William was the son of Joseph & Elizabeth Edwards (nee Evans) and he first appears on a census in 1891 living with his family at Well Lane, Llanasa, Flintshire. Head of the household was his father Joseph, 41 a Locomotive Engine Driver who had been born in Llanasa. William’s mother Elizabeth, 47 had been born in Prestatyn. Their children had all been born in Llanasa and were listed as Mary Ellen, 14, Elizabeth, 12, Jane, 7, John, 4, Sarah, 3and William under 1 month old. Elizabeth’s mother Ellen Evans, a widow aged 64 was also included in the household.
The 1901 census sees the family still living in Well St.. This form tells us that the family was bilingual, except for Joseph who spoke only Welsh. He was 51 and an Iron Works Loco Driver. Elizabeth was 47 and this census says states she had been born in Meliden, Flintshire. The listed children were Joseph, 4, Elizabeth, 22 and single, John, 14, Sarah, 13 and William 10.
The 1911 census records the family living at Doldhenwydd, Ffynnongroyw, In the intervening years, there had been an accident that had injured Joseph who was then 61. The census tells us that Joseph was “ In receipt of compensation because of a “Broken Collar Bone and Fractured Ribs”. This census tells us that Elizabeth, then 57, had given birth to 8 children but sadly 2 had died. Listed in the household were John, 24, Single, and a Blacksmith’s Striker at Mostyn Iron Works. Sarah was, 23 , William, 20 a Labourer on the Surface, at Point of Ayr Colliery. Joseph, 14 was at school.
William enlisted on the 12th February 1916 and this was approved on the 26th April 1916 at Wrexham, he was 24 years of age and his Attestation Papers tell us his address was Doldhenwydd, Ffynnongroyw. He was a Stoker at Point of Ayr Colliery. His religion was Church of England. His Descriptive Report on Enlistment tells us that he was 5 feet 10 and ½ inches tall, and he weighed 141 lbs. His chest measured 35 inches with an expansion range of 2 inches.He named as his Next of Kin – Joseph Edwards, his Father.
He served ‘at home’ (in the UK) from the 12th February 1916 to the 12th March 1916. He became part of the British Expeditionary Force for France from the 13th March 1916. He was mobilized on the 25th April 1916 and was at Kinmel Camp from April to June 1916 and was transferred to the 24th King’s Liverpool Regiment on the 26th June 1916.
His Medical History tells us that he had defective teeth and vision and was vaccinated in infancy.
There are also papers regarding medals and the Memorial Scroll and Plaque that were signed by the family and also a letter from the Vicar of Ffynnongroew asking on behalf of the family for a photo of William’s grave and the Army’s reply.
In september 1919 the Army asked the family to provide a statement of all living relatives of William Edwards.
There was no Widow or any Children
Father and Mother of Soldier – Joseph E and Elizth. Edwards both of Doldhenwydd, Ffynnongroyw, Chester
Full-Blood brothers – John Edwards 33 of Doldhenwydd, Ffynnongroyw, Chester, Joseph Edwards 23, Hospital Frodsham, Cheshire
Full-Blood Sisters – Mary Ellen Williams of, 43, Picton Farm, Ffynnongroyw, Chester, Elizth. Annie? Edwards of , 40 5, Fulwood Park , Liverpool and Sarah Edwards of, 32, Doldhenwydd, Ffynnongroyw, Chester.
TheDeclaration was signed by Elizabeth Edwards (Mother) at Ffynnongroyw on the 10th September 1919 and witnessed by W.A.Ellis, Clerk in Holy Orders, Vicarage, Ffynnongroyw, Chester.
William Edwards in the UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 tells us that his birthplace was Ffynnongroew, Flintshire, he enlisted in Rhyl, and confirms the details above.
William Edwards in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that the sole Legatee was his mother Elizabeth who was paid £3 12s 3d on the 9th February 1918 and his War Gratuity of £6 on the 27th November 1919.
I couldn’t find any Medal Cards, neither on Ancestry or The National Archives.
There is a Flintshire WW1 Index Card (Ffynnongroyw F 3) for William Edwards, of Doldhenwydd, Ffynnongroyw, which confirms his regimental details and was signed by his mother Elizabeth Edwards on the 27th October 1919. These cards are in the Hawarden Record Office.
The local newspaper, the Prestatyn Weekly reported on 29th April 1916 that William had joined up. Following his death it reported that initially he had been put into a labour unit due to unfitness but that he had recently been transferred to the infantry. He was 26 years old when he died.
William is also remembered on the Bangor Memorial Arch – http://www.bangorcivicsociety.org.uk/pages/arch/DSCF4394.htm