Walter Jones was born about 1885 at Barnston, Cheshire, (Storeton is the next village to Barnston. It is described on modern maps as Storeton, Bebington.). His parents were William & Hannah Jones and the family were living at Gills Lane, Barnston, Wirral, ( Christchurch) on the 1891 census. Head of the household was William Jones, 43 a Labourer who had been born in Neston, Cheshire. His wife Hannah, 39 had been born in Storeton, Cheshire. Their listed children were John W, 17, a Farm Labourer, Joseph, 10, Walter 6 and Henry 4. There was a visitor in the household, Nathan Forshaw, a Widower, 65 and a Blacksmith.
I cannot find the marriage of William Jones & Hannah, but believe her maiden name was Ithell. William’s Mother-in-Law Elizabeth Ithell, age 62 was living with them on the 1881 census. 2 other children were on that census. George, 5 and Susannah,2 They were not in the household on the 1891 census above.
By 1901 the family were living at 3, Tower Hill, Birkenhead, Cheshire. William was 60 and a ‘Horseman on a Farm’. His wife was listed as Annie (Should have been Hannah). The listed children were Joseph, 20 a Quarryman’s Labourer, Walter 18, Henry 13, Margaret A. 9, and Dora, 4.
The family had changed considerably by the 1911 census. I believe William Jones had died. On this census, Hannah was Hannah Price, living with her new husband William Price. This census shows, William Price, Head of the household, 34, a Fireman with the Water Works Dept. Corp. Birkenhead. His wife of 4 years Hannah Price was 54. (No children had been born to this marriage). Also listed in the household in 1911 were the following ‘step children’. Walter Jones, 29 was a Bricksetter’s Labourer, Margaret Ann Jones, 19 and Dora, 15.
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms Walter’s regimental information above and also tells us that he was born in Barnston, Cheshire and enlisted in Chester.
Walter’s Service Records have survived and are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk. His Attestation Papers completed at Chester Castle on the 24th June 1918 tell us that he had previouly been in the 13th South Wales Borderers and had been discharged on the 5th December 1917.
His Attestation papers tell us that his address was William’s Row, Saltney, Chester and that his age was 36 years and 2 months. He was a ‘Labourer’ and was unmarried. He named his brother John William Jones as his Next of Kin. (same address).
He was medically examined on the 24th June 1918 at the time of his re enlistment. The Medical Report tells us that he was 5 feet 6 1/4 inches tall, weighed 127 lbs and had a chest measurement of 37 inches – with 3 inch expansion range. His hair was brown, his complexion ‘fresh’ and his eyes were blue. His Physical development was deemed to be ‘ very good’ though he was blind in his right eye and had ‘vecres’ (skin compaint??) to both legs. He required dental treatment. He had a tattoo on his right arm.
He was allocated to The Royal Garrison Artillery and given the rank and number Gunner 221393. He was posted to Derby and then to Filey. (North Riding Hy Bty RGA)
He was admitted to the VAD hospital in Bridlington in September and October 1918. The only cause that can be read is ‘Debility’.
There is a memorandum in the Records from the Officer in charge at Chester War Hospital to the Officer in charge of records for the RGA at Dover. It says
221393 Gunner Jones Walter RGA . Attached please find AFB 178 for a/m man who died at this Hospital 5th November 1918. Kindly acknowledge receipt. It was Date stamped R.G.A., Records, Dover, received 8th November 1918.
There is a copy of a Telegram from Chester to R.G.A., Records Dover. This says, Notified for your information that 221393 Gnr JONES died at this Hospital from disease Pneumonia, next of kin has been informed. War hospital Chester.
There is a note to say he was Buried at Chester General Cemetery (4298).
There is some correspondence in the records between the Army and Walter’s brother John William Jones. It concerns the receipt of a plaque and scroll, Walter’s personal possessions and medals.
The records contain a list of Walter’s living relatives which was completed on 27th May 1919. It shows that his parents were both dead and that his brother John W Jones was 45 and still at William’s Cottage Bridge Street, Saltney. It lists two sisters Margaret 30 and Dora 24 but their addresses were unknown. The declaration was signed by John William Jones with his mark (x). The form was witnessed by a local priest.
There is an index card for Walter in The Flintshire Roll of Honour at The County Record Office in Hawarden. (Card Saltney Ferry F 16). It states that his period of service was 3 years. (This must include his period with the South Wales Borderers of which we have no details). It confirms his regimental details as above and says that he died at the War Hospital , Hoole Lane, Chester. The card was signed by Mrs. J.E. Jones 31st October 1919
There seems to be no medal entitlement for Walter. All his service seems to have been within the UK which would explain that. We have, however, no idea what he did with The South Wales Borderers.
Walter Jones in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 confirms that he died in the War Hospital, Chester and the Legatees were his Guardian*, Mrs. Margaret A LANCASTER who was paid 11/2d on the 10th March 1920 and the Army retained £1 13s 3d for his brother and sister – not date when they were paid, but 11/2d was paid to Brother John W. on the 20th April 1920.
*Query – Margaret A was described as a “Guardian” and he was age 36 years old.??
His War Gratuity was not Admissible – another query?
Incidentally there are 3 Walter Jones burials in Chester (Overleigh) Cemetery:-
Walter Jones Gunner 736218 6th February 1919 age 35 Royal Field Artillery Old cem 4634C
Walter Jones Gunner 221393 5th November 1918 age 35 Royal Garrison Artillery Old cem 4298
Walter Jones Private 78584 11th July 1919 age 34 The King’s (Liverpool Regt) 5389