Ashwood, Arthur. Died 17th May 1919

Arthur Ashwood appeared to have no connection with Rugby, until we discovered his elder brother, Herbert living in the town.

Arthur was born in Tamworth Staffordshire in late 1890, he was aged 5 months in the 1890 census. His parents were Edwin Godderidge and Eliza (nee Whitehouse) Ashwood. Edwin and Eliza had been married in 1877 in the Aston RD and Arthur was their sixth child and second son.

The family have not been found in the 1881 census, although judging by the place of birth of their children, they lived throughout in Tamworth. In 1891 Edwin was a Licensed Victualler in the Prince of Wales Pub in Gungate Street, Tamworth.

By 1901 Edwin, at the age of 46 was a retired hotel keeper and living with his family at Woodland House in Hopwas, Tamworth. Arthur was aged 10, and his elder brother Herbert, 19, was an architect’s pupil.

In 1911 Edwin was listed as a farmer at Woodland Grange. He was a widower. Eliza had died in 1903 at the age of 48. There were three daughters still living at home and Arthur, aged 20, who was working on the farm.

In 1915 Arthur Ashwood married Rosamond Joan Nevill and on 24th July that year a daughter, Winifred J was born, followed by a son Lawson A on 5th May 1918.

It was probably about the time of his son’s birth that Arthur joined the 2nd Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment as private, no. 58415. We have been unable to find a service record or entry in the medal roll for Arthur, it is unclear whether he reached the front line.

November 1918 had started quiet for the South Staffordshires with the cleaning of billets and working on roads. The armistice was reported on the 11th November followed by arrangements for the march to Germany. They crossed the French-Belgian border on the 20th enjoying good weather and “a fine reception from the civilian population”. The consolidated returns for the month list:
Other Ranks – 3 killed, 6 wounded, nil missing, 67 to hospital, 1 from hospital.

It is not known if Arthur Ashwood was one of the 67 or arrived at Rouen Hospital from elsewhere. He returned to England and died at Whittington hospital on 17th May 1919.

DEATH OF PRIVATE A ASHWOOD. – The death occurred at the Military Hospital, Whittington, on Saturday, of 58415 Private Arthur Ashwood, 2nd South Staff. Regt., younger son of Mr E G Ashwood, Woodland Grange, Hopwas. He was 28 years of age, and had served in the Army for about twelve months. The cause of death was meningitis, resulting from septic poisoning contracted in France. He was admitted to Rouen hospital on November 28, 1918, and was confined to hospital until his death. He leaves a widow and two children. The body was brought from Whittington on Tuesday evening, and remained in Hopwas Church overnight. The funeral took place on Wednesday with military honours. The first portion of the service was held in Hopwas Church, the Rev. Evan Williams, priest-in-charge, officiating. Subsequently the coffin, draped in a Union Jack, was conveyed on a Red Cross ambulance to Tamworth cemetery for interment. The procession was preceded by a firing party of men from the South Staffs. Regt., carrying rifles reversed, and a bugler, while six men from the same regiment acted as bearers. Reaching Tamworth, a deputation of local market gardeners and a representative from Birmingham market joined the procession. The Rev. Evan Williams concluded the service at the cemetery, and at the close the customary three volleys were fired over the grave, and the “Last Post” was sounded. There were a large number of beautiful wreaths.
(The Herald, 24th May 1919)

An inscription was added to his gravestone by his father, Mr E G Ashwood of Deercroft, Hopwas, Tamworth:

Rosamond did not remarry, dying in 1981 at the age of nearly 90. She and her children can be found in Green Lane, Sutton Coldfield in 1939. Winifred was a shorthand typist and Lawson a bricklayer.

In 1939 Herbert Ashwood an architect, living at Newbold Cottage in Newbold on Avon. In 1911 he had been living in Bognar in Sussex, but must have moved to Rugby by 1921, in time to add his brother to the list of men on the Rugby Memorial Gates.

Arthur Ashwood is also remembered on the Tamworth War Memorial.



Knight, William Albert. Died 13th May 1917

Albert as he was known in the family, was born in 1895, and baptised at St Paul’s Church, Northampton on 2 June. His parents, George Walter Knight and Sarah Dudley Markham, were married in Northampton Registration District in September Quarter of 1892. George was born in Wilby Northants and Sarah in Buckingham.

They had three other children, George Walter jnr born 1893, Ernest James born 1897, and Dora Elizabeth born 1899. All four were baptised at St Paul’s; their father was a labourer, and the family were living first in Burleigh Street, Northampton when their eldest child was born, then at 6 Richmond Terrace where Albert was born. They were still there in 1901.

By 1911 they had moved to 107 Winfield Street, Rugby. George snr was unfortunately now an invalid, but his three sons were all working, George jnr and Albert at an electrical works (British Thompson Houston) and Ernest an errand boy for a boot shop. They must have thought work opportunities to be greater in Rugby than Northampton.

107 Winfield St, Rugby

Albert enlisted at the outbreak of war at Rugby as William Knight, and joined the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment, No 18263. He was sent to France on 4 December 1915, qualifying him for the 1915 Star as well as the British War and Victory medals. This is confirmed by the report of his death in the Rugby Advertiser on 2 June 1917.

The South Staffs formed part of the 7th Division which saw action all through the Battle of the Somme in 1916. In 1917 they fought throughout the German retreat to the Hindenberg Line during the Arras offensive.

On 13 May 1917 the Regiment along with the Australians was ordered to attack the heavily fortified village of Bullecourt. It was believed to be weakened by days of heavy bombardment but this was not so, and a vicious battle ensued. The Regiment was caught in crossfire at a location known as the Red Patch. After three days Bullecourt was taken with the loss of 2 officers and 37 men killed.

It was probably during this action that Albert was killed aged 22, but he may have been wounded and died later, as Achiet-le-Grand Communal Cemetery where he is buried was occupied from April 1917 by two casualty clearing stations.

Achiet le Grand cemetery entrance

The list of Soldiers Effects records that he “died in the field” rather than was “killed in action”.   His mother as his sole legatee received his back pay of £8.18s.11d, and War Gratuity of £12.10s. His father had died in 1914.

He is commemorated on the BTH memorial in Rugby (as A W Knight) as well as the Memorial Gates.     The above notice of his death also records “He enlisted at the outbreak of war, and prior to that was employed in the BTH Winding Department. He had been in France a year, and some time ago distinguished himself by saving the life of an officer at great personal danger to himself”.



Forehead, Thomas William. Died 24th Aug 1915

Thomas William Forehead was born 13 April 1890 at Leicester. His parents were Thomas and Julia Forehead and 1891 and on the 1891 census were dwelling at St. George Street, Leicester with his grandmother, Mary Satchell, a widow, both Thomas’s parents were in the shoe industry. His father was a shoe machinist and his mother was a shoe clicker. On the 1901 census, they are still in Leicester but residing at 84, St Andrews Street Leicester. By 1911, Thomas is in Rugby working as a hairdresser and is lodging with John Cave, a hairdresser, and his wife Agnes at 148 Railway Terrace, Rugby.

Thomas married Lydia Maria Dobson in 1913 and a daughter, Winifred Dora Adelaide, was born in November 1913. At that time they were living at 150 Railway Terrace, Rugby.

Forehead, Thomas William

He enlisted at Rugby and served with the South Staffordshire Regiment, and became a Corporal and according to the Rugby Advertiser was a Lance Corporal at the time of his death. The first report of his death states that he died on the ‘Franconia’ en route to England on August 24th 1915 from wounds received in action at the Dardanelles and that he was in the employ of Mr. John Cave, Hairdresser, of Rugby, and that he was the son-in-law of Mr. Thomas Dobson, job-master, of Railway Terrace.   The following week The Rugby Advertiser gave a fuller detail of Lance Corporal Forehead final hours. A Rev. A. P. Johnson of Woodbridge wrote to Mrs Forehead to inform her that Corpl. Forehead was wounded in the abdomen at the Dardanelles, and brought down to Mudros Harbour in the IsIand of Hemnos in the Aegean sea. He was transferred to the ship ‘Franconia’ on which the writer was a chaplain and passed away 24th Aug. The funeral took place in a cemetery by Mudros Harbour. The gentleman concluded’ It does seem so hard to lose him and I do pray God to comfort you and all who loved him, with all my sympathy for the loss of a brave man.’

Rugby Advertiser 26th August 1916

‘In Memoriam – Forehead:- In memory of Lance Corporal T. W. Forehead who died of wounds in Gallipoli on August 24 1915. From his loving wife, daughter, father-in-law, mother-in-law and family.’

Thomas’s wife Lydia became Mrs. Patrick Farrell in 1918.

Thomas William Forehead Service Number 10927

Buried at East Mudros Military Cemetery, Grave/Memorial No. Ll. H. 134



Barnwell, George Thomas. Died 15th Jul 1915

In 1879 James Crofts Barnwell married Ann Elizabeth Elliott. Ann was a widow with a young son and she and James went on to have several other children. Their youngest child was George Thomas Barnwell, born in 1892 in Hillmorton, where James was a house painter. By 1901 the family had moved to 35 Claremont Road, Rugby and James was now a painter of railway signals. In 1911 George Thomas was aged 18 and living with his parents. He was working for B.T.H. as a switch board wire man.

He enlisted as a lance corporal in the South Staffordshire Regiment (1st 6th (T.F.) Battalion), The regiment was formed in August 1914 and on 5th March 1915 arrived in France. George Thomas Barnwell died on 15th July 1915 and was buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery.

His death was reported in the Rugby Observer on 30th July 1915:

“Died Bravely”

Tributes to a Rugby man’s pluck.

Mr. and Mrs J. C. Barnwell of 35, Claremont Road, Rugby, on Wednesday morning received official intimation of the of the death in action of their son, Lance Corporal George Barnwell of the 1st 6th Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment. As reported in last week’s issue of the “Observer” Mr and Mrs Barnwell had previously received the sad intelligence through a number of letters sent by comrades of the deceased but until Wednesday morning they clung to the hope that a mistake might have been made.

   The late Lance Corporal was prominently identified with the Rugby Baptist Church and at a memorial service on Sunday, the Pastor (the Rev. J. H. Lees) made touching reference to his Christian character and to the loss the church had sustained in his death. The deceased, who was 21 years of age, was engaged to Miss Elsie Flowers, of Dunchurch.

   Acting adjutant Langley, writing to Mr. Barnwell says “I very much regret to tell you that your son died of his wounds in hospital at 9.30 p.m. on July 15th. My colonel instructs me to convey to you his extreme sympathy at your loss. It may seem to you in a regiment of about 1,900 men, it is not possible for the Commanding Officer to know and recollect every man by name. But that is not exactly the true view. Through his Officers he gets to know the men, and I can say with truth that the death of your son is a personal loss to him. He was engaged in a gallant enterprise, he died bravely, and it is upon such men that my Colonel relies for the strength of his regiment, as does England for her security. My Colonel’s sympathy for yourself is as generous as his gratitude for your son’s good service and brave sacrifice.

The Company Commander has written “The injury, consisting of bullet wounds to the head, was sustained whilst he was carrying out his duties in the firing line and, although the wound was a very severe one, we hoped that there would have been a chance of recovery. Corporal Barnwell will be much missed by his comrades and by the Officers of “A” company, for he was always cheerful and energetic in his duties, and I should like to extend the sympathy of all of us to you in your bereavement.”


George Thomas Barnwell is also remembered on the Rugby Baptist Church plaque and on the family grave in Clifton Road Cemetery.