Very old photograph of Harry’s grave sent to me by Maureen Jenkins (nee Bennett) that was taken many years ago. Maureen is a Niece of Harry’s step-children, Robert Henry and Alfred Hughes, both of whom also died in the war. Robert Henry is also buried in the same grave as Harry. Many thanks to Maureen.
Henry (Harry) was Christened on the 3rd August 1881 in West Bromwich, Staffordshire, the son of Stephen & Sarah Pearson.
On the 1891 census they were living at 144, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich, Staffordshire. (St. Peter) and the men of the family were all Ironworkers. Father, Stephen was 45, a ‘Mill Roller’ who had been born in Dudley, Worcestershire. His wife Sarah was 44 and had been born in West Bromwich, Staffordshire, as were all the rest of the family. Their daughter Mary Brewood 25,was married but her husband was not in the household. The rest of the children listed were Ephraim 23, a ‘Shearer’, John Thomas 21 an Ironworker, (Bundles), Sarah J 18 and Samuel S,16 a Scrapcutter. Henry 9, James 7 and Annie were scholars. William was 2 and baby Joseph was 3 months.
The 1901 census tells us that Harry’s brother Ephriam then 32, had married and had moved to the Ironworks at Shotton, John Summers & Sons where he worked as a steel worker. He and his wife Mary A, 25 were living at 337 & 339 High Street, Connah’s Quay, Flintshire with their children Maud 4 and Stephen 2. Ephriam’s 2 brothers, Henry age 19 a Railway Engineer and James 17 a Steel worker at the Ironworks were also living there. A niece Rose Hill 14 was also in the household.
The 1911 census tells us that Harry’s parents too had moved to live in Connah’s Quay. They were living at at 263, High Street. Stephen, stated on the form that he and his wife Sarah had been married for 46 years. She had given birth to 13 children but 5 had died. The men of the family were all Steelworkers (their sons William 22, Henry 29 and Joseph 20) A Grandaughter Mary Ann Brierwood, age 13 was living with them.
In 1913 Henry (Harry) married Esther Annie Hughes in a civil marriage in Holywell. Esther was the widow of Alfred Hughes Snr. Esther & Alfred’s sons, Alfred Hughes and Robert H Hughes were both killed in the war and each has his own page on this website. (Poor Esther lost, in a few short years, two husbands and two sons).
Harry was a Tobacconist in High Street, Connah’s Quay according to the obituaries in the local papers, but he stated on his Army papers he was an employee of John Summers & Sons. He was 37 years of age, the same age as Esther’s first husband, Alfred Hughes when he died.
Henry (Harry) Pearson’s Army Service Records survive and are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk The records are not easy to read and much faded in parts as well as being a bit confusing.. They are the records of two if not three separate periods spent in the army and they exist under the name Henry or Harry.
It seems as though Harry had a lot to do with the Army, his papers show he was in and out of the Army over a number of years, Harry had served in the 3rd R.W.F. from 15th May 1902 to the 28th May 1907 when he joined the Militia with whom he was still serving when he enlisted in Conway on the 28th June 1908 but a paper tells us that he secured his discharge on the 3rd June 1912 for the sum of £3.0.0. at Chester. Then papers show he also enlisted in Wrexham on 21st August 1907. His apparent age was 24 years and 1 month. He listed his parents Stephen and Sarah Pearson and his brothers Ephirim and Thomas as next of kin. Throughout this time in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and he had the number 3495. His four years army experience, however, meant that at the outbreak of WW1 he was a reservist and so was called up to serve again.
This is how he was described at the time: Height:- 5 feet 4 inches, Weight 129 lbs, Chest Measurement:- Girth when fully expanded:- 36 inches, Range of expansion:- 2 1/2 inches. Eyes Grey. Hair :- Lt.Brown. Church of England Distinctive Mark:- ‘Bust of Highlander back of R. hand’.
Harry rejoined as a reservist on 27th August 1914. Soldiers who Died in The Great War 1914 -19 accessible on www,ancestry.co.uk confirms the military details above and adds that he enlisted in Wrexham and that he ‘died’ at home. His Army Service Records from this period include correspondence about his widow’s entitlement to a pension. He was in France from December 1914 for almost 4 years. The records also include correspondence that tell us that Harry spent time in a military psychiatric hospital – Murthly at Perth in Scotland before being transferred to the Lord Derby military hospital at Warrington on the 31st January 1918. There is a copy of a letter that was sent to the army Records office from the Warrington hospital it said
I regret to inform you that the above named man who is a patient in this hospital is today considered to be seriously ill. His next of kin (wife) 9 chapel St, Connah’s Quay, N Wales ) has been advised.
There is no date on the letter.
Stating his previous history, the records say that Harry was a skilled labourer and an intelligent man who had married a widow with 7 children. He had been in France since 1st December 1914 and was suffering from “Melancholia” and was transferred to England. Please contract me for lots more information on this soldier. He had attempted to take his life. Bless him, he had seen and been through so much for nearly the whole of the war.
Henry Pearson in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that the sole Legatee was his widow Esther A. who was paid £23. 7s 3d on the 24th July 1918 and his War Gratuity of £16. 10s 0d on the 18th November 1919
There is an index card for Harry in the Flintshire Roll of Honour in the County Record Office at Hawarden. (Flintshire WW1 Index Cards Connah’s Quay F 50 : – Pearson, Harry). The regimental details above are confirmed and the address given is 9, Chapel Street, Connah’s Quay. The card says that he served for 3 years & 213 days in France. It added that he ‘Died of wounds’ 5th March 1918. The card signed by Mrs. E. Pearson.
Harry was buried in the cemetery at Connah’s Quay. The inscriptions tell the saddest of family stories. (Sandstone kerb, inscribed on end.)
In loving memory of Alfred the beloved husband of Esther Hughes who died May 1st 1906 age 37 years.
Also Alfred their son, who died Gallipoli Aug 12th 1915 aged 22 years.
In Loving memory of Harry, the beloved husband of Esther Pearson, died of wounds March 25th 1918 aged 36 years.
Also Robert son of the above Esther Pearson who died of Malaria October 27th 1919 aged 21 years.
(Monumental Inscriptions Connah’s Quay Cemetery Volume 1 – Page 12 JR1 – 129)
Harry’s medal card also accessible on ancestry, records his medal details and also tells us that his first theatre of war was France and that he entered it on 4th Dec 1914
Harry was named on the Memorial Plaque in St.Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay.
On the 19th May 2018 the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, via the Connah’s Quay & Shotton Interservices Committee arranged for the unveiling by members of Robert Henry Hughes, family. Maureen Jenkins (nee Bennett) now living at Cambridge, came up with her family and the ceremony was also well attended by Lord Barry Jones, Mark Tami, Aaron Shotton, Jack Sargeant and numerous councillors from Connah’s Quay, the Welsh Assembly, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and the public. Many thanks to the Vicar of St. Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay, the Rev. Alex Mayes for performing the ceremonies on Robert Henry Hughes and Harry Pearson’s Gravestone and also on Cornelius Edward Cameron’s new Gravestone that I managed to get put on a few years earlier. Although he wasn’t R.W.F., as they said, he was in the Army family and was awarded the same ceremonies, this time though his Gravestone being blessed with Holy Water by the Vicar.
The two names unveiled on the gravestone were uncles of Maureen Jenkins, an old friend of Mavis who had reconnected after 65 years when Mavis researched into the names.
Maureen Jenkins said: “It was quite an occasion for all my family and it will be a very cherished memory. To say it was emotional is an understatement, we will always be so grateful. Without the help of Mavis and the Commonwealth Graves Commission none of this would have happened. It is important all the young men who sacrificed their lives fighting for their country be remembered. The work of Mavis and CWGC is so important bringing all this to our attention.”
Afterwards, as said earlier, Cornelius was awarded the same ceremonies as Robert and his step-father Harry, with the Standard Bearers and a Bugler.
Refreshments were served afterwards in the Halfway House, Connah’s Quay.