Forgotten Kenilworth war heroes will finally be added to town's memorial

Three of the six men to be added to Kenilworth's war memorial. From left: Lance Corporal William Hancox, Driver Frank Thake, and Corporal Timothy Foley.
Three of the six men to be added to Kenilworth's war memorial. From left: Lance Corporal William Hancox, Driver Frank Thake, and Corporal Timothy Foley.

Six forgotten men from Kenilworth who were killed in the First World War will finally be added to the town’s war memorial, 100 years after the end of the conflict.

The names of Thomas William Dilworth, Timothy Laurence Foley, William Jonathan Hancox, William Hubbard, Frank Bernard Thake and John William Woodfield will now be added to the memorial in Abbey Fields thanks to extensive research by Kenilworth historian Susan Tall.

She has been researching the memorial for the last 20 years, and published a book entitled ‘Kenilworth and the Great War’ in 2004 along with Betty Sunley.

Susan said: “I always knew there were people that had been left off.

“I had relatives (of the men) contact me saying ‘why isn’t my grandfather on it?’ I made a list of around 50 men, before gradually getting the list down to six men who, for various reasons, were left off the memorial.”

Susan said many men originally from Kenilworth had been left off the memorial for several reasons, most commonly because the family had moved away from Kenilworth before the war began.

But the six men now being added to the memorial had stronger connections to Kenilworth than others.

For example, William Hancox, a Lance Corporal in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was reportedly the first man from Kenilworth to be killed in the First World War. Incredibly, his name was not added to the memorial after the war.

And Susan’s research indicated it was a mystery why his name was not on the memorial.

The other five men all had good reasons to be included on the memorial, such as strong familial ties to the town or not being on any other memorials despite their Kenilworth connections.

Susan added: “It is very important for us in Kenilworth to remember these men, particularly with the 100th anniversary of the Armistice this year. They were part of our town and need to be remembered generation by generation for their sacrifice.”

On Saturday November 3, relatives of the six men will head to memorial for a small ceremony to reveal the names.

Cllr George Illingworth, chairman of the Kenilworth branch of the Royal British Legion, said although the event will obviously be in a public place, he hoped people would respect the privacy of the people invited.

He added: “We’ve invited the families of the six men to the memorial, and this is for the benefit of the them.”

Although several relatives will be going, L-Cpl Hancox will have 17 members of his family turning up on the day, including his great-grandson.

The six men

Pte Thomas Dillworth - born 1893, died of wounds in June 1915. Lived in Rosemary Hill.

Cpl Timothy Foley - born 1891, killed in action in October 1914. mother lived in School Lane.

L-Cpl William Hancox - born 1887, killed in action in September 1914. Father lived in Windy Arbour.

Pte William Hubbard - born 1861, died in February 1919. lived in albion street.

Dvr Frank Thake - birth date unknown, died in March 1921. Married Katherine from Fieldgate Lane.

CSM John Woodfield - born 1891, died March 1921. lived in Arthur Street.