John William Lawley was born in 1882 to John and Dorothy Lawley. John senior was a publican/farmer and on the 1891 census, he’s the landlord of the Bagot Arms pub. John junior attended Richard Clarke school from January 1888. On leaving school John worked as a farm labourer. He married Bertha in 1903 and on the 1911 census they had five children. John joined up in January 1915 with the Army Veterinary Corps. After three months of training in England, he was sent to France. He served there with distinction and gained his Sergeant’s stripes in December 1916. Early 1917 he was transferred to the Royal Warwickshire Regt. in France. November 1917 he was sent to Italy but returned to France in March and sadly on the 23rd of May 1918 he was killed by a shell while on duty in the support trenches. He is buried in Thennes Cemetery France – his headstone reads ‘TILL THE DAY BREAK AND THE SHADOWS FLEE AWAY’.RIP John William Lawley.
William Martin was born in 1891 to Florence Hunt of Spout Hall Cottages and William Martin of Ashbrook Lane.On the 26th of December 1892, William and Florence married at St Nicholas Church. In the 1901 census the family are living in Ashbrook Lane and the children were attending Richard Clarke School. In 1911 William now age 20 is living and working for Mr Hardings of Field House Farm, Bromley Park. When war broke out in 1914 William enlisted with the new 7th Battalion, the Prince of Wales (North Staffordshire Regt.) in Lichfield and after training at Tidworth and Aldershot the Regiment was declared fully capable and ready for action. By June 1915 they set sail for Gallipoli peninsular. Unfortunately, the troops that were put ashore made no progress against the enemy so in January 1916 the Battalion was evacuated from Gallipoli to Egypt. In late 1916 the regiment arrived in Mesopotamia (now Iraq). After many months of activity in the heat sadly exhaustion took hold of William and on the 20th of July 1917he passed away from Heatstroke. His remains are buried in Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery, Iraq. May he rest in peace. This narrative is written by one of his relatives who still lives in the village. RIP William Martin