Harold John Fellows Private 1117 - 14th Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment Killed in action on Saturday 22nd July 1916, age 29. No known grave but is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France Harold John Fellows was born in the first quarter 1887 in Darlaston, to Joseph Fellows, aged 29 and from Wednesbury and Helen Marion nee Middleton from Birmingham. She was 25. In 1891 the family were living at 49, Walsall Road, Darlaston. Joseph was working as a solicitor’s clerk and Helen was a mistress in a small private school. Harold was the only child at home; and there was a 12-year-old maid servant. In 1901 the family had moved to 182 Rooth Street, Wednesbury. Joseph was still a solicitor’s clerk. Helen was not now working, and Harold had a younger brother Arnold Edward; there was a 15-year-old maid servant. In 1911 Harold was living with his father at 35 Joynson Street, Kings Hill, Wednesbury. Joseph was still working as a solicitor’s clerk, Harold as a bank clerk, and his younger brother Arnold Edward. Joseph’s sister-in-law Alice Maud Mary Middleton was with them. Helen was being treated in hospital. In late 1912 Harold married Annie Louise Greening, who has strong Gnosall links. She had been born in Stafford 1887 to William Henry Greening and Louisa nee Bridgwood from Bednall. After William Greening died in 1888, Louisa ran the Horns Hotel on Gnosall High Street and she was listed there in 1891 with 3-year-old daughter Annie. Later that year Louisa married William Morrey (who ran a grocery store and Post Office in the High Street). He died in 1904, and in 1911 Annie was living in Sutton Coldfield with her widowed mother Louisa Morrey. It was in Sutton Coldfield that Harold enlisted as Private 1117 in the 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment and went with his regiment to France on 21 st  November 1815. He was killed in action on the Somme, Saturday 22nd July 1916, age 29. He was awarded the 1915 Star, Victory and British medals. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France, Pier and Face 9 A 9 B and 10 B. “Son of Joseph and Helen Marion Fellows, of 68, Charlotte St., Walsall, Staffs; husband of Annie Louise Fellows, of Audmore, Gnosall, Stafford.” On 7 th  October 1916, the Birmingham Daily Mail reported “Previously reported wounded, now reported wounded and missing – Royal Warwickshire Regiment: Fellows, H J 1117 (Sutton Coldfield)”, underlining the uncertainty for those waiting at home for news. Historical Information On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, thirteen divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained. At the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured. The village had been an original objective of 1 July. Attacks north and east continued throughout October and into November in increasingly difficult weather conditions. The Battle of the Somme finally ended on 18 November with the onset of winter. In the spring of 1917, the German forces fell back to their newly prepared defences, the Hindenburg Line, and there were no further significant engagements in the Somme sector until the Germans mounted their major offensive in March 1918. The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. The memorial also serves as an Anglo-French Battle Memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive and a small cemetery containing equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves lies at the foot of the memorial.
Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.