Foulkes, Ernest

Ernest Foulkes was born in in the December quarter of 1923, I found a birth Certificate for Ernest, (Flintshire (Mold) FLNT/58/99), but it would have to be purchased to confirm or deny.

There is no additional information on Ernest Foulkes Commonwealth War Graves Citation, so I had no clue to his identity, except that he was a Quay or Shotton lad.   I was at a loss.  I decided to ask for help from the website WW2talk – re the 23rd Hussars Royal Armoured Corps  –

he Forum members have been wonderful, they are so knowledgeable, a member, “Harkness,” was able to identify Ernest for me from the 23rd Hussars Royal Armoured Corps Nominal Roll, which he was lucky enough to have copied.   The address on that was the same on the 1939 National Register that was taken on the 29th September 1939.

His parents were Joseph & Ada Foulkes, who, on the 1921 census, were not married and were living with their family or works.   Joseph was living with his family in Mold Road, Connah’s Quay, his mother was a widow and she was 71 years and 2 months old, her son Stephen Foulkes, who filled in the census form, was 35 years and 10 months old, he was single and a Labourer at John Summers & Sons Ltd., Hawarden Bridge Steel Works, as was his brother, Joseph Foulkes, who was 33 years and 8 months old, also single and was a Cold Roller in the works.   They were both “Out of Work,” due to the Miner’s strike.   Their brother, Leonard Foulkes was 31 years and 5 months old, also single and a Painter on his “Own Account.”   A Niece, Maud Foulkes, 20 years, and 7 months old was single, and they all were born in Connahs Quay, Flintshire.

Ada Edwards, Joseph’s bride to be, is also seen on the 1921 census, which was taken on the 19th June 1921.   She is a Parlor Maid at 69, Liverpool Road, Chester, she is 30 years and 5 months old, born in Connah;s Quay, Flintshire and single in the household of James R. L. Muspratt, Retired Solicitor and his daughter Alice Nina Muspratt.   10 years previously, Ada had worked for Henry Hurlbutt and his five daughters at Queensferry Hall, Queensferry, as a Kitchen Maid.

By 1922, they had met and decided to marry as I believe that they married at the Presbyterian Church, Golftyn, Connah’s Quay, in the December quarter of that year. (Flintshire (Mold)    A116/01/E2).

According to the 1939 National Register, which was taken on the 29th September 1939, they were living at 38 Mold Road , Connah’s Quay U.D., Flintshire, Wales.    Joseph Foulkes was head of the household, and this source gives us dates of birth.   He had been born on the 8th of October 1887 and was a Steel Conveyor Operative, Ada Foulkes’s birth date was the 26th of January 1891 and as she did not have a job, was described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”   There are 3 closed or redacted records, but I don’t know who they are.    They are closed because of the 75 or the 100 year rule.   There would be a chance that Ernest was one of the three., as he was only about 15 years old then.

(The above address matches that of Ernest, given in the 23H HQ Squadron nominal roll)(“Harkness”)

I have no information about Ernest’s early days, so if anyone can cast any light onto this it would be gratefully received, so he is not forgotten as the man.   He may have had a brother and a sister.

Thanks again to “Harkness” who has had sight of the Nominal Roll of the 23rd Hussars. – We have an idea about Ernest’s death.  Indeed “Harkness” identified Ernest for me.

The Regimental History lists his death on 15th April. This is repeated in the War Diary: –

“At 08.00 hours. 23rd Hussar Group moved through Winsen, turning north, “B” Squadron leading. Some Bazooka and machine gun opposition was met north of Winsen in 4758, but this rapidly cleared and the enemy dispersed by setting fire to the wood. North of Walle, 4862 there were notices in English declaring the Belsen area to be typhus infected and to be a Neutral Zone. This was observed without incident and we passed the camp at great speed, little knowing what horrors it concealed. At about 14.00 hours “A” Squadron Group which had moved via 5186, passed through “B” Squadron Group which had established itself in Bergen, 5070 without incident. 1/100,000 Sheet M4. Some opposition was encountered both at Dohnsen, 5472 and Beckedorf, 5671 and many hundreds of Allied Prisoners of War were liberated. In the meantime the recce troop was sent to recce the crossings at Bonstorf, 5576 and 545770, two sections going to the former and one to the latter. Both found the bridges intact, but after a short time they were attacked by infantry with Bazookas. “C” Squadron Group immediately went to Bonstorf and “B” Squadron Group to the western crossing and by nightfall the opposition, which consisted of Companies of a Hungarian SS Battalion, was demolished, another company being destroyed at Bornboster, 5576 by “A” Squadron Group which came up from Beckedorf. “C” Squadron Group remained to maintain the Bonstorf bridgehead during the night and “B” Squadron Group the westerly bridge just north of Hetendorf from which they were fired on throughout the hours of darkness. The remainder leaguered in a hollow behind the feature at 554759. During the afternoon and evening’s fighting about 300 PWs were taken.

1 x Other Rank died of wounds. 2 x Other Ranks were wounded*.”

There are no deaths reported in the 23H History or War Diary for 16th April.

*It may be that Ernest was one of the Wounded on the 15th April as on the Graves Concentration Report Form, it was initially noted that he was “Killed in Action,” but this was crossed out and “Died of Wounds” was written.   He was the only one who died on that day.

It is seen on the same form that all the men on it were all reburied on the 25th June 1947 in the Hanover (Limmer) British Cemetery after having been initially buried in the Hamne, Germany, Temporary Burial Ground, South side of Uchte – Stolzenau Road.

Uchte is a municipality in the district of Nienburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated approximately 25 km (16 mi) southwest of Nienburg, and 25 km (16 mi) north of Minden.

Stolzenau is a municipality in the district of Nienburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the left bank of the Weser, approx. 20 km southwest of Nienburg, and 25 km northeast of Minden. During the second half of the 20th century, a unit of the Royal Netherlands Air Force was stationed in Stolzenau.    (Please see the Report below)

Addendum to Ernest’s father, Joseph’s, story: –

It appears that tragedy was to hit the Foulkes family a generation or two before young Ernest was to die, as Thomas Foulkes, Ernest’s Grandfather was to die in a boating Accident on the River Dee on the 5th of  July 1894.   I have Newspaper reports.  2 other FOULKES men also died.

Thomas and Elizabeth Foulkes (nee Hewitt) were the parents of Joseph Foulkes and are seen on the 1891 census and they were living on Primrose Hill, Connah’s Quay, Flintshire.    Thomas, 44, a Pilot (Seas) was head of the household, his wife Elizabeth was age 41.    Their children, like themselves had all been born in Connah’s Quay.   John, 15, was a Brickmaker, Thomas, 12, Shop Assistant, Andrew, 10, Edward, 8, Stephen, 5 and Joseph, 3 were all scholars, while baby Leonard, 1, made up the family.

Elizabeth was to suffer, as well as the rest of her children the loss of both her husband Thomas, her son John and also a nephew/cousin Thomas FOULKES on the night of the 5th July 1894 when they died in the River Dee however their colleague, John HEWITT managed to get himself ashore, exhausted.    John HEWITT heard Thomas (Snr.) saying before they entered the water “Lord have mercy upon us, this is an awful job,” the other two didn’t speak and he didn’t see any of them again……

Sadly Ada were to suffer another tragedy, her husband, Joseph, I believe, died in 1952.

Ernest was well loved as his name was put forward to be remembered on the Cenotaph for perpetuity.







Learn more about the other soldiers on the Connahs Quay and Shotton War Memorial

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