Humphries, James John

A serviceman, J.J. Humphries is remembered on the St. Ethelwold’s Church Memorial Screen to the left of the Altar, but I have no proof that this soldier I write about below is the one, but it is the only J.J. Humphries that I could find on the Commonwealth War Graves database.   Any help would be appreciated.

John James Humphrys (sic) was born in the June quarter of 1897 in the West Derby Registration District, Lancashire (Vol. 8b, Page 553).   He was the 6th child of Harry & Martha Humphries, who had married at St. Mary’s & St. Helen’s Church, Neston in 1885. (Cheshire West CE37/1/450).

The 1891 census shows us that Harry,25 was a Crane Driver and he had been born in Birmingham, Warwickshire,   He and Martha, 24 were living at 55, Nelson Street, Bebington, Cheshire with 3 children, George A. 4, born in Park Gate, Cheshire, Helen B., 2 born in Ellesmere Port and baby Annie M, who was 2 months old, she had been born in Rock Ferry.   So it can be seen they moved around a lot for work.

Tragedy struck as by the 1901 census, Harry had died leaving poor Martha a widow in 1900 with 7 children and one on the way as Henry (Harry) died in the June Quarter 1900 (anytime from April – June) and young Harry was born in the March quarter of 1901 (anytime from January – March).

By then she and the family were living at 19, Mill Lane, Bootle (Christ Church) (May have been sharing the house with William & Catherine ROBERTS, born Holywell & L’pool respectively, same address).   Martha was now a widow, 35 and she tells us she had been born in St. Helens, Lancashire with George, 14, Ellen, 12, Annie, 10.   New additions to the family were Harry H., 8, and Martha, 6, who had been born in Bootle, Lancashire, while John J., 4, William, 2 had been born in Liverpool.   Baby Harry, 2 months old had been born in Bootle, Lancashire.   

Martha had had to cope with so many moves and births in those last 10 years as well as the death of her husband Harry and by the 1911 census she was still counting how many years she had been married to Harry, even though he had died 11 years previously., bless her.

By 1911 they had moved again, this time to 3 Stafford St., Bootle, Lancashire (4 rooms), Martha, 44, had filled in the form and it is on this she states she had been married 25 years, 8 children had been born to her, all of whom survived, she also states she is the Housekeeper.   Martha added all her children on this census form, with their full names, but son George Albert, 24, who had been married for 2 years and one child had been born to him, still living, was added to her census, however he had filled in his own census form for him, his wife and child, see below.  Ellen Selina, single, 22 and a Packer at the Jam Factory, Annie Mildred, single, 20 and a General Domestic Servant, Frank Harry, single, 18 and a Shop Assistant, Martha Elsie, Single, 16 and a General Domestic Servant, John James, 14 was a Carrier at the Saw Mills, William, 12 and Harry , 10 were at School.

Because Martha entered George Albert’s name on census but he was on his own census form,(see below), it begs the question of how many of her children did she include, but were living elsewhere?.  She was still calculating how many years she WOULD have been married to Harry on the 1911 census.  They had been married for 15 years when Harry died.

1911 census 17, Othello St., Stanley Road, Kirkdale, Liverpool.  GeorgeAlbert Humphries, 24, A Shoeing-Smith-Farrier and his wife Florence Emily, 23 had been born in Bootle, Liverpool, their daughter Jessie Margaret was 1 year old, born Bootle, Lancashire.

There is no Flintshire WW1 Index Card, neither “Fallen” nor “Living”.

This Soldier was named on the St. Ethelwold’s Church Roll of Honour which is in the Lady Chapel to the left of the Alter.   However he is not on any other local memorial i.e. Connah’s Quay/Shotton or Hawarden.

In the Mold, Deeside & Buckley Leader dated 3rd October 1924, a list of the men honoured on the St. Ethelwold’s Church War Memorial was printed and it seems that “J” stands for John.   However he must have moved to the area and was, presumably a member of the congregation to be included on the memorial.

I have no clue to this soldier, the only J.J.HUMPHRIES I could find on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database was this one, but he was not living in the area in 1911, so if it is him, he must have arrived between 1911 and whenever he enlisted.

UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 about John James Humphries confirms his regimental details above, and tells us that he was born in Liverpool, Lancashire and enlisted in Salford, Lancashire.

John James Humphries in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us his Legatees were his mother Martha who was paid £3. 11s 6d on the 13th March 1917, and also his brothers – Harry F. and George A. who were each paid 11s 11d on the same day.   Trying to decipher the entry, I believe that the brothers were paid twice and they had to return 11s 11d each back to the Army.   His mother Martha was also paid his War Gratuity of £6 on the 15th October 1919.   It also tells us he died of Wounds and he was in the 35th Brigade.

John Humphries in the British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 tells us that his first Theatre of War was (1) but not where and he entered it on the 26th July 1915.  He was to die in France 11 months later.   There was an application for his medals on the 2nd November 1921.

I would very much appreciate if anyone can add to John James Humphries story or indeed tell me if this is the right soldier, but a John J. Humphries name was handed in to the Vicar of Shotton, J.J.J. Robinson, to be added to the list of the fallen from Shotton and/or the surrounding area.

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