Edward John Griffiths was the son of Benjamin and Sarah Ann Griffiths, Bridge Inn Padeswood. In 1911 the family at the Bridge Inn were: Benjamin 52, coal miner, Sarah Ann 53, Benjamin 25 coal miner, Edward John 19 waggoner, Albert Ernest 17, porter at railway, and Fred 12.
Edward John Griffiths’s Army Service Records have survived and are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk. They are not in brilliant condition but some of his story can be gleaned from them. We can see that he enlisted and attested in Leeds on the 25th May 1915. He gave his address as Bridge Inn, Padeswood, Nr Mold, Flintshire. He was 24 years and his occupation was ‘Policeman’. He expressed a preference at that time to join the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. On the 29th May he had a medical. He was described as being 5 feet 9 and 3/4 inches tall, weighed 142 lbs and had a chest measurement of 38 inches with a two inch expansion range. He was approved and allocated to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers with the regimental number of 24332.
It seems that he spent his first two years in the army at Litherland training camp near Liverpool, where according to the newspaper cutting below, he was an instructor. The records show that he got into a bit of trouble whilst he was there. Two discplinary incidents were noted in the records. On the 16th June 1015 he was reprimanded for being missing from NCO’s Parade. On the 10th February 1917 he was again reprimanded for ‘Quitting camp when detailed for duty at 6.00pm until reporting himself at 11.30pm (5 hours and 30 minutes)’ He must have been a good soldier however as he became a sergeant.
It wasn’t until the 26th July 1917 that he embarked for France on active service with the British Expeditionary Force. He arrived in Rouen, France the next day and on the 11th August 1917 , he joined the battalion ‘in the field’. He attended a Lewis Gun Course in late September 1917. He was killed in action on the 20th October 1917.
There is some correspondence in the records between Edward’s father Benjamin (next of kin) and Army Records in Shrewsbury.
2nd November 1917.
To O/C Dept
Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Shrewsbury.
Sergt E J Griffiths
19th Bn RWF
The above – my son – has been out in France about 12 weeks.
We have heard through relatives of their men at the same place, that he was killed about a fortnight ago.
Not having had official intimation may I ask for a confirmation or otherwise to allay our naturally acute anxiety. With apologies for trouble and thanking you in anticipation.
No 2 Infantry Record Office
5th November 1917
Re No 24332 E J Griffiths RWF
With reference to your letter of the 2nd instant, relative to your son, I beg to inform you that no information of his death has as yet been received in this office and as far as is known in this office the soldier is still well and serving with his unit in France. if you have received any letters from any source which you think in your opinion reports definitely that your son has been killed, will you please forward such letters to this office for perusal and when they are done with they will be returned to you. If you comply with my request I will endeavour to make enquiries about this soldier. Should any report be received in the meantime you will be immediately notified.
I am Sir,
Your obedient servant Captain for Lt Col i/c Record Office.
Edward John’s death was announced in the County Herald November 30, 1917.
Official news has reached Mr. and Mrs. Griffiths, the Bridge Inn, Padeswood, that their son, Sergeant Ed. John Griffiths, has been killed in action on the Western Front. He had been three months on active service. He enlisted in May, 1915, and for over two years acted as instructor at a Lancashire Camp. He was 26 years of age, and before joining the Colours he was a police constable in the West Riding Constabulary, and was stationed at Pudsey, near Leeds. Writing to his mother the officer commanding the platoon, says: “You have undoubtedly by now received the sad intimation to the effect that your son, Sergeant E. J. Griffiths, was killed in action on the 20th ulto. He was my platoon sergeant, and I was therefore intimately acquainted with him and I will … (transcription cut off).
Edward John Griffiths is remembered on the Police memorial which is situated within a small garden in front of the main entrance to the West Yorkshire Police Headquarters building in Wakefield.
The inscription says
Erected by their comrades
in memory of the West Riding Constabulary
Who fell in the Great War 1914 -1919
At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.
Edward John was remembered on the memorial plaque inside St. John’s Congregational Chapel and on his parents’ grave at St. John’s.
In loving memory of Sarah Ann the beloved wife of Benjamin Griffiths Buckley who died August 18th 1918 aged 60 years
A precious one from us is gone. A voice we loved is stilled
Also Serg. Edward John Griffiths son of the above who was killed in Armentieres Oct 20th 1917 aged 26 years
Sleep on dear son, as the days go by we cannot see the grave where you lie
Also the above Benjamin Griffiths who died Dec 26th 1934 aged 75 years