1916 by Estelle Mzz

This lovely but sad story was posted in sections to our THOW Face book page. I didn’t want to change a thing, so you see it as it was posted.


The Great Zeppelin Raid – Wednesbury 31st January to 1st February 1916
1916 is a year to remember for Wednesbury.
I refer to 1916 because it was a hard time, our brave Wednesbury lads had gone off to fight and many not conscripted, but went willingly to fight for our freedom, family and way of life.
January 31st to 1st February Wednesbury was hit bad when The Great Zeppelin raid came. I though it was very sad that the people who died were never remembered in a marked grave of any kind. All 13 of these poor souls were buried together in a grassed area in Wood Green Cemetery. The interesting update in 2003 remarks that this page is the only one that remembers them by name
So, in case you haven’t seen the web site I have listed the names to remember and say a prayer:
January 31st, 1916
Mary Ann Lee, aged 59
Rachel Higgs, aged 36
Frank Thompson Linney, aged 36
Susan Howells, aged 30
Matilda Mary Burt, aged 10*
Joseph Horton Smith, aged 37
Ina Smith, aged 7
Nellie Smith, aged 13
Thomas Horton Smith, aged 11
Mary Emma Evans, aged 5
Edward Shilton, aged 33
Betsy Shilton, aged 39
Albert Gordon Madeley, aged 21
Hellfire Corner Web site further notes:
In November 2012 a new memorial appeared in Wood Green Cemetery, commemorating the victims of the Zeppelin raid. There was no prior announcement of the placing of the memorial in the cemetery and at the time of writing (December 4th) no-one knows who provided it. No doubt the identity of the donor will become known in due course.
What a great act of kindness to the families of these Wednesbury folk. God Bless the person who has placed this stone here
Now I haven’t quite finished about my story of Wednesbury and the eventful year of 1916. Wednesbury was hit with Zeppelin raid and deaths, everyone in Wednesbury would have known someone in a family who never returned from the front line. Then the terrible news of the tragedy of the fallen on the first day of the battle of the Somme. 58,000 men during the battle fell, the bravest and the best of British men and boys, a third of that number fell on the first day. On a personal note, my husbands two uncles both died only in their 20s during this battle, and his grandmother’s brother also died. We cannot imagine how Wednesbury folk would have carried on as morale must have been at an all time low. I will continue my story on 1916 on another post…….to be continued…
1916 continued….There was a thing called the moving image,Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplain and all these on the screen in the very first cinema in Wednesbury….with all our technology we cannot imagine how exciting this must have been, The Picture House opened in Walsall Street on 25th March, 1915. In 1938 its name was changed to the Gaumont. The sight of a train coming towards you would make people scream and even faint.
….continued…with the new moving pictures came people who toured the country with their new technology of the moving image, they would look for events all over the country, and go along and film these events, then show the film in the town it was filmed in, imagine seeing yourself on the local cinema….what excitement, I would love to be a fly on the wall to see their faces. These film entrepreneurs at the start of cinematic history gave us images of life of ordinary people. Now for the best bit Wednesbury ….
…1916 had one bright spark in the darkness of such a fateful year…News of a Wednesbury man (my great uncle) Joseph Davies had been awarded the Victoria Cross. This must have been a boost to morale for the town and the country. These travelling film makers heard of Joseph Davies, and came to Wednesbury on the day he returned at Wednesbury Train Station, to greet him was his Mother and grandmother, imagine my excitement when I saw this film for the first time….to see the faces in motion of my great grandmother and her mother. Because of copyright I have been allowed to have a copy, this took me 11 years to continually beg for it. A few months ago I pleaded for the last time, but with copyright I cannot upload the video, it’s available for my family to view anytime. However, I have got round this and been able to take some snapshots from the day. Enjoy the following images xxxx
Joseph arrived at Wednesbury Railway 1916 and crowds throng the streets waiting to see their hero..
Joseph arrived at Wednesbury Railway 1916 and crowds throng the streets waiting to see their hero.

meetingThe mayor and dignitries of Wednesbury greet Jo

The mayor and dignitaries of Wednesbury greet Jo.

And they all head off in a horse drawn carriage around the crowds and accompanied with bands and marching men, I cried the first time I saw this my grandmothers mother and grandmotherThe who of Wednesbury hang out of windows and crowd the entire town flying their flags and waving

And they all head off in a horse drawn carriage around the crowds and accompanied with bands and marching men, I cried the first time I saw this my grandmothers mother and grandmother.

and more crowds And more crowds!

Posted in WW1

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