Just who was Benton, and what’s he doing in my Lane?

Hoping to address something that could be tackled without extensive visits to an archive or library, due to Captain Covid still causing so much disruption, I started to look at writing a set of articles on village and family tradition rather than what some would call hard fact. The purpose of this, the first article, is to try at a very fun level (well, mostly fun at least) to find a little of the relationship between fact, tradition and folklore (and by this, I mean pure myth) when looking at some of the road names within the village… https://wp.me/P4ui4e-1MF

The 1854 Court-Martial of Lt Perry: National Army Museum


The second part of the Private Wood (Bloxwich and Walsall) story, dealing with the horrors of the Crimean War, the Greek islands, India and medical retirement – before returning home to Walsall. Things, however, would not run smoothly for the Woods and separation followed after the painful loss of daughter Ellen in an accident… https://wp.me/P4ui4e-1Bf

Soldiers of the 46th Foot around 1850, when James Wood had already served 11 years. Unknown (possibly Richard Cannon)


I fell upon an article in the Staffordshire Advertiser on 13 October 1855 that was a letter written by a Bloxwich soldier – Private James Wood of the 46th Regiment of Foot – to his wife and family in Walsall. After finding his military records, I thought I would tackle a mini-biography of a soldier from the days of red coats, muskets and miniés who saw service all over the world and ended his days as a Chelsea pensioner… https://wp.me/P4ui4e-1Iq

Willenhall plaques to those of the parish that served and listing those that died in the Boer War.
Photograph: P Ford


Conclusions: this dissertation seeks to compare attitudes in Walsall between the Crimean War and the Great War to see if there are discernible patterns of behaviour towards the military, war and displayed ordnance, while at the same time to superficially place Walsall’s experience into the academic debates on cultural mourning… https://wp.me/P4ui4e-1Fp

Alderman Sutton moved the tank be disposed of on 30 July 1934, it was carried after some discussion W06415: Walsall Local History Centre


The section moves Walsall into the post-war era regarding making sense of and remembering the war, with emphasis on the collection and display of war ephemera. It examines the immediate post-war melting pot of identifying and delivering on acceptable forms of remembrance, transient and permanent, to represent the fallen, the survivors and the conflict. Walsall, it will be shown, is not unique… https://wp.me/P4ui4e-1Fn

Mayor Slater and party, with Julian the tank bank, in Walsall, 1918. Walsall Local History Centre

Part Five: this section looks at the Walsall experience of military ephemera during the years of conflict (tank banks, crashed aircraft, captured guns and Zeppelins), with the aim of understanding what emotions were experienced by Walsall people when confronted with militaria (friendly or hostile), and whether Walsall was unusual in these emotions… https://wp.me/P4ui4e-1Fk

The Reedswood tank sometime between 1925 and 1934. W05861: Walsall Local History Centre

PART 4: opens with a review of changes in Walsall and the army between the Crimea and WWI, then Walsall’s experience of WWI in general… https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/?page_id=6402&preview=true

Walsall’s Crimean cannon feature, with clock and fountain, at the Bridge, circa 1865.

Part Three covers the lengthy and messy process that Walsall undertook to obtain and then find a site for its war cannon, without ever really having a view of what they mean’t, followed by the story of their rapid demise…. https://wp.me/P4ui4e-1Fc

Wolverhampton cannon, circa 1862. An example of a local town centre cannon monument (now Queen Square), simply mounted on a plinth. The statue of Prince Albert replaced the cannon in 1866

The second part of this article looks at Walsall’s experiences and views of the Crimean War, how and why Russian cannon came to Britain, and why towns like Walsall, Wolverhampton, Coventry, Ludlow and Hereford sought to use them as features in public spaces… https://wp.me/P4ui4e-1F8

William Meikle’s painting of the Crimean feature in Walsall (1938). Meikle was born in Tipton around 1858, but moved to Walsall in the 1860s. He would remember the feature. He died, at the age of 84, in 1943.
Acc 63/6: Walsall Local History Centre


Walsall displayed and then destroyed its Crimean and Great War ordnance and the purpose of this series of articles is to understand what such things meant and why attitudes changed… https://wp.me/P4ui4e-1EK