Coleshill Remembers World War 1
As a free service to the World War 1 commemoration year, ST-IT Limited have created and are hosting a free database of Coleshill connected veterans.
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Entry for Captain Benjamin Needham
2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment
Year of Birth
Date of Death
Benjamin Llewellyn Needham was born in 1881 and was the second youngest child of Jonathan and Catherine Louisa Needham of High Street, Coleshill. Jonathan Needham was a Workhouse Master in 1871 and by 1891 he was the Registrar of Births and Deaths, a position which he held until his retirement. Benjamin appears to have left home quite young, and at the time of his marriage in 1910, was already a soldier, living at the Barossa Barracks in Aldershot. On 2nd February 1910 he married Muriel May Hurst at Hounslow, Middlesex. They were both living at the Victoria Barracks, Portsmouth at the time of the 1911 census, along with their baby son Eric Randolf Needham, who was born in Portsea in 1910. They had a second child, Kenneth Norman Needham, who was born in Brentford, Middlesex, in 1915. Benjamin was in the 2nd Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment and landed at Le Havre on the 6th November 1914. Captain Benjamin Llewellyn Needham was killed in action on the 1st July 1916. He was awarded the Victory, British and 1914 Star medals and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, France.
Coleshill Chronicle 1st April 1916 Military News “Lieut. Ben Needham was gazetted captain in the 2nd Lincolnshire Regiment (now at the front) on February 14th. This further promotion for a Coleshill solider will be a matter of interest to his many friends in the district.”
Coleshill Chronicle 22nd July 1916 DEATH OF CAPTAIN NEEDHAM KILLED DURING THE GREAT ADVANCE “It is with deep regret we record the death of Captain B. L. Needham, 2nd Lincoln Regiment, who was killed in action on July 1st, during the great offensive movement by the British Forces. The deceased was the son of Mrs. Needham and the late Mr. J. Needham, who was Registrar for Coleshill District, and received his education at Coleshill Grammar School. He joined the army on the outbreak of the Boer War, and subsequently went with his regiment (the Lincolns) to Gibraltar and Bermuda at the outbreak of the present war, and landed in France in November, 1914, where Mr. Needham was at once promoted from quarter-master-sergeant to second lieutenant. He was wounded at Neuve Chapelle, and after recovery went back last autumn at his own request, and was promoted to a lieutenancy. In February he was given the rank of captain. He leaves a wife and three young children. In a letter to Captain Needham’s wife Lieut.-Colonel Bastard says:- ‘Dear Mrs. Needham, - It is with the deepest sorrow I write to tell you I am afraid your husband is killed. He was seen to fall, hit through the head, by Lieut. Lilley and several of the company, and from the inquiries I have made I am afraid there is no hope. I don’t think even you can know what a loss he is to the regiment; the way he ran his company was beyond praise, and he made it the best in the battalion. His men did splendidly the day of the attack, which was greatly due to his excellent training; and I am sure he died as he would have wished – leading the men he loved and who loved him to the assault. I have lost a real good officer and friend in him, and so can realise what your loss must be. He was just fine, and an inestimable loss to us and the regiment. - Yours sincerely (signed) R. Bastard, Lieut.-Colonel.’ Another brother, Sergt.-Major Needham, R.F.A., has just landed in France after service in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia.”
Coleshill Chronicle 22nd July 1916 ROLL OF HONOUR OFFICERS KILLED CAPTAIN B. L. NEEDHAM Captain B. L. Needham, Lincolnshire Regiment (officially reported killed), was a brother of Mr H R Needham, Salisbury Road, Saltley. He was educated a t Coleshill Grammar School. He leaves a widow and three young children and a widowed mother, who live at Coleshill. Another brother is a sergeant-major in the R.F.A. In a letter to Mrs Needham Lieut.-Colonel Bastard says: “I don’t think even you can know what a loss he is to the regiment. The way he ran his company was beyond praise, and he made it the best in the battalion. His men did splendidly the day of the attack, which was greatly due to his excellent training, and I am sure he died as he would have wished, leading the men he loved and who loved him to the assault.”
Coleshill Chronicle 7th November 1914 PROMOTION FOR COLESHILL SOLDIER During the present week news has been received that Benjamin Llewellyn Needham, of Coleshill, Quartermaster-Sergeant, now on active service with the 2nd Lincolnshire Regiment at the war, has been promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. He joined his present regiment during the South African war, and took part in the fighting just before the conclusion of that war. He has been in Bermuda for two years, the regiment being recalled at the commencement of hostilities. His many friends in Coleshill will be pleased to hear of his success, and will join in the wish that he may be spared to enjoy the benefits of it.
Coleshill Chronicle 20th March 1915 COLESHILL AND THE WAR Lieut. B. L. Needham was wounded in the right arm and shoulder on Wednesday last while leading his men into action. He is now in hospital at Sussex Lodge, Regent’s Park.
Captain Needham is also remembered on the Memorial in The Coleshill School.