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Monday, 12 November 2018

Armistice Centenary Event

The WWI Armistice Centenary Event at Burton Green was centred around a display of soldier silhouettes, and a poppy cascade, created by children from Burton Green School.

Click on any image on this page to enlarge to full screen size

Local residents had also placed British Legion wooden crosses to remember individuals from their own families, and soldiers who had lived in Burton Green, at the foot of the display.

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On the afternoon of 11th November, there was an Armistice-themed tea in the village hall, attended by 75 residents and friends of the village.

The roles of soldiers from Burton Green who took part in WWI was briefly explained. There is more information about those soldiers on this page:

That was followed by a performance from the Burton Green Village Choir, and then communal singing of some popular war time songs.

The video below is not the complete performance, just 4 minutes of selected extracts (click on the video to play)...

In the evening, the poppy display was illuminated...

Local resident, and former soldier, Peter Stanworth, OBE...

Peter Stanworth with members of Warwickshire Constabulary...

At 7pm, a Last Post was sounded, followed by the lighting of an Armistice Beacon in an adjacent field. It was estimated that 200 residents had turned out to watch, lining both sides of the road. This was the scene looking along Cromwell Lane...

Below is a video of the Last Post, played by Claire Smith, and the Beacon (click to play)...

Related Post

Armistice Remembrance (Stories of local soldiers from Burton Green who fought in WWI)

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Armistice Remembrance

We do not know the names of all of the men from Burton Green who served in the First World War, because many records were destroyed by bombing during WWII.

We do know that at least eight men from Burton Green served in the army in the First World War: Alfred Tom Walden, Charles Chamberlain, Harry Soar, Herbert Barnacle, Percy Hollick, Walter Docker, William Cranmer and William Tommy.

Three of them were killed in action: Tom Walden from Red Lane who was killed at Gallipoli, Charles Chamberlain from Hodgett's Lane who was killed near Baghdad, and Percy Hollick from Cromwell Lane who was killed near the village of Fresnoy in France.

Map showing locations where soldiers from Burton Green were killed in action 1915 - 1917

Private Alfred Tom Walden
("The Hollies", Red Lane)
1890 - 25 March 1915

Alfred Tom Walden was born and grew up at "The Hollies", Red Lane.

The Hollies is the large old house which still exists near the corner at the top of Red Lane. It is the house in the background of this photo.

'Tom' Walden, as he was known, attended Stoneleigh school and after leaving school joined the army as a professional soldier. This was several years before the outbreak of war.

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The image shown at the right is an extract from the 1901 Census. This shows Tom Walden at "The Hollies".

The image also shows some properties in 'Burton Green Road'. That is the road that we now call Cromwell Lane.

At the time of the 1911 census, Tom Walden was in Calcutta, India, serving with the 2nd Battalion The Royal Fusiliers who were garrisoned there.

The Government had originally believed that the war with Germany would be short, and 'over by Christmas'. In the event, by the end of 1914 many lives had been lost and a stalemate had developed on the Western Front. Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, thought that he could break the stalemate by opening a Second Front, landing an invasion force at Gallipoli, which would secure a sea passage to Russia, and capture Constantinople.

The 2nd Battalion The Royal Fusiliers, including Tom Walden, who had been recalled from India, together with battalions from some other British regiments, and forces from Australia and New Zealand, were sent to Gallipoli.

Depiction of Gallipoli landing by Charles Edward Dixon

The Gallipoli landing took place on April 25, 1915.

Heavy allied casualties were incurred during the landing, including the life of Tom Walden.

Tom Walden's name is remembered on the War Memorial inside Stoneleigh Church and on the Helles Memorial at Gallipoli.

Click this link for the official War Graves citation:
Commonwealth War Graves Commission details - Tom Walden

The Helles Memorial is the Commonwealth battle memorial for the whole Gallipoli campaign. Over 20,000 names are commemorated on this memorial.

April 25th came to be known as Anzac Day (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps). This was the first military action which had involved forces from Australia and New Zealand. It was a defining moment in the history of those countries as independent nations.
(See: https://www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/anzac-day/traditions)

Private Charles Henry Chamberlain
(Hodgett's Lane)
1897 - 29 March 1917

Charles Henry Chamberlain lived in Hodgett's Lane, in a row of cottages (now demolished) that used to be opposite the site of the village hall.

The Chamberlains had been a family of agricultural labourers. Charles Chamberlain's grandfather, also named Charles, had been born in Hob Lane, Burton Green, in 1842. By 1911, the family had moved to the cottage in Hodgett's Lane.  At the time of the 1911 census, Charles Chamberlain was 14 years old.

We know very little of Charles Chamberlain's individual military service record. All we know is that he joined the 9th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment in July 1915, and the date of his death, 29th March 1917. From the records of that regiment we can discover where the 9th Battalion went and what was happening on the day of Charles Chamberlain's death.

Charles Chamberlain joined the 9th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment in July 1915. This was two months after the initial landing at Gallipoli, at which Tom Walden had been killed. Military progress at Gallipoli had been slow and in July the 9th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, now including Charles Chamberlain, was despatched to Gallipoli together with other reinforcements.

However, the reinforcements were too few and too late. By Autumn 1915 it was recognised that the Gallipoli campaign had failed to achieve its objectives, and evacuation was ordered. Churchill, who had been the principal architect of the Gallipoli campaign, resigned from the Government.
(See: https://www.history.com/news/winston-churchills-world-war-disaster)

9th Btn Royal Warwicks Itinerary Jun 1915 - Aug 1919
In 1914, before the war began, the British government had contracted with The Anglo-Persian Oil Company to supply for oil for the Royal Navy.

In January 1916, following their withdrawal from Gallipoli, the 9th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, with Charles Chamberlain, was posted to Mesopotamia (now Iraq) partly to safeguard the oil supply. The British Government also needed to restore British influence in the area having recently suffered a major defeat at Kut, near Baghdad. The 9th Battalion travelled by sea around the Arabian Peninsular, arriving at Basra in March 1916. They then spent 12 months fighting and marching for 330 miles through hostile Iraq, reaching Baghdad in March 1917. It was during an engagement a few days after leaving Baghdad that Charles Chamberlain was killed. Records of the battalion report:
"The Royal Warwickshire was employed in searching the houses in Baghdad on March 12, and afterwards for some days were in charge of part of the citadel. On March 23 they moved out to Dowdiyah, and three days later had orders to advance up stream to Deltawa, near which place the 18th Turkish Corps was concentrating. Marching by night, at dawn on March 28 they arrived within 3000 yards of the Turkish position on the Maal plain. The advance began at ten o'clock in terrific heat, with a mirage which prevented any definite view of the Turkish position. Nevertheless, though the ground was very flat with no cover, nearly a mile was gained. Then a halt was made till two o'clock, when the whole brigade advanced and captured the enemy's first line. It had been a sharp fight; in the Royal Warwickshire 3 officers were killed and 7 wounded, with 140 casualties in other ranks." (Extract from 'The Story Of The Royal Warwickshire Regiment' by C. L. Kingsford, pp196-208.)

Charles Chamberlain's name is remembered on the War Memorial in Berkswell Churchyard and on the Basra Memorial in Iraq.

Click this link for the official War Graves citation:
Commonwealth War Graves Commission details - Charles Chamberlain

The Basra Memorial commemorates more than 40,500 members of the Commonwealth forces who died in the operations in Mesopotamia from the Autumn of 1914 to the end of August 1921 and whose graves are not known.

Captain Percy Hood Hollick
(Cromwell Lane)
29 January 1891 - 9 May 1917

Percy Hood Hollick lived in Cromwell Lane, in one of the large houses near Westwood Corner, and was aged 24 at the outbreak of war.

The Hollick family had been a family of farmers. Percy's grandparents, Joseph and Ann, had owned a farm at Arley (1841) and Percy's father, Alfred Hollick, farmed at Sherbourne Farm, Allesley (1881). Percy Hood Hollick was born on 29th January 1891 and had an elder brother, Thomas, and elder sister, Margaret.

At the time of the 1901 census, Percy was aged 10 and resident at a small boarding school in Priory Road, Kenilworth. His parents presumably had aspirations for Percy to acquire an education, to break with the family farming tradition, and to move into a professional occupation. At the time of the 1911 Census, Percy, aged 20, was living, by himself, at a house in Cromwell Lane, near Westwood corner, and was a trainee solicitor. A year later we learn that he was working with W Henderson Cleland, Solicitors, Coventry.

Percy Hollick enlisted on 10th August 1914 as a private in the Honourable Artillery Company. Percy Hollick was engaged on the Western Front throughout his time in the war. He was wounded, and that necessitated his return to England for treatment. Whilst in England he was given a commission in the 3rd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment and he returned to the front with that battalion.

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During 1917, the 3rd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment was engaged on the Western Front near Arras. Percy Hollick was killed on 9th May 1917, during an attempt to take the village of Fresnoy. Records of the battalion tell us:
"The village of Fresnoy was lost to a determined German attack on the 8th of May, and over the following days all the battalions of the 5th Division were involved in trying to regain the lost village.  Artillery fire from both sides was intense, the fighting was savage; hand-to-hand, bayonet charges and bombing attacks.  Various parts of the village changed hands many times with isolated pockets holding out and keeping the Germans at bay for hours on end. The Royal Warwicks were involved in an assault on Fresnoy beginning at 2am on 9 May.  Before the men even got to the German positions many casualties were caused by shellfire catching them crossing the No Man's Land. During this attack the battalion lost 206 men; 60 of these were killed." (Extract from 'Birmingham Pals' by Terry Carter, p311)

Percy Hollick's name is remembered on the War Memorial inside Westwood Church and on the Arras Memorial.

Click this link for the official War Graves citation:

The Arras Memorial commemorates nearly 35,000 allied soldiers with no known grave who were killed in the Battle of Arras, fought between 9th April and 16th May 1917.


Some of the personal British Legion cross memorials that have been placed in the grass verge near Red Lane corner by present day residents...

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Those Who Lived

We do not know the names of all of the men from Burton Green who served in WWI because many records were destroyed by bombing during WWII. We do know that the following men from Burton Green joined the Army during WWI and survived the war.

Harry Godfrey Soar
b 1893. Joined Royal Regiment of Artillery in March 1915 as Private 86836 and was posted to France, in September 1915. Later transferred to Royal Engineers, as Sapper 334512.

Herbert Barnacle
b 1894. Lived at Burton Green Farm (opposite the School). He joined the Army Service Corps in December 1916 as a driver, Private 224729; between June 1917 and September 1918 he served with 13 different motor transport companies on the Western Front; in September 1918 he was wounded, returned to England and was admitted to Aberdeen Hospital; in October 1919 he returned to work on his father's farm as a ploughman.

Walter James Docker
b 1876. Lived in Hob Lane. In the 1911 census described as a market gardener, and on his sign-up papers as a fishmonger. During the 1920s he ran a shop in Spon End. He was aged 39 when he joined the Army Service Corps (Reserve) in December 1915, Private 319432; in July 1917 he was moblised and passed the driving test for the Foden Steam Engine.
William Thomas Cranmer
b 1879. The father of Bill Cranmer, who many present residents will have known. On his sign-up papers gives his address as The Ark, Burton Green. A storekeeper's assistant at the Maudslay Motor Co. He joined the 2nd Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshre Light Infantry, Private 46232, in December 1915.

William Henry Tommy
b 1898. Gives his address as The Cottage, Burton Green. In 1911 he was living in Wem, Shropshore, his place of birth. His father, also named William, was a house painter. On his sign-up papers William Henry Tommy described himself as capstan hand. Joined Welsh Guards, Private 4242, in December 1915; mobilised and posted December 1917. In June 1918 transferred to 4th Battalion Guards Machine Gun Regiment, Private 8158. Promoted to Lance Corporal in April 1919.

James Edkins
b 1895. At the time of the 1911 census he was 16 years old and living with his parents in Birmingham. He was married in 1935 and came to live at The Highlands, which was one of the houses opposite the water tower. He joined the Royal Engineers in April 1915 as Sapper 74730, and served in Egypt.

If you have any comments or would like to share any information about WWI please email: local.history@burtongreen.com

Related Post

Armistice Centenary Event (Armistice Tea, Last Post and Beacon)

Monday, 5 November 2018

Village Hall Quiz

QUIZ WITH Fish & Chip Supper

Hodgetts Lane

SATURDAY 17th November - 7.30pm
Tickets £12.50 /  Students £10.00
Bring your own drink and glasses please

Teams are up to 8 players and if you do not have enough for a team

you can be paired up with others.  Just let us know when you book.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Warwick University Sports Hub

This video is a computer-generated simulation of the impressive new Sports Centre for Warwick University which is due to open in Spring 2019.

More details here: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/sport/hub

Monday, 15 October 2018

Car Thefts

There were several local car thefts over the past weekend (13th/14th October). There were two in Hodgetts Lane, one in Charter Avenue, and others in Bannerbrook and Kenilworth.

The theft in Charter Avenue involved 'keyless' car theft. This is a sophisticated form of theft that is possible with some models of car in which a pair of thieves can activate a key fob to unlock the car even if the key is within someone's house.

This is a video of such a theft taking place in Solihull that was filmed on the householder's security camera...

Keyless car theft can be reduced by storing the key inside a Faraday bag. This is a simple bag with a metal mesh lining.

These are available from Amazon (and other suppliers) for around £8. There are many different brands available.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

A46 Link Road (Updated)

Update 6 October 2018

The planning scandal, involving protracted secret collusion among 3 local authorities and HS2, has now been reported by the Solihull Observer. There is little of substance that is new in this report, though it does include Solihull's official response. As yet there has been no official response from Warwick County Council to accusations that council employees deliberately lied to, and tried to mislead, the public.

"Berkswell councillors were astounded to receive copies of a map showing a four-lane highway through Balsall Common. 
“It had been forced from Solihull council by the Information Commissioner after years of work by a local resident. A rapidly organised meeting was held with the SMBC Infrastructure Manager concerned... The current status is that nothing is yet planned (for phase three) but Coventry have a wish to put their traffic, caused by their planned development, through the Meriden Gap possibly through Balsall Common. 
“SMBC have not yet instructed their officials to tell Coventry that no route through Balsall Common is acceptable for a four-lane highway. 
“Berkswell councillors are committed to working with our borough councillors to kill this ASAP so that it gets no momentum.”
Full report here:


This is one of the leaflets that were distributed at one of the public information events.

Several residents independently asked about plans for Phase 3, as this was the phase that was of most concern to residents. Assurances were given that no plans for Phase 3 existed.

Maps did exist but had been classed as 'highly confidential'. These maps (which are reproduced below) have now been dismissed by Solihull as 'dots on a map'.

Original Post - 30th August

There has been much speculation about a proposed link road joining the A46 at Stoneleigh to the A452 near Balsall Common, or the A45. The official information provided by WCC is here:

The closing date for objections to Phase 1, the A46 roundabout, is Wednesday 5th September.  Please make your concerns known should you feel that more more complete information should be provided about the overall scheme before such strategic decisions can be made. Objections should be sent to:  The Secretary of State for Transport, National Transport Casework Team, Tyneside House, Skinnerburn Road, Newcastle Business Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 7AR or nationalcasework@dft.gov.uk, quoting “A46 Trunk Road Stoneleigh Junction (Slip Roads) Order” and stating the grounds of objection.

At various recent public consultations local council employees from WCC have denied the existence of any specific plans for the 3rd phase of this project passing through Burton Green. Under the Freedom of Information Act, Dr Thornton has managed to obtain plans produced in 2016, and which had been labelled 'Highly Confidential'.

Dr Thornton made his original request for this information on 1st April 2016. Dr Thornton's original correspondence with Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and their refusal to provide any information can be viewed here:

It has taken more than two years of appeal to the council, then the Information Commissioner, then the Information Tribunal, to obtain the judgement that withholding this information was unlawful.  The important message is that Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council withheld information unlawfully. The information that has now been released is 2 years old. We know that the authorities have done more work since then, in secret. This needs to be published without further delay. Councillors need to make sure that this happens.

Maps have previvously been seen which showed some 'high level' options for the road through Westwood Heath but this is the first time any options have been seen for the road to go through Burton Green or interfaced with HS2.  HS2 had previously denied they were in talks about Phase 3 of the road but only recently have confirmed that there have been discussions.

These are the documents now released by SMBC. You can enlarge these documents by clicking on them...

This is a detail showing where the proposed routes cut through Burton Green, according to the 2016 plan...

As you can see, in that plan, the Phase 3 Option 1 route passes across the area of the proposed Burrow Hill housing estate and the site of the new Village Hall. More recent plans presumably exist but are being kept secret.

This is an extract from a letter sent by Dr Thornton to SMBC:
"So that Solihull council will benefit from the assistance of electors, council taxpayers and the wider expert public much earlier in its deliberations on matters that may affect the environment, I hope that this decision will cause reflection within the authority and a greater understanding of the democratic principles and provisions of the Arrhuss Convention. 
Going forward, I hope you will ensure that council officers recognise that their previously claimed need for "space to think in private and debate and explore options and solutions" is, and should be, substantially restricted. Particularly, I hope there will be further reflection on your obligations under regulation 4 of the EIRs to publish environmental information at the earliest opportunity even if it has not been requested. The era of secret meetings between colluding planning officers from various local authorities, over an extended period, apparently without even the knowledge of elected representatives, should have been consigned to history. "

Previous Posts On This Subject

November 2017

There was a presentation and speculation about possible routes by Councillor Alan Marshall at the Burton Green Residents' Association AGM (item 8):

This is an extract:
"Whilst it is clear that a wide number of route options have been or are being looked at -- taking account of land and properties that would have to be acquired, disruption that would be caused, and the costs -- and that a route via Eastern Green was the least probable (because of overall distance to reach UK Central) -- it has seemed to Cllr Marshall that a likely preference would be to continue the phase 3 route along Westwood Heath Road (where there is space for road widening) and across a new junction with Cromwell Lane. This might then continue towards and across Nailcote Lane and Hodgetts Lane, crossing the West Coast Main Line railway above Beechwood Tunnel, then going across Truggist Lane, Baulk Lane and Lavender Hall Lane. A possible end point, where the new road could join the A452, would be the roundabout at the junction with Bradnocks Marsh Lane -- although an alternative, to avoid crossing HS2, would be to continue the new road on the east side of HS2 to join the A452 at the junction with Cornets End Lane and Hampton Lane. Nor is it clear whether the new road should be a single or dual carriageway -- and with few or many intersections? Of course, there are alternatives for the way the new road could pass by, or through, Burton Green and one that has clearly caught a lot of attention recently is it being constructed adjacent to the eastern boundary of HS2.  This could be achieved by taking phase 3 of the new road from the vicinity of Cryfield Grange along Cryfield Grange Road over Crackley Lane to pick up the HS2 alignment, passing under Cromwell Lane and along Hodgetts Lane to pick up the route I described earlier going between Berkswell and Ballsall Common towards the A452. James Llewellyn had responded: “I can well appreciate that residents are very concerned about the continuing uncertainties . . .  With those concerns in mind, rest assured that we are progressing the Route Options Technical Study as quickly as possible and we hope to be in a position to finalize the route options report by the end of November [2017].” We are planning a pubic consultation on the route option(s) in the spring of 2018."

June 2017

A schematic from the West Midlands Combined Authority transport planning ducument:

December 2016

A report in the Coventry Telegraph, plus some local speculation: