Edgar Messham was born at Hawarden towards the end of 1895 (GRO reference Oct-Dec 1895 Chester 8a 422). He was the son of coalminer Thomas Messham and Martha (nee Jones).
The 1901 census records the family living at the Warren, Broughton, Hawarden, Flintshire. Thomas Messham 48, was a Coal Miner (Hewer). His wife Martha, 43 was “at home”. Their listed children were Annie 23, Joseph 21 and Albert Ed.18 (both coal miners). Olive Jane was 13, Ernest 10*, Edith 7, Edgar 5 and Harold was 3. They spoke only English and all the family had been born in Hawarden.
*Ernest was listed on the Absent Voter’s List of 1919 – in the Broughton Township – 1588 Messham, Ernest Warren, Broughton 48733 Pte., 457 Coy. R.D.C., H.D.L. (Home Defence Labour) (No. on the same list for 1918 – 2890). In the Parish magazine, see below, we read that Ernest lost an eye.
The 1911 census finds the family still at the Warren, Broughton, Thomas, 57, was still a Coal Miner. His wife of 36 years Martha 53 was a Poultry Dealer. She had borne 10 children, none of whom had died. The children at home were listed as follows. Thomas 25 was a Baker. Arnold was 13. Olive Jane Crofts, 23, had been married under one year to John Crofts who was also a Baker. Their son Clifford Crofts was 5 months old.
However, in 1911, Edgar had left home to work and was found living at Rhos Y Chellis, Northop in the household of farmer Thomas Wakley, 36 , his wife M.A. Wakley and their extended family. Workman, E. Messham was single, 15 and a Cowman who had been born in Broughton, Flintshire.
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms his regimental information as above and adds that he was born in Hawarden, his residence was Broughton and he enlisted in Flint. His medal card, also on ‘Ancestry’ tells us his first Theatre of War was France and his date of entry there was the 2nd December 1915.
There is an index card for Edgar in the Flintshire Roll of Honour at the County Record Office in Hawarden. (Hawarden F 22) Edgar is mentioned in the book” Soldiers Died in the Great War. Royal Welsh Fusiliers Volume 28″.
Edgar is also remembered on the on the Broughton, Penymynydd and Northop Memorials and also commemorated on the memorial at Bretton Methodist Chapel.
Edgar’s brother Ernest is mentioned in the Hawarden Parish Magazine in August 1916. – Broughton & Bretton
Our roll of honour shows that the majority of men who have enlisted from our immediate neighbourhood are serving their country abroad. So far we have been on the whole fortunate for only Walter Long has been killed since the War began, and only seven have been wounded, if we include Mark Brererton who has now retired from the army and has left Bretton. Lieut. Whitley has received his second wound, this time from a piece of shrapnel in the right forearm, but it is progressing so favourably that he will probably return to France in a few weeks. George Lawrence who is engaged in Blue Cross work was wounded a few weeks ago. Ernest Messham who some time back lost an eye, has been home again in the Warren. Dick Jones’ wound in the leg was apparently slight, and George Crofts wounded arm seems so far healed that there is already some talk of him returning to the front. We are also glad to hear that Corporal Herbert Jones, the only soldier from Broughton who fought at Mons, has recovered from his severe illness and is back in France. We hope that before the summer is past he will be astride his horse again. Sergeant Kinsall is the only wounded man whom we have not mentioned. As most of our readers know he soon recovered and is back in Salonika. We are glad to record that Ada Crofts a scholar attending Broughton School, has obtained a probationership at Hawarden County School. She hopes eventually to enter the teaching profession, and we hope this will prove to be the first of a series of successes. W.F.J.T.
Many thanks to Mike Howes for confirming my research.