Frederick Charles Swindells was born in Flint in 1898 and was baptised on 6th November, 1898 at St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint. He was the second of three children to Frederick Lucien Swindells and Elizabeth (Matthews).
Frederick was born in Whitehaven, Cumberland and was in business as a printer and compositor and Elizabeth was born in Flint and was a schoolteacher. They married on 10th December, 1897 at St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint and lived in Sycamore Cottage, Flint Mountain with two of their children, Leonard Cecil (b1900) and Ethel Miranda (1902-1966), but it appears that Frederick Jr was raised by his maternal grandparents, George and Louisa Matthews, of The Cottage, Flint Mountain as he was living with them in the 1901 census and with widower George in 1911, for Louisa died in 1909.
Frederick Jr enlisted in Chester in circa April, 1917 and was subsequently posted to France.
In February and March 1918 there were three separate incidents of theft from Mrs Swindells reported in one of the local newspapers.
FOWL STEALING AT FLINT
(County Herald 22nd February, 1918)
Margaret Hough of 89, Swan Street, Flint, was charged with stealing three Leghorn hens, valued at 12/6, the property of Mrs Elizabeth Swindells, of Sycamore Cottage, Flint Mountain. Mrs Swindells was a schoolmistress at the Council School.
FOUL STEALING AT FLINT MOUNTAIN
SEARCH AND CAPTURE AT HOLYWELL
(County Herald 1st March, 1918)
Private Robert Martin, whose home was stated to be at 6, Princess Street, Flint, was charged with stealing three Leghorn fouls, the property of Mrs Elizabeth Swindells, of Sycamore Cottage, Flint Mountain, on the 18th February. He pleaded not guilty. Charged with being an absentee. Sentenced to three months’ imprisonment with hard labour.
Prisoner was then charged with being a deserter.- Inspector Jones said that the prisoner was gazetted on the 30th January. He had received a telegram for the arrest of the prisoner.- P.C. William Jones formerly gave evidence of the arrest of the prisoner at Holywell.- Inspector Jones informed the magistrates that the police had had great difficulty in getting the prisoner. When searching for him, they had seen him in the company of Baird [sic]; but they made off as quickly as possible when they saw the police approaching.- The magistrates decided that the prisoner should be handed over to a military escort upon his release from gaol upon the expiration of the term of imprisonment to which he had already been sentenced.
EXCITING ARREST OF A FLINT SOLDIER
(County Herald 29th March, 1918
Private Matthew R Beard, of 100, Swan Street, Flint, was brought up on a charge of stealing three white Leghorn fowls, the property of Mrs Elizabeth Swindells, of Sycamore Cottage, Flint Mountain, on the 18th February. Etc, etc …….. Prisoner was remanded until this (Thursday) morning.
Private Swindells was killed in action in France on 11th April, 1918 and buried in Le Grand Beaumart British Cemetery, Steenwerck, Nord, France (Plot III, Row I, Grave 11).
He was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal and is remembered on two war memorials – Flint Town and St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint. He is also commemorated on the North Wales Heroes’ Memorial Arch, Bangor.
In the Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects it was recorded that on 20th May, 1920 Frederick’s grandfather George was paid £13 11s 0d war gratuity for being the sole legitimate heir, proving that he was indeed his legal guardian for most, if not all, of Frederick’s life.
Frederick Lucien died on 9th May, 1928 in Manchester aged 59 and was buried in Ardwick Cemetery, Manchester with his mother, Elizabeth, who died on 15th April, 1928, aged 88, and a Mary Ann Swindells who died on 29th May, 1900 who could have been his grandmother.
Elizabeth died in Denbigh in September, 1929, aged 58, but it is not known where she was buried.