Arthur Bracewell

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Arthur was born in Bradford, Yorkshire on 16 December 1877. In 1906, he married Alice Swain in Conway, and by 1911, the couple were living at 141 Dunsall Road, Wolverhampton. Arthur was a packer for a draper.

Arthur served as a special constable during the First World War, perhaps because of his age and marital status. His name is listed in the volume we hold of Wolverhampton Special Constables.

Alice died in Bradford in 1926, and Arthur remarried Eliza Smith in Bradford in 1928. He died 6 March 1944, by which date his address was given as 67 Naples Street, Bradford. The value of his effects was £214 5s.

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Christopher Thomas Drew

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Christopher was born in Wolverhampton in 1888, the son of Ellen Emma and George Drew. He had become a commercial clerk for the wholesale Cooperative Society by 1911, and was lodging in the home of Mary Elizabeth White at 22 Cornwall Road, Bishopston, Bristol.

On 18 December 1915, Christopher enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment (service number 242152). His address by this date was given as 89 Dixon Street, Swindon, Wiltshire. He was a stretcher bearer, but he was killed in action on 3 October 1917. He is buried at the Poelcapelle British Cemetery in Belgium.

Joseph Wyndham Onions

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Joseph was born in Bridgend, Glamorganshire, on 18 April 1891, the son of John Thomas and Mary Hannah Onions. By 1911, the family had moved to 6 Clark Road, Wolverhampton, and Joseph and his parents were joined by siblings Edith Nellie, Arthur John, Percy Foster and Ethel Maud. Joseph was a clerk.

On 9 August 1915, Joseph enlisted with the 3rd/6th Rifle Battalion of the Kings’s Liverpool Regiment (number 3773). His home address was now 162 Lea Road. From 10 February 1916, her served in France, before he was killed in action on 7 August 1916. The personal effects sent home to his mother consisters of 1 disc, letters, 1 purse, 1 stylo pen, 5 keys on key ring, 1 leather watch guard, 1 wrist watch in strap, 1 pocket containing photos, 1 knife, 2 bullets, 1 coin, and 1 linen bag. His service records also include a letter from Sergeant John Wise of the Wolverhampton Police dated 17 February 1921. This states that he had “made enquiries” at 162 Lea Road, “and ascertained that they reason why they did not reply was, that it would only bring more trouble to the home if the Memorial Plaque and Scroll was sent.” Joseph is buried at the Peronne Road Cemetery, Maricourt, France.

Updates

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  • Frederick Allcott is listed in the Roll of Honour of London and North Western Railwaymen, employed as a Boatman at “Wolverhampton (S.U.)
  • Frank Andrews’ date of birth was 28 November 1894. From 28 August 1913, he was employed by the London and North Western Railway as a cleaner in the Locomotive Department at Bushbury station. There is a note on his railway employment records stating that he was on active service from 1 September 1914 until 31 March 1919. He carried on working at Bushbury in various capacities until at least 1926.
  • John Cook must have voluntarily joined Section D of the Reserve as his normal reserve commitment would have ended in 1912.
  • It is believed that Douglas McDonald married Ellen Dorothy Bignell in 1915 on the Isle of Wight and had a son Leonard.
  • Francis Thorns, the music master of Tettenhall College, is commemorated on the First World War memorial in the entrance hall of the Royal Academy of Music in London. Thorns was a competent violinist and composer, and his music medals presented by the Royal Academy of Music have survived in a private collection. He served in the 5th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment. Thorns is buried in the Noeux-les-Mines communal Cemetery in the Pas de Calais.
  • William Wheeler is remembered on the Smethwick Roll of Honour.

Joseph and Thomas Colley

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The brother of James, Joseph was born in 1887, and Thomas was born on 7 May 1882, both in Wolverhampton. In 1901, the family were living at a furnace yard on Wolverhampton Road, Willenhall. The household consisted of parents Henry and Ann Maria, and sons Henry, Thomas, Joseph and James. By 1911, only Joseph (now a general laboruer at an iron works) and James were still living with their parents, at Willenhall Road, Portobello.

Thomas married Sarah Ann Hopley on 25 December 1902 at St Stephen’s Church, Willenhall. By 1911, they had four sons of their own – Henry (1903), Thomas (1904), James (1906) and Albert (1909) – and were living at 6 Stowheath Lane, Moseley Village, Portobello. Thomas was a mould steeler at an iron foundry. They had two further children – Ellen (1912) and Beatrice (1915). On 28 June 1915, Thomas enlisted in the 55th Remount Squadron (service number 111581), but was discharged on 2 July 1915 as “not being likely to become an efficient soldier”.

Joseph enlisted with the 1st/6th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 5227, and later 241719). Like James, he unfortunately did not survive the war, and was killed in action in France on 28 April 1918. He is buried at the Beuvry Communal Cemetery Extension in France.

Leon Richard Wilkes

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Leon was born in Wolverhampton on 29 November 1894, the son of Richard Edwin and Annie E. Wilkes. In 1901 he was living at 43 Ranelagh Road, Wolverhampton, with his parents and siblings Harold E., Harry A. and Gladys. They were at 46 Allen Road by 1911, when Leon was a student.

In 1918, Leon enlisted, serving with the Royal Air Force (service number 260697). He survived the war, but does not appear to have ever married. By 1939, he was living at 60 Oxley Moor Road, Wolverhampton, with a lady called Clara J. Mitchell. His trade by then was given as electric switch fitter. Leon died on 13 March 1978, when his address was still 60 Oxley Moor Road. The value of his effects was £16,356.

George Percy Dawson

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The son of William and Matilda Dawson, George was born in Wolverhampton in 1896. In 1901, he was living with his parents at 52 Jameson Street, Wolverhampton, along with his sisters Ada M. and Minnie. They were at the same address in 1911, but had gained an additional two children, Denis and Daisy. By 1911, George was an apprentice in the fitting shop of the Electric Construction Company.

George enlisted as Private in the Mechanical Transport section of the Army Service Corps (service number DM2/190447). He was attached to the 409th Siege Battery Ammunition Column. He was wounded, and died on 26 January 1918 at the 44th Casualty Clearing Station. He is buried at the Nine Elms British Cemetery in Belgium.

Joseph Portman

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Joseph was born in Wolverhampton in 1896, the son of Sarah A. Portman. In 1901 they were living at 1 Hatton Street, Bilston, along with Joseph’s siblings John T., Annie and Ada.

Joseph enlisted with the 1st/5th Battalion of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (number 2417). He first served in France from 13 April 1915. He died of wounds on 1 July 1916 in France. He is commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial.

Albert George Bennett

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Albert was born in Wolverhampton in 1892, the son of James and Martha Ann Bennett. In 1901, they were living at 86 St Matthew’s Street, Wolverhampton, and Albert and his parents were joined by his brothers James, Joseph and Frederick. By 1911, the family had moved to Newport, Wales, and Albert worked for the steel sheet mills.

Albert enlisted in the “A” Company, 4th Battalion of the South Wales Borderers (number 12456). He first served in the Balkans on 19 July 1915, but was killed in action at Gallipoli on 11 August 1915. He is buried at the Azmak Cemetery in Suvla, Turkey.

George William Beardsmore

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George was born in Wolverhampton in 1893, the son of George and Martha Beardsmore. In 1901, he was living on Wednesfield Road, Willenhall, with his parents and siblings Alice, Kate and Arthur Edward. By 1911, they were at 25 Bennett Street, Portobello, and George was a fitting screwer.

George enlisted as a Private in the Royal Army Medical Corps (service numbers 1932, 421077 and 7336409). He first served in France from 4 March 1915. He was discharged on 26 April 1919.

George married Elizabeth Johnson in 1918, and the couple had five sons – Arthur (1920), Harold (1921), George W. (1924), Dennis (1928) and Albert (1933). He died in Walsall in 1966. His name is listed on the war memorial at Portobello.