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Bentley Heath resident puts a name to village's unknown war hero

Former Chadwick End resident Eileen Harris has come up with the name of the village’s unknown war hero

Former Chadwick End resident Eileen Harris has come up with the name of the village’s unknown war hero.

Not only that, she can picture him in her mind even to this day.

Last week we told how the Chinn family were determined to make a lasting memorial to the only resident of Chadwick End who died in the Second World War but all they knew was that his surname was Jones.

Eileen (nee Duffin) called the Solihull News office on Friday night as soon as she saw our appeal.

“His name was Sydney and I used to go down and see his mum,” she said.

“I can picture him now - he was a few years older than me of course, he had dark hair, tallish and slim.

“His family lived in the second of the block of four houses known as Chad Villas. I think he died in an air raid over Essen, he could only have been about 20. I remember everyone in the village back then.”

Eileen, a mother of two and grandmother of four, left the village aged 23 when she married her husband George, the couple moving to Bentley Heath.

“I was at the funeral of Margaret (the last of the Chinn sisters) and her husband Charles was adamant that it was her wish that there should be something in the little wood for the man who died during the war, and I can still picture him today.”

Lillian Poole said Sydney had been a friend of her husband Neville before he was killed while acting as a gunner on bomber command in 1944.

“He would have been 88 if he was alive today,” said Mrs Poole, who now lives in Knowle. “When he went off leave that last time, they were at New Street Station and Syd said ‘Goodbye Neville,’ and that was something you don’t say in the war. And Neville said, no say ‘Cheerio Syd, I’ll be seeing you.’ “And he said ‘no, goodbye Neville, I won’t be coming back this time.’

“That haunted my husband all his life because his friend had known he wasn’t coming back.

“His mother never gave up waiting for him. She would wait at the end of the gate. He was her only son.

“I don’t think there is any living family left.”

 

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