Elias Edwards was born about 1893.
He was recorded in the census of 1901 living with his large family at Waen, Gwernaffield, near Mold. Head of the houseold was Samuel Edwards, a 47 year old Quarryman. His wife Anne was 45. Their listed children were Robert 25 and Joseph 23 who were both Lead Miners. Price 18 was a Gardener, Edwin 15 was a Stable Boy. Lewis was 12, Elias 8, Rosina 6, Samuel 4 and John 1. The whole family had been born in Gwernaffield.
The census of 1911 records the family still living at Waen, Gwernaffield. Ann Edwards 55, was head of the household. She was listed as having been ‘married’ for 38 years but her husband was not there. (Was she actually widowed by then?). The form says that she had given birth to 12 children but that two had died. Those listed in the household were Price, 28 a Gardener, Elias 19 a surface labourer at the Colliery, Rosina 16 was ‘at home’, Samuel 15 and John 11 were at school.
UK Soldiers Who Died in The Great War 1914 -19, accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms Elias’s regimental details as above. It tells us that he enlisted in Mold and that he was killed in action in Egypt. His medal card, also on ‘Ancestry’ details his medal entitlement.
Elias’s Army Service Records exist and are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk. They tell us that he enlisted and attested on the 6th December 1915. He was 23 years and 8 months old and his occupation at that time was ‘Brickmaker’. His address on the form was School House, Gwernaffield. He named his mother Ann Edwards as his next of Kin.
He was medically examined on enlistment and was described as being 5 feet 2 and a half inches tall, weighed 118 lbs and had a chest measurement of 34 inches with a 2 inch range of expansion. He had ‘defective teeth’. The medical officer concluded that although there were slight defects he was fit for general service.
He was assigned to the army Reserve the next day and was mobilized and posted on the 10th February 1916. He joined the British Expeditionary Force and embarked from Devonport on the 6th September 1916, arriving in Alexandria on the 17th September. He joined the Battalion ‘in the field’ on the 24th September 1916. He was killed in action in Gaza on the 26th March 1917. He had served 477 days in the army.
The records include correspondence between the army and his mother regarding his personal effects, medals and Commemorative Plaque and Scroll.
There is a Living Relatives Form in the Records that was completed in 1919 by Ann Edwards and verified by the vicar of Gwernaffield. It says that Elias’s father was deceased. There were 5 brothers listed – Samuel, Robert, Joseph, Price and John (John was in the army in France). Two sisters listed were Elizabeth (Edmond- living in Leeds) and Rosy.
There is an index card for Elias in The Flintshire Roll of Honour in The County Record Office in Hawarden. It gives the address ‘School Yard’ Gwernaffield and it confirms the regimental information at the top of this page. It adds that he served for 13 months. The card was completed by Ann Edwards his mother, and she wrote that he had been ” Killed in action March 26th 1917 in Gaza” She signed the card on the 28th September 1919.