Worrall, William

William Worrall was born circa 1890, the son of Thomas & Elizabeth Alice Worrall (nee Marrow) who married in a Civil Ceremony at Holywell in the December quarter of 1888.( Flintshire (Mold) HOL/17/E149).      His mother Elizabeth Alice Marrow belonged to a well known Mariner family.

The 1891 census shows the little family living at Wepre Terrace, Northop, Flintshire(Wepre is in Connah’s Quay, but at the time, it came under Northop).    Head of the household was Thomas Worrall, 31 and a Bricklayer who had been born in Hooton, Cheshire.  His new wife Elizabeth A. was 26 and had been born in Connah’s Quay, as was their son William was age 1.

By 1901 they had moved to 26, High Street, Connah’s Quay (very close to Wepre Drive), Thomas was now 41 but still a Bricklayer, Elizabeth was now 36, and William, 11, had been joined by a brother Thomas age 7, both born in Connah’s Quay.

On this census Elizabeth Alice’s parents, William & Martha Marrow and her sister Martha, 19 were living next door at No. 28, High Street.

The 1911 census tells us more about the family, they had moved again, this time to 25, Ryeland Street, Shotton, which incidentally was the name of the ship that Elizabeth’s father was Master of and her brother William was Mate of in 1891.   Thomas, 51, still a bricklayer, tells us that they had been married for 22 years.   Elizabeth Alice, 46 tells us they had had 4 children, (This was crossed out and 3 written) 3 who were still living, but they had adopted a daughter Elizabeth Mary Worrall, age 11 born Belgrave, London, who I don’t think was included in the total as she wasn’t their child.  Thomas, 17 a Bricklayer’s Apprentice and his brother John Marrow Worrall, 9, had both been born in Shotton.

William Worrall was off at sea by at least 1909, age 19, as he is seen on the crew lists of both the “Dominic” and the “Gregory” that year sailing from Liverpool.   By 1911 he had his 2nd Mate Certificate and by 1913 he had his Certificate for First Mate.

When WW1 broke out, he was involved as there is a Medal card for him, see below.

We see William Worrall, living with his family on the 1921 census, which was taken on the 19th of June 1921.  They were still at 25, Ryeland Street in Shotton.   William’s father Thomas Worrall was head of the household, he was now 61 years of age, and a Bricklayer, working for Melville Dundas & Whitson, Contractors in Flint.   His wife, Elizabeth Alice Worrall was now 58 years and 8 months old and had been born in Connah’s Quay, she was doing ‘Home Duties.’   Their children were William Worrall, 31 years of age and single, he was a Ship’s Officer for Messrs. J. Chambers & Co., Liverpool.   Lizzie Worrall was 22 years of age, single and had been born in Pimlico, London, she too was doing ‘Home Duties.’   Last but not least was Thomas Worrall, 27 years and 8 months old, single, born in Connah’s Quay and working for Grays Contractor, Courtalls (sic) Flints, but he was ‘Out of Work.’

William met and married Amy Joy Reney, a member of an influential Deeside family at some time a before the marriage in the June quarter of 1927 at St. John’s Methodist Church, Connah’s Quay. (Flintshire (Mold) A115/01/E38).

Two years later his father Thomas died as can be seen by the Probate:- WORRALL, Thomas of 25, Ryland-street, Shotton, Flintshire died 22 June 1929.   Probate Chester 1st November to Elizabeth Alice WORRALL, Widow.

Their daughter Jean WORRAL was born, according to the Hawarden Grammar School Admissions Register, (No. 3205) on the 15th March 1928, her address was 42, Mold Road, Connah’s Quay ,her father was  a Sea Captain and she was previously at Shotton C.C School, and left to go to Comptometer School on the 27th July 1945.   When Jean entered that school on the 19th September 1939, her father had been “Lost at Sea” for 6 days.   I wonder, bless her, if she knew, how awful for her.

On the 1939 National Register taken on the 29th September 1939, Amy J WORRALL, at 42, Mold Road, Connah’s Quay, tells us her date of birth is the 24th September 1896, and like all married women on this register, who did not have a specific job, were described as doing “Female Unpaid Domestic Duties,”  and states that she is married, so she mustn’t have been contacted to tell her that her husband William was lost at sea on the 13th September 1939, perhaps the boat was not reported missing on this date.   Bless her too.

In the intervening years William must have carried on with his Mariner’s career as he was on the “M.V. “Hawarden Castle” *on the 13th September, 1939, 10 days after WW2 was declared as he is on the UK, Shipping and Seamen  WWII Rolls of Honour, 1939-1945 for William Worrall, having been lost at sea on that date.   His ship was missing and he was presumed drowned.    His body was never found and his story may have been very reminiscent of the fate of John Hughes, who is remembered on the Memorial and Frederick Edwards, from Connah’s Quay, who is also on my list of men who were missed off the Memorial and whose ship the ”Farfield” disappeared with all but one of the crew, who escaped the German attack and who was able to tell the story of what happened to his boat.   This was apparently happening all the time, with no survivors.   If you click on this wonderful website 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.

*On the 7th October 2022, Mark Lewis contacted me via the website and told me he was a scuba diver, who was interested in the English Channel shipwrecks:- he said,“I stumbled on this
( web page during a deep search for William Worrall and the MV Hawarden Castle. It’s a long story, suffice to say I am an avid scuba diver, very interested in diving the English Channel shipwrecks. Especially off the Kent coast. Subsequent to some reading about one wreck this week, I found a wreck on the Hydrographic charts, a name that I did not recognise. That name was the Hawarden Castle.” 

Another email from Mark dated the 27th of November 2022 gives us more information:-

Launched as the Emma Linnemann in 1907, she was a three mast and steel hull schooner. She measures 35m in length, 7.5m in width and 3m in draught. So a small vessel in the scheme of things. Renamed the Columbus before the Hawarden Castle, is it said she was fitted with two diesel engines. Now, there are not many 35m steel hulled schooners with three masts and two diesel engines in the Channel! So depending on water visibility at the weekend, it should be easy to identify her if indeed, one of these wrecks is the Hawarden Castle.

There’s one other snippet of information I found from the British Newspaper Archives and that is, one of the crew members was from Nieuport and his name was Emile Gonzales. He was 55 years old. It appears that Emile’s body was washed up at “Oye Plage”:,+France

What’s interesting here is that the beach is just north of the Dover/Calais ferry route, a lot further south than a Nieuport to London route. However, that maybe a red herring as we do not know which way the tides may have been flowing at the time of the sinking. However, one thing that does play on my mind and that is, if Emile’s body was washed up in France, maybe the Hawarden Castle is in French territorial waters and not the UK.

 Mark went on to say that he had used some of my work re William Worrall and the “Hawarden Castle,”  he told me that there is a page on his website regarding William –   Mark has promised to keep me up to date with his discoveries regarding M.V. Hawarden Castle in the future.  Many thanks to Mark Lewis.

Two years later his mother died as can be seen by her Probate:-

WORRALL, Elizabeth Alice of 25, Ryeland-street, Shotton, Flintshire,widow died 19th May 1941.    Probate Bangor 1st December to Thomas WORRALL, retired Bricklayer.  ( I do not know if this was Williams’s brother Thomas, or the will had not been updated as Thomas Worrall had died in 1929.)

As far as I know, Amy Joy Worrall never remarried as her death is recorded in Holywell (Volume: 8a Page:2983) and her probate gives the date of her death:-   WORRALL, Amy Joy of 16, Moorfield Rd., Aston, Hawarden, Deeside, Flints, died 8th February 1974.   Probate LLandaff 21st March, she was 77 years old.

I do not know why William’s name was never put forward to be remembered, as he also earned the D.S.C., but he died in the first days of the war and theWW2 Plaque was unveiled in the 1950’s, so many years had passed by.   I do hope that if there is another WW2 Plaque added for all the men left off, William’s name will be added.

Plan the Dive – Dive the Wreck – Wreck the Plan

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