John Edward Hughes was born 29th May, 1897 at 34, Earl Street, Flint, and baptised 8th November 1898 at St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint, and was the only child of Edward Hughes and Annie (Davies).
When John was born the Hughes family were residing at 34, Earl Street and, by the time of the 1911 census, they had settled at 3, Queen Street.
On leaving school he gained employment at the Zinc Department at the United Alkali Company’s Works, Flint, and he was never to get married.
John’s mother, Annie, a native of Holywell, died at her home on 19th October, 1912, aged 51, and was buried in the Northop Road Cemetery.
Service record: enlisted in Flint, 13th March, 1915; joined regiment at Llandudno, 14th March, 1915; at Llandudno on 28th July, 1915 he was confined to barracks for being absent from 7am parade until 9:30am and not complying with an order; at Winchester on 12th November, 1915 he went absent of Pass and remained absent until reporting himself at 9:40pm on the 14th (45 hours) and forfeited 2 days’ pay; embarked from Southampton and landed in France, 4th December, 1915. His medical report stated he was 5ft 2ins, weighed 9st, chest 33ins and his physical development was good.
Private Hughes died on 20th January, 1916, at No. 7 Hospital Clearing Station, France, of gunshot wounds in the back and chest received in action on the 19th January.
He was buried in the Merville Communal Cemetery, France (in Plot VI, Row G, Grave 7).
He is remembered on two war memorials: Flint Town and St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint, and was awarded the 1914–15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. He is also commemorated on the North Wales Heroes’ Memorial Arch, Bangor.
The following letter, probably to the War Pensions Department in 1919, suggests the sad plight of Private Hughes’ widowed father.
Mr Edward Hughes
3 Queen Street Flint
2nd Sep 19—
This statement is as true as I can possibly give it as I was fully depending on my son the soldier there was only me and him and I am 60 years of age. There is only one nephew and he is in France. I could not say what part and I am trying to do a little to help my pension.
I am Sir your obedient servant
John Edward was first cousin to Lance Corporal Henry Weale, of Shotton, Flintshire who, whilst serving with the 14th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, was awarded the Victoria Cross for action at Bazentin-le-Grand, France on 26th August, 1918.
John’s Connah’s Quay-born father, Edward, died 28th November, 1932, aged 72, at Lluesty Hospital, Holywell and is buried with his wife in an unmarked grave. He was employed as a labourer at the United Alkali Company’s Works, and had previously, for many years, followed a seafaring career, and in that capacity had travelled practically all over the world.