Ralph was born in April 1896 in Gresford, Denbighshire, Wales
In 1901 the family lived at New Farm, Llay. This was somewhere near Shones Lane. The household consisted of:
- Thomas Henshaw, aged 50, a stationary engine driver born in Farndon
- Mary Henshaw (nee Jones) aged 45, born in Burton
- Edwin Henshaw, aged 24, and engine fitter born in Gwersyllt
- Robert Henshaw, aged 22, born in Gwersyllt
- Amy Henshaw, aged 20, born in Bradley
- John Henshaw, aged 16, born in Gwersyllt
- Ada Henshaw, aged 13, born in Gwersyllt
- Thomas Henshaw, aged 11, born in Gwersyllt
- Cyril Henshaw, aged 7, born in Gresford
- Ralph Henshaw, aged 5, born in Gresford
- Alexander Henshaw, aged 2, born in Gresford
- John Henshaw, aged 74, a visitor living on his own means.
By 1911 the family lived at Pentre Farm, Pentre Lane, Hope. This is the first farm on the right going up to Hope Mountain from the dual carriageway (now LL12 9HD). The household consisted of :
- Thomas Henshaw, aged 60, a widowed colliery engine driver
- Edwin Henshaw, aged 34, an unmarried engineer
- Ada Henshaw, aged 23 no occupation but presumable keeping house for her father and five brothers
- Thomas Henshaw, aged 21, school teacher
- Cyril Henshaw, aged 17, farm bailiff
- Ralph Henshaw, 15, assistant on farm
- Alexander Henshaw, 12
Ralph’s mother had died in 1906. In 1911 his sister Amy was living in Liverpool with her husband Thomas F Deed and two daughters. Ralph’s father Thomas died in 1913, The family still lived in Pentre Farm during WW1.
Ralph’s military records have not been found so it is not clear when or where he enlisted, but he was previously a Private in the Denbigh Yeomanry (regimental number 1422).
Ralph was badly injured in the Battle of the Ancre 13–18 November, which was the final large British attack of the battle of the Somme in 1916, before winter. The war diaries of the 10th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers have been obtained by Ralph’s great nephew David Jones from the Royal Welsh Fusiliers Regimental Museum at Caernarfon.
Ralph’s case was not deemed terminal and he was transported to Bethnal Green Military Hospital in London. However he died in the hospital on 18th November 1916.
The story within the family is that when Ralph’s body was returned to Hope for burial his brother was sceptical that it was Ralph’s body in the coffin and demanded it be opened so he could check. It was the body of Ralph but in a very poor condition, with limbs missing. It has since been surmised by Ralph’s great nephew David Jones,that Ralph died either through blood loss or the onset of sepsis following surgery.
Ralph’s death certificate neither confirms nor refutes this. The cause of death was given as:
(1) Gunshot wounds (multiple)
(2) Cardiac failure.
It is possible that Ralph had undergone surgery to amputate limbs that were infected and possibly gangrenous from the gunshot wounds. Cardiac failure can be a consequence of sepsis.
It would appear that nothing was done with regards to the War Gratuity because the letter was never returned.
The story handed down the family states that when Ralph’s youngest brother Alexander (1898 – 1987) was due for enlistment, their brother (Sgt Cyril Henshaw as he was) instructed him in how to beat the Medical Board which, as far as is known, he did.
Ralph is also commemorated on the Hope memorial. His family history can be viewed at http://person.ancestry.co.uk/tree/70118846/person/42213821942/facts