Walter Ernest Williams was born in the June quarter of 1896 (Vol. 11b Page 311) in St. Asaph, he was the son of Walter & Elizabeth Ann Williams.
Walter, age 5 first appears on the 1901 census as a visitor at his paternal granparent’s home, in the High Street of St. Asaph. His grandfather was Thomas J. Williams, 60, a widower and Saddler, who was an employer working at home (perhaps he had a shop). His aunts and uncles were Alun, 28 single ansd a grocer, Elizabeth, 35 and Catherine, 24. All had been born in St. Asaph, except Walter who had been born in Rhyl, Flintshire.
Walter’s parents were living at Cymro, Clawddnewydd, Derwen, Denbighshire on the 1901 census. Father Walter (Snr), 32, was a Saddler & Publican on his own account and all the family were bilingual. His wife Eliz. Ann, 34 had been born in Chester. Their son Leonard A. was 3 and born in Rhyl, Flintshire.and daughter Anna Mair was 1 year old, but she had been born in Northwich, Cheshire, so the family had moved about for work.
The 1911 census now shows th family living at 9, Victoria Avenue, Prestatyn, Flntshire (8 Rooms) Head of the household Walter, 41 and he was now a Saddler and Harness Maker, his wife Elizabeth Ann, 40 had given birth to 3 children, all still living and they had been married 15 years. Walter Ernest, 14 was a Painter and Joiner’s Apprentice, Leonard Alun, 13, was an Ironmonger’s Errand Boy & at school, Anna Mair, 11 was at school.
We know by the time Walter Ernest enlisted in 1915, they were living at 271 High Street, Connah’s Quay, and that is why he is on the memorial.
The family grave carries the following inscription.
In loving memory of Lizzie Devoted wife of Walter WILLIAMS*
who died March 9th 1926 aged 56.
“I was glad when they said unto me, we will go into the house of the Lord”
Also their affectionate son Wallie, Driver R.A.S.C.
who died at General Hospital Craigleith
23rd June 1919 aged 23. For King and Country.
Also the above Walter WILLIAMS Died Feb 5th 1945 aged 75.
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills”.
And his dear Wife Gertrude Died Nov. 30th 1982 aged 93.
Monumental Inscriptions, Connah’s Quay Cemetery Volume 1 Page 9 JR1 -91
*Walter’s father was to marry again in 1930, he was 58, a widower, Saddler and lived at 35, Chester Road West, Shotton, naming his father as Thomas Jones Williams, also a Saddler and deceased, his new wife Gertrude Williams, was 40, a spinster, who lived at 18, Ryland Street, Shotton, her father was William John Williams, a painter, they married at the Hawarden United Methodist Church, on the 3rd August 1930.
Walter’s Attestation papers, which can be seen on Ancestry, give a description of Walter and tells a little of his Army life. He was in the Reserve Force from the 9th December 1915, age 19 years 6 months, then on the 29th March 1917 he was mobilized and appointed to the Reserve Corps.
His Medical History tells us that he was examined 9th December 1915 at Shotton, he was a Labourer, although he also stated he was a Millwright’s assistant. He was 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighed 146lbs. Chest measurement was 38, range of expansion – 3 inches and his Physical Development was Very Good. Slight Defects but not sufficient to cause rejection – Septic Teeth and a history of Pleuresy.
There is a list of his family members which tells us that his father was Walter Williams, his mother Elizabeth Ann Williams, a brother Leonard Alun and a sister Anna Mair Williams, their address was given as 271 High Street, Connah’s Quay, the same address that was on his attestation. The declaration was witnessed by John Roberts, Justice of the Peace, 16, Cestrian Street, Connah;s Quay.
Walter Ernest was in the Army Reserve from 10th December 1915, but not mobilized until the 27th March 1917, then posted on the 29th. His entire time in the Army was “At Home”, meaning in this country, he did not go abroad.
One paper refers to Walter possessions and any medals* due to him were to be sent to his father Walter, and “1 Kitbag, sent by rail on the 23rd September 1919.” * I cannot find a medal card for him.
2 pages from Walter’s Army Service records, describing his condition prior to his death, He was in a collapsed state when he was admitted on the 20th June 1916. I have other pages if you would like copies, please get in touch.
Craigleith Hospital was in Edinburgh. http://www.edinburghs-war.ed.ac.uk/war-hospitals/craigleith-hospital
Walter Ernest Williams (Regimental Number: T/325859) in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that the sole Legatee was his father, William* who was paid £11. 15s 8d on the 17th September 1919 which included his War Gratuity of £8. 15s 0d
* His father’s name was Walter, but perhaps it was a clerical error, the clerk writing William.
There is a Flintshire WW1 Index Cards (Connah’s Quay F67), gives his Period of Service as 2 years 3 months and his address as 271, High Street, the card was signed by his father Walter Williams on the 19th September 1919. Although this card gives his date of death as the 26th June 1919.
On the Absent Voter’s List of 1918 Walter is shown with his brother:- HIGH STREET
1341 WILLIAMS, Walter E. 271 325859 Drv. A.S.C. (Died 23/6/19)
1342 WILLIAMS, Leonard A. 271 30414 L/Cpl., R.W.F.
Walter E. was also named on the Memorial Plaque in St.Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay
He is also named on the Prestatyn Memorial