Benjamin Bilboe, Bilston, Bilston Urban District Council, Bradley, Catherine Kelsey, Express & Star, National Unemployed Workers Union, newspapers, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Shropshire, St Martin's School, Winson Green Prison
Famously leader of the National Unemployment Workers Movement in the 1930s and later Mayor of Bilston, Benjamin Bilboe was also active during the First World War.
Originally born in Shropshire, Bilboe came from a family that travelled the fairs, and they settled in Bradley, near Bilston. Bilboe was educated at St Martin’s School. When war broke out in 1914, he lied about his age to enable him to enlist with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Regiment number 68759. He was apparently posted to Ireland in 1915 following the Easter Rising, but very little is known about his service during the Great War.
He married Catherine Kelsey in 1919, but struggled to find permanent employment after the war. Together with his brothers, he became active in the local trade unions, including spending time at Winson Green Prison. Further details of his post-war life can be found elsewhere. He died suddenly in September 1951 in Bilston.