1914 – 1918
SEC. LIEUT K.K. PELTON, M.C. LEINSTER RGT
Kenneth Kemble Pelton was born on the 15th June 1897 at North Walsham, Norfolk. He was the eldest son of Rev. William Frederick Pelton and his wife Susan. Rev. Pelton became vicar of Ullenhall in 1901 and the family moved to the Vicarage in the village. He had an older sister Lily, and younger siblings Ruth, Martin, and Phoebe.
He was educated at Hazelwood, Limpsfield and Dover College, and was an articled Chartered Accountant. After war broke out he volunteered for service and received his commission on 31st July 1915, 2nd Lieut. the Leinster Regt. From 20th July 1916, he served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders, attached to the 7th Battalion, the Royal Irish Rifles.
In April 1917 Kenneth Pelton was awarded the Military Cross: “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He formed a defensive flank and brought two machine guns into action, thereby forcing a strong enemy raiding party to retire. He subsequently led a bombing party with great gallantry”. (Supplement to the London Gazette, 26 April 1917). He was mentioned in despatches in May of that year.
Kenneth was present at fighting at Ginchy. He was killed in action between Ypres and Zonnebeke, on 1st August 1917, aged 20.
In a letter to Rev. Pelton and his wife, Sergt. Frank Hendrey wrote: “It was your son’s unselfishness and thought for others before himself which finally cost him his life. A wounded artillery observer came up just as the shelling, if possible, became worse than ever. He was going to drop down, as he was in the open, but your son insisted on changing places with him, thereby giving up what cover he had got. A few minutes after there came the rushing whistle of a shell on arrival – an ear-splitting crash, and a rain of earth, mud and pieces of brick, from the explosion. I was somewhat dazed by the shock for the moment, but directly the rain of pieces stopped, I saw that your son had been hit”.
His Commanding Officer, Lieut-Col. S.E. Francis wrote: “I want to tell you how sorry we all are at the death of your son. He has been with this battalion just a year, and we were all very fond of him. His splendid courage and cheery disposition made him a general favourite”.
Kenneth Kemble Pelton was buried where he fell and is remembered with honour on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.
Sources: Stratford-upon-Avon Herald 17th August 1917; De-Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour; www.cwgc.org; census 1901, 1911; London Gazette 26/4/1917).
G. H. BENNETT, SUB. E.4.
George Henry Bennett was born on the 23rd September 1892 at Beckford, Gloucestershire, the only child of Albert James and Julia Bennett. Albert Bennett was a gamekeeper and by 1911 he and his wife were living in Ullenhall. They lived in the West Lodge, also known as Keeper’s Cottage (this was demolished when Wyndspoint was built). There is a photograph of Albert (Jim) and Julia standing outside the cottage (see pictures section of this website). In 1911 eighteen year old George was living at 103 Bristol Road, Birmingham, working as a servant helping in the house and garden.
War broke out in August 1914, and by October of that year George had enlisted in the Navy. The names of those who had enlisted were published in the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald and his name is one of many which appeared in the edition of October 9th 1914 under the Roll of Honour for Henley-in-Arden, Beaudesert, Wootton Wawen, Ullenhall, Preston Bagot and Oldberrow: “. . . Navy – . . . Joseph James Styles, ‘HMS Dreadnought’; George Henry Bennett ‘HMS Dreadnought . . .”. Joseph Styles’ family lived at ‘Chapel Barn’, so he and George would have been neighbours and joined up together.
In August 1916 George was a stoker on Submarine E4. On 15th August Submarine E4 was involved in a collision with HMS E41:
“Whilst carrying out anti submarine exercises in the North Sea, HMS E41 acting as a target, had begun a surface passage of 12 knots when HMS E4’s periscope appeared 50 yards off her starboard bow, on a collision course. E41 stopped her engines but not before E4 collided forward of the bridge. E41 began to take in water through the forward battery compartment and began to sink by the bow. In less than two minutes the conning tower was under the water. HMS Firdrake, who had been monitoring the exercise, took less than two minutes to reach the scene of the collision to pick up survivors. There were no survivors from E4. Both submarines were eventually located, salvaged and returned to service.” https://www.submarine-museum.co.uk/what-we-have/memorial-chapel/submarine-losses?start=6
George Henry Bennett was 23 years old and was buried at Shotley (St Mary) Churchyard, Suffolk.
Sources: Stratford-upon-Avon Herald 9/10/1914; www.cwgc.org; census 1901, 1911; UK Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll 1914-1919.
C. CLEWS, 3rd R. WAR. RGT
Colin Clews was born on 15th August 1884 in Hatton, and baptised on the 21st September 1884. His parents were William and Ellen Clews; William was an agricultural labourer. The 1891 census shows that the family were living in Shrewley. Colin was six years old and living there with his parents, older brother William, and younger sisters Ellen, Ada and Alice.
In 1901 Colin had left the family home and was living in Solihull, working as a milkman for a farmer.
By 1911 Colin’s father had died and Colin, now aged 26, was living in Danzey Green with his family. He was the head of the household and a GWR Platelayer. He lived with his widowed mother Ellen; older brother William (27); younger brothers Edwin (18) and Fred (5); sisters Ada (22), Harriet (14) and Mary (9); along with a niece and nephew Elizabeth Clews (9 months old) and Albert Clews (1 month old).
He volunteered for service and arrived in France on the 18th July 1915. At this time the family were living in Gentleman’s Lane, and may have also lived at Hole House at some time.
Less than a month after arriving in France, Colin would have received news of the death of his older brother, William. William was 32, a farm labourer who worked at Botley Hill Farm. On Saturday morning (31st July) he went to work, taking his brother, Fred aged 9 with him. When they had finished work in the evening he sent Fred home with money for his mother, and then went to the Bird-in-Hand. Later on in the evening he visited a young lady in Tanworth before setting off for home at about 10 o’clock. His body was found near the railway line at Dean’s Green; one part of his cap was under his head and another part on the rails. He had a fractured skull and it was concluded that he had met his death accidentally by a blow from a passing train.
According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Colin Clews was in the 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
It is probable that he lost his life during the campaign described below:
“The 4th Division had left the Somme at the end of February, and was now in position just north of Arras. (In the Third Army. The 10th Brigade now consisted of the 1st Royal Warwickshire, 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, 2nd Seaforth Highlanders, and the Household Battalion (formed from the surplus of the three regiments of Household Cavalry)). Their role on April 9 was to follow through . . . The 1st Royal Warwickshire, who were in support, occupied and consolidated in turn four successive lines of trenches, and at evening were established east of Fampoux. Two days later at noon the Royal Warwickshire attacked towards Plouvain in support to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, whilst the Household Battalion attacked towards Greenland Hill on the left. There were many casualties from shell-fire before starting, and the attack was almost at once checked by the enemy’s machine-guns. The Royal Warwickshire had advanced till they found the leading battalion held up. Then, since the fire from the Chemical Works and Railway Embankment made further progress impossible, Major Sir G. Lacon (who was in command that day) ordered a line to be consolidated, and at nightfall had established his battalion with the Royal Irish Fusiliers on the right and the Household Battalion on the left”. The Story Of The Royal Warwickshire Regiment – Kingsford 1921 p165.
Colin Clews was killed in action on Wednesday 11th April 1917, aged 32. He is buried at Brown’s Copse Cemetery, Roeux. He is also commemorated on the War Memorial in Tanworth-in-Arden.
Colin was posthumously entitled to three medals: the Victory Medal; the British War Medal; and the 1914/1915 star, as he saw service in France during 1915.
Sources: Stratford-upon-Avon Herald 6/8/1915; Census 1891, 1901, 1911; birth certificate; baptism record; Medal Index card; www.cwgc.org; Kingsford – The Story of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
GNR. T. A. RICHMOND, R.G.A
Thomas Alfred Richmond was born on the 8th October 1892 in Ullenhall to William and Mary Richmond, and baptised at St. Mary’s Church on November 13th 1892. He was one of six children, four boys and two girls – Mary, Leonard, Edith, Thomas, John and Leslie. He attended the village school, a short walk from his home, leaving school at the age of 13 in 1906.
In 1911, at the age of 18, he was a disengaged gentleman’s servant living at home, 2 Perry Mill Cottages, with his parents and two of his brothers.
He enlisted on the 9th August 1915 at Nuneaton and joined the Royal Garrison Artillery. When he enlisted he was a coal miner and nearly 23 years old. He was 5ft 9 in height, and gave his father’s name and address in Ullenhall as his next of kin.
On the 5th May 1916 he left from Southampton arriving in Rouen the following day.
On the 6th February 1917 Thomas was wounded and admitted to hospital with gunshot wounds to his left thigh and right wrist. He spent a short time at the Liverpool Merchants Hospital in Etaples, but his injuries were serious enough for him to be evacuated back to England on the hospital ship S.S.Brighton. He was admitted to the Southern General Hospital in Stirchley, Birmingham.
On the 25th April 1917 Thomas Richmond married Marion Smith from Astwood Bank.
In July 1917 he was posted to 353rd Siege Battery. On the 8th October 1917, on his 25th birthday, Thomas was wounded in action; on the 12th October it was reported that his condition remained grave. He died of his wounds on the 15th October 1917, and is buried at the Outtersteene Communal Cemetery Extension, Bailleul.
Thomas’s belongings were forwarded to his widow in January 1918 – 2 discs, letters, photos, cards, pipe (broken), wallet, 2 cap badges, purse, watch & key, 3 shoulder titles and his pocket knife. She received his British War & Victory Medals in 1921.
His older brother, Len, died in 1977, aged 89. His younger brother, Leslie, died in 1983, aged 81 and his sister, Edith died in 1986, aged 96.
Sources: Birth certificate; baptism record; Ullenhall school log book; census 1901, 1911; Soldier’s record WO363; Ullenhall Parish Magazines; Medal Card Index; www.cwgc.org.
It is not clear why the word ‘Holmwood’ appears on the memorial. It does not seem to be the name of an individual. If anyone can shed any light on this please let us know.
The only connection of ‘Holmwood’ with Ullenhall that we are aware of is that Rev. Canon Newton, brother of T.H.G. Newton of Barrells Hall was vicar of St. Stephens Church in Redditch (1892-1904). He built himself a vicarage in Redditch called ‘Holmwood’. His only son, Horace Gerard Townsend Newton, a Captain with the 13th Hussars was accidentally drowned on 25th April 1917 whilst serving in Mesopotamia (Iraq). He is commemorated on the War Memorial in Redditch.
FLT. SGT. N. CLARE
A list in St Mary’s Church records the names of 40 men and women from Ullenhall who served in World War Two. The following is from the ‘Ullenhall News’, April 1985:
“Readers may have noticed that a new name has recently been carved on the village memorial to those “Who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-18”. For some reason the only Ullenhall casualty of the 1939-45 War was not added at the end of hostilities and this strange omission has now been remedied. The name is that of Flight Sergeant Norman Clare, whose family lived at the Perry Mill Cottages and later Church Hill. He was a bomber rear gunner and was killed on an operational mission”. Flight Sergeant Norman Clare 644121, 201 Sqdn., RAF, died on Friday 6th February 1942, aged 20.