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Williams, Joseph Hardman

Joseph Hardman William’s parents were married at St. Deniol’s Church, Hawarden on the 23rd December 1905.   Richard Hardman Williams, 25, a bachelor and Ironworker, was living at 36, Ash Grove, Shotton,  his father, also named Richard Hardman Williams was deceased and had been an Ironworker … Richard’s bride was Elizabeth Small, 21, a Spinster also living at 36, Ash Grove, her father,  Ralph Small was also an Ironworker.

Joseph Hardman Williams was born on the 1st October 1910 and Baptised at St. Ethelwold’s Church, Shotton on the 14th December 1910, he was the 3rd and youngest son of Richard Hardman and Elizabeth Williams (nee Small.)   This is a sad story, as according to the Hawarden Parish Registers, Joseph’s mother Elizabeth died a day or so after Joseph’s Christening, or was already dead when he was Baptised, as she was buried on the 20th December 1910:-

Page 344 No. 2748 Elizabeth WILLIAMS, 163, High Street, Connah’s Quay 20th December 1910 age 23 years.

These Parish Registers at Hawarden also tell us that there was another death, in the November of 1906.  A 21 day old baby was buried on the 1st December 1906, named after his father, Richard Hardman Williams.   The baby had been baptised at St. Ethelwold’s Church in a Private Baptism on the 25th November, he had been born on the 2nd November 1906, s/o Richard Hardman & Elizabeth WILLIAMS, Shotton, Ironworker.

Joseph had an older brother, Ralph Thomas Williams, who had been born on the 11th November 1908 and baptised on the 9th December 1908 at St. Ethelwold’s Church, this also tells us that the family were then living in Shotton, and father Richard Hardman Williams was a Labourer

So by 1911 the census shows widower Richard Hardman’s little family split up, Joseph, 6 months old, living at 27, Brook Road, Shotton, Flintshire with his grandparents,  Ralph Small, 46, a Catcher at the Steel Works, born Moxley, Staffordshire. & Ann Small, 46, born Bradley, Staffordshire.    They  tell us they had been married 26 years and 16 children had been born to the, sadly 7 had died, so grief and  bereavement was not new to this family.   The children in the household were Ralph, 20, a Puddler’s Helper at the Steel Works, Jane, 17 and single and Lyd, 12 had all been born in Wednesbury, Staffordshire.   The other children, Rich., 8 and W. Small*, 5 had been born in Shotton.   There was a Boarder, Joseph Ratcliffe, 21, single and a Doubler at the Steel Works had also been born in Bradley, Staffordshire.

*This could be the William L. Small that was born in 1905 in the Hawarden Registration District (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/04A/96) where in 1907 a Sydney Small ‘s birth was registered. (Flintshire (Mold)HAW/07A/8) – sadly Sydney died 4 days old.

On the 1911 census, Joseph’s father, Richard Hardman Williams was living at 163, High Street, Connah’s Quay, from where poor Elizabeth had been buried the December before.   This census was taken on the 2nd April 1911.    R.H. Williams was Head of the household and 33, a widower and a Catcher at the Steel Works, born Wednesbury, Staffordshire, his son Ralph Thomas was written as R.T. Williams, age 2 born in Shotton.  Also in the household were, I believe good friends, W.H. Ham, 25, married under 1 year a Fitter (Engine) at Sandycroft Works and also born there.   C. Ham, 23 had been born in Bradley, Staffordshire. she tells us that she had 1 child , who was still living and had been born in Shotton.    No relationship listed between these two, but later research helps me unravel the mystery.    Annie Small, 19 and a Servant had been born in Wednesbury, Staffordshire.

I also believe that it is possible the two 1911 censuses for the SMALL and the WILLIAMS family were written by the same hand, that, that person, either Ralph SMALL or Richard Hardman WIILLAMS wrote them out and signed them.   But which one?    The 1911 census was the first time that the censuses were written and signed by the householder.

Unravelling the mystery of the “good friends” above,  and referring back to Joseph Hardman Williams’s baptism in 1910 at St. Ethelwold’s Church in Shotton, on the same day, one entry beneath Joseph’s  was this entry:-

Page 73 No. 654 Born 6th November 1910 Baptism 14th December 1910 William Henry s/o William Henry & Caroline HAM, Connah’s Quay, Fitter.  (See 1911 census) – so we know that the family were William Henry & Caroline Ham and their son William Henry !

I don’t know anything about young Joseph’s early life or teenage years, but the next time he is seen is when he marries Eveline May Collier at St. Ethelwold’s Church on the 16th September 1933.   The Register tells us that Joseph was 22, a bachelor and Ironworker and living at 27, Brook Road, Shotton, his father Richard Hardman Williams was deceased. (His burial in Hawarden was on the 6th January 1932 age 54 years, he too had lived in Brook Road.)  Joseph’s bride, Eveline May Collier, 21, a spinster and a Silkworker had lived at 9, Corporation Street, Flint and her father was William Collier a Boiler Fireman.   The Witnesses were Joseph’s brother, Ralph Thomas Williams, Doris Fletcher & Sidney Cooper.   (I have a Family history of the Collier family if anyone would like to have it, as it is very complicated and I hope that I have sorted it out correctly.)

The 1939 National Register (Taken on the 29th September 1939) shows Joseph & Eveline living at 26 Astonmead , Aston, Hawarden, just the 2 in the household.   This source confirms Joseph’s date of birth as the 1st October 1910  working in the Steel Works (Packing Sheet) and E.May Williams – Eveline May’s date of birth as  the 27th January 1912 – her occupation, as with all other married women who did not have a specific job, was described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”   This source also gives us a clue to the fact that Eveline May was to marry again after Joseph’s death.

Joseph’s brother Ralph Thomas is shown on this National Register as living at 27, Brook Road, Shotton, with his widowed grandfather Ralph Small, whose date of birth was 15th December 1864 and a Blind Presser, his son Isaac Small (Elizabeth’s brother) had been born on the 12th September 1897 and was a Furnace Man Steel Rolling Mills Heavy Worker and married to Agnes Small*  who had been born on the 17th March 1891 and again was doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”   This source also confirms Ralph Thomas Williams’s date of birth and also that he was single and Bar dragger Steel Rolling Mill Heavy Worker.

*Agnes and Isaac had married in Hawarden in a Civil Ceremony in 1928 (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/10/56)

So again, I do not know when Joseph Hardman Williams was to enlist but on the 19th September 1939, he was still home with Eveline May. He was to be in the Pioneer Corps and on the 14th November 1944, so the Casualty List No. 36 tells us, he “Died” at home, meaning in this country, so his body was able to be returned to his family and he could be buried on the 18th November 1944, in Hawarden, where, perhaps his parents and tiny brother were buried.

His name was not put forward in time for the Connah’s Quay & Shotton War memorial to be put on the main plaque.  His name along with 7 other names of the fallen were added, 5 to the bottom of the WW2 Plaque and 3, including Joseph’s to the bottom of the WW1 Plaque under the “Y.”

Any help to tell Joseph’s story would be appreciated.


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

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