“If you think, have a kindly thought, If you speak, speak generously, Of those who as heroes fought And died to keep you free”
Set up by the Black Country Society. Our aim is to highlight local men who died in the Great War and how they have been commemorated on war memorials. Its scope covers the whole of the present Dudley Municipal Borough and therefore includes the places which have come within its bounds since 1914.
There are over fifty memorials and the number of names exceeds three thousand. Research on the names has been extensive but inevitably errors and omissions occur. We would like to hear about them concentrated on life and work before 1914, involvement in military campaigns and where each man is buried or commemorated.
Robert Willetts was born in Lancaster and came to live in Halesowen. He was a pre-war soldier with the Worcesters and fought in the Boer War. He was probably working for Walter Somers and Co. in 1914 and was then recalled from the Reserve in August 1914 to join the 2nd Battalion. They crossed the Channel on the 12th August and reached Mons in Belgium. The Retreat from Mons took them as far as the Marne but their counter-attack on the Aisne saved the Allies and stabilised the front line. The German plan for a quick victory had been wrecked. In Flanders they halted the next German attack by the brave fight at Gheluvelt which saved Ypres. In 1915 they fought in the Spring battle at Festubert in Artois. In the Autumn they were in the second line at the Battle of Loos which opened on the 25th September. When the first attack had been repulsed, they attacked at 4.15 p.m. on the second day. German defences were too strong and heavy losses were sustained. Lance Sergeant Robert Willetts was killed in action on the 26th September and is commemorated on the Loos, Halesowen, and Walter Somers and Co. Memorials.Search our Biographies