Swinnerton, James Ness

James Ness Swinnerton was born in the September quarter of 1912, (Hawarden  Vol.11b Page 391)in the Hawarden Registration district, the son of William & Mary Swinnerton, (nee Cleare).   They were a Military family, his father William having served in the Army at least twice.   Cheshire Regt. C.S. Birkenhead Battn.   Discharged under K.R.Para 392 (xxvi) *27th April 1915.  Served over 21 years, was in South Africa.

*(xxvi) At his own request after 21 (or more) years service (with a view to pension under the Pay Warrant).

James’s parents married on the 15th January 1898 at Buttevant Park.

The family were living at 6, Militia Brracks,Chester, Cheshire. (5 rooms) in 1911, the census tellingus more about the family.   William Henry Swinnerton, 38 and Soldier, (Color (sic) Sergeant) had been born in Madeley, Staffordshire and his wife Mary, 34, born Roserea, Queens County, tell us that they had been married 13 years and 9 children had been born to them , but sadly 2 had died.    The children had been born in very many different places:-  Norman Harold, 11 born Colchester, Essex, Margaret Luoise born Aldershot, Hants, as was her brother John Joseph, 7, Helen Ann, 4 had been born in Wellington, Madras and the last two had been born in Chester, they were William Henry 3 and Ina Kathleen, age 1.

I have some documents of William’s Army career if anyone wants them, these records show that his parents had 8 children before 1913 and that we know of Patrick, who I will explain later has a history of the war himself, in 1916. (Holywell Vol. 11b Page 327).

On William’s Army Attestation Papers Mary Swinnerton, (nee Cleare ) tells us that her address was 72, Trilby Terrace, Shotton, Chester and list their children.   This was signed on the 30th November 1914.

The Hawarden Grammar School Admission Register shows that both James & Patrick went there and gives us a date of birth for James Ness – 24th May 1912 and for Patrick – 5th July 1916.   This source also tell us what they were wanting to do after they left school.:-

Hawarden Grammar School Admissions Register E/GS/1/10 – 966/1419 SWINNERTON, James Ness, Date of birth – 24th May 1912. 24, Fron Road, C. Quay, Father – Weigh Clerk, date of entry 16th September 1924, C. Quay Council. Schl £6, £2, date of leaving – 24th  July 1928 or 29?  – Clerk (Deceased)

Also his brother – 1213/187 SWINNERTON, Patrick, Date of birth – 5th July 1916. 24, Fron Road, C. Quay, Father – Weigh Clerk Ironworks, date of entry 15th September 1936, C. Quay Council. Schl £6, date of leaving – 19th July 1935 – U.C.N.W., Bangor.

There is a death of a William H. Swinnerton  in the June quarter of 1929, (Flintshire (Mold) FLNT/36/47) age 56, but the Certificate would have to be purchased to confirm or deny.

The 1939 National Register (Taken on the 29th September 1939) shows Mary, a widow,  living at 24 Fron Road , Connah’s Quay.   Mary’s date of birth is given as the 13th January 1877 and like most married women on this register that do not have work, their described as “Unpaid Domestic Duties,”.  Her daughter Jasmesina’s , date of birth is the 12th August 1909 (who I think is Ina Kathleen) and she is a School Teacher and Single.   There are 2 other entries:- Irene Jones, born 27th October 1927 and Helen Jones, born 23rd February 1933, both at school.    Helen, I believe, went on to marry Georg T. Malam in Birkenhead in the March quarter of 1957 (Birkenhead Vol.  10a Page 124).

I also believe that James Ness ‘s sister Ada Mary Swinnerton, was on a different 1939 National Register, where she is working at the Catherine Gladstone Maternity Home in Mancot, there is an entry for an Ada M. Swinnerton, who was born on the 23rd July 1900 , she is a Sister and this source tells us that she eventually married George  Jenkins in the March Quarter of 1942 and then Francis D. White in the September quarter of 1970.

I do not know when James enlisted or was conscripted, but I believe the he married Ellen E. Owen in the September quarter of 1941 in Dorchester, Dorset.( DorchesterVol. 5a Page 1243).

There is a death recorded in the North Wales Death indexes for the years: 1949 for a James Ness Swinnerton Flintshire (Mold) FLNT/47/27) and the newspaper article below will explain James’s history in the Military and in Civi-street, and that is how I started to research him when I found the articles, and also the articles on Patrick, his brother.

Chronicle 22nd January 1949 Page 3  Col. 7

The Late Mr. J. N. SWINNERTONThe death occurred on Sunday of Mr. James Ness SWINNERTON, 33, Howard-street, Connah’s Quay, aged 36.    He was a native of Connah’s Quay and a son of Mrs. SWINNERTON, Fron-road, Connah’s Quay and the late Sergeant-Major SWINNERTON of the Cheshire Regiment.   A former student at Hawarden Grammar School, he joined the Grenadier Guards at the age of 19.    An All-round athlete, he was a good boxer and reached the semi-final of the Grenadier Guards heavyweight boxing championship at the remarkable weight of 12st. 7lbs, which meant he had to give weight in almost every contest.    After 3 years in the Grenadier Guards he was in the Liverpool City Police Force for two years and the became an Insurance Agent for the Pearl Assurance Co. Ltd., Heswall.    He rejoined the Grenadier Guards as a reservist in 1939 and took park in the first Battle of France, being evacuated via Cherbourg.   His health later broke down and he was discharged from the Army in 1944.   Two years ago he became partner with his brother, Mr. J. SWINNERTON in a nursery business at Mold-road, Connah’s Quay.   He was a member of the Roman Catholic Church of the Blessed Sacrament.    He is survived by his wife , two sons and one daughter.    The funeral took place at Hawarden Cemetery on Thursday.

Patrick’s newspaper articles:- Chester Chronicle 2nd May 1942 (Page 6 Col. 7)

Connah’s Quay Officer missing in Malaya.

Lieut. P.S. SWINNERTON, R.A. is officially reported missing in Malaysia.    He is the youngest son of Mrs. M. SWINNERTON & the late Sergt.-Major SWINNERTON, 24, Fron Road, Connah’s Quay.   He has been in the Army for two years, joining from Bangor University, where he was a student.   While there he was a member of the Q.T.C. and the University Boxing Team.


Lieut. Pat SWINNERTON, who had not been heard of for fifteen months, is now reported to be a prisoner of war under the Japanese in a camp in Thailand.    His mother, Mrs. M. SWINNERTON, 24, Fron Road, Connah’s Quay, has received a letter from the War Office saying that further information may follow.   Lieut. SWINNERTON was at Bangor University when war broke out and had graduated.   Three other sons of Mrs. SWINNERTON are in the Forces.    They are John in the R.A.F. Regiment), James (in the Grenadiers Guards), and William serving in the Middle East).    Two sons-in-law, Neville GRIFFITHS and J. McINTOSH, are serving in the R.A.   One son, was lost in the last war*.   Mrs. SWINNERTON is the widow of Sergt.-Major Wm. SWINNERTON, and she is proud of such a fine family record.

* SWINNERTON, Norman Howard (On the Connah’s Quay and Shotton War Memorial and St. Ethelwold’s School Roll of Honour) –  See

Unless we get the death certificate of James Ness Swinnerton, we cannot prove that he died of war wounds, but I do believe that the Military history of James, makes it probable that his war service might have contributed to his death at such an early age, plus his brothers, Norman Howard sacrifice in WW1 and Patrick’s suffering in a Prisoner of War camp should be acknowledged by the community.

Grave No. in Hawarden No. 1 Cemetery, where James Ness is buried with his father, William, Mother Mary and Norman is remembered on the reverse of the stone. – C2 81 – Thanks to

Photo on

James Ness Swinnerton is remembered on the Hawarden Grammar School Roll of Honour in the Hall of Hawarden High School.  The Roll of Honour was dedicated at Hawarden Grammar School on the 3rd February 1951 with a Remembrance Service for the 47* former pupils who died in the 1939 – 1945 World War.  As recorded in the Chester Chronicle Saturday 10th February 1951.

*Author’s note, there are 46 names on the Roll of Honour, clerical error by the newspaper.

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