Like Joseph Glaze last week, Jack Reading Caswell is listed on the Wolverhampton Roll of Honour. His brother, Thomas Reginald, also fought during the First World War, but survived. Our volunteer, Betty McCann has researched the differing fortunes of these two brothers.
Jack Reading Caswell was born in Wolverhampton in 1891, to parents Thomas Reading and Anne Caswell. His older brother, Thomas Reginald, was born in 1889, and was baptised at St Peter’s Church on 28 April 1889. Their father was a hatter, hosier and shirt maker, with shops in Dudley Street and Queens Square. The image to the right shows the Queens Square branch, just to the right of the Prince Albert statue. Before the war, Jack worked as a Drapers Assistant, with his brother Thomas being a Shirt Cutter.
In the 1901 census, both brothers appear listed at boarding school at the Holy Trinity School in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire. By the 1911 census, they are both back at home at The Woodlands, Oaken, Wolverhampton, along with their father, two sisters and a servant. During the First World War, Thomas served as a Private with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (Regiment Number 015675), while his brother served as a Lance Corporal in the 10th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (Regiment Number 55). Thomas’s military records have not survived, but we do have a photograph of him, to the left. Jack died of wounds sustained in Flanders on 15 May 1918, a mere 6 months before the end of the war in November. He is buried at Esquelbecq Military Cemetery in France, Grave reference I. D. 26. There is a small notice about his death in the Express & Star on 21 May 1918. It simply states
Sergt. Caswell, Royal Warwickshire Regt., son of Mr F. R. Caswell, The Woodlands, Oaken, has died of wounds received in action.