Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Peter Redfern Metcalfe
Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Flint Town
Name / Enw: Carr, Thomas George
Regiment/Catrawd: 16th (Service) Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Company Sergeant Major No 19408
Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: St Sever Cemetery Extension, Seine-Maritime, Rouen
Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: Plot A, Row 27, Grave 21
Country of Cemetery or Memorial / Gwlad y fynwent neu gofeb: France
Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal
Date of Death: 18th July 1916
Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:
Died from wounds received in action on the 18th July 1916. France
Thomas George Carr was born in Flint and baptised on 17th June, 1877 at St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint. He was the third of 11 children of Thomas Carr and Emily ( Jones) of ‘Seafield,’ Chester Road.
George lived in Swan Street throughout his childhood before the family moved to Seafield. His first job was as an office boy before joining the army, seeing active service in the South African Campaign (Boer War 1899–1902), and his name is commemorated on the South African War obelisk in Flint.
Upon returning home he gained employment at the United Alkali Company’s Works, Flint, as an engine fitter, and was a member of the Flint Company of the Territorials some years but resigned.
On 7th February, 1904 he married Eliza Gertrude Jones Bishop at St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint. They resided at Vryburg, 127, Chester Road and had three children – Gertrude May (1904-?), Thomas Charles Bishop (1906–1973), George (1908–1978) and Vera Mary Emily (1909–2001).
Some time after the commencement of the war, circa January 1915, and when the Pals’ Battalions were being recruited and trained at Llandudno, he enlisted in Flint, and his previous experience was of benefit to him. He began his training in Llandudno and then moved to Winchester where the troops were reviewed in early December by the Queen. About the same time he was promoted to Quartermaster Sergeant from Warrant Officer Class 2. It is not known when he was promoted to Company Sergeant Major. He landed in France in December 1915.
In April 1916, George’s father, Thomas, who ran a successful business as a market gardener and florist on Chester Road, claimed absolute exemption from the armed services for his married son, Herbert Walter, 26 years of age, and who was in his employ. He stated in his claim that he had two sons at the Front who, when at home, used to assist him a little in the business. The young salesman he’d had also enlisted and was away at the Front. He had two large gardens of several acres, and a large quantity of fruit in cultivation under glass, and if there was not anyone regularly watching the plants it would entail considerable loss. Much of the fruit, etc., might be spoilt in half an hour. His son had been in the business since he left school, and thoroughly understood the work, as well as conducting the retail trade in the town. He was granted three months’ exemption.
There were statements circulating the town that Company Sergeant Major Carr had been wounded, and that further information was awaited on the evening of Tuesday, 25th July, 1916. On the following morning a postcard was received intimating that he had been wounded but in the evening a telegram conveyed the sad tidings of his death. The message was an exceedingly painful one, and the news created a mild sensation. There then followed the usual document from the Territorials’ Records Office, Shrewsbury, with the confirmatory evidence that the Company Sergeant Major had, on the 18th July, died in one of the general hospitals in France of wounds received in action. The wounds were the results of gunshots in the body.
He was buried at St Sever Cemetery Extension, Seine-Maritime, Rouen, France (Plot A, Row 27, Grave 21) and is remembered on three war memorials: Flint Town, St David’s Parish Church, Oakenholt and Oddfellows Hall, Flint. He is also commemorated on the North Wales Heroes’ Memorial Arch, Bangor.
On Friday 28th July his widow, Eliza, was the recipient of the following letter:-
No. – General Hospital, —-, France, July 18th, 1916.
Dear Mrs Carr,
It is with the deepest regret that I have to write to tell you that your dear husband has passed away. We had hoped he would have recovered. I was with him yesterday and had a nice talk with him. You have my deepest sympathy. I am burying him tomorrow in the St. Sever Cemetery, where so many of our brave heroes are lying.
Chaplain (C. of E).
Mrs Carr received a touching tribute to the memory of her husband and the letter reads as follows:-
July 22, 1916.
DEAR MRS CARR,
It was with very great sorrow that I heard yesterday that your husband had died of wounds in hospital. He was wounded when the Battalion went into action; but I was given to understand at the time that his wound was not serious, and I hoped that he would soon have been in England, and would recover in course of time. It was therefore a great shock to me yesterday to hear that he had died. I had a great admiration for Sergeant Major Carr. He had been with the Company the whole time we were in the trenches, and I had grown to depend on him absolutely for getting things done. I regarded him as the best Company Sergeant Major in the Battalion. I remember him joining the Company as a Private when we were at Llandudno, and I was struck then by his steadiness. And when he came back to the Company as its Sergeant Major I soon learned that he carried that steadiness and trustworthiness into everything he did. He was greatly respected by all the men, and so made the working of the Company very easy and smooth. I hope it will be a comfort to you to know in what respect we held him, and what a good man we all thought him to be. Please accept this small tribute to the memory of a good soldier.
H. PAINE, Captain.
Mrs Carr received several other letters of condolence from the Front, and elsewhere.
George’s brother, William Albert, served in the war for five years and six months with the 9th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers and was seriously wounded on the 20th November 1916 by a portion of the shell that killed Private Harold Bithell who has been written about elsewhere.
Eliza Gertrude re-married in 1917 to Edward Walker, a butcher, who carried on business at Flint Mountain, and lived at Chester Road, Flint. He committed suicide on 19th September 1922 by shooting himself in the head at his mother-in-law Mrs Bishop’s residence at Wern Cottage, Flint Mountain. He was 39 years of age. They had three children – Edward (Teddy) (1918-1919), Pearl (1920-2002), and William Arthur (1923-2003).
George’s father was born in St Helen’s, Lancashire and died 18th January 1936, aged 81, and was buried in the Northop Road Cemetery, Flint. He was well known and highly esteemed and in his younger days was a very keen sportsman, his favourite pastimes being cycling, shooting and skating. He was an enthusiastic member and secretary of the old Flint Cycling Club in the days of the “Penny Farthings” and later when the safety machines became popular. He was one of the first persons in the town to ride a bicycle. At the early age of nine, he was employed at the old chemical works of Messrs Muspratt Brothers and Huntley, which stood on the site later occupied by Messrs Courtaulds Castle Works. He became a foreman in the crystal house and retained that position until the works were taken over by the United Alkali Company. At the turn of the century he retired from the chemical industry and commenced a successful business as a market gardener and florist at “Seafield,” Chester Road. Mr Carr, who enjoyed good health until about three weeks before he died, had an excellent memory and used to delight in recalling events which happened in the town and district many years ago. He would relate an incident told to him by his mother that he was taken to the banks of the River Dee in his mother’s arms to see the famous “Royal Charter” passing down the river following the launching at Sandycroft. He was a member of St Mary’s Parish Church, and one of the oldest members of the Flint Castle Lodge of Oddfellows.
George’s mother was born in Flint and died 20th November 1933, aged 78, after an illness of two years, and was buried with her husband.
Eliza Gertrude was born in Wrexham and died 30th April 1969, aged 87, at 115, Chester Road, Flint, and is buried in the Old London Road Cemetery, Flint with her son Thomas Charles. In her younger days she was a well-known violinist and pianist, and was a member of the Flint String Orchestra.
In France he rests in peace,
A soldier true and brave;
And there with honour now he sleeps
In a British soldier’s grave.
He gave his life, his all,
That those he loved might live.
His Wife and Children.
(County Herald, 20th July, 1917)
To memory ever dear.
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
From Father and Mother, Brothers and Sisters.
(County Herald, 20th July, 1917)