Douglas Bethell was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Bethell of 2 New Road, Stourbridge, and was educated at Stourbridge Grammar School. His father was the County Court cashier and his family later moved to Bright Street, Wollaston. He volunteered in 1915 for the Warwicks and joined the 16th (Service) Battalion, known as the 'Third Birmingham City Battalion'. This battalion was part of the 5th Division and was engaged in strenuous front line service in the 1916 Battle of the Somme. They arrived for the second phase in mid-July and were given the task of attacking Longueval and Delville Wood. Some seven days were spent in this attack, although little ground was gained and casualties were heavy. They returned at the end of August to take part in a major attack on the neighbouring village of Guillemont. The battalion was in reserve on the 3rd September but was brought into action when the first assault on the key point of Falfemont Farm had failed. It was not until two days later that the farm fell, but Lance Corporal Douglas Bethell had been killed in action in the battalion's first assault on the 3rd September. He was 19 years of age and is commemorated on the Thiepval, Stourbridge, Wollaston and King Edward VI College Memorials.
Belfry Drive, Dudley, DY8 3SE
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