The Commonwealth War Grave certificate informs us that Zacharia Severns was the son of Mary and William Severns but it has proved very difficult to find them as a family on any census. Zacharia was born in the qtr ending September 1893 and registered in Wolverhampton Staffordshire (Vol 6b page 686)
In the 1911 census, Zacharia was living at Nelson Street, Shotton, Flintshire. The head of the household was Charles William Severns, 34, an Iron Worker who had been born in the County of Stafford. His wife was Annie 29 who hailed orginally from Bilston in Staffordshire. They had been married for 9 years and had 5 children, (William 6, Charles 5, Annie Aldia 3, Albert 2 and Arthur 7 months). These children had all been born in Shotton, Flintshire. In the household too were Zacharia Severns, single 17 and an Ironworker, Emma Severns 13 and Gladys Jones 16. These last three were recorded as ‘relatives’ who had all been born in Bilston, Staffordshire.
UK Soldiers who Died in The Great War 1914 -19 accesible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms the regimental details above and tells us that Zacharia enlisted in Wrexham and that he ‘Died of Wounds’.
His medal card also confirms the regimental details above, informs about his medals and that he ‘Died of Wounds’. It also tells us that his first Theatre of war was The Balkans and entered it on 28th June 1915. So he also served in Gallipoli.
Zacharias ‘s Army Service Records have survived and are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk.
He attested in Wrexham on 11th August 1914. He was posted on the 21st August 1914. He was appointed to Lance Corporal on 6th February 1915 and to Acting Corporal on 9th September 1915. He was promoted to Corporal on the 25th October 1915 (presumably in Gallipoli).
The description of Zachariah written at the time of his enlistment :- Apparent age:- 21 yrs 0 mths. Height:- 5 feet 8 inches, Weight 138 lbs, Chest measurement when fully expanded:- 35 inches, range of expansion:- 2 inches. Complexion:- Sallow, Eyes:- Brown., Hair:- Dark Brown, Religion:- Church of England. Marks or distinctions:- Scar back of left thumb. Considered fit for Service Wrexham 11th August 1914.
There is a casualty Form in his records that tells us that he was admitted to st Andrew’s Hospital Malta on 17th December 1915, suffering with frostbite and septic legs. The same casualty form records that on the 16th April 1917, he was seriously wounded ‘in the field’ in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) . Telegram number 920 informed that he was dangerously ill. (Does not say where the telegram was sent). Then on the 23rd April 1917, the form records that he had died of wounds received in action, in the field (gun shot wound to head), Baghdad.
His records contain a ‘Relatives Form’ which doesn’t really cast a lot of light on his family background. We learn that Charles W Severns was in fact the elder brother of Zacharia. Charles was named as ‘next of kin’ in the records.
11523 Cpl Z. Severns, R.W.F. Statement of the Names and addresses of all the relatives of the above-named deceased soldier in each of the degrees specified below that are now living.
Widow /children of the Soldier :- None
Mother/father of the Soldier:- None
Brothers of the Soldier:- Charles William Severns 44 yrs, 29, Nelson Street, Shotton, Nr. Chester.
Sisters of the Soldier:- Martha Severns 29, & Emily Ada Severns 20, both of 29 Nelson Street, Shotton
There were no Half-blood brothers or sisters.
This form was filled in and the declaration signed by Charles William Severns*, Brother, 29, Neslon Street, Shotton, Nr. Chester, dated at Shotton 23 ??? 1919 The witness’s name was obliterated but the address was Ash Grove.
*I found, on the St. Ethelwold’s Church Parish Registers,(Page 54 No. 484), that Charles William and his wife Annie had their son, who was born on the 29th January 1919, baptized Zachariah on the 9th March 1919, in honour of his brother.
Zachariah Severns in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us the sole Legatee was his father Charles William who was paid £28. 16s 7d on the 29th Juanuary 1918 and his War Gratuity of £13. 10s 0d on the 13th October 1919, There was an “Adjustment of Charge” of £1 6s 8d.
The County Herald 28th June 1917. In the lists of Dead & Wounded:- Died of Wounds, Severns, 11523 Copl. Z, Shotton, Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
There is an index card for Zachariah Severns in the Flintshire Roll of Honour at the County Record Office in Hawarden. WW1 Index Card F 39 (Shotton), signed by Mrs Severns on the 3rd February, but no year written. It stated that Zachariah was awarded the Victory, British War Medal and 14 Star and that he was ‘Mentioned in Despatches’ in The London Gazette on 15th August 1917. This fact was confirmed in his Army Records.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission additional Information: Son of William and Mary Severns and that he was mentioned in Despatches.
Zachariah was named on 2 other memorials – the Hawarden War Memorial and the memorial screen at St Ethelwold’s Church.