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Williams, Harry

Harry Williams was the youngest son of Samuel & Mary Williams of Hawarden and on the 1901 census they were living at Beef Steak Row, Hawarden (Flint),Cheshire. Head of the household, Samuel, 60 was a General Labourer.   His wife was Mary, 53. Their listed children were John, 18,  Emily, 15,  Ellen, 13, and Harry, 9. There was a grandson recorded, William A. Williams was 2.  All the family had been born in Hawarden  according to the enumerator.

The 1911 census sees the family living at Cross Tree Lane, Hawarden.  Samuel, 69 a General Labourer His wife of 43 years, Mary was 63. Ten children had been borne to them and 1 had died. Their family was listed as follows,  John, 28, single was a General Labourer with the Corporation.   Harry, 19, was  a General Labourer in the Foundry.  William Albert Williams, 12, was this time described as a Nephew. Daughter Ellen Jenkins, 23 was married to John William Jenkins, 23, a General Labourer in the Iron Works. They had been married 1 year and 1 child had been borne to them, She was Emily Jenkins who was 4 months old.

UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms Harry’s regimental information and  tells us that he was born in Hawarden, where he also enlisted. His date of death according to this source, was the 10th August 1915. His medal card, also on ‘Ancestry’ details his three medals and states that he was killed in action on the 9th August 1915. His first Theatre of War was The Balkans which he entered on the 8th August 1915.  The Commonwealth War Grave Commission database, says he died on the 19th August 1915. Harry is mentioned in the book ” Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1918 Volume 28 Royal Welsh Fusiliers” where he is said to have died on the 10th August 1915. A family grave in the churchyard of St Deniol’s in Hawarden says he died on the 19th September 1915

There is an index card for Harry in The Flintshire Roll of Honour in The County Record Office in Hawarden. ( Card Hawarden F37) It gives the address  3, Cross Tree Lane, Hawarden and his period of service was 13 months. It says that he was killed in action on the 19th August 1915 at the Dardanelles . W.A. Williams,  signed the card on the 12th October 1919.

On a gravestone in St. Deniol’s Churchyard, Harry is mentioned thus:

 Private Henry Williams,

5th Batt, R.W.F.

son of Samuel & Mary WILLIAMS of Hawarden

killed in action in the Dardanelles,

19 September 1915 age 24 

(St. Deniol’s Churchyard -Monumental Inscriptions Volume 11 – Lovelock. Page 43 U 2). – Also on the Imperial War Museum – Memorials Project – http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/60320

The following newspaper cutting was given to me at an event about WW1 that took place at Mold Library. It was from the Edmonton Journal (Canada). The article is from a story told by Bill Smith to the editor of the paper Stephen Hume in 1986. He talks of his reasons for leaving Hawarden after the hell of the Dardanelles.  Harry Williams features in these extracts as do the Tuck brothers who are also named on Hawarden’s memorial and have their own pages on this website.

“Harry Williams was killed…..

“You’d see Mrs Williams coming down the street and she would want to know if I was there when Harry got killed,” Bill said . It was only about 4 or 5 of us came back to my little town after the war I got some literature about Canada, the Last Great West and there was a mention of Peace River, I got the impression it was a new country, named after Peace and I went to Chester, and I got my ticket to the Peace. And I found peace.   I was confirmed there in the old log church”.   Bill Smith went on to say in other parts of the article that “The Royal Welsh Fusiliers landed on that Beach (Sulva Bay) 1000 strong on August 10th,” Bill remembers, “When they took us off in November there were 145.”

“And the Tuck Brothers, they joined the band, but of course there was no place for musicians as the casualties began to mount so they went into the front lines as stretcher bearers and were slain”

Many thanks to the kind lady who gave me this article and apologies for not taking her name, please get in touch if you can help me identify her for me to thank properly.

Harry was also mentioned in an a letter sentr to the Flintshire Observer 4th November 1915 (Page 7, Co. 1/4):-

GALLANT STRETCHER BEARERS

CARRIED WOUNDED ALL DAY UNDER GALLING FIRE.

Interesting Letter from Ewloe Sergeant

Among the letters received by Mr. J.H. ADKINS, headmaster of the Drew Memorial School, Hawarden, from old boys – more than 80 of whom are serving their country – is one from Sergt. R. Evans of Ewloe, which is of special interest to Hawarden people, as it gives an account of the fine work of his platoon composed mostly of Hawarden young men.

He writes: “ I have just got over dysentery and am expecting to got back to the firing-line any time.   Our stretcher bearers – the band boys- T. Tuck, E. Wilcoxon, Harry Williams, Griff. Jenkins and T.Griffiths deserve to class as the bravest for the work they did in carrying the wounded under the most galling fire.

            They carried them from daylight until dark at night, and had both rifle fire and shellfire to face.   They not only carried our wounded but from every regiment, and I heard everybody passing remarks about what a brave lot they were.   They took them right from the firing line over the open ground for a mile and then came back to and fro all day.

            One of them carried two officers on his back out of the firing line, as there was no stretchers there at the time.   He took one down out of range and came back for the other. I thought you would like to know something about your Hawarden scholars which is true and worth knowing.   Everybody admired our stretcher bearers.   They were the constant talk on the beach among the R.A.M.C.

            I am sorry to say three of them are dead now.   I saw two – Harry Williams and Jenkins Poor Tom Tuck died in hospital.   Harry Williams was bending to pick up a wounded man when he got it in the head.   Both belonged to my platoon.   I wish to send my deepest sympathy to his mother and all the family, and also to Tom Tuck’s parents.   Douglas Tuck was going on all right when I left him.   He has since died.

            I don’t know how it must feel to have a brother out here.   I am afraid I should trouble more about him than myself.   It must be very hard for anyone.   All I have told you about the streatcher bearers is what every officer and man will say.   The busiest day we had on the Peninuslar was August 10th, that’s when we lost the Colonel and the biggest part of our chaps.   It won’t be a very happy return to Hawarden for whoever the lucky ones are, but there’s one thing that consoles us – we are fighting the winning fight.”

 

 

Hawarden Harry Williams Flintshire Observer 1915 Part 1

Flintshire Observer 4th November 1915

Taken from the Hawarden Parish Magazine


Learn more about the other soldiers on the Hawarden Memorial

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