A tragic and unusual death


A tragic loss – so young. Life must have been very tough for Ellen after Thomas died. Image by reader Peter.

An interesting enquiry reaches me from longstanding reader, transcriber and all round friend of the blog Peter. Peter has found an interesting headstone in Brookland Road Cemetery, and wondered if we might be interested in (sensitively) finding out a bit more information.

Peter asked:

Hi Bob

Hope you’re well.

I spotted this curious and tragic headstone in the graveyard of St. John’s, Walsall Wood at the bottom end of Brookland Road.

I’m sure there is a story to be told but maybe too sensitive?

I’ll leave it with you if I may

All the very best

Of course, one has to be considerate with such things, and my (and I’m sure all readers) sympathies rest with the Selvey family. However, it’s an unusual event, and I thought it might be interesting to see if this sad occurrance was documented in the press of the day.

It took a bit of finding, and you’ll see why when your read the clipping below from the Lichfield Mercury of Friday, 21st July 1925.

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From the Lichfield Mercury, of Friday, 31st July 1925.

I’ve transcribed the piece at the foot of the article for Google. Interestingly, the piece not only lists Thomas’s surname as Felvey, but lists him as living ‘at Walsall Wood, Rushall, near Walsall’. Was this a common description of Walsall Wood previously? I find it most odd.

Also interesting is the description of the place where Thomas passed away – the ‘public footpath leading from Green Lane to Hall Lane’ – I assume this is the one that goes from opposite the cottages over the steam bridges and emerges on Green Lane just opposite the older semis there.

As ever, sensitive comment is invited, or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com if you’d rather.

Again, my sympathies to the Selvey family.



During a heavy thunderstorm about 7.30pm on Wednesday night, Thomas Felvey(sic) (38). a miner, who lives at Walsall Wood, Rushall, near Walsall, was killed by lightning. He was walking along the public footpath leading from Green Lane to Hall Lane, Walsall Wood, when he was struck down. No one witnessed the actual tragedy, but James Thomas Pinning, who resides at Walsall Wood, found the body in circumstances that leave no doubt as to the cause of the man’s death, for the crown of the man’s cap had a hole in it, and his boots were practically town away from his feet. There were n0(?) marks on the body. Felvey(sic) leaves a widow and two children.

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5 Responses to A tragic and unusual death

  1. Simon Burgess says:

    I used to work with his grandson Mick Selvey who lives in Walsall Wood and his parents live on Green lane

  2. Pedro says:

    Around that time a few people from Walsall Wood were mentioned as being at the Rushall Petty Sessions.

  3. John Anslow says:

    Tom Selvey and his family lived in the row of four terraced houses on Walsall Road, Walsall Wood, roughly where Select Windows and Doors stands today. My grandparents, Abe and Eliza Anslow, lived in the end house on the left, and the Selveys lived two doors to the right.

    I was told that Tom Selvey was struck by lightning and killed while walking across the Jockey Meadows. I heard this from my other grandmother, Mary Jackson, who at that time was living at Deepmore Farm, behind the terrace, not far from where the incident occurred.

    On a lighter note, Tom’s son, also Tom, took part in the D-Day landings and celebrated his 21st birthday on active service in France. His mother had sent him a cake and a bottle of whisky for the occasion, and he was enjoying this when along the road came a soldier from a different regiment whom he recognized immediately: it was Abe and Eliza’s elder son, Abe, from two doors along at home. The pair celebrated the birthday and the reunion by consuming the entire cake and contents of the bottle.

  4. Christine says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! Tom was one of my grandfather Sam’s older brothers. He was one of 11 children born to Samuel and his wife, Catherine (of whom there were a set of triplets and two sets of twins)! Tom’s twin was Joseph and my grandfather’s twin was Edith.

  5. Susan Selvey says:

    Just going through old posts I’m married to Michael Toms grandson

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