Hipkiss, Albert James

Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Mavis Williams

Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Connahs Quay

Name / Enw: Hipkiss, Albert James

Regiment/Catrawd: Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own), 19th (Western) Battalion. (Territorial); formerly 5th Worcestershire Regt.,

Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Rifleman 208116, formerly 6188

Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: Mikra Memorial

Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: Panel Reference

Country of Cemetery or Memorial / Gwlad y fynwent neu gofeb: Greece

Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: Victory & British Medals, 15 Star

Date of Death: 1st January 1917

Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:

Lost at Sea 1st January 1917 age 40 when HT  Ivernia  was torpedoed and sunk, 93 kilometres from Cape Matapan, Greece,  carrying reinforcements bound for Egypt.

James Hipkiss & Mary Ann Green had married 30th June, 1860 (Dudley, 6c149).

Albert James first appeared on a census in 1881 when the family was living at Green Lanes, Bilston, Staffordshire.   Head of the household was James Hipkiss, 44 a Labourer in the Ironworks who had been  born in Bilston. His wife Mary Ann Hipkiss, (nee Green), 42 had been born in Old Swinford, Worcestershire.   Their listed children were  Ann E 18,  David, 14  Henry 12, Arthur  8, Thomas 5, Albert, 3 and  Alice  8 months. Some of the children had been born in Staffordshire and some in Shropshire

Albert James’s mother, Mary Ann Hipkiss (nee Green) died aged 42 in 1882. His father, James remarried the same year a few months after his wife’s death.

Albert James was in the army well before WW1 began. He was recorded on the the 1901 census living at Norton Barracks, Juxta Kempsey, Worcestershire.   He was listed as a Private in the Infantry, single and 21.

I cannot find him on the 1911 census in the district, but there were families of Hipkiss in the East Saltney area in 1911. He could possibly have been connected. Another  Hipkiss family was recorded  in 29 Spring St., Connah’s Quay in the 1911 census. This  family consisted of Thomas Hipkiss, 36 an Ironworker, his wife Martha, 38 and their daughters, Sarah Ann, 14, Polly, 10 and Clara, 1, with son Thomas, 4.   Their two youngest children had been born in Connah’s Quay but all the others had been born in Bilston, Staffordshire. This family too, might possibly be related to Albert James.

He must have served his original time in the army and then left. (This was possibly when he found his way to Deeside, Flintshire). He rejoined the army when war broke out. Soldiers Who Died in The Great War 1914-19, accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk  confirms Albert’s regimental details as above and tells us that his was born and resided in Bilston.  He enlisted in Dudley, Worcestershire. His WWI Medal Rolls Index Card also on Ancestry. tells us that his first Theatre of War was Egypt and he was embodied on the 17th October 1915.

In January 1917, Albert, with other troops was being transported aboard  the ill-fated ship HT Ivernia,

SS Ivernia was a British ocean liner owned by the Cunard Line, built by the company Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson of Newcastle upon Tyne, England and launched in 1899. The Ivernia was one of Cunard’s intermediate ships, that catered to the vast immigrant trade. Her sistership was SS Saxonia. The Ivernia worked on Cunard’s service from Liverpool to Boston and then later on the immigrant run from Trieste to New York City. (Wikipedia) Following the outbreak of World War I in August 1914 the Ivernia was hired by the British government as a troop transport and was placed under the command of Captain Turner (made famous for being the captain of RMS Lusitania at the time of her sinking).The Ivernia had one major distinction: she had the largest funnel ever fitted to a ship, measuring 60 feet from top to deck. Today a road in Walton Liverpool still beers the name of the doomed vessel Ivernia Road

At 10:12am on 1 January 1917 the Ivernia was torpedoed by the German submarine UB-47,  58 miles south-east of Cape Matapan in Greece. Within one hour the ship sank. HMS Rifleman rescued a number, and armed trawlers towed those who had who had taken to lifeboats, to Suda Bay in Crete. Over 120 lives were lost from the sinking. Albert James Hipkiss was one of them.

In the Army’s Registers of Soldiers’ Effects where the outstanding monies owed to deceased soldiers was calculated, Albert James was listed as having drowned on the Invernia on the 1st January 1917. His Legatee was his brother David Hipkiss who was paid £4. 14s 4d on the 1st September 1917.  A War Gratuity of £10. 10s 0d  was paid on the 14th October 1919. Written on the Book was “Legatee Mrs. Martha E. Jones, dated 29th October 1920″.

Many thanks to Benny from the R.W.F Comrades in Queensferry and Lars for their help in untangling Albert’s story.

Albert James is also named on the St. Ethelwold’s Church Roll of Honour. His connection to the Deeside area of Flintshire is not in doubt. His name on the memorials proves it.