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Ankers, Stephen

Stephen Ankers, a Private in the 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusilier was embodied on the 1st November 1914 and joined his Bn on the 8th November 1914. He died on the 16th May 1915 age 22. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial. From the date he probably died in the Battle of Festubert. Stephen is remembered on the CWGC memorial as the son of Benjamin Ankers, of Castle View, Nant Mawr, Buckley, Chester, and the late Rosia Ankers.

The CWGC citation shows that at the time of Stephen’s death in 1915 or perhaps within the period of a few years later, his father Benjamin was living in Buckley. This is the only connection to Buckley that has been found; all other sources show the family living in Wrexham. Stephen Ankers is remembered on the Wrexham Memorial.

Benjamin Ankers married Rose (or Rosina) Stretch of Esclusham at Esclusham Holy Trinity, 5 July 1880. Stephen was born 18 September 1893 and baptised 4 October 1893 at Wrexham. In 1901 the family was living at Tuttle St. Wrexham and in 1911 at Bridge St. Benjamin and Rose had 12 children including Samuel (a soldier in 1901), Onisiphorus, Thomas, Mary, Rose, Maria, Ben, Stephen, Elizabeth, and Maggie. Rosina Ankers of Tuttle St. Wrexham died March 1902 in Wrexham aged 41. Benjamin Ankers died in Wrexham in 1939 aged 83.

Stephen’s sister, Maria Ankers married George H. Wilcock at Pontblyddyn in 1914. This may be George Henry Wilcock, stepson of John Hughes/Mary Ann Hughes, living at Baptist Row, Daisy Hill in 1911. It is likely that Benjamin Ankers came to live with his daughter in Nant Mawr sometime after his wife’s death.

Stephen’s brother, Onesiphorus Ankers joined the Cheshire Regiment in October 1902, age 19 (regimental number 6890). He arrived in France in August 1914 and he was a prisoner of war from 24 August 1914 to January 1919. He married Elizabeth Brown, in Darwen, Lancashire in 1910 and they had two children, Benjamin and John. As shown throughout his service record, Onesiphorus was known in the Army as Stephen Ankers. One can only speculate that he did not want to be known to his fellow soldiers as Onesiphorus, or perhaps the recruiting officer suggested a change, but it is strange that he should choose the name of his brother.

 


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