Frederick Edwards was one of the men who were on the fateful voyage of the SS “Farfield” on the 15th July 1941 and his body was the only one of the men who perished that day and recovered. He is buried in Connah’s Quay Cemetery.
I do not know why his name was not put on the War Memorial, but if it was like the Great War, there was no list and the names were put forward by Families and friends, usually to the Vicar and as I haven’t looked into that side of things yet, I would appreciate any information on how the Memorial names were collected in WW2.
Frederick’s name on the Deceased Seaman’s Register, gave his name and address, which gives the names, place of Birth and their “Last Place of Abode,” tells us that he was born in Connah’s Quay, but he lived in Penzance.
The only clue to Frederick’s family is given in the Custom House Lane Board School, (Infant’s School) Register, (1623) which states that Frederick was born on the 8th February 1904, lived at 60, High Street and entered school on the 17th January 1911, from Golftyn Council school, no father’s name entered. He then is recorded on the Custom House Lane School Register, (2494), date of birth 8th February 1903, where he entered school on the 4th October 1915 and he lived at 40, High Street, Connah’s Quay, his father was Edward John EDWARDS, (Sailor) and he came from Queensferry County Council School.. His brother Edward John EDWARDS, date of birth 15th July 1901, with father Edward John EDWARDS, (Sailor) living at 60, High Street, Connah’s Quay and started there from St. Mark’s School, on the 26th January 1911 (Page 13, No. 2117)
However, I found on the censuses 1901 and 1911 a Jones family living at 60, High Street. In 1901 the head of the household was John H. JONES, 60,(known as Henry on an earlier census) a Mariner (Seas) who had been born in Mold, Flintshire, his wife Mary, 61 and the rest of the household had been born in Connah;s Quay. They were their daughters Annie, 33 and Rose, 25, were both single and Draper Shop Keepers. There was a Visitor, Ruth Hall, 20 and married.
I believe that Ruth was the daughter of John H. & Mary Jones and had married Percy E. Hall in a Civil Ceremony at Holywell in 1900 (Flintshire (Mold) HOL/29/E142)
By 1911 circumstances and names had changed, Mary, 71 was now head of the household, and she tells us that she had been married for 50 years, although now widowed, she had given birth to 10 children, 6 of whom had died, these details were crossed off by the Enumerator, as she was a widow, but very important to the historian, so very grateful to Mary. Annie, 43, her daughter, was single and ‘Sewing at home.’ There were 2 boarders, Fred Edwards, 7 and E.J. Edwards, 9. I can only think that E.J. Edwards was Frederick’s sibling. Nothing more to help us.
There is a possible birth certificate for Frederick in 1904 – Flintshire (Mold)FLNT/43/48, but this would have to be purchased to confirm/deny.
I do not know anything about his childhood except the entry in the School Register above, so any help would be gratefully received.
He obviously joined the Merchant Navy at some point, but although I have found on the National Archives two cards, one with his description on, sadly there is no photograph. Frederick is described on one card as an Able Seaman. Born 1904, place – Connah’s Quay, Height – 5 feet 7 inches, Eyes – Brown, Hair – Dark, Complexion – Fresh. Distinguishing marks – Sailing Ship on right arm, card was date-stamped 21st January 1929 (This seems like a Discharge Card). The second card, gives the name of a ship – Ponjano? and theShip No. – 149664 with his Rating as a ‘Sailor’ and seems to give a list of his No.’s and voyages or periods of service, starting on the 10th December 1927 on the reverse. This card is date-stamped 2nd July 1928. Both Liverpool.
Any information on Frederick’s navy career would be gratefully received.
In any case, Frederick was to meet his future wife Minnie Hall, possibly on one of his voyages, but I believe that he married her in the September Quarter of 1932 (Penzance Vol. 5c Page 463) and as the British armed forces and overseas deaths and burials tells us he was living at 43 Trevean Road , Penzance M.B., Cornwall, England. This is the address on the 1939 Register where Minnie Edwards, born on the 3rd May 1910, (see Register below) was living with her child/children. (Records were redacted). There could have been a son Peter B. Edwards, born in 1935 and at School.
However, both Frederick and John Hughes, who also lost his life on that fateful voyage were both Connah’s Quay men, please click on the link to read John’s story. There is also a Pentre, Hawarden sailor, Thomas John Hughes, who was among the fatalities, please click on the link to read his story.
If you click on this wonderful website http://www.rhiw.com/y_mor/shipwrecks/farfield/farfield.htm it will tell the story of what happened to the ship and crew, much better than I and I have permission of the owner –Tony- who said I could use his website.
Frederick’s body was the only one that was recovered and he is buried in Connah’s Quay Cemetery, only the fact that one person, the Naval Gunner survived, are we are able to know what happened on the 15th July 1941. There were a number of boats that disappeared without trace during the war, so it can be supposed that the same fate awaited them if all the crew were to perish, no one would live to tell the tale. The only crew member not mentioned on the CWGC Database was Fireman W.J. Jones, age 48, born in Llanelly, last address was 13, Covent Street, Llanelly.
I found Frederick’s grave which has a Commonwealth War Grave Headstone, when I was searching for any missing soldiers in Connah’s Quay Cemetery and wondered then what had happened to the S.S. “Farfield.”
2 Flint men, O.S. Harold BENNETT, 9, Lea Cottages, Flint, age 18 (19 on the British armed forces and overseas deaths and burials), born in Flint, and Chief Engineer, Vincent James BOWLES, 41, Mount Street, Flint, born in Reading Berks, age 66 years were also part of the crew .
I would like to think that Frederick is to be added to any future War Memorials for those not listed on the original one, especially as his family were possibly in Penzance and wouldn’t know about the Memorial.