Regiment : 16th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Service number : 1210
Conflict : WW1
Date of death : Killed in action on 3rd September 1916
Buried : Commemorated on Thiepval Memorial, France, Pier and Face 9A 9B and 10B.
Birthplace : Stourbridge, Worcestershire, resident Wollaston, Worcestershire, enlisted Birmingham
Memorial : Stourbridge War Memorial
Also appears on : Stourbridge King Edward VI Grammar School WW1 Memorial. Wollaston St James's Church.
Credits : Researched by The Black Country Society. School records courtesy of King Edward VI school archives, researched by Sandra Taylor.
Douglas Bethell was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Bethell of 2 New Road, Stourbridge, and was educated at Stourbridge Grammar School. His father was the County Court cashier and his family later moved to Bright Street, Wollaston. He volunteered in 1915 for the Warwicks and joined the 16th (Service) Battalion, known as the ‘Third Birmingham City Battalion’. This battalion was part of the 5th Division and was engaged in strenuous front line service in the 1916 Battle of the Somme. They arrived for the second phase in mid-July and were given the task of attacking Longueval and Delville Wood. Some seven days were spent in this attack, although little ground was gained and casualties were heavy. They returned at the end of August to take part in a major attack on the neighbouring village of Guillemont. The battalion was in reserve on the 3rd September but was brought into action when the first assault on the key point of Falfemont Farm had failed. It was not until two days later that the farm fell, but Lance Corporal Douglas Bethell had been killed in action in the battalion’s first assault on the 3rd September. He was 19 years of age.
Douglas Bethell was born on 30th October 1896. He entered Form III as a Day Scholar at King Edward VI Grammar School on 17th September 1908 through a scholarship awarded by the Trustees of William Scott. At the time of his admission to the school his father is recorded as T.D. Bethell, a cashier at the County Court, and the family resided at 9 Bright Street, Wollaston, Worcestershire. Douglas had previously been educated at Hill St Council School (Elementary). In July 1911 he sat the Cambridge Local Junior Examination obtaining a 2nd Class Honours, in the same exam in 1912 he gained a 1st Class Honours. He left King Edward VI Grammar School from Form VI G on 26th February 1914 and took employment as a clerk in an insurance office.
From King Edward VI Grammar School war record booklet:
Pte., 16th Battn. Royal Warwickshire Regt.; killed at Battle of the Somme, September 1916.
Douglas Bethell has no known grave, the photograph available shows his name on Thiepval Memorial.