Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Mavis Williams
Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Connahs Quay
Name / Enw: Smith, Joseph Ithel
Regiment/Catrawd: Royal Welsh Fusiliers 14th Bn.
Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Private 18240
Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: Poelcapelle British Cemetery
Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: Pilckem Road German Cem. Mem. 25.
Country of Cemetery or Memorial / Gwlad y fynwent neu gofeb: Belgium
Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: Victory & British War Medals and 15 Star
Date of Death: 18th February 1917
Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:
18th February 1917 which is the date on his grave but other sources give different dates. See below.
Joseph Ithel first appeared on a census in 1901, living at 25, Church Street, Connahs Quay, Connah’s Quay, Flintshire with his parents. His father Joseph 33 was a Canal Boat Water Man, born in Hawarden, Flintshire. The mother was Sarah 35, a dressmaker, born in Northop. (Connah’s Quay came under the Northop Parish at this time). Joseph was their 7 year old son.
I believe that his father Joseph Smith & mother Sarah Roberts had married at St. John’s, Chester in St. John’s Church Chester in the December quarter of 1892.(West Cheshire CE13/12/401)
By the 1911 census they were still living at 25, Church Street, Connah’s Quay. Father Joseph was a Waterman and stated that he had been born in Shotton, Flints. Mother Sarah was 45, born in Connah’s Quay. 5 children had been born to the couple but 3 had died, leaving Joseph then aged 17 and a clerk with a little brother Sydney aged 7. Both Joseph and Sydney had been born in Connah’s Quay.
On Joseph’s Flintshire WW1 Index Card transcribed below Joseph was reported missing 18th February 1917, on other documentation there are differing dates, but it seems that whatever date Joseph was killed, he was an extraordinary person.
Flintshire WW1 Index Cards F 63 (Connah’s Quay) Smith Joseph Junior, 25 Church Street, Connah’s Quay, Flintshire. Reg. No.:- 18240 16th R.W.F. Period of Service 19th November 1914 – 18th February 1917. Pte.. Reported missing 18th February 1917. On the reverse of the card is written – ” In this case there is unofficial proof available that this soldier gave up his chance of assistance to another who in his opinion was in greater need of it, thus unconsciously following the great Sydney whose phrase is historic.”
On “Forces Genealogy” and the book “Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1918 Royal Welsh Fusiliers Volume 28”, Joseph is reported to have died on the 19th February 1917.
UK soldiers who died in the Great War 1914 -19, accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms the regimental information above and this death date and adds that he enlisted in Shotton.
Joseph’s medal card also accessible on ancestry, records his medal details and also tells us that his first Theatre of War was France and that he entered it on 2nd December 1915 However on this card it states that ” Death accepted 8th February 1917.”
Joseph Athel (sic) Smith in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that his death was officially accepted as on 18 Feb 1917 and the sole Legatee his mother Sarah who was paid £4. 12s 9d on the 15th October 1917 and his War Gratuity of £10 on the 23rd October 1919
Joseph Ithell, is named on the Memorial Plaque in St.Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay and also the Hawarden County School, Roll of Honour.
Joseph is remembered on his Family’s grave in Connah’s Quay Cemetery. Connah’s Quay Monumental Inscriptions Volume 1 Page 39 JR5 42
In Affectionate Remembrance of Norah, Ernest & Reginald, Beloved Children of Joseph & Sarah SMITH. Safe in the arms of Jesus. Also Joseph Ithel SMITH R.W.F. Son of the above. Lost at Ypres February 18th 1917 aged 23 years. Duty Nobly Done. Also the above Sarah SMITH who died Octr. 23rd 1929 Aged 63 years. “Thy will be done”. Also the above Joseph SMITH Died March 6th 1949 aged 81 years. “Rest in Peace”