Wilfred Catherall was born in Buckley, Flintshire during 1898.
The 1901 Census tells us that the family lived at 68 Bunkers Hill, Buckley, Flintshire. The head of the family William Catherall who was working away at the time does not appear on the census. However, his wife Martha Catherall aged 33 does, together with their four children – Thomas John Catherall aged 5, Clifford Catherall aged 3, Wilfred Catherall aged 2 and Bessie Catherall aged 11 months.
During 1904 the family moved to Lancashire and resided at 308 Crow Lane, Earlstown, Lancashire. The 1911 Census shows that William Catherall aged 39 was employed as a Coal Miner. His wife Martha and their four children – Thomas John Catherall aged 15 was also employed in the coal mine as an underground Engine Driver, Wilfred Catherall was aged 12, Bessie Catheral aged 10 and there was a new addition to the family, Florrie Catherall aged 5. Clifford had by then left the family home.
The family at some stage after this returned to North Wales and William became the licensee of the Red Lion Public House, Bagillt, Flintshire.
On 7 June 1916 Wilfred enlisted as a Private with the 29th Machine Gun Corps. His Short Service Records show that it was for the duration of the war. On enlistment he was described as aged 18 years 2 months, 5′ 7″ tall, chest measurement 33″, Range of expansion 2″. His physical development was described as good and according to the Recruitment Officer and Medical Officer he was fit for Military Service. He was at that time single and living at The Poplars, Bagillt.
He died at home in Bagillt from wounds sustained in Belgium and from Pneumonia.
Also buried in the same grave are his parents – Martha Catherall who died on 14 November 1946 and William Catherall who died on 11 September 1926.
He is also remembered on the North Wales Heroes Memorial Arch, Deiniol Road, Bangor, Gwynedd, North Wales.
There is a Flintshire Roll of Honour Card for Wilfred Catherall at the County Archives Office, Hawarden, containing details of medals awarded which was completed by his brother Thomas Catherall on 27 August 1919.
We were contacted by Andrea Dakin who told us that her Grandmother Gwladys and Wilfred (Bill) had been courting briefly when he enlisted. Gwladys had never met his family. At the funeral in Bagillt, someone called Gwladys by name and this prompted Bill’s mother to approach her. She told her that in his dying ramblings, Bill had called out the name Gwladys but they didn’t know who she was as they had wanted to contact her. Andrea has the sepia photograph of Bill that her Grandmother had obviously kept. It is reproduced below. Andrea and her mother visited Bill’s grave on a number of occasions. Yet another sad story of what might have been and what a waste.