Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Mavis Williams
Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Connahs Quay
Name / Enw: Sharples, Henry (Harry)
Regiment/Catrawd: Royal Welsh Fusiliers 8th Bn.
Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Private 12703
Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: Basra Memorial
Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: Panel 15.
Country of Cemetery or Memorial / Gwlad y fynwent neu gofeb: Iraq
Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: Victory & British War Medals and 1915 Star
Date of Death: 27th April 1916
Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:
Mesopotamia. Killed in Action:- 27th April 1916 .
The 1881 census records Henry with his family at 7 Park Street Wolverhampton, Staffordshire. Cornelius Sharples, the father was 26 and a Tin Burnisher. The mother, Sarah was 24. Their children were George 2 and Henry 5 months. Living there with them was Cornelius’s brother Robert, unmarried, 21 and a Blacksmith’s Striker. They were all born in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire.
The 1891 census saw them still at Park Sreet, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire with father Corneleas (sic) then 37 and an Iron Roller his wife Sarah was then 34. The children were George 12, Henry 10, Amos 8, Alfred 7, Agnes 5, Walter 3 and baby Lilley 1, all born in Wolverhampton.
By the 1901 census Henry, now Harry 20 was a Packer, living as a boarder at Muspratt Terrace, Flint, Flintshire with the Dale family, also from Wolverhampton.
By the 1911 census, Henry was married and living at 5, Bank Road, Connah’s Quay, Flintshire. He was 30 and a Sheet Iron Galvanizer in the Iron Works. His wife was Mary Ann 27, born in Wolverhampton. They had been married 8 years and had 6 children all of whom were still living. They were Alice 8, Jane 7, both born in Flint, Josiah Cornelius 6 Arthur 4, Edgar Gilbert 2 and Violet 8 Months had all been born in Connah’s Quay.
Henry’s Flintshire WW1 Index Cards F 61 (Connah’s Quay) gave the details of his death and that he had been in the Siege of Kut Amara. The address given was 5, Bank Road, Connah’s Quay,
Henry is named on the Memorial Plaque in St.Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay.
Henry’s medal card also accessible on ancestry, records his medal details and also tells us that his first theatre of war was the Balkans and that he entered it on 28th June 1915.
UK soldiers who died in the Great War 1914 -19, accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms the regimental information above and adds that Henry died of wounds. He enlisted in Shotton and was born in Blakenhall, Wolverhampton, but his residence was Connah’s Quay.
Kut Relief Force.#
Many thanks to John Singleton who is the Great Grandson of Harry SHARPLES for giving me more information on Harry and also photographs of Harry and family. He gave me some photo’s and also a few stories out of Vic Williams’s wonderful booklet on Connah’s Quay:-
“Even in Gallipoli, amongst the carnage and shambles, there was a reminder of happier times. Private H. SHARPLES of Bank Road, (father of the late Violet CARTWRIGHT, Bryn Road) wrote home to his wife –
” I had a slice of luck on Christmas day. We were on the beach when we happened to drop upon Tommy GRIFFITHS’ brother, who is a captain of a large ship out in the bay. He had come ashore to look for his brother Arthur and he took six Connah’s Quay chaps with him and put them up (me included) for Christmas day and night. We were treated like a lot of Kings. We had a good dinner of beef, duck and plenty of plum pudding and as much drink as we wanted, including a bottle of champagne. So you can see that we did not do so bad – I forgot to mention that on board, as crew members were Archie CAMERON*, Dick LUMBERG and young EVANS.”
* Archie Cameron was related to Cornelius Edward Cameron who also lost his life in the war, read his story on this website.
Vic continued- Little did they realise during this Christmas of 1915 that the war that they had eagerly embarked upon and was promised to be over by Christmas 1914, was going to last for another three years of horrible hardship.” 4 months after this Christmas, almost to the day Harry was dead.
Also in the same booklet a story about Harry’s wife, left at home with her 8 children and because of the social conditions then on Deeside, with the influx of workers for the vast Queensferry Munitions Works and the booming Ironworks, local accommodation was at a premium – and many landlords increased their rents and attempted to evict tenants unable to pay the rent increase.
A big problem facing Harry’s Widow as she was now a widow with 8 children to support and unable to pay the increased rent at Bank Road. “As such her landlord took her before Connah’s Quay magistrates court seeking an order of ejectment. The court considered the matter and was advised by their clerk that under a section of 1915 Special Housing Order the landlord could only evict if he reasonably wanted the house for his own occupation. This the landlord could not prove as he was already more than adequately housed in his own property in another part of Connah’s Quay, The bench declined to evict Mrs. SHARPLES and her children were saved for homelessness and the workhouse.”
Harry Sharples’s Medals and Death Penny
Close-up of Harry taken from family photograph.
Henry Sharples in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that the Legatees were his widow Mary A. and children who were paid his War Gratuity of £7 on the 15th September 1919. There were other figures of a recharge to the Regimental Paymaster of £1. 0s 4d on the 13th September 1916 taken from a charge of £1. 13s 4d, which left a balance of 13/- on the 3rd August 1916 and a charge of 6/8d on the 12th August 1916.
I have found Harry’s living will on https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/Wills?Surname=sharples&SurnameGrants=sharples&YearOfDeath=1916&YearOfDeathGrants=1916&AdvancedSearch=False&IsGrantSearch=False&IsCalendarSearch=False#soldiers. These will were written out before the soldiers went into battle, but not all have survived, however, I believe, it is a an ongoing project, so more soldier’s names are added all the time.
I informed John Singleton and he sent for it and kindly allowed me to add it to Harry’s story. Many thanks John.