St. Ethelwold’s Church, Shotton – Hawarden Parish Magazine – October 1915
It is with a sad heart that I write my portion to the Magazine this month, for I have just returned from visiting the home of one of our Fallen Heroes – the twenty-fifth now from one district. He was one of the best. I think the following letter, address to his parents and found upon his dead body, will help show this: – ” We are about to make a charge, don’t know if I will come out alive or not, but don’t worry; am living in good hopes and not afraid to die. If I do we shall meet in the Heavenly Home. God bless you all. Best love to all from your everloving son.” You will notice the calmness and clear faith exhibited in the face of death. This is, indeed, the tone of most letters which I have received, and I have had them from Churchmen, Roman Catholics, and Nonconformists. In fact this war has discovered and brought to the surface a wonderful depth of sincere religion. Not only is it true in the case of the men but also of the parents. They have shown the greatest fortitude in bearing bereavement. May God comfort them is my earnest prayer and may he give peace and rest to those who are “not lost but only gone before.”
Take the souls that died for duty
In Thy tender pierced hand,
Crown their faulty lives with beauty,
Dying for the Motherland.
All forgiving, with the living
May they in Thy glory stand.
COUNTY HERALD 15th October 1915 – Connah’s Quay & Shotton.
Private John Parry Killed – Official news has been received that Private John Parry, 9th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers has been killed in France. Our deepest sympathy is extended to the bereaved parents, who reside at 128, Church Street, Connah’s Quay, in the loss of their only son, who was respected by all who knew him. Before the outbreak of war, he was employed in the Packing Shop Department of Messrs J. Summers & Sons, Ironworks. He was for a number of years a member of the Connah’s Quay & District Silver Prize Band, and a great favourite both with the members of the Band and public.
As a cornet player he was highly commended by several well known professional conductors, who could see a successful future for him in the brass band world, he being only 20 years of age and a total abstainer. His love for home is expressed in the following words when writing to his parents. “Well, mother, cheer up, don’t get down-hearted its no use is it? I will pull through all right with God’s help. It’s very nice to know that you are always thinking of me, and I can tell you that I never can get any sleep without I am thinking about you and all at home.”. – The following is a letter of tribute from his captain,dated 4th October 1915. B.E.F. – Dear Mrs. Parry, – It is with the deepest regret that I write to tell you of the death of your son, Private John Parry, of my Company…. He was killed in action on the 25th September, by a shell bursting close to where he was standing, and death, I think was instantaneous. I would have written before, but I have been so fearfully busy that I have not had a second. Your son was an excellent soldier and a special favourite of mine, and he is a great loss to the Company. My deepest sympathy goes out to you and all his friends.”
COUNTY HERALD 15th October 1915 (Page 3, no cutting, a transcription)
HAWARDEN – Promotion For An Old Hawarden County School Boy.
We are pleased to note that Private Wm. J. Savage, 3rd-9th Royal Scots, (Lothian Regiment) has been gazetted Second-Lieutenant in the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). His younger brother, Bert, is serving in the Signal Section, Royal Naval Division, in the Dardanelles and has been specially mentioned by his Commanding Officer for his zeal and devotion to duty. They are the sons of Mr. & Mrs. W.R. SAVAGE, of Caergwle
COUNTY HERALD – 15th October 1915 (Page 6, no cutting, a transcription)
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR – Comforts for Connah’s Quay Soldiers serving in his Majesty’s Service – To the Editor of the County Herald.
Dear Sir, – At a meeting of the Comfort’s Committee held on Thursday last, a statement was submitted showing the work and parcels distributed as a result of their efforts, and I was directed to ask you to publish the same in your next issue, as the committee feel they owe this duty to the public.
The Committee, which is still continuing its good work, emanates from a public meeting held in the Drill Hall, Connah’s Quay on the 18th August 1914, Councillor Samuel Vickers being chairman of the Committee, with Mrs. Baird Jones, Church Street, Hon. Treasurer and Mrs. E.J. Davies, The Vicarage and Mrs. Charlton, Plas Bellin Hall, as Joint Hon. Secretaries of the Ladies Committee, all of them have worked most assiduously.
Yours truly, A.J. Mothersole. – Bank Buildings, Connah’s Quay 2nd October 1914.
The Statement referred to above shows that 313 individual parcels were sent comprising 390 pairs socks, 240 hand knitted and 150 (machine knitted), 100 woollen shirts and vests, 36 woolen scarves and other comforts, 102 handkerchiefs, 94 sixpenny packets of cigarettes, 24lbs of toffees and chocolates. Also, 14 x 5s. Parcels to prisoners in Germany; sixteen parcels to wounded in hospital, consisting of tobacco, sweets and fruit, parcels to the 5th, 8th, Dardanelles, and the 9th in France. – Eight boxes of Woodbines, eight dozen of matches, soap, note paper, envelopes, pencils and OXO tablets.
COUNTY HERALD 22nd October 1915 (Page 2 Col.6)
Connahs’ Quay & Shotton
Shotton Soldier Killed in Action – The information has been received with feelings of extreme regret that Private Savage, of King Edward Street, Shotton, and who was connected with the local Brotherhood and other movements prior to the War, has been killed in action with the 9th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, on the 25th September, in France. On that day Captain Tom PATTEN, of Shotton, received a letter from Private SAVAGE enclosing some beautiful poetry, he was killed, and as a strange coincidence the 25th September was Private SAVAGE’s eighteenth birthday. The deceased soldier was well known in the Shotton locality, and the greatest sympathy is extended to his relatives and friends in the bereavement they have sustained.
COUNTY HERALD 22nd October 1915 (Page 2 Col.6)
Comforts for Local Soldiers – On Friday evening last week a tea and entertainment were given at the St. Mark’s Schoolroom for the purpose of obtaining funds in aid of supplying comforts for the local soldiers. The entertainment was furnished by the Connah’s Quay Masked Minstrels, who made their first appearance in public. Afterwards there was dancing, the music being supplied by the Connah’s Quay Band. Mr. A.J. Cutts officiated as the accompanist to the minstrels. There were nearly five hundred (500) present, and the sum of £30 was realised.
CONNAH’S QUAY WAR ITEMS County Herald 29th October 1915
D.C.M. for a local man.
We learn that Private D. HEWITT, who is a native of Connah’s Quay, and whose home is at Primrose Hill, Connah’s Quay, has been promoted to the rank of Sergeant and recommended to receive the D.C.M. HEWITT was a Police Constable for a time, and stationed at Shotton, and as a Reservist he rejoined his regiment, the Grenadier Guards. For some time before he left for the Front he was on special duty at Buckingham Palace, as one of the body-guard. After being out in France a short time he received promotion to that of a Corporal, and then the Sergeantship, with the D.C.M.., for gallant conduct. – On the 19th October, Police Sergeant DEMPSEY, of the Connah’s Quay Police Station, received a postcard from HEWITT informing him that he was quite well.
A Shotton Police Constable with the Welsh Guards.
Private R.J. HUGHES, who was a police constable at Connah’s Quay and Shotton up to the time of his enlistment in the 1st Battalion of the Welsh Guards, writing from France, states that he is glad to say he is well after what the Battalion had been through. The 27th September was a day he should never forget. They made an attack at 5.30 p.m., and ordered to take a certain position. They did so, securing a hill and a village which were handed over to the French who were still holding them. He thought that his brother Jesse and himself were the luckiest men on earth, as they went through all the fighting without a hit. He could not say how they had escaped because it was like a perfect hell. They were at the time of writing about five miles from the firing line, but it was not even safe to be there. On the Sunday morning the Germans sent them three “coal-boxes” which made a hole large enough to bury a cart. One of the men sitting outside of the trench which was near received a fracture of a leg. He states he saw “P.C. HEWITT a week last Sunday,” but there was no time to speak to him. HEWITT’s Battalion had also been in action.
SERGEANT PERCY BELLIS
Apropos of our paragraph concerning the reported death of Sergeant BELLIS, in our last issue, we have been informed that the family have received the official intimation that he is “missing.” We trust that means that the reports of his death are without foundation.
KILLED BY A SNIPER
The information has reached Connahs’ Quay that Private Thomas HOOSON, the only son of Mr. & Mrs. Thomas HOOSON of Chapel Street, Connah’s Quay, has been shot dead by a sniper of the enemy at the Dardanelles. HOOSON had been on a journey conveying water to the trenches when he met with his fatal wound. Letters received from some of his comrades indicate that the remains were accorded a most respectful funeral.
FLINTSHIRE OBSERVER 4TH NOVEMBER 1915. A list of names was published of the men who had enlisted from the Packing Shop in J. Summer’s & Sons, Hawarden Bridge Steelworks
FLINTSHIRE OBSERVER 4TH NOVEMBER 1915 (PAGE 7, CO. 1/4)
GALLANT STRETCHER BEARERS – CARRIED WOUNDED ALL DAY UNDER GALLING FIRE.
Interesting Letter from Ewloe Sergeant
Among the letters received by Mr. J.H. ADKINS, headmaster of the Drew Memorial School, Hawarden, from old boys – more than 80 of whom are serving their country – is one from Sergt. R. EVANS, of Ewloe, which is of special interest to Hawarden people, as it gives an account of the fine work of his platoon composed mostly of Hawarden young men.
He writes: “ I have just got over dysentery and am expecting to got back to the firing-line any time. Our stretcher bearers – the band boys- T. TUCK, E. WILCOXON, Harry WILLIAMS, Griff. JENKINS and T.GRIFFITHS, deserve to class as the bravest for the work they did in carrying the wounded under the most galling fire.
They carried them from daylight until dark at night, and had both rifle fire and shellfire to face. They not only carried our wounded but from every regiment, and I heard everybody passing remarks about what a brave lot they were. They took them right from the firing line over the open ground for a mile and then came back to and fro all day.
One of them carried two officers on his back out of the firing line, as there was no stretchers there at the time. He took one down out of range and came back for the other. I thought you would like to know something about your Hawarden scholars which is true and worth knowing. Everybody admired our stretcher bearers. They were the constant talk on the beach among the R.A.M.C.
I am sorry to say three of them are dead now. I saw two – Harry WILLIAMS and JENKINS. Poor Tom TUCK died in hospital. Harry WILLIAMS was bending to pick up a wounded man when he got it in the head. Both belonged to my platoon. I wish to send my deepest sympathy to his mother and all the family, and also to Tom TUCK’s parents. Douglas TUCK was going on all right when I left him. He has since died.
I don’t know how it must feel to have a brother out here. I am afraid I should trouble more about him than myself. It must be very hard for anyone. All I have told you about the stretcher bearers is what every officer and man will say. The busiest day we had on the Peninsular was August 10th, that’s when we lost the Colonel and the biggest part of our chaps. It won’t be a very happy return to Hawarden for whoever the lucky ones are, but there’s one thing that consoles us – we are fighting the winning fight.”
FLINTSHIRE OBSERVER 18th NOVEMBER 1915 –– RALLY TO THE FIFTH
Appeal for Men for the R.W.F.
The Flintshire Territorial Association have received letters from Major Borthwick commanding the 1/5th R.W.F., urgently appealing for more men.
The Battalion is at present 350 strong, whereas it should be 750. In consequence they have been temporarily linked with the 6th R.W.F.
The officers and men are very anxious that they should be brought up to full strength so that they may again become a separate regiment and not lose their identity as the Flintshire Regiment.
The County Recruiting Committee and the Association earnestly ask all Flintshire men who are now enlisting to consider the claims of their county battalion. By joining the 5th R.W.F. they will be serving with men of their own districts and will be helping to maintain the splendid reputation which the 1/5th has earned in the Dardanelles.
Recruits will join the 3/5th at Whittington, and will remain with that unit till they are fully trained, which will take some months.
Men can enlist at any recruiting station in the county, or any information will be gladly given by the secretary. Territorial Association, Territorial Offices, Mold, or any of the recruiting detachments now in the county.
FLINTSHIRE OBSERVER & NEWS – 25TH NOVEMBER 1915
MISSING AFTER BATTLE OF LOOS Flintshire Observer & News 25th November 1915 (See Joe Hampton’s page)
Queensferry Man Alive, but Prisoner.
Good news has been received of Lance-Corporal George Hampton, of the 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, who was officially reported missing after the battle of Loos. His parents, who live at Station Road, Queensferry, were distressed to learn that he had “fallen in action” on September 25th. The Lance-Corporal’s chum wrote breaking the news to them, and describing how George was seen going into the charge and how he never returned. The great joy of the parents can be imagined when they, the other day, received a letter from the son supposed dead. He was wounded in the great charge at Loos and taken prisoner of war.
Writing from a German prison to his father and mother, he says: – “Just a few lines to say I am feeling much better. I know you have had a most anxious time waiting for news from me, but will you send me some food, as they are not over-feeding us here…..bread, butter, cake, also tobacco and matches. I was wounded and taken prisoner in the great charge on the 25th September. That morning, about 6.30, I shall never forget. It was awful to see my chums lying dead and wounded around me. How I got here, I do not know, but I can only thank God, I am alive. The sight I saw that morning I shall never forget. It is stamped on my memory for the rest of my life. If you can get a casualty list of our battalion and a few more newspapers, about the battle, you might keep them by, till I come home. Write and let me know how our Joe is getting along. I hope he is safe and in good health, but cheer up! Perhaps the war will soon b over. I cannot say too much, and I am only allowed to write two letters per month. Remember me to all my friends. I hope all at home are in the best of health and best love. – – From your affectionate son, George.”
Before joining the 9th Battalion R.W.F., Lance-Corporal Hampton was a roller employed in the Staffordshire Mills at Messrs. Summers & Sons Works, Hawarden Bridge. He has a brother fighting with the 8th Battalion R.W.F. at the Dardanelles.
Flintshire Observer & News 25th November 1915
Honours of the Welsh
Awards of D.C.M.
The “London Gazzette” of Tuesday week gave a long list of awards of the Order of the D.C.M. in regard to incidents in France and the Dardanelles. Not a few have been awarded to the sons of Wales, as will be seen from the following, culled from the published list: –
ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS
Private F. PEARCE (10777)
For conspicuous bravery, September 25th -29th, near Hulluch. Private PEARCE, one of the regimental stretcher bearers, with great heroism and regardless of all personal danger, brought in wounded men throughout the day and night under heavy and continous fire, carrying many of them on his back. His bravery and devotion to duty were beyond all praise.
Private A. BROOKS (5778)*
For conspicuous gallantry on September 26th, at Cambrin, when he went over the parapet, in broad daylight, to look for a wounded man, whom he found 130 yards in front of our fire trenches and 130 yards from the German line. As the man was too badly wounded to bring in, Private BROOKS dug him in with his entrenching too, and then returned for food and water, which he took out to him, bing the whole time under heavy rifle fire from the enemy’s trenches. The wounded man was brought in safely after dark.
* Alfred Brook was a Shotton man, he and possibly 3 other brothers were also in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The brothers were Frank, Edward and Thomas (aka Epsley – adopted son) and they all lived in the Nine Houses. They all survived the war, although Thomas, I believe, was to died young, as Thomas Epsley in the December quarter of 1927, age 28 (Hawarden 11b 261)*
* Thomas died so young, was he the Thomas BROOKS, AKA ESPLEY who was in the Army, if so, he may have died from the effects of his war service and could have been eligible to added to the CWGC Database, as being brought “In from the Cold,” but the cut-off date was the 31st August 1921.