John James Bramfield was born 1st April, 1883 at the Hawarden Union Workhouse, Broughton Hall, near Chester.
His entry in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website states he was the son of Millington Roberts Bramfield but this was clearly false information as he was actually the second illegitimate son of Mary Alice Bramfield who was born at Knotty Ash, West Derby, Liverpool.
John James, with his mother and half-brother Samuel, lived for a number of years at 8, Chemistry Cottages, Saltney.
He married Charlotte Ann Martin at the Register Office, Holywell, 28th September, 1912, and they had two children: John James junior, who was born in 1913, and died 13th March, 1916 of “convulsions and bronchitis,” and Edward James (1916–97). They resided at 21, Evans Street, Flint and John James was a labourer at the Shotton Paint Works.
On 2nd April, 1913 John’s mother, who had been employed for a time as a domestic servant, died of cardiac disease, aged about 65, at the Hawarden Union Workhouse, Broughton, near Chester, and was buried in St Mary’s Churchyard, Broughton. She remained a spinster all her life.
Before the war John had served three years with the Volunteer Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
He enlisted in Flint, 26th April, 1915, signing with an X, and joined at Llandudno the following day. He moved to Winchester in August 1915 and landed in France in December 1915. On enlistment he was 5 ft 4 1⁄2 in tall, weighed 10st, chest 34 in, and his physical development was good.
He died on 25th March, 1916 from wounds received in action in France, and was buried in the Guards’ Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, Pas de Calais, France (Plot III, Row O, Grave 3). He is remembered on two war memorials: Flint Town and St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint.
He was awarded the 1914–15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Private Bramfield’s wife Charlotte who, it was reported, was in a delicate state of health, received the following letter on Friday 31st March, 1916:
“DEAR MADAM, – It is with regret that I write to inform you of the death of your husband, 25937, Pte J J Bramfield, of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He died under my care and without any suffering, from wounds received in action. – With deepest sympathy, yours,
H J BARKER, Supt, RAMC.”
On Saturday morning Mrs Bramfield was awaiting the official intimation of the death from the War Office; but there was no reason to doubt the authenticity of the letter written by the medical Superintendent of the Field Hospital Ambulance.
Charlotte Ann wrote the following letter enquiring about her husband’s death plaque:
Mrs C A Bramfield
21 Evans Street, Flint, North Wales
Could you kindly inform me above where I can get a memoriam plate relating to my husband Pte J J Bramfield No 25937 17th Batt Royal Welsh Fus. He was killed in France March 1916. Hoping you will favour me with an early reply.
… and received this reply:
Infantry Record Office (RWF Section) Shrewsbury
I am in receipt of your letter of recent date, in respect of the Memorial Plaque relative to the late No 25937, Private J J Bramfield, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and in reply thereto have to inform you that the Plaque will be forwarded to you direct from the Plaque Factory.
As there are many thousands of the Mementoes to be issued, some time may elapse before you receive same, but you may rest assured that your case will be dealt with with all possible speed.
In the meantime further correspondence on the subject is unnecessary.
O i/c Infantry Record Office.
Charlotte Ann died in July, 1936, aged 54, and is buried in an unmarked grave in the Northop Road Cemetery, Flint.