Griffiths, Michael Henry

Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Mavis Williams

Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Connahs Quay

Name / Enw: Griffiths, Michael Henry

Regiment/Catrawd: A coy 14th Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Private 21488

Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: Bard Cottage Cemetery

Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: II.D.8

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

Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: Victory, British War and 1915 Star medals

Date of Death: 25th February 1917

Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:

Killed in Action 25th February 1917 age 42.  France & Flanders

Michael Henry Griffiths first appeared on a census in 1881. He was living with his family at 19 Fern’s Yd Mold. The head of the household was Edward Hughes 31, a coalminer who had been born in Mold. His wife was Anne Hughes 35 born in Halkyn, Flintshire. The children listed are described as ‘grandchildren’ to Edward Hughes. (Sometimes stepchildren  would be referred to as grandchildren and we believe this is the case here). The children listed were Thomas Griffiths 11, Mary A Griffiths 9, David Griffiths 7 and Michael H Griffiths 5 all scholars.

(It is believed that Anne’s first husband and biological father of the children was Robert Griffiths born 1818 in Corwen. He was much older than her.)

In the 1891 census the family was living in 21 Maes y Dref Mold. Edward Hughes was  41 and still a coalminer. Anne his wife was 45. This time the stepchildren still at home were referred to as ‘in-laws’.  M A Griffiths (Mary) was 19 and a tin plate worker, David was 17 and a coalminer, M.H  (Michael Griffiths) was 15 and worked in a ‘bottling stores’.

The 1901 census places  Henry Griffiths in Drover’s cottages no 2 Maes y Dref Mold. He was 25 and a labourer in the Tin plate works yard. His wife was Kate Griffiths 23 who had been born in Alton Staffordshire. They had one son a month old – Robert.

The 1911 census tells us that Michael Henry Griffiths was living with his  family in 158 High Street Connah’s Quay. Michael was 35 and a labourer. His wife of 10 years Kate was 33. Their children were Robert Edward 10, Annie 8, Thomas Henry 5, and David 1.  Also living at the house were Michael Henry’s two brothers – Thomas was 41 and a shunter and David 37 was a labourer.

UK Soldiers Who Died in The Great War 1914-19 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms the regimental details above and adds that he enlisted in Shotton.

His medal card also accessible on Ancestry, tells us that the first theatre of war that he served in was France which he first entered on 2nd December 1915.

Michael Henry was mentioned in the book ” Soldiers Died in the Great War, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Volume 28″

There is an index card for Michael Henry Griffiths in the Flintshire Roll of Honour at the County Record Office in Hawarden.It confirms the regimental details above and adds that his total service was 3 years. The card was signed by Mrs Griffiths.

He is also named on the Memorial in St Mark’s Church Connah’s Quay.

Is this the same man, as the year of death is different, probably a reporter’s error.

Pte. M.H. GRIFFITHS, who fell on 25th February 1919 (sic), I think this should have been 1917, and who was named on the Wepre Presbyterian Church Memorial Plaque in the County Herald 9th September 1919.  .  He is remembered on a Plaque that was unveiled in 1919 at Wepre Presbyterian Church (This has now been demolished!).

COUNTY HERALD 9th September 1919.

CONNAH’S QUAY

Memorial Tablet Unveiled

In connection with the Wepre Presbyterian Church there is a special memorial service on the occasion of the unveiling of a tablet erected to the memory of five worshippers of the church who fell in the war by their returned comrades.   The memorial tablet is of Aberdeen granite and a most beautiful piece of work, carried out by Mr. E. JONES, Church Street, Connah’s Quay.   The inscription on the tablet is as follows:–

“Erected to the glory of God and in loving memory of five worshippers of this Church who fell in the Great War, 1914-1919: 2nd Lieut. William WILLIAMS, who fell August 30th 1917: Corporal A. DAVIES, who fell July 15th 1917; Pte. J. JONES, who fell August 21st 1915; Pte. J. MILLINGTON, who fell September 25th 1915; Pte. M.H. GRIFFITHS, who fell February 25th 1919.”

There was a large and representative congregation, including the Chairman (Mr. J. ROBERTS, J.P.) and members of the Urban Council. — The Rev. J. Puleston JONES, M.A., preached an eloquent and powerful memorial service.

At the conclusion of the sermon the congregation sang that well known hymn, “Now the labourer’s task is o’er.!   The Dedication lesson was read by Mr. J. FORBER, J.P., after which Madame Katie Peters HUGHES exquisitely rendered ” O rest in the Lord.” — Mr. J.T. HUMPHREYS, the senior deacon of the church, then delivered a short dedicatory address.   He said : “We are met here this evening to dedicate this memorial to the glory of God and to the memory of five men who have fallen in the great war.   They responded to their nation’s call in a time of great peril and danger to our country and our Allies, in the cause of righteousness, the sacredness of treaties, and the cause of weaker nations, when we were threatened by the greatest foe in the annals of history.   A glorious victory has been obtained, and let us hope that when the League of Nations has been established war will be no more.   These five men were worshippers in this church, and we rejoice to remember that they were all men of noble character.   And we have reason to believe that they have been sustained during their trials and conflicts of faith in God.   They have made the supreme sacrifice in the great cause. — Mrs. J.T. HUMPHREYS, assisted by Mr. Douglas ROBB, then performed the unveiling ceremony. — The Rev. J. Puleston JONES, M.A. offered the dedicatory prayer, which was followed by the singing of the Lord’s Prayer.   The closing hymn, “Thou wast their Rock, then Fortress, and their Might, ” followed by the benediction and vesper hymn, brought a most impressive and memorable service to a close.

CQ Griffiths Michael Henry 001

Michael Henry Griffiths’s grave in Bard Cottage Cemetery. This is a battle site cemetery at a place near Ypres where the allied troops faced enemy lines. E & V Williams visited and took this photograph on 9th October 2013 – a lovely autumn morning.

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Bard Cottage Cemetery 9th October 2013