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THOMAS HENRY PARKER                                                                                                                                                                 FULL REPORT
Thomas Henry Parker
Thomas was born in 1891 in Rugeley Staffordshire, the son of Henry and Frances (Fanny) Elizabeth Parker (nee Upton).  Henry was a rural postman and they lived in Horse Fair, Rugeley. Thomas had 3 brothers, Francis A (1895), William Arthur (1900), Fredrick Charles (1903), and 5 sisters, Frances Agnes (1892), Mary Elizabeth (1894), Constance Amelia (1899), Gertrude Alice (1905), and Margaret Ellen (1909). By 1901 census Thomas was staying with his grandparents at no 5 Green Lane, Rugeley, presumably due to lack of space at home with all his siblings, and he stayed living with them, in Green Lane, Rugeley into his twenties, working as a postman.
Thomas joined Birmingham City Police 2nd January 1912 and served on the ‘B’ Division with warrant number 8151 while also being a Territorial soldier with the North Staffordshire Regiment.
On 15th November 1915 Thomas resigned from the police to enlist in the army, joining the 2nd Battalion Welsh Fusiliers, going to France in June 1916 ready for the great Somme Offensive.  On Friday 3th November 1916 Thomas's battalion moved into the front lines in the Lesboeufs sector.  On Sunday 5th they launched an attack, their objective being a cemetery in front of Le Transloy with orders to dig in about 20 yards beyond the crest of a ridge.  The battalion moved forward up the Lesboeufs-Le Transloy Road, gaining some headway but were unable to make much progress due to the openness of the ground so dug in to their new positions, which were held until the battalion was relieved to La Briqueterie on Tuesday 7th November 1916.  On Monday 6th, holding these positions, Thomas was distributing the company rations when he was killed by a sniper.  Casualties amounted to 20 men killed during the attack and a further 5 men, including Thomas, killed during the holding action.  Thomas's body was initially lost and his name appears on the Thiepval Memorial, but he was found in the 1930s and is now buried at London Cemetary, Longueval.








DAVID ERNEST PENNY                                                                                                                                                                 FULL REPORT
David Ernest Penny
David was born in Winchpit, St Nicholas, Cardiff in the spring of 1893.  He was the fourth child of John and Mary Ann Penny.  The other family members were George (born 1886), William (1888), Helena (1890), Harriet (1895), Harold (1898) and John (1900).  His father was a shoemaker and his two older brothers became gardeners, a profession which David also took up until he joined Birmingham City Police on 3rd June 1914. He served on the ‘D’ Division with warrant number 8498.
David enlisted in November 1915, alongside a colleague, George Morris, both joining the 2nd Royal Welsh Fusiliers. 
By September 1916 David had been promoted to Sergeant. 
On Saturday 26th May 1917, David and George's battalion moved from camp at St Leger into the front line trenches, relieving the 6th Northumberland Fusiliers. At 1.55pm the following day the battalion, alongside others, made an attack on the Hindenburg support line between Plumb Lane and Oldenburg Lane.  During the advance however a gap opened up between the Cameronians and the battalion on their left. The enemy worked round through this gap and this eventually led to a wholesale retirement back to the old Hindenburg Line, then the Allied front line. Casualties amounted to 6 officers killed and 4 wounded, 19 other ranks killed with 76 wounded and 59 missing. David was killed, and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, while George was mortally wounded and died the following day.





HAROLD EDWARD PITT                                                                                                                                                                  FULL REPORT
Harold Edward Pitt 1906Harold was born on 8 September 1884, in Erdington, Warwickshire, now part of the suburbs of Birmingham. He was the son of Francis John Pitt (1856-1924) and Lillian Mary Ann Pitt (1859-1919).  Hal became an Edge tool worker upon leaving school but his main calling had always been the army. In 1903 he joined the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards, Regimental No. 5046.
Upon leaving the army in 1906 as a reservist he joined the Worcestershire Police as PC196, before transfering to Birmingham City Police in 1911 when the boundaries were redrawn. He served at Sparkhill and Hall Green Police Stations.
Recalled to the colours at the outbreak of war, he went to France with the Coldstream Guards on 12th August 1914 and fought at Mons, Villers Cotterets and Ypres through 1914.  On 30th Jan 1915 they marched to La Bassee Canal, near Cuinchy where, on 1st Feb, the German's attacked with trench mortars and then hand grenades.  Hal began picking up the German grenades out of their trench and throwing them back, but after four or five successfully thrown back, one exploded in his hand, severely injuring his left side.  Hal was taken to Bethune Hospital before being transferred to No. 4 Clearing Hospital, Lillers, where he died the following day.  He is buried in Lillers Communal Cemetery.





WILLIAM PORTER                                                                                                                                                        FULL REPORT
Royal Navy cap crest
William was born on 19 March 1886 at Barking in Essex.  His father, George Francis Porter, was a car man.  He joined the Royal Navy and, after leaving in 1911, he joined Birmingham City Police on 29th August 1911 aged 24. He served on the ‘B’ Division with warrant number 7882. He married Amy Elizabeth Foster, 25, of 3 Victoria Road, Holloway, on 19th October 1912 at St James Church, Victoria Road, Holloway, London.
When William was recalled to the navy on 4th August 1914, Amy returned to London, presumably to her parents, at 4 Ashburton Grove, Holloway.
William served aboard Princess Irene, a vessel built to the order of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company for the luxurious 'Triangle Route' linking Vancouver, Victoria and the American city of Seattle. The ship was completed at Dumbarton, Scotland in 1914 but, before she was able to leave for the Pacific, was requisitioned by the Royal Navy and converted into a mine layer. Of 6,000 tons (gross) displacement, she was launched on Tuesday 20th October 1914, commissioned in January 1915 and was commanded by Captain M.H. Cole. She had a compliment of 225 men.
At approximately 11.15 am on Thursday 27th May 1915, the 'Princess Irene' was anchored at Number 28 buoy off Port Victoria Pier in Salt Pan Reach, near Grain on the River Medway when she suddenly suffered a massive internal explosion. The explosion killed 51 crew and 77 civilian workers. At the time of the explosion mines were being primed on the ship's two mine decks prior to a planned departure on Saturday 29th May 1915. Also on board were a party of 80 or so Petty Officers from Chatham in addition to 76 Sheerness Dockyard workers who were completing various tasks.
The cause of the disaster was thought to have been due to a faulty primer (pistol) although evidence at the Official Enquiry showed that the work of priming the lethal mines was carried out in a hurry and by untrained personnel.











HENRY PRICE                                                                                                                                                                            FULL REPORT
KSLI cap badge
Henry was born in 1887 at Neen Savage, Cleobury Mortimer to Henry and Annie Price.  A large family, with two sisters,  Martha (c1875) and Emily (c1879), and three brothers, William (c1882), John (c1885) and Thomas (c1892), they lived at 55 Field House and later at 12 Stepple Lodge, both in Neen Savage.  His father was a general labourer.  By 1911 Henry was a private with 2nd Battalion, The Kings (Shropshire Light Infantry) in India. Henry married Janet Lucy Pratley in Birmingham in September 1912 and by March 1913 had left the army and on 10th March Henry joined Birmingham City Police as a 26 year old car-man, serving on the ‘D’ Division, warrant number 8276.
Recalled to the colours at the outbreak of war, his battalion landed at St Nazaire on 10th September 1914. After action around Vailly in September and October, they marched to Sailly, digging in at Le Quesne Farm, Bois Grenier on 20th October 1914. The following day they moved up to a front line under intense pressure, the enemy making repeated efforts to enter the battalion’s lines. On 23rd October, the Germans were repulsed after much hand-to-hand fighting, leaving some 200 dead behind them. The following day another attack was repulsed and on 25th October, the Germans finally  managed to break through the lines, forcing a retirement to Bois Grenier during the night. Casualties for the 4 days since going into the line amounted to 3 officers and 81 other ranks killed, 8 officers and 133 other ranks wounded and 11 missing. Wounded at some stage during this intense 4 days, Henry was removed to the 3rd General Hospital at Boulogne where he succumbed to his injuries on 29th October.  He is buried at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.


FREDERICK OSCAR PRITCHARD                                                                                                                                          FULL REPORT
Frederick Oscar Pritchard
Frederick was born on 26th October 1894 in Pensax, Wolverhampton. His mother, Eva Pritchard, was a domestic servant and Frederick was brought up by his grandparents, William and Sarah, in Pensax Common.  In 1911 he was working as a collier draw boy until he joined the Birmingham City Police in March 1915 and served on the ‘D’ Division with the warrant number 8602 and collar number D157. Fred married his wife Lillian Beatrice Jane Yeomans in February 1917 and then, in March 1917, along with 42 other officers, he resigned from the police to enlist in the army and joined the 1st Coldstream Guards. 
By November 1917 Fred was in France and, at 6.20am on the 27th, Fred's battalion, together with the 3rd Grenadier Guards and 2nd Irish Guards, attacked Fontaine-Notre Dame as part of the Battle of Cambrai.  The battalion objective was to seize the railway line from the northern edge of the village to the eastern edge of Bourlon Wood. They initially encountered enfilading machine gun fire from Bourlon Wood and then determined resistance from Germans posted in a quarry just outside the village.  The battalion lost all its officers in overcoming this obstacle, 'bombing' their way along the trench system.  Elements from the battalion eventually gained access to the village and the railway line but found that, due to the excessive casualties, they did not have the manpower to consolidate the gains. As the Germans began to counter-attack, the battalion was forced to retire with 75 men killed and hundreds wounded and missing. Fred disappeared during the attack, was initially reported missing but eventually declared killed in action and is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial.