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Thomas, John Edwin

 John Edwin Thomas was born in Bagillt, Flintshire during 1881.

The 1911 Census tells us that he lived at 2 Emlyn Cottages, New Brighton, Bagillt and was employed as a Lead Smelter at Dee Bank Leadworks.  He was married to Annie Thomas and they had two children – John Richard Thomas aged 5 and Joseph Edward Thomas aged 1.

An article appeared in the County Herald Newspaper dated Friday 22 January 1915, on Page 5 which read – The sad news reached Bagillt on Friday morning last of the death of Corporal John Edwin Thomas whose home is at Emlyn Terrace, New Brighton, Bagillt. 

He had left with the 5th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers from Flint for Northampton, where he became seriously ill and was admitted to Northampton General Hospital where he died.   John was well known and respected in Bagillt, where his death is lamented by relatives and friends.  He leaves a widow and three children.   It became known that the family were in exceedingly poor circumstances and it became doubtful whether his remains could be forwarded to Bagillt for internment.  There was immediately a spontaneous movement of sympathy and patriotic loyalty towards the family of one who had died serving his country, and, consequently on Monday the sum of £8 was telegraphed to the authorities in Northampton, whereupon the remains were placed in a splendid coffin and conveyed by the railway to Bagillt Station, where they arrived about 8 am on Tuesday morning.   The money mentioned was secured by means of a collection amongst  the residents and fellow workers at the Leadworks, whilst it is understood some donations were received in small sums from friends in Holywell.

Mr Arthur Jones of Manchester House, Bagiilt, undertook the funeral arrangements at Bagillt and also kindly rendered financial and other assistance to prevent financial burden falling upon the widow and children.

Corporal John Edwin Thomas was accorded a military funeral.  A contingent of the National Reserves Guard at Queensferry Camp under the charge of Colour-Sergeant Joy arrived by train and marched to New Brighton, later 60 recruits marched from Flint Castle Quarters to New Brighton.

The Reverend D Meurig Jones, a Wesleyan Minister conducted the burial service and the coffin was borne by recruits of the Reserves Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, thereafter the National Reserves firing party ‘lined-up’.  They fired three customary volleys over the grave, after which the Last Post was sounded by Bugler Owens of Queensferry.

On 15 September 1915 a payment of £6.2s.8d was made by the War Office to Annie Thomas, this being monies owed to her son John.

He is also remembered on the North Wales Heroes Memorial Arch, Deiniol Road, Bangor, Gwynedd, North Wales.

There is no Flintshire Roll of Honour Card for him at the County Archives Office, Hawarden.   Details of his medals were obtained from Ancestry.co.uk


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