Frederick Charles Cooley, Stoker of the First Class HMS Cressy, Norton Canes
Frederick Charles Cooley was a stoker of the first class on H.M.S. Cressy which sank on 22nd September 1914. The Lichfield Mercury reported on 9th October 1914 that he was believed to be among those who had lost their lives. He was aged 30 and employed at the Conduit Colliery, Norton Canes before being called up as a Reservist. He left a widow and child.
To learn more about these stories, see Lichfield Mercury, 9th October 1914.
Source: The British Newspaper Archive, Lichfield Mercury –
Friday 9th October 1914. Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.
Wilfred Cliff, C Company, 5th South Staffords
Burntwood Road, Norton Canes
Wilfred Cliff worked at the Conduit Colliery in Norton Canes before being called up as a Reservist. The Lichfield Mercury reported on 16th October 1914 that he had died aged 26 from wounds received in battle, leaving a widow and one child.
To learn more about these stories, see Lichfield Mercury, 16th October 1914.
Source: The British Newspaper Archive, Lichfield Mercury - Friday 16th October 1914. Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.
Chris Gooch, Nephew
“I had one uncle on my father’s side. He died at Ypres in 1915 when he was just 18 years old.
I never knew him - he died 27 years before I was born. I am proud of my Uncle Harry. He died for all of us and I will always be grateful for that”.
Nigel Bailey, Great Nephew
“When I was 10 I met a Great Uncle who had fought and survived the First World War. He was a soldier who was involved in trench war and all its horrors!
He was at the Battle of Mons and was positive that he witnessed the appearance of ‘The Angel
of Mons’ who turned the battle around for the beleagued British troops.
He also proudly showed me his medals plus a bullet that had been removed from his chest.
A lucky escape!”
George Hawkins (told by his granddaughter Sheila Dorsett)
The son of Alfred and Ann Maria Hawkins, George Hawkins was born at Cannock in 1891 and lived at 18 New Street. He was working as a Colliery Service Labourer when he attested for 2nd North Midland Field Company at Norton Hall in September 1914. Hawkins volunteered for overseas service and landed in France with 1/2nd North Midland Field Company on 1 March 1915.
Sapper Hawkins received a gunshot wound to his left shoulder during the fighting at the Hohenzollern Redoubt on 15 October, and the circumstances in which he had been wounded were communicated to his parents by 1191 Acting Company Sergeant-Major Albert Charles Statham:
“It is with regret that I have to inform you that your son, George Hawkins, is wounded, although only slightly. We miss him very much as he always did what he was told to do, whether under fire or not, with a smile on his face, and I could always trust him to do his work well. He was wounded bringing another wounded comrade from out in the open into the trench. I have no doubt whether that before long he will be back with us again doing his duty as before.”
Private George Handley, South Staffordshire Regiment, Rugeley
Private George Handley wrote to his sister in Elmore Lane, Rugeley, from the 5th Southern General Hospital, Portsmouth, describing his experience in the trenches when the South Staffords were sent to relieve the North Staffordshire Regiment. He remarked ‘we have been through the mill…and have been in the trenches for a fortnight. I shall have a sick furlough, I expect, and will tell you then all about what I have gone through, but I don’t like telling you, it would make your blood run cold’.
Private Handley had a brother who served in the North Staffordshire Regiment and who had also been wounded.
Private Harry Brickley, Grenadier Guards
St. Patrick’s Road, Cannock
Private Harry Brickley wrote to his wife in St. Patrick’s Road, Cannock, from hospital in Aberdeen where he was recovering after being wounded in the arm during the Battle of the Aisne. He describes his experiences of the Battle of Mons when he and his comrades had marched 190 miles in eight days.
To learn more about these stories, see
Source: The British Newspaper Archive, Lichfield Mercury - Friday 23rd October 1914. Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of
THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.
Corporal R. P. Perkins, 5th Dragoon Guards and Signaller A. P. Boulter, Coldstream Guards
Both of these men were officials at Cannock Workhouse prior to the outbreak of war in August 1914. Both men fought at the Battle of Mons, during which Corporal R. P. Perkins had his horse shot from under him.
Private William Foster, 2nd Naval Brigade, Howe Division, Old Fallow, Cannock
Private William Foster’s experiences at the Siege of Antwerp were featured in the Lichfield Mercury in October 1914. Foster described the bombardment of Antwerp by German forces and reported that a lack of artillery was responsible for the retirement of the British forces. Foster remarks that the Naval Brigade’s retreat through blazing tanks of petrol over a river and a pontoon bridge was ‘full of peril and incident’.
Private W. Kimberley, 2nd South Staffordshire Regiment, Wimblebury
Private W. Kimberley was wounded at the Battle of Mons. He reported to the press that the South Staffords stuck to their trenches as long as they could and a squadron of cavalry assisting them was left with only two men out of sixty.
The sources of these stories were contributed by Marion Kettle from The Landor Society which researches the history of Rugeley and its surrounding parishes. To learn more about the Landor Local History Society, visit their website:
Gunner W. H. Parker, Royal Field Artillery, Rugeley
Gunner W. H. Parker wrote to his parents in Horsefair, Rugeley, from hospital in Southampton where he was convalescing with a wounded arm.
He was one of only 32 men surviving from his Battery of 200 men. All 32 surviving men were wounded.
In his letter, featured in the Lichfield Mercury on Friday 25th September 1914, he describes his experiences of war, particularly the horror of losing his friends in battle.
To learn more about Gunner W. H. Parker’s story, see ‘Rugeley Artillery Man at the Front’, Lichfield Mercury, Friday 25th September 1914.
Source: The British Newspaper Archive, Lichfield Mercury - Friday 25th September 1914. Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.
The sources of these stories were contributed by Marion Kettle from The Landor Society which researches the history of Rugeley and its
surrounding parishes. To learn more about the
Landor Local History Society, visit their website:
Nigel Bailey, Great Nephew
“My uncle, George William Leis who lived with his parents in Lloyd Street, Cannock was a Paratrooper. He was the first wave of soldiers dropped at Arnhem and sadly along with many others was killed on the first day of the battle.
I was born in 1943 (December) and therefore have no other memories than stories, photographs and other memories passed on by other family members”.
488028 Corporal James Slater M.M
Paul Slater's Great Grandfathers brother was 22 years when he showed amazing courage in the heat of battle and Paul is very proud of what he achieved for his country.
James Slater was a member of 466th (1/2nd North Midland) Field Co, RE (Territorial Force). Cpl James Slater was awarded the Military Medal in 1918 for two acts of gallantry performed when 466th Field Co was located at Gorre / La Bassee Canal.
Lost lives at war
Remembering relatives WW1
Remembering relatives WW2
Remembering relatives WW1