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History society seeks help with soldier research

Posted on July 31 2017 at 12:16:42

Village readers may remember articles in September 2016 and April 2017 about the Hidden First World War Heritage of the Lickey Hills project, sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

We are making steady progress, recording the buildings and clearing vegetation from the gun butts and the toilet block. We have also been given some fascinating early photos from 1918.

However, research on what happened on the site, which military unit was involved and who built the structures is proving rather more difficult. So we are thinking laterally!

The Lickey Hills Local History Society has been researching the names on the local war memorials for several years. One name on the Barnt Green memorial proved elusive until recently: Sapper John Joseph McCarthy, no WR/602102 Royal Engineers.

He appears to be from Dublin, though he enlisted in Ontario, Canada. He married Nellie Hooper of Hewell Road, Barnt Green, in the autumn of 1917.

As we know that the Bilberry Hill Gun Proof Range was being built in 1917, maybe he was involved in the work. He died in a Military Hospital in Sandwich, Kent, in October 1918.

If anyone knows more about this soldier – or about the building of the Range – please contact us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), on 0121 453 5838 or at 36 Rose Hill, Lickey B45 8RR.

If you would like to find out more about the project – and other aspects of local history – come along to our Open Weekend on September 16 and 17 at the Visitor Centre, Warren Lane B45 8ER [click here for more details].

Jill Harvey, Lickey Hills Local History Society


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