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
1890 - 25 March 1915
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 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.
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.
Private Charles Henry Chamberlain
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.
|9th Btn Royal Warwicks Itinerary Jun 1915 - Aug 1919|
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.
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
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.
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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"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.
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.
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.
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Armistice Centenary Event (Armistice Tea, Last Post and Beacon)