Smith, William John

There is a marriage of a Joseph Smith and an Elizabeth A. Latham in St. John’s Church, Chester, in 1890 (CE13/12/210). The certificate would have to be bought to confirm, but although Joseph’s wife is referred to as Annie on William’s official documents for the Army and on some censuses, she is referred to as Elizabeth Ann in the 1901 census.

A possible birth of William J at Hawarden in 1891 (HAW/37/56).

The 1891 census finds the family of Joseph Smith, 27 a General Labourer, who had been born in Birkenhead, Cheshire and his wife Annie Smith, 19, born in Saltney, Flintshire with their son William J. Smith 2 months old, also born in Saltney. Living next door in Pentre, Saltney is Annie’s parents, Henry Latham, 57, a General Labourer, born Hawarden and his wife, Mary, 56, Annie’s mother, who had been born in Northop, their son John Latham 16, also a General Labourer, born in Saltney,was living there as well.

1901 sees Joseph & Elizabeth Ann Smith living at Dee Terrace, Pentre, Hawarden with Elizabeth Ann’s father Henry Latham, 67, a General Labourer, born Aston, Queensferry,. Henry was said to be married, although no wife was there, and his son Alfred, 40, a General Labourer was said to be a widower, so I do not know if the Enumerator made a mistake. Joseph Smith, Son-in-Law, 41 and also a General Labourer, born Bebington, Cheshire was with his wife Elizabeth Ann, 30 and their children, son William A.(sic) 10, a daughter Mary,9, had been born in Pentre, Hawarden, daughter Emily,6 had been born in Sandycroft, son Joseph H., 4 and son John, 2 and son Alfred had been born in Pentre.

There are some possible deaths of a Mary Latham in Hawarden in the following years, 2 for 1898, 1 for 1895 and 1 for 1892. Any information gratefully received.

The 1911 census sees the Smith family still living with Henry Latham at 1 Parrys Row Pentre Hawarden Flintshire. Henry Latham, 76, a widower born in Aston, Flintshire was head of the household, Joseph Smith, 49 was his Son-in-Law who was a Labourer at the Ironworks (Industry – Steel maker) and had been born in Bebbington, Cheshire, his wife Annie, 39 had been born in Pentre Flintshire. They had been married 21 years and 10 children had been born to them, 8 were still living. Son William, 20 and single was also a Labourer in the same works as his father Joseph, daughter Mary was 19 and single, son Joseph, 14 was a Labourer with a Coal Merchant, son John, 12, son Alfred, 10, son Harry, 6 and daughter Bessie, 10 months old had all been born in Pentre, Flintshire.

William J’s Flintshire WW1 Index Cards (F21 Queensferry.) tells us that he was Killed in action in the Dardanelles 13th August 1915 and his card was signed by Joseph SMITH (Father) 23rd October 1919.

British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 about William John Smith tells us his first Theatre of War was the Balkans and he entered it on 28th June 1915, less than 2 months later, he was killed, age 24.

UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 about William John Smith tells us that he was born, lived and enlisted in Hawarden, Flintshire.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission additional information: Son of Joseph and Annie Smith, of 1, Parry’s Row, Pentre, Hawarden, Flintshire.

William Joseph is also remembered on the Sandycroft War Memorial in St. Francis’s Church.

Excerpt from the Hawarden Parish Magazine 1915.  I think the Vicar had William’s name wrong (Joseph) as on all William’s Army papers, he is referred to as William John.    Any clarification on this would be gratefully received.

Hawarden Parish Magazine - Stephen Latham - William Joseph SMITH

As can be seen on the cutting, Stephen Latham and William were cousins.  Below a later cutting from the magazine:-

Hawarden Parish Magazine - LATHAM family

A John Smith died in the March Quarter of 1916, age 16 years, was this Mrs. Smith’s son? also an Alfred Latham, age 49 died in the same quarter (Hawarden  Vol. 11b Page 326).   One wonders how she was able to cope with so much grief, bless her.

Taken from the Hawarden Parish Magazine

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Hawarden Memorial

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