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backhouseThis collection of photographs appeared in the Midland Counties Express on 25 December 1915. It stated that Mr and Mrs R. Backhouse of Rookery Street, Wednesfield, had four sons and one son-in law in the army:

  • Albert, aged 34, in the Royal Field Artillery, who had fought through the Boer War, was now in France, and was married.
  • Herbert, aged 27, serving with the 8th Hussars, had come over from India with the Indian forces and was now in France.
  • Charles, aged 24, was a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery and had served in China for 3 years. He was also now in France
  • Richard had enlisted in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers five months ago and was in training in England
  • Son-in-law J. Bellingham was in training with the 3/6th South Staffordshire Regiment

They were the sons of Richard and Selina Backhouse. Albert was born in Wolverhampton in 1881. He married Esther White in Wolverhampton on 3 February 1906, and by 1911 he was living at 34 Loversall Street, Denaby, Conisbrough, Yorkshire, with their three children Herbert, Eva and Emily. Albert was a coal miner. On 22 December 1914 he attested in the Royal Field Artillery (number 64109). By this date, the couple had had a further two children – Albert and Walter. From 1915 until 1918, he served in France. Albert survived the war and was discharged on 14 December 1918. He died in Yorkshire in 1965.

Herbert was born in Wolverhampton in 1888. By 1901 he was with his parents at 1534 Wood End, Wednesfield, along with his siblings John S., Elizabeth, Mary, Charles, Violet, Richard and Gertrude. By 1911 he was already serving in India with the 8th Hussars (number 2850). He also survived the war, and married Elizabeth Broomhall in Wolverhampton in 1919. Unfortunately he died in 1926.

Charles was born in Wolverhampton on 25 October 1890. Again, he was serving with the Royal Field Artillery (number 33068) by 1911, in his case in Hong Kong. He enlisted on 15 March 1910, when his trade was given as collier. He, too, survived the war, and died in Wolverhampton in 1976.

Richard was born in Wolverhampton in 1894. Along with Violet and Gertrude, he was still living with his parents in 1911, now at Rookery Street. He married Gladys Jones at Wolverhampton Registry Office on 16 February 1914. On 9 October 1914 he enlisted with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (number 16200). He was also a miner. He was later discharged as “having been found medically unfit for further service” on 17 November 1914. There do not appear to be any further details, and this doesn’t tally with the information in the Midland Counties Express.  He died in Bilston in 1963.

John Bellingham was the husband of Elizabeth H. Backhouse, and their marriage took place at the Heath Town Parish Church on 25 April 1902. He was born in about 1881. By 1911, they were also living in Rookery Street, Wednesfield, with their six children William Albert, John, Arthur, Herbert, Charles and Gladys. John was also a coal miner. They later had another child, Sydney. On 12 January 1915, he enlisted with the Royal Field Artillery (number 75921). He was discharged on 12 June 1915 as “not likely to become an efficient soldier” – a note on his pension record unfortunately state that “This man is a real coward and has spent all his term in hospital. He will never be any use as a Driver or Gunner.” Undeterred, however, he re-enlisted, this time with the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 4391). He later transferred to the 14th (Service) Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment (number 26842). Unfortunately, he was killed in action in Belgium on 26 September 1917. He is remembered at the Tyne Cot Memorial , as well as on the Wednesfield Village Roll of Honour.

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