Remembrance: Pte 306722 David Caulton

Here is another in my occasional series about the men commemorated on the war memorial in the churchyard to St James, Ogley Hay, in the West Midlands of England. There is no particular order to these posts. Previously, I have tried to focus on the actions that the men were involved in, but for many there is little information available online (without subscriptions beyond the ones I already have), and this is mostly the case this time. This means that my research is incomplete, but I am encouraged by a recent positive reply to my exploration of Pte Hubert Sanders. But what of the man prior to the war?

My first port of call was Ancestry, where I discovered that Pte David Caulton (in military records “Coulton”) died on 3 May 1917, and that he was born on 13 Nov 1893, mother Annie Elizabeth Crannage. From there I was able to locate him in the 1901 Census:

Home life

David and his family lived at Chester Road, Brownhills, near to New Road. The household consisted of:
John Caulton, head, 32, coal miner hewer,
Annie, wife, 30,
David, son, 7,
Ethel M, 3, all born Brownhills.

So, just like about two thirds of men in the town, and most of his neighbours, John cut coal from the bowels of the Earth.

By the time of the 1911 Census, David was old enough to have a job of his own, but not down the pit, where his father still worked. He was a grocer’s assistant. Annie Elizabeth had been married 19 years. Ethel May was at school. The address was High Street, which might have been the same as in 1901. There were also two boarders, boiler riveters from Dudley and Brierley Hill, so they were probably doing quite well.


I have not found out how Pte Caulton found himself in the 2/7th Battalion Duke of Welington’s (West Riding) Regiment, but, according to the Wartime Memories Project, that is the battalion he was serving in when he died. I also found out that Pte John Frederick Lucas, same regiment, died the same day.

Via Ancestry, I found that he died at Arras. Like many others his body was not recovered, but he, too, is commemorated at Arras Communal Cemetery, Arras, Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.

According to Britannica online:

Battle of Arras, (9 April–17 May 1917), British offensive on the German defenses around the French city of Arras during World War I. It was noteworthy for the swift and spectacular gains made by the British in the opening phase—above all, the capture of Vimy Ridge, considered virtually impregnable, by the Canadian Corps—but it ended as a costly stalemate resulting in some 300,000 casualties.

Sadly, at least in the online newspaper archive on Findmypast, which seems complete for this period, there was no news item to commemorate the sacrifice that Private Caulton made, other than one about unveiling the cenotaph, which simply lists the names, and where I began this series.

Spring Offensive

Although Wilfred Owen’s poem is about an action in 1918 (if my recollection of Mr Thomas’s tuition is correct), it could so easily have been an account of the spring offensive that was the Battle of Arras. For full text see Poetry Foundation.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow …

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