Eccles, John William

John William (Willie) Eccles was born on 13th September, 1897 at 4, Gardeners Row, Oakenholt and baptised on 24th October, 1897 at St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint. He was the illegitimate son of Elizabeth Eccles. In the 1901 census Willie and his mother were living at 4, Gardeners Row with her parents, William and Mary Eccles, and her brothers Willie and Joseph, and sisters Florrie, Edith and Mabel.

In 1902 Elizabeth married Robert William Jones in Chester and they had seven children and firrst lived at 5, Queen Street, and much later at 63, Woodfield Avenue. Willie, however, continued to live with his grandparents William and Mary who had moved to 1, Gardeners Row. Willie was employed by the North Wales Paper Mill, Oakenholt, and was unmarried.

He enlisted in Flint on 17th September, 1916 with the Royal Field Artillery, No. 160712, but it is not known when he transferred to the Lancashire Fusiliers.

He was killed in action in France on 3rd May, 1917 and buried in the Brown’s Copse Cemetery, Roeux, France (Plot III, Row E, Grave 5).

He is remembered on two war memorials – Flint Town and St David’s Parish Church, Oakenholt, and was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. He is also commemorated on the North Wales Heroes’ Memorial Arch, Bangor.

Willie’s mother, Elizabeth, died at Flint Cottage Hospital, following an operation, on Thursday, 21st May, 1943, aged 63. An inquest was held the following day where Dr Bateman said Mrs Jones suffered from a strangulated hernia and he suggested that she undergo an operation. He thought that if she did not have an operation Mrs Jones would have died within a few hours. The coroner, Mr H Llewelhyn Jones, returned a verdict that Mrs Jones died from “post operational shock following an operation for strangulated hernia.”

Mrs Jones was born in Flint and in her early days was employed as a domestic servant. She was well known and held in high esteem, and was a member of the Parish Church. She had been an invalid for some years. She is buried in the Old London Road Cemetery with her husband and son Robert William.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Flint Memorial

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