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20th May, 2022

Redditch church organist and more who fought and died for his country

A PROFILE of a Redditch soldier killed 100 years ago this week in the First World War was read out on Palm Sunday at St Philip’s Church, Webheath.

Edward Farley Hunt was organist at the church from 1912 and died on the Western Front, in the midst of the German Spring Offensive, on March 26, 1918.

He was born in Webheath in 1893, the son of William and Annie Hunt. His father was a needle hook maker and his mum a housekeeper.

By the 1911 census Edwards was working as a fishing reel maker and during the war served in the 13th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment, known as the Forest of Dean Pioneers.

His unit had been preparing fortifications around Templeux-le-Fosse north west of St Quentin when the German attack came through.

The result was devastating. More than 300 men of the Pioneers were killed, wounded or were missing. Casualties were so bad they had to be withdrawn and formed into a ‘composite battalion’ which was itself suffered so many losses it was amalgamated with another unit.

Edward is remembered to day on the War Memorials at The Bridge Church in Headless Cross and at Webheath Church.

Dolphin is an old Redditch name, and Alfred Charles Dolphin was a Redditch man, born in 1882 in Headless Cross.

He was the son of Ralph and Emma Dolphin, his father working as a needle finisher and his mum as a needle envelope maker.

The family lived at 208 Evesham Road before moving to Oswald Street and then later to 1 West Avenue.

Alfred married Alice Louisa Dolphin, of The Mayfield in Redditch and before the war worked as a house painter.

The couple had a daughter, Ethel, who was just eight when her father died.

Alfred was killed, aged 35, on March 27. His body was never found but he is remembered today on the Pozieres Memorial, north west of St Quentin in France, and on the War Memorials at The Bridge Church and at St Stephen’s.

Fred Parsons was just 22 when he was killed, on March 28, 1918.

The son of Matthew Henry and Alice Parsons, he was one of 13 children, three of whom died in infancy.

He was born in Headless Cross in 1896 and the family lived in Clifton House, Ipsley Street, near the town centre.

His father worked as a gardener and in the 1911 census young Fred, aged 15, is described as working as a butcher.

He served as a driver with the Royal Field Artillery and was killed in action, most likely by a German counter battery.

He is buried in the Anzin – St Aubin British Cemetery near Arras and is remembered today on the St Stephen’s War Memorial.

The war diary of the 1st Battalion Somerset Light Infantry records how, on March 29, 1918, they suffered 83 casualties as they attempted to push back the German advance west of Arras.

Among the dead was Redditch man Harry Clark, who was born in 1895 in Hunt End.

One of six children, he was the eldest son of George and Emma Clark and the family lived at 16 Brockhill Lane.

The war diary tells how throughout March 28 Harry’s unit had been heavily pinned down by artillery fire before moving up into ‘Pudding’ and ‘Port’ trenches the following day.

Here they successfully counter attacked the Germans before once again being targeted by shellfire coming from higher ground.

Harry is remembered today on the Astwood Bank War Memorial.

With thanks to:

Remembering Redditch’s Fallen Heroes

http://www.soldiersofglos.com/

http://www.rememberthefallen.co.uk/

https://archive.org/stream/somersettinfantry00majeuoft/somersettinfantry00majeuoft_djvu.txt

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