Private 39588 Edward Price

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The west face of the war memorial at Brownhills, Staffordshire, commemorating the dead of 1914-1918.

This is another blog about the brave men commemorated on the cenotaph at St James, Brownhills, Staffordshire.  Here is what I have been able to find out about Private Edward Price, killed in action on the Somme battlefield, one hundred years ago today in 1918. Continue reading “Private 39588 Edward Price”

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Private 9704 William Bromley

Further exploration of those commemorated on the war memorial at St James, Brownhills, West Midlands.

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South face of the war memorial at St James, Brownhills, West Midlands.

Private 9704. Killed in action, France & Flanders, 29 Jun 1915. Sth Staffs Regt, 2nd Battalion, D Company.

1911 census: Lichfield Road, Brownhills, William Bromley, boarder with William and Sarah Ann Sands, colliery labourer underground. Not far from Railway Tavern. William was born at Stafford in about 1877.

In earlier censuses there are too many records for men named William Bromley born Stafford about the right time to work out which one is pertinent.

COMRADE REPORTS BROWNHILLS SOLDIER’S DEATH.

From Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Chronicle 17 July 1915

Writing from the Front to Mr. William Colley, of Church Street, Brownhills, expressing deepest sympathy with them in the death of their son William, a local soldier. Private E. Tunshall, 2nd South Staffords, mentions that another Brownhills man in the same company (D) to lose his life was William Bromley, more familiarly known as “Squat,” who joined the regiment about the same time as the first battle of Ypres, and was killed in a recent bombardment. “He was a good soldier,” adds the writer, “and distinguished himself by carrying in wounded under fire at Festubert last May.” Going to the Front with the First Expeditionary Force, Private Tunshall states that he has had several lucky escapes. He was with the Staffords in the retreat from Mons, and took part in the battles of the Marne, Aisne, Ypres, Givency, Neuve-Chappelle, and latterly at Festubert and Richeburg.

Dates:

  • Ypres: 19 Oct – 11 Nov 1914 (According to the letter Pte Bromley joined the Battalion about this time.)
  • Cuinchy: 1 & 6 Feb 1915
  • Festubert: 15 May (The first night offensive of the war.) Position: between Cuinchy and Neuve-Chapelle.

In the letter is “last May”, but it could not have been May 1914, so, presumably, Pte Bromley’s rescue of wounded men must have been May 1915, perhaps at Festubert.

Private 6054 E Tunstall

Tunshall looked like a typo from the start.  I am unable to find an E Tunshall, but there was a Private E Tunstall, born Brownhills, serving with the Sth Staffords, listed as wounded on 4 Sep 1916, and entitled to wear a Wound Stripe.

According to the Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Chronicle 1 July 1916, MEN WHO HAVE FOUGHT FOR THE MOTHERLAND, Private E Tunstall (Royal Engineers) of Watling Street, Brownhills, sustained a shattered knee and had a leg amputated.

I believe this 1911 census record is right:  At Newtown, Brownhills, Nr. Walsall, Edward Tunstall, son (should be stepson?) 27, single, coal miner loader, born Brownhills [about 1884].

From the War Diary:

CAMBRIN June 29: Battalion holding same line. 2nd Lieut. W DRAYCOTT WOOD was killed by a sniper whilst throwing bombs into a crater. … The enemy shelled our positions from 9 a.m. to 10.45 a.m. with 6″ high explosive projectiles, causing considerable damage to the front line trenches. The casualties sustained by us were slight, the total from 5 p.m. the previous day to 5 p.m. today being 1 Officer killed , 9 other ranks wounded. … At 5.35 p.m. The Germans lined their parapet. Our artillery opened fire. Simultaneously our troops opened with rapid fire accompanied by loud cheering all along the line. The enemy’s fire increased denoting that their front trenches were reinforced by their supports. At 5.45 p.m. the main mine was exploded. It is assumed that the enemy must have suffered heavily. Our casualties were 7 men killed, 1 man wounded. A man of the 1/King’s Regiment attached to the machine-gun section was wounded. …

So, one assumes Private Bromley was among the 7 killed that day, and, going on Pte Tunstall’s letter, probably during the shelling that morning.

I have not yet found where he is commemorated.

Sources include:

  • Ancestry.co.uk – England census, war diary.
  • Forces War Records (online) – movements and actions, basic record.
  • Press, as accredited, via Findmypast.
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In Flanders fields the poppies blow …

Billy the Special

Uncle Bill Taylor, or Billy to his wife, was an “uncle” by virtue of marrying Mom’s aunty Gertie, sometime known to locals as “Nurse Taylor”.  I first knew them as a small child when we visited them in the back lane, or Chapel Street.  Aunty, as Mom called her, had been a nurse after leaving school at the age of fourteen, working at the Sister Dora (General) Hospital in Walsall, but, as was the rule at the time, was forced to give up when she married.  Gertie would for many tears tend to locals’ minor injuries, patching them up with plasters, bandages and boiled sweets as necessary. Continue reading “Billy the Special”

Strange marriage

What is the likelihood of two couples with identical names being married in the same quarter?  Well, I guess if they were John Smith and Mary Jones it would not be such a surprise,  but in this case they were Josiah Cooper and Edith Maria Birch. Continue reading “Strange marriage”

Howdle’s Cottages: How old?!

howdles cottages os 1882 1883
It’s that plan again.  Howdles Cottages. Ordnance Survey, surveyed 1882, published 1883. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

In the 1871 census the six pairs of cottages, edged red above, were known as Howdle’s Row, but by 1881 had become Howdle’s Cottages.

When were Howdle’s Cottages built?

When they were demolished in about 1967 it was said that the cottages were about 200 years old. Martin Littler, who grew up in one of them recently reminded us that it was what people said at the time, both on BrownhillsBob’s Brownhills Blog and to me in person. But why build back then? Continue reading “Howdle’s Cottages: How old?!”

George II

Here is the third section of my exploration of the history of my old house and surroundings in Howdles Lane.  The series begins here.

In the previous post we saw how the land lay in 1882.  Little had changed by 1901 and 1915.  So the following maps give a good idea of what the area was like when the lease came up for auction in 1911. Continue reading “George II”

It was a hundred years ago today

Here’s one for a quiet Sunday.  It’s just a news cutting from a century ago, but turned out to be a possible link back to Andrew’s Kindred.

Lichfield Mercury 2 Nov 1917 p3 col4

BROWNHILLS

Benefit Collection. — On Sunday morning the Brownhills Excelsior Band, under the leadership of Mr. F. Morris, paraded the principal streets, a collection being taken en route on behalf of William Turner, of Watling Street, who has been unable to work for over two years owing to illness. The sum of £5 6s. &d. was collected. Continue reading “It was a hundred years ago today”