On 21 August 1915 the Midland Counties Express printed this photograph of the four sons of Mr and Mrs James C. Bird of 99 Wolverhampton Road, Heath Town, who were serving in the Army:
- Corporal Howard Bird (left), aged 22, went to France at the beginning of the war, serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps since 1911.
- Bombardier-Fitter George Bird (top), aged 23, went to France at the beginning of the war with the Royal Field Artillery, and had been with the army since 1912.
- Private Robert Bird (bottom), aged 25, had gone to France a few months earlier, enlisted in the 6th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regimenet in September 1914.
- Driver Donald Bird (right), aged 18, had been training with the Royal Field Artillery since April 1915.
These are the sons of James Clarson and Mary Louisa Bird, living at 120 Horseley Fields, Wolverhampton, in 1901, along with sisters Dorothy Anna and Constance M. By 1911, the family had moved to 99 Wolverhampton Road, and had additional children Florence Ida, John Wilfrid, Charles Harry and Margery Edith.
Howard Parkes Bird was born in Stourbridge, Worcestershire, in 1893. By 1911, he was a dispenser for a chemist. In 1916, he married Esther Fenn in Wolverhampton. He first served with the 4th General Hospital of the Royal Army Medical Corps (number 5739) from 25 August 1914, later rising to become Acting Sergeant. He survived the war, and died in Southampton in 1968.
George Clarson Bird was born in Wolverhampton in 1892. He was working as a moulder for an iron founders by 1911. I have not been able to confirm details of his military service, but he was involved in the retreat from Mons. The newspaper article tells the grim story of how George was injured on 2 November 1914. As he was riding along, the head of his horse was blown off. The horse continued running for over twenty yards and when it collapsed George was thrown to the ground, hurting his arm. He went back to England to recover. I have not been able to confirm further details.
Robert James Bird was born in Wolverhampton in 1890. He was working as a butcher in 1911. On 23 September 1914, he enlisted with the Leicestershire Regiment (number 15478). On 14 November 1915, he died of wounds received in action. He is nuried at Humbercamps Communal Cemetery Extension in France, and is remembered on the memorial at Heath Park.
Donald Dolman Bird was born in Stourbridge on 9 March 1897. He was an office boy for a pump engineer in 1911. I have not been able to track down details of his military service, but he survived the war and married Elsie M. Clements in Wolverhampton in 1920. He died in Wolverhampton in 1974.