Wesleyan Methodist Student Ministers died in War Service 1916-17
Reginald Frank Letty – Service No 6027He was born in Harlesden, Middlesex c1894, the son of William and Susan Letty. Before entering Handsworth College in 1914, Letty had been employed as an apprentice in a firm making steam engines.
Reginald enlisted with the Royal Army Medical Corps before enlisting as a Rifleman with the 2/17th Battalion London Regiment. Reginald Letty was killed in action on 12 September 1916 and is buried in Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Mont-St Eloi, Pas de Calais, France.
Robert Freeman Andrews – Service No Y/207. Robert Freeman was the son of WM minister Rev Charles William and Ellen Andrews. He was born in Syston, Leicester 7 April 1892. Before candidating for the ministry, Andrews had been employed as an insurance clerk.
Freeman served as a L/Cpl with the Kings Royal Rifle Corps before service as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 10th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Robert Andrews died on 15 November 1916 and is buried in Frankfurt Trench British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel, Somme, France.
Mark Sanderson Watson MA – was born in Chester 15 May 1895. His parents were Rev Richard William and Isabel Watson. Mark graduated from Glasgow University with an M.A.
Watson was accepted as a candidate for the WM ministry and had a place at Didsbury College, but chose instead to enlist. He became a 2nd Lieutenant in the Highland Light Infantry before he was killed in action in Mesopotamia on 11 January 1917. Mark Watson is commemorated on the Basra Memorial, Iraq.
Henry Oscar Parkinson – Service No 1924. Henry Oscar Parkinson was born in 1891. He was the son of William and Hannah Maria Parksinon and baptised on 21 July 1891. Parkinson worked as an unqualified teacher before entering Handsworth College.
Parkinson served with 17th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. H Oscar Parkinson died on 14 February 1917 and is buried in Aveluy Communal Cemetery Extension on the Somme in France.
Bernard Wilkinson – Service No 62. Bernard Wilkinson was born in 1891, the son of Frederick John and Martha Wilkinson of Hoyland Common, Barnsley. Wilkinson entered Handsworth College in 1913.
Bernard Wilkinson enlisted with the Royal Army Medical Corps before being gazetted a Lieutenant in ‘A’ Company, 1/6th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment. Wilkinson was mentioned in Despatches. Bernard Wilkinson died 6 June 1917 and is buried in Maroc British Cemetery, Grenay, Pas de Calais, France.
Walter Elmslie Hawkins BSc – Service No 49461. Walter Hawkins was the son of WM minister Rev Walter and Ann Elizabeth Hawkins. He was born in London c1892. Hawkins gained a BSc at London University before entering Richmond College.
Hawkins served as a Lieutenant in the 8th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. At the time of his death he was residing in Edgbaston. Hawkins died 8 June 1917 and is buried in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
Sources: Minutes of Wesleyan Methodist Conference 1917; Census Records; Commonwealth War Graves commission Casualty details; De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-1919.