Milborne Port

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poppyOn Tuesday 6th November at 6pm the bell ringers of St John's will commemorate the life of :
William MERRITT died 06.11.1918
Royal Garrison Artillery

Although at the time of his death, Gunner Merritt was with the RGA, at the outbreak of war he was a Regular or Reservist with the Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry and was at the Front at Christmas 1914. We have no details of when he transferred to the RGA or in which battles he saw action.

He died of influenza, aged 22 years, at the No.1 War Hospital in Birmingham and is buried in Milborne Port Cemetery.

His parents, John and Elizabeth, were married in Calne, Wiltshire in 1893. By the 1901 Census they were living at Sansoms Hill, Milborne Port with their two children, Winifred and William, with John working as a blacksmith/farrier. A third child, Elsie, was born in Milborne Port in 1904 but died shortly after her first birthday.

The No.1 War Hospital at Rubery Hill in Birmingham had previously been the City Asylum, together with its annexe at Hollymoor. The Army Council had specified the need for an extra 50,000 beds across the country and it was one of many asylums converted into a military hospital for war casualties as its buildings had the appropriate facilities and it was located near to a railway station.

Rubery Hill, with 1100 beds and Hollymoor, with 930 beds were ready for military casualties by July 1915. At the time it closed in March 1919, Rubery Hill had treated 20,000 men and Hollymoor 16,800 men by its closure a year later.


Of the 30 names listed on the Roll of Honour for Milborne Port and Goathill, and inscribed on the War Memorial in the Churchyard, 28 have been traced and their framed stories will be displayed in the Nave of St. John's Church from 5th November 2018

There are two names for whom the all-important link to Milborne Port or Goathill could not be found:

John Plowright and Cecil White

As their names are solemnly recorded here they, undoubtedly, had a connection with this village.

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