John William Williams was the son of William and Elizabeth Williams of Long Row, Burntwood. He was baptised 3rd May 1885 at St Matthews. In 1891 and 1901 the family was living at Long Row with children Thomas, Ada, Esther, John W, Walter, and Maggie. John William Williams married Sarah Ellen Connah 1912 in a Hawarden Civil Marriage. They had a child Kenneth born in 1915.
John “Ginger” Williams played football with the local team of Burntwood and the Buckley Engineers. Then he was transferred to Atherton, and afterwards to Accrington, Birmingham, Crystal Palace, and latterly to Millwall. He also played for Wales in international matches. He joined Millwall for then their biggest transfer fee, played 50 Southern League games and scored 11 goals.
John’s death was reported in the North Wales Coast Pioneer, June 24th 1916
ROLL OF HONOUR – The sad news of the death of Private John W. Williams, of the Sportsman’s Battalion, has just been received. Private Williams, who was familiarly known as “John Will,” was a fine all round sportsman. He began his career as a footballer with the local team of Burntwood and the Buckley Engineers. Then he was transferred to Atherton, and afterwards to Accrington, Birmingham, Crystal Palace, and latterly to Millwall. He also played for Wales in international matches. At cricket he kept wicket for Buckley C.C., and was a good left hand bowler. “John Will” was just as good on the bowling green, as he was at either football or cricket patch, for he had won several bowling competitions in the immediate neighbourhood, and had performed the duties of Captain of the Free Library Bowling Club. He leaves a wife and one child.
Additional information on John is provided in a Wikipedia page
John Williams was born in Buckley, Flintshire. A prolific scorer in junior football, he played for Bury, though not in the Football League, and for Accrington Stanley before impressing on trial with Second Division club Birmingham. Williams signed for them in August 1908, and made his debut on 7 September 1908, playing at inside left in a 3–1 win at home to Bradford. He was given a decent run of games in the starting eleven, but failed to impress, and returned to Accrington Stanley in February 1909.
In the 1909 close season, he moved to Crystal Palace of the Southern League. With Palace his best position was centre forward or inside right, though he was capable of playing in any forward role. Described as “an eager, neat and busy little footballer who possessed a snappy tackle and plenty of enthusiasm and determination”, he scored 58 goals from 149 appearances in all competitions, including scoring five in one match against Southend United in September 1909. Williams remained with the club for nearly five seasons, during which time he won two caps for Wales. In February 1914 he joined Millwall, also playing in the Southern League, and remained with the club for about a year.
Williams made his international debut for Wales in the 1912 British Home Championship against Scotland national football team at Tynecastle on 2 March 1912. Wales lost 1–0. His second cap came in a 3–2 defeat at Ninian Park against Ireland in the same competition.
Williams was married to Sarah. He enlisted in the 17th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment – the Footballers’ Battalion – and served in northern France during the First World War. Reported missing presumed dead on 5 June 1916, he is commemorated on the Arras Memorial and at Millwall F.C.‘s ground.
Joseph Tomlinson was a neighbor in Long Row also lost in the War.