William was the son of Costermonger* William Probert and his wife Susan. The 1881 census shows them living at 12, Bethesda St. Hamlet of Garth, Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire. Their children were William 8, Thomas 4 and Margaret Ann, 10 months. They had a general servant Mary Ann Collins.
*Costermonger – Street salesman or pedlar ( generally of fruit and vegetables – originally an apple seller).
It appears that Susan died, age 43, in 1881 (June qtr. Registration district of Bedwellty Vol 11a Page 41). The 1891 census shows that William had remarried – a Sarah Long. She had 2 children before she married William Probert They were listed on the 1891 census with the family.
1891 census shows William 47 and still a Costermonger. His wife Sarah 42, hailed originally from Caernarvon. They lived at 11, Brewery Street, Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire. William Probert 18 and Thomas 15 were Costermongers like their father. Margaret was 10 and a scholar. Sarah’s children, listed as ‘step children’ were Sarah Long 14 and her brother William Long 11, both scholars. Edward Probert, was 4. William’s sister Elizabeth Wakins a widow, age 53 was also present.
William Probert (our soldier), married Minnie Charles in the registration district of Neath ( Vol 11a, Page 1046) in the June Qtr of 1898. The 1901 census shows them living at 12, Bowen Street, Neath,Glamorganshire, William 28, was recorded as a ‘Galvanized Sheet Worker’ Minnie 23, had been born in Neath, Glamorganshire. They had a son who was 1.
The family had moved to Connah’s Quay by the time of the 1911 census. They were living at 27 Spring Street Connah’s Quay, Flintshire. William was 37 and a Furnaceman. His wife of 14 years, Minnie, was 32. Their children were James 12, Richard 8, Ernest 5, Rose 2 and George 1 month. Sarah Charles a relative who was single and 21 was visiting or lodging.
UK soldiers who died in the Great War 1914 -19, accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms the regimental information above and adds that he was born in Ebbw Vale, Monmouthshire and enlisted in Shotton.
Williams’s medal card also accessible on ancestry, records his medal details and also tells us that his first theatre of war was the Balkans and that he entered it on 30th June 1915.
William Probert in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that the sole Legatee of his War Gratuity was his mother Minnie who was paid £7 on the 10th October 1919. There was a recharge to the Regimental Paymaster of £1. 10s 8d on the 3rd August 1916.
There is an index card for William Probert in The Flintshire Roll of Honour at the County Record Office in Hawarden. (Flintshire WW1 Index Cards Connah’s Quay F 54) It gives the widow’s address as 29, Marshfield Road, Melyn Neath. It confirms the regimental details above. It tells us that he served from 29th August 1914 till his death. It says he ‘Died of wounds’. There was a letter attached to the card from Minnie in Neath. It said,
“Dear Madam, It gives me great pleasure to write these few lines hoping that this letter will find you in the best of health. Very please to hear that the people of Connah’s Quay haven’t forgot those who died for their Country with reference to my Husband, he enlisted on the 29th August 1914 and died on April 13th 1916 of wounds. Private William Probert (12730) of the RWF. hoping that this will give you all particulars. Allow me to remain yours truly Mrs. M. Probert”
William is named on the Memorial Plaque in St.Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay.