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War Memorials

In Memory of
3rd Air Mechanic 284971
Royal Air Force
Who Died on Wednesday, 30th October 1918
Age 25

Grave A E5 8
Beeston Cemetery, Beeston, Nottinghamshire

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Remembered with Honour
Solloway - Beeston

Beeston Cemetery, Nottinghamshire

Vincent Joseph Solloway was born in Beeston, Nottinghamshire in 18931, the thirteenth of fourteen children, of John (b. 1847, Stourbridge, Worcestershire) and Bridget Helen (b. 1850, Dudley, Staffordshire, née Mulleedy). The couple had married in 1868 in Stourbridge2 and had lived for a time in Hazel Grove, Cheshire before settling in Beeston in about 1880. In 1901, they were living at 3 Lower Regent Street, Beeston with John working, as he was to do for most of his working life, as a gardener, now on his own account. Nine of their children were then living at home3. In 1911, John and Bridget, now with just their three youngest children - including Vincent- were still at the same address. By then the 17-year-old Vincent had started work as a cabinet maker4. Soon after this, the family moved to 10 Middle Street, Beeston where Bridget appears to have lived out her life5.

Vincent enlisted with the Lincolnshire Regiment in Nottingham on 2 November 1915 and, a week later, joined 9th Battalion for basic training at Brocton Camp on Cannock Chase, Staffordshire. However, by the following March, it appears that it became evident that he was medically unfit to serve. After receipt of confirmation that he had been treated at Nottingham General Hospital in 1909 for 'chorea and epilepsy' he was discharged on medical grounds on 25 March 19166. By this time, Vincent had developed skills as a capstan/turret lathe operator and there would be little doubt that his skills would then have been put to good use in the munitions industry now that he was back in civilian life.

When, on 1st April 1918, the Royal Air Force was founded by the merging of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service, Vincent appears to have seen another chance to serve. Able to offer his skills as a turret lathe operator, he again attested on 15th August 19187, was accepted and was posted as an Air Mechanic Third Class to 'H' Section, the Halton air mechanics training school which had been established there in 1916 and was, from 1917, accommodated in purpose-built workshops. Sadly, his service was once again to be cut-short by illness when, in October he was admitted to the Central Military Hospital in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire and died there on 30 October 19188. His body was returned to Beeston where he was buried in the cemetery where his memorial survives and is cared for by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Air Mechanic Solloway's financial effects of 3 19 3d were paid to his mother on 13 August 1919. Although the normal War Gratuity payment was deemed to be 'not admissible', a Supplementary payment of 1 10s was paid to her on 21 June 19209.

Members of the family, largely without exception, lived out their lives in Beeston. Full confirmation as to when John Solloway, Vincent's father, died has not been found. It may have been in 1917 although this is contradicted by Vincent recording him as his next-of-kin when he enlisted with the RAF in 1918. Bridget Solloway, Vincent's mother, died in July 1938, aged 88. She is buried in Beeston Cemetery where her funeral was attended by six surviving sons and daughters and their wives and husbands along with twenty grandchildren as well as many friends, particularly from the local Roman Catholic community with which she had been an ardent worker for 50 years10.

1His birth on 10 August 1893 was registered in Basford Registration District (of which Beeston was part) in Q3/1893(Ref 7b 223). He was baptised at St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Nottingham on 10 September 1893.
2They married at Trinity Parish Church, Amblecote, Staffordshire on 19 October 1838.
3Beeston, Notts, 1901 Census, Piece 3153 Folios 137-8.
Vincent's siblings were Martha (1869-1907), Ellen Jane (b. 1870), Annie Elizabeth (b. c1875), Benjamin John (b. c1876), Francis Ambrose (1881-1900), John Henry b. c1883), Ivan Bernard (b. 1885), Agnes Maria (b. c1887), Lawrence Herbert (b. c1889), Frederic Augustus (b. 1891) and Teresa Winifred (b. 1895). Two others, currently unidentified, probably died as infants.
4Beeston, Notts, 1911 Census, Piece 20432 RD429, SD3, ED7, Schedule 167.
5This appears as their address on Vincent's Service Records, on his Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial page and for Bridget's entry on the Electoral Roll in 1921 and 1930.
6Detail of his enlistment and subsequent discharge are from his Army Service Record which can be seen on ancestry.com. His Service Number when with the Lincolnshire Regiment was 19128.
7Details of his enlistment and service with the RAF are recorded in his Airman Record which may be seen at findmypast.co.uk.
8His death was registered in Aylesbury Registration District in Q4/1918 (Ref 3a 2060) - age 25. The cause of his death is not recorded in his Service Record and the death certificate has not been examined but, given that the country was then in the grip of a deadly period of Spanish flu which killed a large part of the population, it is likely that that was the cause.
9Details from "Army Register of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929" - available on ancestry.com.
10Details of the family in the post-war period are derived from standard genealogical sources. An account of Bridget's funeral appeared in the Nottingham Journal of 7th July 1938.

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