Probert, Thomas

His full name was Thomas Edward Probert and he was born in Lache cum Saltney in the Parish of Hawarden in 1868. He was the eldest of eight children to John Probert and Mary Ann (Jones).

John was born in Lache cum Saltney and Mary Ann near Trelogan and they married at at the Holy Epiphany Parish Church, Lache cum Saltney on 28th July, 1864.

The 1871 census found them living at 87, Gloucester Street, St Oswald, Chester and John’s occupation was given as points man on the railway. 10 years later they were living at Canal Side in Christleton, Chester and John was now a bricklayer’s labourer. In the early 1890s they moved to Nant y Moch, Bagillt and John was working on the railway again, this time as a platelayer.

At the time of the 1891 census on the 5th April, Thomas was a lodger at the home of a Mrs Jane Moorfield at 484, Ormskirk Road, Pemberton, Nr Wigan, Lancashire and was employed as a bricksetter.

It was here where he met his future wife Charlotte Eliza Houghton. She was born in Wigan and they married at the Register Office there in the second quarter of 1891. They were to have seven children, four of whom would die young.

Thomas’s father died in Bagillt in 1894 at the age of 58, but it is not known where he was buried.

Sometime before the 1901 census Thomas and Charlotte had moved to 7, Towton Street, Harpurhey, Manchester and this time Thomas’s occupation was given as bricklayer.

In the 1911 census Thomas was recorded as living with is younger brother Archibald and his mother at Manor Cottage, Flint. Charlotte, meanwhile, was living with her three surviving children, Edith, Charlotte and Rachel at 84, High Burton Street, Queens Road, Manchester.

Thomas had served for four years with the Territorial Army before he enlisted for war service with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Flint on the 28th May, 1915. His address on enlistment was 38, Mount Street, Flint. He was 47 years of age but at his medical he gave his age as 39 years and 7 months. His height was 5ft 4 ½ins, Chest: 33ins, Vision: Good, Physical Development: Good. He was declared fit for active service.

He remained in the UK and from 15th December, 1915 to 12th February, 1916 he worked at a coal mine in Priorslee, Telford. On 2nd March, 1916 he was posted to Mundesley in Norfolk where he was experiencing severe health problems and underwent a medical inspection on 28th April.

The report stated he was 54 years old and had sub acute rheumatism, which originated several years ago in Flint.

He’d had chronic muscular rheumatism in his arms and back (lumbago) for several years and was unable to march. He felt as if his heart was going to stop when he got home at night and couldn’t get his breath.

The medical officer’s opinion was that his condition was caused by “age and exposure to the weather,” and that “it was not considered to be caused by active service.”

It also stated that his teeth were very defective and he had pyorrhoea alveolaris (which is a chronic periodontitis of the gums and tooth sockets, characterized by the formation of pus and, usually, by loosening of the teeth).

He was described as an old man past military age, and the extent to which his capacity for earning a full livelihood was “lessened to the extent of ¼ permanency.”

The officer in charge of the case, Major W Sinclair, RAMC, recommended “discharge as permanently unfit for any military duty.”

The medical board, chaired by the Administrative Medical Officer Colonel Thomas Dewar, converged at Lynford Hall, Munford, Norfollk on 11th May, 1916 and agreed with Major Sinclair and Private Probert was discharged on 1st June, 1916, after 1 year and 5 days service and was granted a weekly allowance of 8s 3d. His character was described as “Very good.”

In 1917 Thomas and Charlotte’s home address was 50, Mount Street where Charlotte died in April that year, aged 48.

Thomas also died at home on 19th September, 1918 aged 49. On his death certificate the cause of death was given as: (1) Valvular Disease of the Heart (2) Heart failure. His occupation was given as Bricklayer at Silk Works. His brother Archibald was present at the death.

He never served overseas so no medals were awarded to him, but he is remembered on the Flint Town war memorial and is commemorated on the North Wales Heroes’ Memorial Arch, Bangor.

He and Charlotte are buried in an unmarked grave in the Northop Road Cemetery (Grave 12, Line 33, South Side).

Thomas’s mother, Mary Ann died on 3rd February, 1939, aged 96, and is buried in Mostyn Churchyard with her daughter, Louisa Jones, who died in 1949 aged 76.

Obituary: She was Mostyn’s oldest resident and probably the oldest woman in Flintshire and was well known and highly respected in the district. She was born near Berthengam, and when a child went with her parents to reside in Broughton, near Wrexham. The family became highly respected in the Wrexham district, and were founders of the Welsh Baptist Chapel. It is believed that the family gave land at Gwaenysgor to build a Baptist Chapel there. In her younger days Mrs Probert was employed by a well-known Cheshire family. Later she married Mr J Probert, a member of a well-known Chester family, and resided at the Lache. While in Chester Mrs. Probert was a prominent and faithful member of the Baptist Chapel. Her husband was employed as a railway-man, and subsequently was removed to Bagillt, where the family lived for many years, residing at Nant-y-Moch. Mr Probert died 46 years ago, and his widow was left with a large family. Mrs Probert managed to give four sons and two daughters a trade, and today the four sons are foremen in different places. While at Bagillt Mrs Probert became a faithful member of the Welsh Baptist Chapel, and 13 years ago she left Bagillt to reside with her daughter, Mrs Louisa Jones, of 1, Sycamore Terrace, Greenfield. Mrs Probert afterwards became a member of the Berea Welsh Baptist Chapel, Greenfield, and she was a regular attendant at all the preaching and singing festivals in the district. The late Mrs Probert was also very fond of going with Sunday School trips. A memorial service for Mrs Probert was held at the Berea Baptist Chapel, Greenfield on the following Sunday evening.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Flint Memorial

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