William James Collins was the son of Nicholas and Eliza Collins of Wood Lane. Nicholas Collins married Eliza Hollins at Hawarden in 1876. From census records, in 1881 Nicolas was a blacksmith and farmer of 13 acres born Heswall, Cheshire, living at Owlet’s Hall. By 1891 Eliza was a widow with children William J 13 a brickrunner, Eliza A. 10, Priscilla 6, Nicholas 4, and Samuel 3. Father Nicholas died in 1889 aged 37. His youngest daughter, Sarah Ellen, was apparently born after he died and appears in the 1901 census aged 11. By this time the family were living in Wood Lane.
William James married Margaret Marshall at Buckley St. Matthews in 1904. From a newspaper article we know they had five children. In 1911 the family living at Wood Lane were: Wm. Jas. Head 33 (Married 6 years) Coal Miner, hewer; Margaret Wife 32 ( 3 Children born, all living); Ennis Dau 5, Nicholas Son 4, Thomas Son 2; Martha MARSHALL mother 62 widow dress maker. All born Hawarden.
The following appeared in the County Herald, December 27, 1918.
A sermon in memory of Private W. J. Collins R.W.F. who was killed in France on Oct. 24th was preached at St. Matthew’s parish Church by the Re. Gilbert Heaton, the vicar. The deceased soldier was 41 years of age and he leaves a widow and five children who reside at Brunswick Rd. He was a communicant and tenor singer at St. Matthews. He had been in the Army four years, but he had only been on active service four months when his death occurred
William James Collins is the only Buckley soldier known to have died in Italy in the Great War. He was 40 when he died in 1918 only 19 days before the armistice. He is only one of 4 soldiers on the Buckley Memorial who were 40 or older.