Griffiths, Thomas John

Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Mavis Williams

Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Ffynnongreow

Name / Enw: Griffiths, Thomas John

Regiment/Catrawd: 8th Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Private 30384 (Formerly 980)

Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery

Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: XVI. J. 7

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

Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: British War and Victory Medals

Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:

Died of Disease – Lymphatic Leukaemia – Age 27 years.

Thomas John Griffiths was the first born son of Hugh and Elizabeth Griffiths (nee JONES) who, I believe, married in a Civil Ceremony at Holywell in 1889 (Flintshire (Mold) HOL/20/E20).   Thomas was born circa October 1890.

The 1891 census shows the family living at Pendre, Llanasa, Hugh  Griffiths, 26 and a Coalminer had been born in Liverpool, Lancashire, his wife Elizabeth, 24 had been born in Holywell, Flintshire, baby Thomas John was 6 months old and had been born in Llanasa, Flintshire.

The 1901 census shows the family, living at Denbigh Row, Llanasa, Flintshire, much changed, although there had been additions to it, sadly Hugh’s wife Elizabeth had died circa 1895.  So Hugh’s mother Catherine Griffiths, 60, a widow who had been born in Abersoc, Carnarvonshire had come to live with the family. (Earlier censuses show her place of birth as Llanengan, Carnarvonshire.)   Hugh, now 35, shows his occupation as “Colliery, Tug Boat Driver (Seas). “    Also living there was Hugh’s brother David, 27, a Labourer Underground (Below) who had been born in Llanasa.  Hugh’s children were Thomas John, 10, George, 8 and Louisa, 5.    I wonder if Elizabeth had died after Louisa’s birth?

There are 2 possible deaths shown in the North Wales BMD, in 1895 and 1896. :-

GRIFFITHS   Elizabeth         –           1895    Whitford         North Wales    Flintshire (Mold)         WHIT/19/77

GRIFFITHS   Elizabeth         –           1896    Whitford         North Wales    Flintshire (Mold)         WHIT/20/12

They would have to be purchased to find out if this is correct.

On the 1911 census it shows further breakup of the family as now Thomas John, 20 and single was a  Labourer Underground (Colliery) and  had moved in to live with Elizabeth’s parents John & Sarah Jones at 2, Meirion Terrace, Ffynongreow (5 rooms).   John Jones, 77 was an Old Age Pensioner who spoke only Welsh and had been born in Yscifiog, they had been married 54 years.    Sarah, his wife, 73, born Whitford,  tells us that she had borne 8 children, 3 of whom had died.   John Jones signed the census with an X

Census taken on the 2nd April 1911, by 22nd March 1912 Thomas John had enlisted.

His Attestation papers tell us he enlisted on the 22nd March 1912 at Mostyn, he states he was 21 years 6 months old and that he was a Collier at Point of Air(sic) Colliery Co., and unmarried.   He gave his address as  2, Meirion Terrace, Ffynongreow.   His Medical Inspection Report stated that he was 5 feet 10 and ¾ inches tall, his chest measured 38 inches with a 3 inch expansion, his vision and physical development was good.

On the Statement of the Names and Addresses of all Relatives of the above-named Soldier in each of the degrees specified below that are now living shows his family in 1920.

No Widow or Children

Father of the Soldier – Hugh William GRIFFITHS, Bodlondel, Ffynongreow, Chester.

Mother of the Soldier – Elizabeth GRIFFITHS, – deceased.

Full blood Brothers of Soldier – George GRIFFITHS, 26 Rhewl, Mostyn, , Chester.

No Half-blood brothers

Full-blood Sisters – Louisa GRIFFITHS, 24 Bodlondel, Ffynongreow, Chester

Declaration signed with a cross by Thomas John’s Grandmother Sarah JONES, – 2, Meirion Terrace, Ffynongreow at Ffynongreow on the 8th January 1920 and witnessed by W.A. ELLIS, Clerk in Holy orders, Vicarage, Ffynongreow, Chester.

Name of next of kin – Father Hugh GRIFFITHS, 8, Davies Terrace, 2, Davies Terrace, Ffynongreow shows his father had moved house .

On his statement of Services it shows that he was promoted to L/Cpl then to Corporal at times from 1912 – 1914, but on the 5th August 1914 he reverted to Private.    He was at different times in the 9th Bn,5th Bn and eventually in the 8th Bn R.W.F.   He was posted to Mespotamia  and Embarked on the 10th September 1916 arriving in Bassrah (sic) a month later.

On the  24th February 1915 Thomas John was “Absent from Parade, 2.30pm” – Punishment awarded – 3 days C.B.   Date of award 25th February 1915.  Character – Good.  Place – Royston

Thomas John was to suffer a number of infections, incidents and diseases, including Sandfly Fever, Contusions of his left foot, and it seems (Parotitis) Mumps when he was admitted to 20 Casualty Clearing Station in Baghdad.   By the 20th December 1917 he was dangerously ill and on the 8th January 1917 he died.

Carried onto next paper – 8th January 1918 23rd B. Sta. Hos.  Died of Disease (Acute Lymphatic Leukaemia.) – Baghdad.   He was 27 years old.

Basrah 11th January 1918 – Certified.

Thomas John’s total Service  – 5 years 293 days.

Thomas John’s Statement of Services

Close-up of part of Thomas John’s Statement of Services

There is another paper which gives a list of Thomas John’s personal possessions –

2 Pencils, I Identity Disc, 1 Mirror (Broken), 1 Turkish Coin, 2 Cap Badges, 2 Religious Books, 1 Diary, 1 Knife, 1 Strop, 1 Razor, Letters, Photos.   P.S. Much regret to find that his watch and ring & several other items are not included among the things forwarded herewith.   Hoping these will be recovered hereafter. J.J.   Date stamped – 18th July 1918.   John Jones signed with a X.

So although Hugh Griffiths, his father was shown as next of kin, his Grandparents – John & Sarah Jones were the ones who signed for his medals and his personal possessions, Plaque and Memorial Scroll.

There are more papers regarding an application for a Bounty of £15 which the family had applied for via the T.F. Association, Mold. In December of 1918.   Correspondence was directed to the India as he had been on India Payment when he died.    I do not know what this means, so any information would be appreciated.

There was a Flintshire WW1 Index Card  (Ffynnongroyw F 4) for Thomas John, his address given as Merion Terrace, Ffynongreow.   This confirms his regimental details, his father Hugh. W. Griffiths wrote under Distinctions – “None as far as I am aware.”   “Died at Bagdad (sic) 8th January 1918,” the card was signed by Hugh, his father on the 27th September 1919 and on the reverse of the card his father  wrote his address as Bodlondeb, Ffynnongroew, Nr. Chester.

Thomas John Griffiths  in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 gives 2 separate entries – 1st gives the Co-Legatees as his Grandfather and Grandmother John and Sarah  JONES who were sent £4 11s 11d on the 8th July 1918.  The 2nd shows the Co-Legatees were his Grandfather and Grandmother John and Sarah  JONES who were sent £1 16s 10d on the 24th December 1918 and also £31 7s 6d , which included his War Gratuity of £16, on the 28th August 1919.   So they must have been his next of Kin.

Thomas J Griffiths in the British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 does not tell us his first Theatre of War nor when he entered it.

Thomas John Griffiths  in the UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 tellus that his birth place was Ffynnongreow and he enlisted at Mostyn.

There is a T. J. Griffiths remembered on the Bangor Memorial Arch – http://www.bangorcivicsociety.org.uk/pages/arch/DSCF4394.htm