Robert (Bob) Welsh was born in Flint in 1895 and was baptised in St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint on 3rd July, 1895. He was the fifth of six children to Frederick Welsh and Margaret (Foulkes).
Frederick was born in Flint and Margaret in Bagillt and were married in the Holywell Registration District in 1886.
Labourer Frederick died on the 1st December, 1894 at his home, 24, Duke Street, aged 40, and buried in the Northop Road Cemetery. In February, 1899 their daughter Annie Elizabeth died aged 8.
In 1903 Margaret married brickmaker’s labourer Edward Stealey who was 18 years her senior. They had a son, Thomas Edward, and a daughter named Maggie May who died in June, 1906 aged 1 month.
Tragedy was to strike the family again when Edward, known as “Old Staley,” died in December 1912 aged 61. The family at that time were living at 38, Castle Street.
In late 1913 Margaret married again to Frank Jones in Chesterfield.
Bob meanwhile was employed as an assistant on an oil van before working as a spinner at the British Glanzstoff works. He was living at 16, Neston View, Bagillt when he married Ellen Elizabeth Singleton at St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint on the 23rd May, 1915. Their son, Robert Frederick, was born in May, 1916.
Not long after their son was born Bob enlisted in the Army and was posted to France in about October, 1916 where he was killed in action on the 1st October, 1917.
DEATH OF A FLINT SOLDIER
(County Herald 12th October 1917)
On Sunday the information was received in the Borough, and in a letter, to the effect that Private Robert Welsh had been killed in action by the explosion of a shell. Private Moore, a comrade, whose home is at the Bryn, Flint, was present when the remains of Welsh were interred. Deceased, who was a young man, had been at the Front over twelve months; and before joining the Army was employed at the Silk Factory formerly known as the “Glanzstoff Works.” He leaves a widow and one child to mourn his loss. They reside in Salisbury Street, Flint; and the deceased some time ago had resided in Swan Street.
As if this wasn’t bad enough for his wife their son died in tragic circumstances just a few weeks later.
CHILD FATALLY SCALDED
(County Herald 2nd November 1917)
A child named Robert Frederick Welsh, one year and five months old, and son of the late Private Robert Welsh and Ellen Welsh, of 44, Salisbury Street, Flint, has died from the effects of severe scalding. It appears that about 8.30 in the evening of the 28th October he drew a can of tea on to himself, scalding his face, neck and chest. Dr Williams was immediately summoned, and its injuries were dressed, but it died at 7.45 on Tuesday night at the residence named. Last (Wednesday) night the Flintshire Coroner (Mr F Llewellyn Jones) held an inquest at the Police Station, when the evidence given was of a very sad character. Mrs Ellen Welsh, the mother of the deceased child, gave evidence as to that child having been accidentally scalded, and in reply to the Coroner she said only a week ago she received information of the death of her husband on the battlefield. Before joining the army, the husband was employed in a local factory. Mrs M E Singleton said she was the mother of the last witness, and they all lived together. A can of tea was placed upon the table, and she saw the child had been scalded. Dr J H Williams described the nature of the child’s injuries and said the water could not have been boiling hot. In his opinion the cause of death was convulsions, excited by the scalding. The child was of a very nervous temperament previously. The Coroner, in summing up, said he was sure the jury would sympathise very much with the mother of the child in the sad bereavement she had sustained in having lost her husband and child in such a short period of time. The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony and acquiesced in the Coroner’s remarks.
Private Welsh was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. He has no known grave but is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium on Panels 63 to 65. He is also remembered on the Flint Town war memorial and commemorated on the North Wales Heroes’ Memorial Arch, Bangor.
It is not known what became of Ellen after Bob died as she doesn’t show in any records.
Bob’s mother Margaret was living at Kinsale Bungalows, Llanerchymor when she died in January, 1930 aged 70. She was buried in the Northop Road Cemetery with her first husband, Frederick, and daughters Annie Elizabeth and Maggie May.
In sad but loving birthday remembrance of my dear brother Bob, of the Royal Welsh, who died of wounds in France October 1918, in his 21st year.
O fold him in Thy arms, O Lord,
And ever let him be,
A messenger of love between
My broken heart and thee.
His loving Sister Mrs Bithell,
29, Castle Dyke Street, Flint.
(County Herald 7th March 1919)