Edward Thomas Griffiths was born on the 18th March 1899. He first appeared on a census in 1901 when he was living with his family at Ynys y Gwas Terrace in Cwmafon, Margam in Glamorgan. Head of the household was Samuel G Griffiths who was 34 and a Steel Smelter. His wife Mary Anne was 32 and their four listed children were David John 7, Samuel 5, Edith May 4 and Edward Thomas 2, all had been born in Cwmavon Glamorganshire.
I believe that Samuel Griffiths and Mary Anne Davies married in the June Qtr of 1891 in Neath, which spans the boundaries of the counties of Breconshire and Glamorgan, but would have to purchase the certificate to confirm or deny. (Neath Vol. 11a, Page 1099).
The 1911 census reveals that the family was undergoing a big change. Samuel G Griffiths, Edward’s father, was a boarder in a house ‘Eryl’ in Queensferry Flintshire. He was a Steel Smelter and a 43 year old married man. His landlord and landlady were David and Margaret Jones.
The 1911 census sees the rest of the family still in Ynys Y Gwas Terrace Cwmavon, but at No. 28. Mary Anne’s son David J. Griffiths filled in the census form and he included his father Samuel in, but the Enumerator crossed his entry out, as Samuel was away from home on that date, in Queensferry. David stated that his father Samuel had been born in born St. Clears, Carmarthenshire. David (known as Dai) stated that his parents had been married 20 years and that 7 children had been born to them, none of whom had died. All the family were bilingual. David John himself was then 17 and a General Labourer. His brother Samuel was 15 and was a Railway Station Porter. Sister Edith May, 14, brother Edward Thomas, 12, sister Elizabeth, 10 and new siblings, Wyndham, 8 and sister Dorothy, 5, like the others had been born in Cwmavon, all were at school
It must have been shortly after this census that the family moved to Flintshire to join Samuel who was working at the Steel Works owned by John Summers.
Edward Thomas is remembered on the Queensferry School Plaque, which is in the Queensferry War Memorial Institute. Presumably, therefore, he was a pupil at that school.
We know that during the early part of the war, young Ted was a ‘premium’ apprentice working at ‘Dutton Aircrafts’ Aeronautical Engineers, Designers and Constructors. They were located at the Flying Ground and School, Chester Aerodrome, Sealand, Chester. (This became RAF Sealand some years later). In 1917, Mr Dutton provided a reference for 18 year old Ted who was in the process of joining up.
We can see from Army Form W3291 that the army declared that he ‘should be fit for general service so soon as trained’. This was dated 20th March 1917.
UK Soldiers who Died in The Great War 1914 -19, accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms the regimental details above and adds that he enlisted in Queensferry. It tells us that his original number when he was in the Training Battalion was 4/2708. His medal card, also on Ancestry, details his medal entitlement and also records his original number.
Ted was only in France for two weeks. He was killed in Action on the 30th May 1918.
Ted’s brother Samuel had also enlisted early in the war. He served in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers where he was Private 12720. He was discharged on the 24th May 1915 as he was deemed to be medically unfit (there was a heart valve issue). He was provided with a ‘War Badge’ to wear in civilian life to prove he had been a serving soldier.
Many, many thanks to Pat Patullo who is Ted’s Great Niece. Her Grandfather was Samuel Griffiths. She has provided much of this story and all of the photographs. Pat wrote of Ted
“I have visited his grave on 2 occasions. Once as a child with my parents, which was the first time any of the family had been there. The second time I went with my husband a few years ago and it was as if time had stood still. Nothing had changed at all. and the cemetery was in immaculate condition, carefully tended. We were there on 11th November and were able to lay poppies on his grave. There was no one else there and the silence was very moving.”
Scroll down to see photographs.