William Probert is not the same William Probert who is remembered on the Connah’s Quay & Shotton Cenotaph.
William was born in the March Quarter of 1892 and registered in Chester, (Vol. 8a Page 394), he was baptized on the 6th March 1892, at Lache-cum-Saltney, his parents were Arthur Probert and Annie Roberts, who married in the June Quarter of 1890 (Vol 8a Page 677).
He is on the 1901 census Living in Lache Lane, Marlston-cum-Lache, Chester, Cheshire. Arthur, 36 is a Bricklayer, born in Chester, Cheshire, his wife Annie , 35 was born in Lavister, Denbighshire. All the children were also born in Chester. Daughter Ethel, 10, son William, 9, and daughter Nora, 2.
Te family’s address on the 191 census was just The Lache, Chester, Arthur, 46 was still a Bricklayer (Builder), and wife Annie, 45 had been married for 21 years and 7 children had been born to the, sadly 3 had died. Daughter Ethel was 20, single and a Milliner, William was 19, single and a Bricklayer, Nora, 11 and new son Frederick, 8, were at school. This time, Arthur had written the place of birth for him and the children was “The Lache.”
In 1913, William was to marry Annie Postles at the Christ Church, Barnston, Cheshire (Cheshire West 108/2/142).
I cannot find any Army Service Records for William, but it appears from his UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 that he was an unpaid Lance Corporal and the Sole Legatee was widow Annie Probert paid £8 5s 2d and War Gratuity of £7 0s 0d on the 19th November 1919 (1). However there was another set of these records, – UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 and another payment – Sole Legatee widow Annie Probert £7 4s 0d paid 21st July 1919 (2). On both these records, he is stated to have been accidentallly killed on the 12th March 1918.
I then found his Probate – William Probert in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966 – William Probert in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966 – PROBERT, William of 16 Leonard-street Chester died 12 March 1918 at Merville France Administration (with Will) London 10 March 1933 to Annie Probert widow. Effects £300 5s 2d.
Annie had to wait 7 years before she was able to inherit his money, adding to her grief.
I did not know anything about his death and asked on the Army Forum for help. – http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=230126 – they didn’t disappoint, it appears that William either fell out of or was hit by a plane. The war diary of 2/6th Kings Liverpool Regiment (WO95/2983/4) states on 12 Mar 1918 – ‘:Cpl Probert accidentally killed at XV Corps L G [Lewis Gun] School by an aeroplane during AA [anti-aircraft] practice.’ Also the Chester Chronicle dated 30th March 1918 had an obit – PROBERT – Died of injuries from a falling aeroplane on March 12th, in France Corpl. Wm. Probert, dearly beloved son of Mr. & Mrs. A. Probert, The Lache, Chester.
Many thanks to johnboy, IPT, Colin W. Taylor and MBrockway from the Army Forum with the answer to William’s death. I will keep looking for an inquest.
Strangely the UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 for William, just confirms his regimental details and that he was born in Marleston-cum-lache, Cheshire and his residence was in Chester, but does not say anything about his death except – “Died.” He enlisted in Eleesmere Port, Cheshire.
Also strangely, I cannot find any Medal Cards for him.
Williams story is so sad, as, although they didn’t know it at the time, the War was to end very soon and he had survived till then, when his accident happened, it would have made it harder for his family.