Joseph Clews was born 7th August, 1882, at Chester Street, Flint and baptised on 17th December, 1882 at St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint. He was the third of six children to George Clews and Rosa (Seal).
As a boy Joseph and his family were living at 7, Chester Street before moving next door to No. 5.
George was born in Kidsgrove, Staffordshire and was a master barber by trade with a business in Earl Street. He died 7th June, 1895, aged 41, at his home in Chester Street and was buried in the Northop Road Cemetery.
Rosa was born in Audley, Staffordshire and died 14th May, 1909, aged 49, and was buried with her husband. The funeral was of a public character and it took place at the Welsh Church where the first portion of the burial service was read by the Reverend W Llewelhyn Nicholas (Rector), and the Reverend R Owens read the committal service at the graveside. She was highly esteemed and there was a large attendance of sorrowing relatives at the cemetery, and many beautiful floral tributes were placed upon the coffin.
The 1911 census revealed Joseph was still residing at 5, Chester Street with his sister Stephanie and her husband Herbert Bellis, and his occupation was a galvanised sheet worker at the Hawarden Bridge Ironworks, Shotton. He never married.
He enlisted in Flint and for some years previous to the war he was in the Royal Anglesey Engineers (Militia), and subsequently in the Volunteers and Territorials.
He was killed in action on 10th August, 1915 at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli and buried in the Green Hill Cemetery, Turkey (Plot II, Row B, Grave 8).
He is remembered on two war memorials: Flint Town and St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint.
He is also remembered on his parents’ headstone at Northop Road Cemetery (Grave 9, Line 21, North Side). He is also commemorated on the North Wales Heroes’ Memorial Arch, Bangor.
He was awarded the 1914–15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
A letter was received in Flint on the morning of Wednesday, 1st September, 1915 through the message of Quarter Master Leo Schwartz, of Holywell, conveying the sad intelligence that Private Clews had been killed in action.
Clews was well known in the Borough, and was a very popular comrade with his fellow men in the Battalion.
Private Albert Frimstone, of the 1/5th Battalion, wrote to Mrs Frimstone, of 27, Mumforth Street, Flint, under date of 16th August, stating that Thomas, Robert, John and himself had: “… a devil of a do the other day. Poor Private Tom Hewitt, of Trelawny Square, and Private Joseph Clews, were shot dead. There were several of the men of the Battalion slightly wounded. The boys of the Flint Company were in the pink.”
He concluded: “Cheer up, all at Flint; we will do our duty; the Turks are a bad lot.”