|Royal Sutton Coldfield Great War Project
All the names researched can be found here
A - B
D - F
G - H
As at 11 Sept 2015, not all of these have been finalised, more images need to be added and some adjustments made to the entries, but all the information obtained is here for all to read. Some of the pages are much larger than others so I am having to split them up.
|The following items are reprinted here with the kind permission of Yvonne Moore, the Editor and Researcher of the Project. Many people took part in this Project to commemorate the beginning of The First World War 100 years ago. Their hard work is to be commended, they are all mentioned in the documents.|
THE ROYAL TOWN OF SUTTON COLDFIELD
THE MEN WHO DIED DURING THE GREAT WAR
A COMMEMORATION OF THOSE MEN LISTED PLUS OTHERS WHO ARE NOT LISTED ON
THE ROYAL SUTTON COLDFIELD WAR MEMORIAL
This research has been kindly sponsored by Anthony McCourt, a director at Court Collaboration. Court Collaboration purchased the former Sutton Coldfield Council House in the Summer of 2014. The property is adjacent to ‘The Town Hall’, which is situated in King Edwards Square. ‘Court Collaboration’ is refurbishing the elegant and historic building into 18 luxury apartments. The development will be known as ‘Royal Sutton Place’. Anthony McCourt said “Royal Sutton Place is a site which is full of history and a big part of that is the war memorial that stands out front. With this year being the 100th anniversary of World War 1, this is a project we were very honoured to support – a lot of hard work has gone in to documenting the journey of these brave soldiers and we are happy that their story can be shared in such a momentous year.”
Everyone involved in this project, as well as the wider community in Sutton Coldfield, all wish ‘Court Collaboration’ every success with their new development, ‘Royal Sutton Place’. We also hope that the focus of the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield War Memorial will enable future generations to share many years of remembrance and commemoration. It is important that we strive to keep these memories alive for the generations yet to come. This is why so many people have given their time and resources freely to help with this major piece of local history. The Royal Sutton Coldfield Great War Project would also like to acknowledge that this printed version of our research would not have been possible without the generous sponsorship by Anthony McCourt. We are very grateful to be able to place a printed copy of our research in the Royal Sutton Coldfield Library. Yvonne Moore Editor and researcher.
ROYAL SUTTON COLDFIELD GREAT WAR PROJECT 2014
Many thanks go to all of people who have taken part in the research of this project. Without your hard work, and generosity, this research would not have been possible. This work is by no means complete and where we have ‘missing men’, we will continue to research them as new records become available over the next months and years. The main thing is that we have remembered those who served and lost their lives during this tragic war. We have also remembered those who were left behind. This piece of work also serves as a ‘snapshot’ of what life was like in Sutton Coldfield at the outbreak of war. There was a population of about 22,000 people. The town was much smaller than it is now and everyone living there would have been touched by the war in some way. We know that some men were not included on the war memorial – either by error or by the choice of their families. As a group, we decided to add those men we have found who are not on the memorial – so they will not be forgotten. If further men are found then they too will be added to our research.
Many thanks have to go to Andy Coles for all the hard work he did since 1998 in researching these men and inspiring me to further his work. His 1998 W. H. Smith diary, full of lovely handwritten research, was too big a temptation for me to ignore.I only intended to transcribe his work, but the family historian in me thought it would be a good idea to research the online records for these men. This was in the autumn of 2013. Like those back in 1914, I thought “it would all be over by Christmas”. Wrong. This research has taken up to the end of October 2014 and is still not complete.
A list of our contributors
Tina Ambrose St James Church, Hill
Online research was undertaken using ancestry.co.uk and findmypast as
well as general searches of the Internet. Help has also been freely given by the
librarians at Sutton Coldfield Library during this research. Many thanks
go to our librarians. Thanks must also go to Theresa Tammam, Sutton
Coldfield District Support Officer. Theresa worked hard to make sure this work was
sponsored so we could get the work printed and bound.
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE ROYAL SUTTON COLDFIELD WAR MEMORIAL
After the end of the Great War many towns and villages decided to erect memorials to commemorate the men from their communities who had paid the ultimate sacrifice. Sutton Coldfield was no exception. These memorials were often seen as a focal point for future Remembrance Services. They were also in many ways regarded as a way of passing history on to the generations still to come, in the hope that the Great War was indeed ‘a war to end wars’. Some viewed them as testaments to the horrors of war. The Royal Sutton Coldfield War Memorial has become part of our local history and in this centenary year, a group of people came together to research those men who died during the Great War and whose names are on our War Memorial. The Royal Sutton Coldfield Great War Project hope that their research will act as a further reminder to future generations that the effects of the Great War still resonate today.
A COMMITTEE WAS FORMED
After the end of the war, as the local community was looking to the future, the subject of a memorial for Sutton Coldfield was discussed, principally it seems by those families of the ‘middle class’. From the news cuttings from The Sutton Coldfield News dating from 10 May 1919, it appears that not everyone in the community wanted or supported a memorial.
Headed ‘Noisy Meeting’, describes a public meeting at the Town Hall that had been called in order to inaugurate a voluntary fund of subscriptions to pay for a war memorial to be built.
The meeting was chaired by the Mayor Alderman W J Seal. Others present included Rev. Canon Barnard, Alderman E Ansell, Joseph Ansell, Alderman and Mrs S C Emery, Lieutenant Colonel C Fiddian Green, Dr A H Evans, Mr R Turner and May Turner, Captain R A Reay- Nadin (Town Clerk), Councillor W T Harrison, Mr G Hooper, John Ellison, Mr S E Pritchard, Alderman W H Evans, Mr and Mrs F Rathbone and others.
The Mayor stated that the objective of the meeting was to start the voluntary donations towards the memorial rolling and ‘to try to avoid controversy’. He saw the committee’s first duty was ‘to establish something which would be a lasting recognition of the valuable lives given up for their country and their homes’. At that stage the report mentions heckling from the crowd. The report goes on to state that some designs of memorials were on show, but mainly just for ideas. Mr G Sidwell, ‘on behalf of the working classes’ agreed that a war memorial ‘should be erected but that the community had gone the wrong way about it’. Mr Sidwell stated that ‘a public meeting should have been called before a committee was set up’. He suggested that the committee was calling the tune whilst the public ‘were put in the shade, and it would not fully represent Sutton Coldfield’.
Here it was reported that there was considerable noise from the crowd. It seems that many of the ordinary working people of the town felt that the rich people had gone ahead with their own opinions and ideas without any consultation of the whole community. Mr Green, from the audience, suggested that ‘the committee was thwarting their wealth around before the public, and it should be a public memorial not one designed and paid for by rich men’. Mrs Rathbone suggested that it was necessary that the wishes of the bereaved be expressed. She said that some people favoured a home for disabled men or something to help disabled men and the bereaved families of the fallen. Other ideas included the building of a public baths or alms houses. The committee however seemed to gain ground and moved the discussions back to the ideas and designs of ‘their’ war memorial (the feeling from the report was that the ‘rich men’ would not be moved from their lofty ideas and bow down to the ‘lesser classes’ thoughts and feelings).
For several weeks during May, June, July, August and September there were many letters sent to The Sutton Coldfield News, some quite vitriolic, outlining the divisions between the classes – rich versus the poor, employers versus the working class and there was much criticism of the way the ‘rich men’ had taken it upon themselves to form a committee of their own ranks without first consulting the wider community. One frequent correspondent was Albert Green who stated he was “setting out the case against the rich” and was “Taking up the cause of the working classes and those who had served”. He signed himself as “Cockney” of 25 Lyndon Road on 26 May 1919 and at other times as Ex Private 9173 5th South Staffordshire Regiment.
On 15 November 1919 an ‘Opposition Meeting’ was called, held at the Town Hall. Mr T W Lawrence of Maney presided. The purpose of the meeting was to hear the views of the ‘inhabitants’ as to what shape the war memorial should take, including the views of those against having it placed in the park or at the gate to the park as many ‘rich men’ had suggested. Strong views were put that the actual memorial should take the form of a public hall or public library rather than a monument. The town was in great need of both, according to Mr Green. Needless to say, the ideas of the upper classes prevailed and the committee went ahead with the voluntary donations and the plans to build what became the war memorial that we see today. By 1921 the committee were ready to ask for designs and instigated a war memorial design competition. On 4 May 1921 the Royal British Institute of Architects wrote to the Town Clerk to acknowledge the competition.
On 16 April 1921 Mr E N Cowell of 6 Wellington Terrace Sutton Coldfield wrote to T Ellison Esq, Town Clerk asking for more details about the competition. On 17 August 1921 another hopeful, Clement W Jewitt of 59 Linzee Road, Hornsey London N8 wrote to the town clerk stating he had submitted designs and wondered when he would hear more. On 28 October 1921 Messrs A & F Manuelle Ltd of London, Stone Merchants, wrote to state they were sending samples of granite for the committee to look at. Eventually the position of designing and building the war memorial went to Francis William Doyle-Jones of 2 Wentworth Studios, Manresa Road, Chelsea London. However, any actual correspondence from or to Doyle-Jones was not found in archive materials held by Sutton Coldfield Library.
A contract was drawn up by the Mayor, George Richard Hooper and Doyle-Jones for the building of a 1.8 metre bronze statue on a 4.6 metre pedestal of Dalbeattie granite. Names and initials were to be incised in ‘v’ shapes into the stone, with no more than 300 names, which were to be toned with bronze paint.(It has to be asked – why did they state no more than 300 men?) It was eventually agreed that the siting of the war memorial would be adjacent to the Town Hall in King Edward Square. The Town Hall itself had started life in 1865 as a hotel. The Town Hall had been used as a location where men could go to enlist to serve in the war. By 1919, the Town Hall was being used as a theatre to entertain discharged or demobilised soldiers. Part of the building was more recently used by Birmingham City Council as a council house and a hall for public and private events. It is now a Grade ‘A’ locally listed building.
After much debate Francis Doyle-Jones was selected to build the memorial by the Sutton Coldfield District Council in November 1919 on the condition that he promised not to produce a model anything like it in Warwickshire and only another two of the same design anywhere else in the country. The project was funded solely by public voluntary subscriptions. Some of the committee meeting minutes and letters between interested parties survive and can be viewed at Sutton Coldfield Reference Library. Doyle-Jones had completed his clay model by March 1922 and the bronze figure by July 1922. The unveiling ceremony was planned for 31 August 1922 but this was delayed due to problems with the stone mason. Eventually the unveiling ceremony took place on 1 November 1922. The total cost of the project was £1650.
THE INSCRIPTION ON THE MEMORIAL READS:
“Erected to the glorious memory of the men of Sutton Coldfield who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1919 and they died that we may live.”
THE ELLAND MEMORIAL
There was only one other memorial made to the same design by Doyle-Jones. This was the ‘Elland Memorial’ at Elland in West Yorkshire. It is situated at the entrance to Hullenedge Park, Elland. Due to the delays in completing the memorial at Sutton Coldfield caused by the stone mason, the Elland Memorial was the first to be unveiled. This took place on Saturday 16 September 1922.
THE ORDER OF SERVICE FOR THE UNVEILING CEREMONY
2.50 pm: Guard of Honour 8th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Representatives of Cadets, Ex-Servicemen, British Legion, Volunteers etc.
Hymn: O God our help in ages past
Reading: Canon Barnard
Lesson St Matthew V1: Rev T W Merlin (Congregational)
Prayer: Rev Frank Cox (Wesleyan)
Short address by F M Robertson
The Mayor accepts the guardianship of the Memorial on behalf of the town
Dedication of the Memorial by the Right Reverend, the Lord Bishop of Birmingham
Short address by the Bishop of Birmingham
The Last Post
A wreath is laid at the Memorial on behalf of the town
Inspection of the Guard of Honour, the British Legion, Ex-Servicemen, Cadets etc.
Light refreshments in the Town Hall
(Source: transcription form archive materials held at Royal Sutton Coldfield Library)
The War Memorial was
desecrated by vandals in June 1965 and was given a facelift in 1979 when
the metal plaques were added.
THE TABLET ERECTED IN SUTTON PARK
“This tablet is erected to commemorate the occupation of this park from 1914 to 1920 by His Majesty’s troops. The park was placed at the disposal of H.M. Government entirely free. Over 50,000 of H.M. troops occupied the various camps constructed. The Birmingham City Battalions of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment received their training here and were followed by other units. For a considerable period the camps were used for convalescent officers and men – and New Zealand troops also were in occupation prior to their return home. The Council of the Royal Town received the thanks of the War Office for their patriotic action.”
|FOR THE FALLEN
By Robert Lawrence Binyon (1914)
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
This poem reflects the history of war and the importance of remembrance. It is fitting that it is included here.
Robert Lawrence Binyon (1869 – 1943)
He was born into a Quaker family at Lancaster. He went to Trinity College, Oxford to read Classics. After university, he went to work at the British Museum. He was moved by the numbers of men who were wounded in 1914 at the outbreak of war. He wrote this poem whilst walking by cliffs in Cornwall in 1914. This was at the time when public feeling was high after the many casualties that occurred during the Battle of Marne. The poem was published in The Times in September 1914. Binyon volunteered as a hospital orderly looking after wounded French soldiers at Haute-Marne and later at Verdun (1916).
|THE YOUNG SOLDIERS DO NOT SPEAK
By Archibald MacLeish
The young dead soldiers do not speak.
Nevertheless, they are heard in the still houses
who has not heard them?
They have a silence that speaks for them at night
and when the clock counts.
They say: we were young. We have died.
They say: We have done what we could
but until it is finished it is not done.
They say: We have given our lives but until it is finished
no one can know what our lives gave.
They say: Our deaths are not ours: they are yours,
they will mean what you make them.
They say: Whether our lives and our deaths were for
peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say,
it is you who must say this.
We leave you our deaths. Give them meaning.
We were young, they say. We have died; remember us.
This poem was suggested by David Phillips as a fitting tribute to all war heroes. (David Phillips Bishop Vesey Grammar School, Royal Sutton Coldfield Great War Project)
Archibald MacLeish was born in Illinois, USA in 1892 to a Scottish father and an academic mother. He joined the Great War in 1917 when he served in France as an ambulance driver with the Yale Mobile Hospital Unit. He soon transferred to the “B” Battery of the 146th Field Artillery where he reached the position of First Lieutenant. He was a well- known American poet, writer, and Pulitzer Prize winner and also became the Librarian of Congress. He died in 1982.
Site of what was to be the Memorial
Unveiling 1 November 1922
Scan from the original by David Wilcox (helps me with research)