Cunnah, Robert Ellis

I  found this soldier by looking at the “Fallen” Flintshire WW1 Index Cards, and not relying on the names on the memorials.  This family didn’t put his name forward to be included on this memorial, (perhaps he is named elsewhere). However, they filled in the card so we have a Flintshire record of him.   His card was filed under the Queensferry Paris (F4) and tells us that his address was 21, Kirby Grove, Shotton.  It confirms his Regimental details and tells us that his service was 3 years and transferred from the Denbighshire Yeomanry to the First Cheshires.  Killed in Action in France 13? January 1917.   His card was signed on the 26th January, 1920 by Alfred CUNNAH

Robert Ellis Cunnah was born on the 28th August 1894, I believe from other documents in Birkenhead, the son of Alfred H. Cunnah and Amelia Cunnah (nee Ellis). They married at St. Paul’s Church, Isycoed, Nr. Wrexham (Wrexham County Borough, Wrexham C13/01/54). It seems that from census returns, Robert possibly lived much of his life with his maternal Grandmother.

The 1901 census finds the family living at 92, Vernon Street, Wrexham Regis, Denbighshire as Boarders in the household of Catherine Gibney, a married woman,25 and born in Moss, Wrexham. Alfred, 30, a Warehouse Porter, states he was born in Chester, Amelia,26 was born in Isycoed.   Their 2 children, sons Joseph H. Cunnah 3 had been born in Birkenhead and Thomas E.,1, had been born in Isycoed. However, Robert Ellis Cunnah is missing from this census.

The 1911 census records the family  living at 100, Vernon Street, Wrexham, again without Robert Ellis.   Alfred Cunnah now a Labourer at the Iron Works and Amelia had been married for 16 years and 6 children had been born to them, but 2 had died. Also in the household was son Henry (possibly Thomas H. from 1901 census), 13, born in Birkenhead, son Walter, 9, and daughter Ada,5, both born in Wrexham.

In 1911 Robert Ellis, however, was living with his maternal Grandmother Elizabeth Ellis, 59, Farmer (Employer) at Lower Oak Farm, Bowling Bank, Wrexham (9 rooms), who had been born in Minera, Denbighshire. Elizabeth’s son Thomas, 31, single, was described as ” Farmer’s son working on farm,”   Daughter Edith, 25 was single was likewise described as “Farmer’s daughter, Dairy Work,” both had been born in Wrexham.   Robert Cunnah, her Grandson, 16  was a “Cowman on Farm”  and according to Elizabeth  he had been born in Wrexham.  There was a servant, William Warberton, 20.

In the interim years, the family moved to Shotton, living at 21, Kirby Grove for many years, however, I believe that Robert was living with his Grandmother Elizabeth.  He gave her address when he enlisted in 1914.

Robert had numerous Regimental Numbers according to Ancestry, as he was in the Territorial Force and had probably been going to training camps every year.   We know that Robert Ellis Cunnah enlisted in the Denbighshire Hussars Yeomanry on 10th October 1914 in Wrexham. (On his attestation form he reported that he had previously served in the Royal Marines for one month only. He had enlisted in December 1913 and purchased his discharge in January 1914). He was medically examined and found to be fit for service in the Denbighshire Hussars Yeomanry and was given the regimental number 885.  There is, in his Service Records a description of him on enlistment.   His height was 6 feet and 1/2 inch, his complexion was fresh. He had grey eyes and light brown hair. He had a scar on the right side of his head. All his service was ‘Home Service from the 10th October 1914 until the 21st September 1916.

On the 23rd September 1916 he disembarked  in Rouen France having left Southampton some days previously.  He was transferred to the Cheshire Regiment  in October 1916 and given the new regimental number 49739. He served in the British Expeditionary Force in France for less than 4 months when he was killed in action on the 15th January 1917.  According to the War Diaries of the 1st Cheshire Regiment:- 15th January 1917 – Trenches (Brickstacks) No. 49739 Pte. CUNNAH killed by bullet.   Considerable shelling on both sides.   Our stokes mortar action.   His death was recorded.

The Army Service records includes correspondence and receipts concerning Robert’s medals, personal effects and commemorative plaque and scroll. These are all addressed to and from his parents at 21 Kirby Grove, Shotton. In 1920 the army asked for the details of Roberts immediate ,(living) family. The following details were supplied:

His  father  was Alfred Cunnah and Mother Amelia Cunnah both of 21, Kirby Grove, Shotton, Nr. Chester.

His full blood brothers were  Joseph H. Cunnah, ( 23), Eastney Barracks, Portsmouth, Walter Cunnah, (18) New Barracks, ??nnick, Ireland and  Alfred Cunnah  (8), 21, Kirby Grove, Shotton,Chester.   His full-Blood Sister was  Ada Cunnah (14), 21, Kirby Grove, Shotton, Chester.

The Register of Soldier’s Effects (on Ancestry) in which the army calculated what moneys were owed to deceased soldiers includes an entry for Robert Ellis Cunnah which tell us that his sole Legatee was his father Alfred, who was paid £11 15s 4d on the 27th March 1917 and his War Gratuity of £10 on the 22nd October 1919.

Robert’s  brother Joseph Henry Cunnah was also in the War, but survived. There is a card for him in the Flintshire Roll of Honour at The County Record Office in Hawarden.  It says he was Gunner   K/13855 R.M.A. who served for  6 years. He served abroad for the duration of the War and was ‘now in Barracks’. It as signed by his father.

His other brother Walter also, was, I believe in the forces, looking at his address in the Statement of Relatives in Robert’s papers, as he gives the name of a Barracks, in Ireland, but I cannot make out the name of the town.

Robert’s father, Alfred H Cunnah died in the December Quarter of 1936, his death registered in Hawarden (Volume: 11b Page:237)

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