Birtall, William C.

Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Mavis Williams

Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Hawarden (Right Base of Memorial)

Name / Enw: Birtall, William C.

Regiment/Catrawd: 1st/5th Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Private 240573

Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: Jerusalem War Cemetery (Israel)

Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: P. 28.

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

Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: British War & Victory Medals and 15 star

Date of Death: 30th April 1918

Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:

Died 30th April 1918

(Name on the front, right, of the base of the Cenotaph – not the panels)

Information given to me from Roger Brooke & John Robertson in 2011, they are connected to the Birtall family.   Many thanks to them both for giving me the early part of William’s life. We met through Ancestry.co.uk and Roger has his Family Tree on there.

There is a remarkable similarity between the life of William Birtall b1895 and that of his father.
Both lost their father when very young. In our William’s case before he was born. Both had mothers who remarried and had a new family to look after, and both appear to have joined the army as soon as possible.   William C. Birtall came from a Military family, his father also William C Birtall (b 1850 in London, Middlesex) was a sergeant with the Cheshire Regiment based at Chester Castle and he married Jane Powis in 1889 in Chester, his 2nd marriage. They had 4 children. Two died, leaving Reginald (b1894)* and William Charles (b1895). * Reginald survived the war.

In 1875 William Charles Birtall (b1850) married Francis Lavinia Knowles in Birkenhead They had 5 children, but 2 died as babies. The others, Ellen, Florence and Elizabeth are named as relatives on Williams enlistment form. Ellen, my wife Barbara’s grandmother was born at Cork Castle when William (b1850) was on service in Ireland.   Francis Lavinia died in 1888.   (Thanks to John Robertson for the above.)

1901 census Ellen and Elizabeth were living at 38, Seller (sic) Street, Chester.: –

Ellen BIRTALL* Niece Single age 23 born Ireland and Elizabeth BIRTALL, Niece single age 20 born in London were living at this address, householder was James CROXTON, Head M 53 Cab Driver (Groom) born Hoylake and his wife Sarah CROXTON, age 50 Dressmaker and their daughter Agnes single age 21, also a Dressmaker born in Chester.   There were 4 Boarders living there as well.

* Ellen had married William Bradshaw in 1904 in West Derby (Vol 8b Page 550), Her name on the marriage was Eileen Frances Birtall.

On the 1911 census they were living at 4, Barker’s Terrace, Blundellsands, Great Crosby, William Bradshaw was age 33 and was a Caddie Master working at West Lancashire Golf Course, he had been born at Bootle, Liverpool.   His wife Ellen Frances Margaret Bradshaw was age 33 and had been born in Buttevant, County Cork, Ireland. Their son, (Barbara’s father), Sidney was age 2, William Charles Birtall, age 15 , Brother-in-Law, born Chester.
Service of William Charles Birtall at Gallipoli courtesy of Roger BROOKES, Ancestry.co.uk.

         William Charles Birtall enlisted in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 4th August 1914, he was living in Ewloe Green, Flintshire.   On 14th July 1915 his battalion, the 1/5th (Flintshire) Battalion which formed part of the 53rd (Welsh) Division embarked at Devonport on His Majesty’s Transport “Caledonia” for Imbros in the Mediterranean. The battalion formed part of the Suvla Bay Landings on 9th August 1915.

   On 21st September 1915 Pte Birtall was admitted to a hospital ship suffering from scabies and rejoined his battalion a week later on 28th September 1915.

   Following the great November blizzard which reduced the strength of the Division to less than that of a brigade, Pte Birtall was again admitted to a hospital ship on 28th November 1915 suffering from exposure and subsequently transferred to a hospital on Malta suffering from frostbite. He was admitted to the hospital on 6th December 1915 and returned to the Division’s base camp in Alexandria on 25th February 1916. He rejoined his battalion in Egypt on 5th March 1916.

William is mentioned in the book ” Soldiers Died in the Great War – Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Volume 28″

William C Birtall in the British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 tells us his first Theatre of War was the Balkans and he entered there on the 8th August 1915, the day that brother’s, Douglas Rogers died & Edgar Rogers, was injured and died at sea, both from Shotton, they were in Sulva Bay.   (Please read their story on the Connah’s Quay & Shotton Pages.)

William’s Flintshire WW1 Index card had been signed by E. IBALL, so at first I thought that Ellen BRADSHAW (nee BIRTALL) had remarried at some point after her brother, William Charles’s death, but I have found a possible Death Certificate for Ellen F.M BRADSHAW date of 1959, age 81 (Crosby, Lancashire Volume:10c Page: 66.)   So the mystery of who E. IBALL carries on!   If you have any idea who she may have been, please let us know so that we can complete the story.

Also remembered on the Ewloe memorial, please click on the link.