On 2 October 1915, the Midland Counties Express carried this picture of the four sons and one “intending son-in-law” of Mrs Breakwell of 6 Herbert Street, Wolverhampon:
- Horace had been wounded in the arm by shrapnel
- Roland was in the trenches with the 1st/6th South Staffordshire Regiment
- Robert was training with the 3rd/6th South Staffordshires
- Jack was only 17 and was with the Notts and Derby Bantam Regiment
- S. Spencer was a member of the 3/3rd North Midland R. F. A.
Their parents were Horace and Ann Scott Breakwell, living at 5 Deanery Row, Wolverhampton, in 1901, with their children George Horace, Robert Joseph, May, Roland, John Henry, Alfred and Isaac. By 1911, they were at 6 Herbert Street.
George Horace was born in Wolverhampton in 1888. On 10 August 1905 he enlisted with the Worcestershire Regiment (number 9366). Following his wounds, he was discharged on 29 May 1916 and was awarded a Silver War Badge (number 63935) on 28 October 1916. He married Caroline E. Jordan in Wolverhampton in 1915, and the couple had six children – Thomas H. (1913), Lilian M. (1914), Annie M. (1915), Elizabeth (1917), Edward (1919) and Elsie (1920). George died in Wolverhampton on 10 February 1921.
Roland was born on 28 December 1895. By 1911 he was a wire worker. He served both with the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 2076) and with the Royal Flying Corps (number 406957), although his medal rolls index card has his first name as “Rowland”. He first served in France on 6 March 1915, and survived the war. He married Mary Knight in Wolverhampton in 1940, and the couple had four children – Jean (1944), Ronald (1946), Christine (1951) and Susan A. (1956). He died in Eastbourne, Sussex, in 1972.
Robert Joseph was born in Wolverhampton in 1889. He was an out of work brickwork labourer in 1911. In August 1915 he enlisted with the 3rd/6th South Staffordshire Regiment (number 4484). In 1917, he was transferred to the Durham Light Infantry, and later transferred to the Labour Corps (164165). He served throughout the war until he was demobilised on 6 March 1919. On 21 July 1918, he married Mary Jane Humpherson in Wolverhampton, and the couple had four children – Robert Joseph (1916), Thomas (1918), Roland (1920) and Mary J. (1923). They lived at 4 House, 2 Court, Jenner Street, Wolverhampton. Robert died in Wolverhampton in 1943.
Jack or John Henry was born in Wolverhampton on 8 December 1897. On 19 August 1915 he enlisted with the Derbyshire Bants (number 29800), by which date his trade was “furniture fitter”. On 25 February 1916, he was discharged as “not being likely to become an efficient soldier on medical grounds”. He married Lilly Gully in Wolverhampton in 1919, and had a daughter, Joyce, in 1921. John died in Wolverhampton in 1976.
Shelah Spencer was born in Yorkshire in 1891, and was living with his parents Thomas and Sarah Ann Spencer at 8 Great Western Passage, Cannock Road, Wolverhampton, by 1911. He worked as a labourer at a printers works, and later worked for the Weldless Steel Tube Company. On 17 August 1915, he enlisted with the 3rd North Midland Brigade (number 2518, later 810992). His address at the time was 32 Nursery Street, Wolverhampton. He was initially attached to civil employment at the Weldless Steel Tube company, and was not posted until 1917. He was disembodied in December 1918. He married May Breakwell in Wolverhampton in 1918. He died in Bilston on 9 October 1961, by which date his address was 14 Lawrence Avenue, Wednesfield. The value of his effects was £46 12s.