Hugh Osborne Williams was born Pantgwyn House, Brynford Street, Holywell on 31st July, 1877 and baptised at St James’s Parish Church, Holywell on 2nd September, 1877. He was the eighth of nine children to Joseph Josephus Williams (F.G.S., C.E.) and Elizabeth Ellen (Jones) who married on 23rd August, 1864 at the Holy Trinity Church, Gwersyllt, Denbighshire.
Joseph was born in Brymbo and was a civil and mining engineer. He died in Mold on 9th July, 1884 aged 43 and was buried in St James’s Churchyard, Holywell
Hugh’s brother, Edward John Herbert, was a schoolmaster in Flint and he went to live with him while he was still at Holywell Elementary school. He and Edward were members of the 5th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers Territorials based at the Drill Hall, Flint and in the County Herald on 30thOctober, 1908 appeared the following:
The following signallers of the 5th Battalion RWF passed a most successful examination on August 29th, all qualifying as first-class signallers: Privates P Brett, T Flaherty, Ll Lloyd, R W Hughes, A F Hughes, A A Coppack, F J Bell and R W Williams. Captain E J H Williams, Flint, is regimental instructor, and Sergeant H O Williams, Flint Company, is assistant instructor, to whom the credits of the excellent results are due. To the best of our belief this is the only scattered battalion with such an efficient section of signallers, which is very creditable. The importance of signalling cannot be over-estimated, as in time of war signallers form an important branch of the Intelligence Department and are the only means of communication between the different portions of an army on the move. It is with regret we notice that the special grants formerly earned by signallers have been discontinued. There are always openings for the superior class of men in the signalling section, and any member of the Battalion wishing to become a signaller is requested to communicate with Captain E J H Williams, Flint.
Hugh was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in June, 1913. Major Charles Edward Dyson JP of Flint “certified to the good moral character of H O Williams for the last 20 years.”
The war began and in July, 1915 he was serving in France, but was only there for a brief period for he was soon in Gallipoli where he died on the 12th August, 1915 from wounds received in action at Suvla Bay.
LIEUTENANT HUGH O WILLIAMS
(Flintshire Observer 26th August 1915)
Lieutenant Hugh Osborne Williams, whose name figures in the list of wounded officers of the 1/5th Battalion RWF, is the sixth son of the late Mr J. Josephus Williams and Mrs Williams of Trosymaes, Holywell. For the past 17 or 18 years he has been connected with the Volunteer and Territorial Forces, specialising in signalling. Attached to the Holywell Company he had command of the signallers of the Battalion obtaining his commission about two years ago. He has also been prominent in the playing fields – football and cricket – and is popular with everyone. It is hoped he may soon recover and take up his duties again.
DEATH OF LIEUTENANT H O WILLIAMS
(County Herald 10th September 1915)
We regret to report that on Monday last Mrs Josephus Williams, Trosymaes, Holywell, received notification from the War Office to the effect that her son, Lieutenant Hugh Osborne Williams, of the 5th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, had died on August 12th, as the result of wounds received at the Dardanelles two days previously. The family had been prepared to hear the worst, as no word had been received from Lieut. Williams since he was reported wounded; and a week ago Lieutenant Claridge (Holywell) wrote home stating he had succumbed. Lieutenant Williams was the seventh son of the late Mr Josephus Williams and of Mrs Williams and was 38 years of age. For upwards of twenty years he had been in the employ of the United Alkali Company at their Flint Works, where he held a post in their assay department, and was much liked and respected by his fellow employees. He was also well known as a football and billiard player both at Holywell and Flint and was regarded as an expert at both games. Much sympathy is felt in the town for Mrs Josephus Williams in the bereavement which has befallen her. It should be added the late Lieutenant Williams was Battalion signalling officer.
Hugh has no known grave but is remembered on the Helles Memorial, Turkey on Panels 77 to 80. He is also remembered on the following war memorials: St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint; St. James’s Parish Church, Holywell; Town Hall, Holywell and Panton Place, Holywell. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
His mother was his next of kin and in his will he left £223 6s 8d to her. She was also awarded a yearly pension of £40 because “it was stated that her only means consisted of free board and lodging provided by her son.”
She died on the 19th March, 1917, aged 81, and was buried in St Peter’s Churchyard, Holywell.
DEATH OF MRS JOSEPHUS WILLIAMS
(County Herald 23rd March 1917)
The death occurred on Monday morning last of Mrs Elizabeth Ellen Williams, Trosymaes, widow of the late Mr Josephus Williams, civil engineer, who died thirty-four years ago. She was a native of Carnarvon, and in her early years was a schoolteacher, having obtained a first-class certificate at Whitelands College. She held positions at at Draycott (Staffs.) and Gwersyllt, being married at the latter place. She was much respected by a large circle of friends, and the loss to her family is an irreparable one. She leaves six sons and a daughter. Among the sons are Mr Caradoc Williams, acting Conservator of the River Dee; Major J Ll Williams and Mr A F Williams (vice chairman of the Holywell Urban Council; Dr Neville Williams, and Mr E J H Williams (headmaster of the Flint National Schools). The daughter is Mrs Mather (Parbold). The funeral takes place this (Thursday) morning at St Peter’s Cemetery and is to be of a private character.