Bantock, urging all men between the ages of 19 and 38 to enlist for military service. This was in advance of a letter that was due to be issued by the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee to each householder. This letter was signed by the leaders of all three political parties,  the Right Honourable Herbert Henry Asquith, the Right Honourable Andrew Bonar Law, and Mr Arthur Henderson.

Bantock stated:

Wolverhampton has done well, but I am satisfied it can do better, and I trust that all who have it within their power to uphold the good name of our old town will not hesitate to offer his services.

The Mayor had arranged ten meetings across the borough for the following Monday, and encouraged “all eligible men who have not decided to enlist before that day” to attend one of the meetings and “learn how urgently their country requires their services.”

Frederick Charles Davies

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Frederick was born in Wolverhampton in 1899, the son of Charles James and Emily Jane Davies. He was baptised at St Mark’s Church, Wolverhampton, on 4 September 1901, by which date his address was given as 37 Middle Vauxhall. I have been unable to confirm his details in the 1901 or 1911 censuses.

On 31 August 1914 and again on 30 October 1914, Frederick’s name was listed in the Express & Star as one of the many men who had signed the newspaper’s “Comrades in Arms” movement and had joined the ranks of the non-manual companies. Frederick’s address by this date was given as 89 Tettenhall Road, Wolverhampton. However, I have been unable to confirm further details of his military service. He does appear to have survived the war, however, as there is a Frederick Charles Davies with a birth date of 30 September 1899 who died in South Staffordshire at the age of 80 in 1980.

Robert Barrett

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Robert Barrett was born in Staffordshire in about 1886, the son of Robert and Alice Barrett. By 1891 they were living at 128 Bilston Street, Wolverhampton (the son Robert being listed as “Bob”), together with Robert’s siblings Florence, George, Alice and Sarah. By 1911, Robert (still “Bob”) is living with his widowed mother at 57 Melbourne Street, along with two sisters, Rose and Clara, and five boarders. Robert was a bootmaker finisher. Robert married Edith Guest in Tipton, Dudley on 19 October 1913. They had a son, Robert Leslie, on 16 November 1914. They later moved to 3 Riches Street, Whitmore Reans, Wolverhampton.

On 23 Jul 1916, Robert enlisted in the 10th Battalion of the North Staffordshire Regiment (number 29119), when his address was given as 55 Furnace Parade, Tipton. He sefved in France from 15 May 1917 onwards, and was transferred to the 1st Battalion of the Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment (number 71928), on 5 June 1917. Robert was killed in action on 31 July 1917. He is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

Sydney Colenso Morris

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The son of George and Florence Morris, Sydney was born in Wolverhampton in 1894. He was baptised at St Mark’s Church, Wolverhampton on 25 February 1894. In 1901 he was living with his parents at 80 Oak Street, Wolverhampton, together with siblings Walter E. and Hilda F. They had moved to 112 Stafford Road, Wolverhampton, by 1911, and Sydney had two more sisters, Ivy Louisa and Florence N. Sydney had become a carter at a locomotive works.

Sydney served first with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers (number 20454) and then in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers (number 43141). He first served in the Balkans from 3 October 1915, and was awarded the Military Medal, as noted in the London Gazette on 19 February 1917. He died of wounds on 25 April 1917. His name appeared in the list of local men who had Died of Wounds in the Express & Star on 21 May 1917, although his surname is incorrectly printed as “Morros”. He is buried at the Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension, and commemorated on the memorial in St Mary’s Church, Bushbury

Richard Clifford

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The son of Richard and Martha Clifford, Richard was born in Wolverhampton in 1892. In 1911, he was living at 1 Spring Street, Wolverhampton, with his parents and siblings Samuel, Sarah Ellen, Patty, Elizabeth, Albert and Julia Ann. Richard was an electrical engineering apprentice. He later worked for the Electric Construction Company. He married Sophia Davies in Wolverhampton in 1914, and they had a son, Joseph, born in 1915.

In January 1915, Richard enlisted with the 15th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (number 24430), later being attached to the Manchester Regiment, and became a Lance Corporal. On 21 May 1917, it was stated in the Express & Star that Richard had been reported missing. Unfortunately, he had been killed in action on 30 July 1916. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, as well as on the Springfields Roll of Honour.