Tipton

Remembers

Private 7454 William Henry Homer


Homer William 96 400x600


Died Home on Wednesday, 7th October 1914, age 36.
Buried in Grave "C." 161. at Tipton Cemetery, Staffordshire, United Kingdom.

Royal Warwickshire Regiment (Depot).

Son of Mr and Mrs William Homer, of No. 3 Court, Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: West Bromwich, Resident: Tipton.

Never served abroad.
Medal entitlement: No medal entitlement.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/395348/


Genealogical Data

1901 Census
1 Court 3 House, Providence Street, Tipton, Staffs.
William Homer (44, Iron Worker, born West Bromwich), his wife Elizabeth (42), and their 4 children: William Henry (22, Bar Drawer, born Tipton), Samuel (17, Blacksmith's Striker, born Tipton), Joseph (8, born Tipton), Lizzie Homer (2, born Tipton).

1911 Census
27 Providence Street, Tipton, Staffs.
William Homer (54, Puddler, born West Bromwich), his wife Elizabeth (54), and their 4 surviving children of 10: William Henry (32, Bar Drawer, born Tipton), Samuel (27, Forge Roller, born Tipton), Joseph (18, Cutter-off in Tube Works, born Tipton), Lizzie Homer (12, born Tipton).


Personal Data

William Homer was caught up in the patriotic fervour at the outbreak of the Great War, and enlisted with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on 15th September 1914. William was 36 years old, and according to his father's later testimony, may have been drinking before he enlisted. After just 4 weeks basic training he was allowed leave and returned to his home in Tipton.


Action resulting in his death

It appeared that the prospect of soldiering did not sit easily with William. Just before he was due to return to his Regiment, he committed suicide by tying some bricks around his neck and throwing himself in the canal at Dudley Port. There is some confusion with the dates, as the Commonwealth War Graves records 7th October, but the Tipton Herald records the date as 13th October. William is buried in Tipton Cemetery.


Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 17 October 1914
SOLDIER FOUND DROWNED AT TIPTON
A single man named Mr Thomas Homer (Editor: actually William Henry Homer), of 3 Court, Horseley Heath, was found drowned in the Birmingham Canal at Great Bridge, on Thursday afternoon, with some bricks tied round his neck.
It appears that on September 15th, he joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and went up for training. He returned home on October 13th, sleeping on the couch downstairs. He left home early next morning, shouting "good-bye" to his mother, and was not seen alive again by her. His dead body was found as stated. His body was removed to the mortuary to await an inquest.

Tipton Herald 24 October 1914
TIPTON RECRUIT'S SUICIDE
YOUNG MAN WHO SOON REGRETTED ENLISTING
A single man named William Henry Homer, of 3 Court, Horseley Heath, Tipton, was found drowned in the Birmingham Canal at Great Bridge, on Thursday afternoon, with some bricks tied round his neck, he having committed suicide after returning home from Lichfield where he had joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
An inquest was held on Saturday morning at the "Rising Sun", Horseley Road, before Mr G C Lewis.
William Homer, deceased's father, stated that on Tuesday October 13th, his son came home from Lichfield and slept on the couch that night. On Wednesday morning, at 4.30am, witness was returning from work, and met his son leaving the house by the opening. He explained that he had to be back at Lichfield by 11am, or he would get into bother.
The Coroner: "Do you know anything that would make him want to commit suicide?"
Witness: "I don't think he liked it. I believe he had had some beer when he enlisted, and when he got there he did not like it. I think it caused him to make away with himself."
The Coroner: "Do you think he was sober at 4.30am?"
Witness: "He was perfectly sober, but he appeared to have had some drink overnight."
A Juror: "Did he have any bother with his mother?"
Witness: "No, he bid his mother 'Good morning'."
Thomas Jones, of Denbigh Fields, Tipton, stated that he found the body on Thursday in the canal at Sheepwash Lane, Tipton. There were some bricks tied round the deceased's neck with a bootlace.
Dr. Mason said that death was due to drowning.
A verdict of "Suicide during Temporary Insanity" was returned.