Edward Hughes was born on 18th August, 1874 at Ness, Neston, Wirral, Cheshire, and baptised on 6th September, 1874 at St Mary and St Helen’s Parish Church, Neston, Wirral. He was the eldest of two children to Joseph Hughes and Annie (Cottrell).
His father, Joseph, was a farm labourer and was born in Burton, Cheshire. He died at Little Neston on 4th May, 1876, aged 27, as a result of an accident at his place of work. An inquest was held on the 6th May, which returned a verdict of: “Accidentally killed by the falling of two sheer poles.” He was buried in St Nicholas’ Churchyard, Burton-in-Wirral, Cheshire.
Following Joseph’s death, Annie, with sons Edward and George Henry, went to live with her parents, Edward and Mary, in Ness. She met Roger Henry Bellis and they marred in Wirral, Cheshire in 1888. They lived at 26, Duke Street, Flint and had a daughter Mary Elizabeth (1892–1962) and a son Joseph Henry (1899–?).
Edward, however, remained in Ness where he was as farm servant in the employ of Mr Samuel Mealon. He joined the army in October 1894 as a Private with the Cheshire Regiment. He could not be found in the 1901 census so it is quite likely he fought in the Boer War (1899–1902).
The 1911 census found him stationed at Chester Castle and Barracks and when the war began he was one of the first to be posted overseas, landing at Le Havre, France on 16th August, 1914.
He was killed in action at the Battle of Mons, France on 24th August, 1914; he would have completed 20 years with the Colours on 7th October, 1914.
He has no known grave but is commemorated on the La Ferte-sous-Jouarre memorial, France (grave reference not known).
Lance Corporal Edward Hughes is one of the 3,740 men of the British Expeditionary Force who died between August and October 1914 in Northern France and who have no known grave. They are commemorated on the Memorial La Ferte’- Sous- Joarre. Eifion and Viv Williams visited on the 14th April 2014
He is remembered on the Flint Town war memorial and his father’s headstone, and was awarded the 1914 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal and Clasp. He is also commemorated on the North Wales Heroes’ Memorial Arch, Bangor.
He never married and his home address was 32, Duke Street, Flint, the residence of his mother and stepfather.
Lance Corporal Hughes, it is believed, left with one of the large drafts of regiments for the Front soon after the opening of the War, but up to March 1915 no news had been heard of his whereabouts since August. In October it was said he was numbered amongst the missing after the battle of Mons, where the 1st Cheshires were engaged and suffered loss.
Hughes’ mother, Mrs R Bellis, thought he might be interned in one of the prisons. Letters were written addressed to him in the hope they would reach him. On Friday 12th March, Mrs Bellis received through the post a returned letter which was directed to him in October. The envelope bore the name of Zoorrick stamped on it, as well as other words, intimating that probably it had been the rounds via Switzerland to the German prisons, and initialled at more than one bureau. The English Military Authorities were also communicated with some time previously regarding the missing soldier, but the enquiries did not lead to clarity of the position. One soldier, who belonged to Flint, and who was in hospital several months before, had stated that in conversation with one of his fellow patients he was informed Hughes was taken prisoner. But, if that had taken place, and he were alive, he would have had numerous opportunities of writing to his mother and stepfather.
In November 1915, after many months of anxious waiting and persistent enquiries, Mrs Bellis received information from the War Office, dated 3rd November, stating that in reply to her enquiry of the 26th October that the death of Lance Corporal E Hughes, of the 1st Cheshires, was reported in one of the casualty lists.
Edward’s mother, Annie, was born in Neston, Cheshire, and died 17th March, 1922, aged 65, at her residence, 32, Duke Street, Flint, and buried in the Northop Road Cemetery.
Annie’s husband, Roger, died in 1932, aged 79, and was buried with his wife. On leaving school he entered the employment of the United Alkali Company, with whom he served for 40 years, being one of their life pensioners. He was also employed by the North Wales Paper Company, Oakenholt, and later by the Flint Corporation for about five years.
Their daughter, Mary Elizabeth, married Thomas George Lloyd and their son, Gunner Charles Roger Lloyd, died in a Prisoner of War camp in Thailand on 5th October, 1943, aged 22.