King Edward’s School and the Great War

Memorial Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918


Onions, William Leslie

Private ▪ 1st Birmingham Pals, 14th Royal Warwickshire Regiment

William Leslie Onions, born on the 27th March 1894, was admitted to King Edward’s School in January 1904 at just 9 years of age. He lived with his mother, Evelyn, his father, William, a Flour Millers Traveller, his younger sister, Ethel, his grandparents and his aunt, Bertha. They all lived at ‘Hillside’, Lichfield Road, Four Oaks.

William attended the School for a total of 7 years and in January 1910 he was awarded a Foundation Scholarship possibly due to his flair for science and languages. The Chronicles suggest that he did not partake in a great deal of sport whilst at School; however he was Captain of Sutton Coldfield Hockey Club’s 2nd team. On leaving School, he was articled to Messrs Sharp, Parsons and Co, Chartered Accountants of Colmore Row, Birmingham.

In 1914, William enlisted as a Private Soldier in the 1st Birmingham Pals Battalion (14th Royal Warwickshire Regiment), alongside many of his peers from King Edward’s. He was reported missing on the 23rd July 1916 at the Battle of the Somme, although his death was not officially confirmed until December of the same year. His body was never recovered and consequently he has no known grave. However, William is commemorated on the Thiepval War Memorial and in St James’ Church Lists, Sutton Coldfield.