Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Mavis Williams
Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Connahs Quay
Name / Enw: Williams, Joseph Richard
Regiment/Catrawd: Royal Welsh Fusiliers (Formerly R.F.A.)
Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Private 18459 (Formerly 4565)
Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: La Neuville Communal Cemetery, Corbie.
Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: A. 44.
Country of Cemetery or Memorial / Gwlad y fynwent neu gofeb: France
Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: Victory, British War and 1915 Star Medals
Date of Death: 29th May 1916
Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:
Died of Wounds:- 27th or 29th May 1916
On Joseph Richard’s Flintshire WW1 Index Card (Connah’s Quay F68) his address was 16, Dee Road, Connah’s Quay, Flintshire and his regimental No. 18459 1st Bn. RWF. Pte. Period of Service:- 4 years. Killed at La Neuville 27th May 1916.* and signed by a J. Roberts, there is a discrepancy on his date of death, differing from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database and his Medal Cards as well, so, if any one knows anything more, please contact me. His period of service was 4 years.
His marriage entry in the Parish Registers tell us that his father is Richard, and I believe that he was a Butcher, and this was confirmed in the 1881 census when the family were living in 10, Penygarreg Strett, Transfynydd, Merionethshire. Head of the household was Richard Williams, 37 a Butter Dealer & Carrier, who had been born in Llanycil, Merionethshire. His wife Jane, also 37 had been born in Ysceifiog, Flintshire. All the children had been born in Transfynydd, Edward, 6, Elizabeth Ann, 4, Joseph, 2 and baby Hannah 4 months.
There is a possible sighting of Joseph on the 1891 census, when he could have been living at Dolhaidd, Transfynydd, Merionethshire in the household of Thomas Davies and his wife Ann was a Richard Williams, 12 Farm Servant born Transfynydd, Merionethshire and another servant Mary Roberts, 27 born Llanaber, Merionethshire.
Again on the 1901 census, Joseph Richard is elusive and again, there is a possible sighting of him but living in Bolton, living at 25, Hibbert Street, Little Bolton, Lancashire in the household of Samuel & Elizabeth Davies, Joseph Williams was a Boarder, 22 and a Tea-Traveller who had been born in Transfynydd, Merionethshire.
I have no idea where Susannah and Joseph Richard met, but I did look all through the Enumeration District 11 to see if Susannah was, perhaps, in Service, as I know her sister Sarah was a servant in Rochdale, Lancashire on the 1901 census, but I cannot find her on that census and her parents, William & Mary Hulley and family were still living at Red Hall Cottages, Connah’s Quay on the 1911 census.
On the 1911 census, Joseph and Susan (sic) were living at Ferenlas Horeb, Nr. Nantgaredig Carmarthenshire in 4 rooms. Joseph, 32 was now a Coal Miner (Hewer), his wife Susan (sic), 30, born Connah’s Quay, Flintshire, tell us that they had been married 8 years and there were 2 children born and still living, these were Mary Rowland Williams, 6, born, St. Asaph, Flintshire and William Richard Williams, 3, born Merthyr Vale, Glam.
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 7th July 1915.
According to the Forces Genealogy website, and the U.K, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919, he was born in Trawsfynydd, Merionethshire, Wales, but he enlisted at Birkenhead.
However because I have found his Soldiers Effects above, I now know his wife’s name was Susannah and I have now found a marriage for a Joseph Williams and a Susannah Hulley, They were married on the 26th July 1903 at St, Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay, Joseph was 24 years old and an Oil Agent, living at The Temperance, St. Asaph, his father was Richard Williams, a Butcher. Susannah, 23 lived at Red Hall Cottage and her father was William Hulley, Labourer.
I found Joseph’s Attestation Papers and he enlisted on the 1st of September, 1914, which he signed at St. Helens, this gave his Regimental No. as 4565 in the Royal Field Artillery, born Transfynydd, Merionethshire, 34 years 7 months old, trade – Collier. He was posted on the 4th September 1914 to the R.F.A. and discharged on the 24th November 1914 a total of 85 days. Next of Kin – Wife – Susannah WILLIAMS, Red Hall Cottage, Connah’s Quay, Flints.
Description of Joseph – Chest Measurement – 37 inches, range of expansion – 2 and ½ inches. Complexion – Fresh, Eyes – Grey, Hair – Brown, C of E., Vision – 6/6 both eyes.
Next Paper – Home (British) 1st Sept 1914 – 24th Nov. 1914. His Medical Paper gives no hint of any problem. Yet he was to go to France so probably was awaiting orders for mobilization, or he re-enlisted later as he was to serve and die in a different Regiment, this time the 1st Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers, but I cannot find his Attestation Papers for that, they could have been lost in the bombings in the 2nd World War.
Joseph Richard Williams in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that the sole Legatee was his widow, Susannah for herself and children, she was paid £2. 1s 3d on the 6th September 1916 and his War Gratuity of £6 on the 11th September 1918 (or 1919, writing hard to make out). It also tells us that he died of wounds in the 21st Casualty Clearing Station on the 29th May 1916. This was one of my first clues to his marriage.
The family did return to Connah’s Quay after the 1911 census, as his Flintshire WW1 Index Card shows, and he is remembered on the Memorial Plaque in St.Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay, named as Williams, Joseph R.,
Next Paper – Home (British) 1st Sept 1914 – 24th Nov. 1914
Vision – 6/6 both eyes.