Edwards, Edward John (Jack)

I was contacted, through the FWM website, by a lady whose both great uncles were killed at sea, one of whom was Frederick Edwards, whose grave I found in Connah’s Quay cemetery and who was not added to the Connah’s Quay & Shotton WW2 War Memorial.   She told me about her other great uncle, Edward John Edwards, who was Frederick’s brother, so I am endeavoring to tell his story too, in the hopes that he will join, at some future time, being added with the others on this list to a future addition to the Connah’s Quay & Shotton WW2 War Memorial, as they are all connected to this area, either by birth, family, home or occupation and who we are indebted to for our freedom today.    Many thanks to Audrey Kerry Furlong for telling me about Edward John Edwards.

Edward John Edwards was born  the 15th July 1901 according to the Custom House Lane Board School, (Infant’s School) Register, and lived at 60, High Street and started there from St. Mark’s School, on the 26th January 1911 (Page 13, No. 2117).

Edward John was the brother of Frederick Edwards who also lost his life at sea, click on the link to read his story, during the early part of the war.    Their father, Edward John Edwards, was a sailor and was away a lot at sea, but the brothers were to suffer a great loss when their mother Edith died in the June quarter of 1908.

Edward John Edwards and Edith Roberts had married in the March quarter of 1898 in a Civil Marriage or Registrar Attend marriage in Chester (Cheshire West ROC/37/170 ).    They are seen on the 1901 census living at 10, Stone Row, Connah’s Quay, head of the household was Edward John Edwards, age 27 years and a Sailor (Seas), with his wife Edith,24 and their daughter Florence age 4, they were all born in Connah’s Quay.

Edward John EDWARDS was born on the 15 July 1901 and therefore not on the Census, Edith was heavily pregnant on census day, 2nd April 1901.

So after the loss of their mother Edith and their father away a lot at sea, they must have been taken in by Mary Jones*, 71 and a widow and her daughter Annie, 43, as they are seen on the 1911 census living with them at 60, High Street, Connah’s Quay, the same address as on their School admissions,    Edward John was 9 years of age and Frederick 7.    Their father Edward John Edwards is seen on the vessel  “Shotton” on census day, the 2nd April 1911, he was an Able Seaman, age 36 and a  Widower, he tells us that he had been married for 10 years, 3 children had been born, and they were all still living.    The census schedule was handed into the authorities at Partington, Cardishead, (No. 1 Crane), Lancashire, on the 2nd April 1911, having on the 31st March 1911, been berthed at Canning Dock, Liverpool, where they had sailed from.

*I believe that Edith ROBERTS maybe the sister of Mary JONES (ROBERTS) and that was why Frederick & Edward John EDWARDS were living with the JONES family at 60, High Street when Edith died.

I cannot find the boys on the 1921 census, they may have already been at sea, but did find that their Aunt Annie Jones was living with her sister Rose Edwards (nee Jones) and her husband George at 41, Glynne Street, Queensferry, but no sign of  Frederick & Edward John Edwards.

I do not have any information on the two boys, Edward John & Frederick from then for many years, except that they both “went to sea,” as when you read Frederick’s story and Edward’s story, the sea must have been in their blood.

I did find Florence, I believe, on the 1921 census, which was taken on the 19th of June 1921, living at Bridge Villas, Queensferry, as a General Domestic Servant in the household of Thomas & Ann Davies; Thomas was an Engineer for Flintshire County Council; their 2 daughters and a son.   Florence was 22 years old, single, and born in Connah’s Quay.

Edward John is seen on the 1939 National Register, which was taken on the 19th of September 1939, living at 2 Wright Street, Blyth, Blyth M.B., Northumberland, England in the household of Winifred Banks, born 2nd September 1897 and was married.   Edward John Edwards had been born on the 15th July 1901, was single and a General Labourer at Blyth Shipyard.

I lose track of Edward John until he is seen on the Tower Hill Memorial being remembered for his sacrifice.    He had joined the crew of S.S. Eston.   The UK, Merchant Seamen Deaths, 1939 -1953 for Edward John Edwards shows that he was living at 2, Wright Street and he was born in Connah’s Quay and his cause of death was “Supposed drowned – vessel missing since 28th January 1940, presumed mined.”

The website :- gives a list of the crew of S.S. “Eston.”

The UK, World War I and World War II Shipping and Seamen Rolls of Honour, 1914-1945 for Edward John Edwards,  tells us he was age 38 years when he died.

The website gives a list of the crew who died and also what happened on the night of the 28th January 1940:-

Notes on event –  On 28 Jan 1940 the Eston (Master Herbert Roser Harris), a straggler from convoy FN-81, struck a mine laid on 20 Dec 1939 by U-22 and sank near Blyth. The master and 17 crew members were lost.

Many thanks to this remarkable website, which also tells the fate of U-22, the u-boat which laid the mine that the “Eston” struck.

Please click on the link to read the Commander of the U-boat U-22, Karl-Heinrich Jenisch, who died on the 27th March 1940, again taken from the website :-

Fate:- Missing since 27 March 1940 in the North Sea or Skaggerak. There is no explanation for its loss. 27 dead (all hands lost).

Although Edward John Edwards was missing from the Connah’s Quay & Shotton WW2 War Memorial, it does not mean that he, nor his brother Frederick, should be forgotten.    They too had loves to come back to and also hope’s for the future, theirs was a great sacrifice.

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