With the help of Renee Owen of Mold – we believe that the name Wigley on the war memorial is a mistake and is a result of a local pronunciation of the name Whitley. We believe that John Wigley was in fact John Whitley.
John Whitley was born about 1892 the son of Thomas and Jane Whitley.
The 1901 census places this family in 74, Maes y Dre Mold. Head of the household was Thomas, 44, a Tin plate worker. His wife Jane was 41. Their listed children were Robert 14, Fred 11, John 9 and Edward 6.
This family was still in 74 Maes y Dre in 1911. Head of the household was Jane, by then a widow aged 51. (We can see on the form, although it had been crossed out, that she had given birth to 9 children, 4 of whom had died). Listed in the household with her were three sons who all worked in the Tin plate works Fred 21 and John 19 were both ‘Catchers’ and Edward 16 was a ‘Cold Roller’.
John Enlisted and signed his Attestation papers on 5th January 1915 in Flint. His address on the form, however was 8 Marsland Street, Sutton, St Helens. His service records have survived and are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk.
His medical report on enlistment tells us he was 24 years old, 5ft 6ins tall, weighed 11 stones and had a chest measurement of 35 inches (with an expansion range of 2 inches). His vision and physical development were good and he was deemed fit for army service. His first regimental number was 2639
John married Mary Alice Thomas in Abertillery on the 10th October 1915. (Son David John Thomas had been born in March that year).
John was admitted to hospital in Edgbaston on 1st April 1916 suffering from a hernia. He was eventually discharged fit for light duties on the 13th May 1916. He had been in hospital 43 days.
He was posted on 10th September 1916 and he died of wounds received in action ‘in the field’ on 25th January 1917 in Mesopotamia (Iraq). There is an army discharge form in the records that includes the words ‘Discharged in consequence of death’.
There is inter army correspondence and correspondence with John’s widow Mary concerning his possessions, medals and commemorative plaque and scroll. The Army Register of Effects in which outstanding monies for deceased soldiers was calculated, names John’s widow, Mary as his sole beneficiary. She received £12..6s..19d. She also was awarded a weekly pension of 18/9d.
The Army asked for details of living relatives in September 1919. Listed on the form were Widow Mary Alice Whitley, James St Abertillery, Child David John Thomas born 2nd March 1915 in Abertilery, Brothers Robert 35 and Frederick 29 of 8 Marsland Street, Sutton, St Helens
Widow, Mary Alice eventually remarried after the war. She became Mary Alice Evans.
John’s brother Edward also died in the war and was also named Wigley instead of Whitley on the Mold memorial. He has his own page on this website. Follow the link to read his story.