2. The niece of Joseph Chandler, (pictured right) who designed
and built Dudley's Bumble Hole Castle, was found drowned in the canal
at Windmill End, Netherton, locked in the arms of her sweetheart,
Samuel Crew, who was believed to have also died trying to save her.
Phyllis Chandler, aged 21, lived in Bumble Hole Road and her sweetheart,
Mr Crew, (pictured left) also 21, lived in Church Road, Netherton.
A third person involved in the tragedy who also drowned, was Miss
Mary Ann Wells, aged 17, also of Bumble Hole Road.
The inquest into the tragedy heard that Miss Chandler was the
main support of the home as her father was an invalid and was unable
to work as a miner.
Miss Wells was the daughter of a local boatman, who had seven
other children. The Dudley coroner heard that Miss Wells usually
walked along the canalside to the railway station to catch a train
to her work in Birmingham.
Miss Chandler had been due to return home on the night she died
and Mr Crew told her mother he was going to meet her despite fog.
She warned him about the fog but he replied that he knew the district
too well to get into any danger. Neither Mr Crew nor Miss Chandler
The inquest was told that a girl's hat was seen in the canal and
a local labourer stuck a boat hook into the water and brought up
the bodies of the two sweethearts - "locked together".
From the position it ws believed Mr Crew was trying to save the
girl. Two yards away he found the body of the other girl.
The foreman of the inquest jury described the area where the bodies
were found as a "deathtrap". A verdict of "found drowned" was returned.
the Midland Counties Express of Saturday,
January 23, 1915. A further call to arms for
the Midlands' young men.
" We are all fed up with it . . . but it cannot last forever
. . ." A young Wolverhampton soldier who enlisted under age
and was eventually mortally wounded in the Persian Gulf sent the
following letter to his mum from the trenches in September while
fighting in France.
"Dear Mother, Just a line hoping I find all of you in the best
of health as it leaves me and my pal Ben Cooper. No doubt you have
read about the success there has been out here. But I am sorry to
say that a lot of the boys from Darlaston who enlisted about the
same time I did in the HLI (Highland Light Infantry) have been killed
or wounded. But it is to be expected as you cannot get through without
having some loss. But the German losses have been far greater than
ours. I think the hard weather has set in as we have had some terrible
weather these last few days and we have known about it. "We have
been in some trenches what has had no dugouts in, so there was no
chance to get out of it. Only having a waterproof sheet over us
is bad enough. Now I don't know how the winter will be. We shall
know about it then. I hope Annie (presumably a sister) has got quite
well from her illness and father is keeping at work and going on
alright. I expect May and Bill are going on alright and Evelyn doing
well at her place. Tell Jess I hope he is doing well. I have another
parcel from the work. It come yesterday. I was surprised so soon
after the other. It is only three weeks since they sent the other.
But I dare say it is the chaps from the Noaks Ark at Bedworth sending
4 shillings to work for me. I wish it was over. We are all fed up
with it I can tell you. But it cannot last for ever as they are
having some nasty knocks as well. That's what the papers say and
it seems to be good news all round. I think this is all till I write
again so I close now with the best of love and good wishes to all
of you. Frank."
Private Frank Jeavons was buried in Amara Cemetery in Iraq at
the tender age of 18.
DIY fashion to the fore on home front In the grim days of the
war do-it-yourself fashion appeared to have taken a front seat.
The Wolverhampton-based Midland Counties Express gave hints on
home dressmaking in May, pointing out that the necessities of life
may be rising in price but materials had not .
They suggested the latest pattern for a house gown for spring
wear with an umbrella skirt. Another pattern offered "comfortable
matronly knickers" intended for the woman of "generous proportions".
The special design was aiming at comfort and "roominess"