I found Sydney Walter Bryan’s death in the Chester Chronicle 28th August 1943 – Sydney BRYAN, Penarlag, KIA Sicily. See the newspaper cutting below.
I searched and as far as I can see he is not on any local WW2 War Memorial, so to make sure he is remembered I started to research him. Sydney was born on the 16th December 1916 and his birth was registered in 1917 (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/21A/74).
He was the son of Edward John & Mary Elizabeth Bryan (nee Massey) who married in St. Deniol’s Parish Church on the 15th April 1911. Edward John Bryan, 23 and a bachelor, was a Brickmaker, his abode was Brook Cottage, Ewloe, Hawarden, his father Isaac Bryan, Labourer and his bride was Mary Elizabeth Massey, 20 and a spinster, her abode was Pentre, Hawarden, her father Henry Massey, was a Labourer. They married after Banns and their witnesses were Ernest Newton Bryan (Edward John’s brother) and Jessie Massey (nee Massey). I believe that Jessie Massey was the wife of Arthur Massey, Mary Elizabeth’s one remaining sibling of seven children that had been born to her parents Henry & Sarah Massey. On the 1911 census they had told us that they had had 7 children and 5 had died. I have found the burials of their five children and apart from one daughter Gertrude Ann, who died age 8 months early in their marriage, the others were all sons who died in their teens or early twenties in two years between 1904 and 1906, so Mary Elizabeth had suffered many bereavements in her short life, as had her parents Henry & Sarah Massey.
Sadly, I believe that Mary Elizabeth also died in 1920, age 27 years, I found a burial in St. Deniol’s Parish Registers, her address was Chapel Row, Ewloe and she was buried on the 21st July .
I believe that Edward John Bryan remarried to a Margaret J. Jones in the December quarter of 1922 (Wrexham Vol. 11b Page572). The certificate would have to be purchased to confirm or deny.
The next time we see Sydney is on the 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th September 1939, he and his family were living at 1, Aston Hall Lane, Hawarden. Head of the household was Edward John Bryan, and it is this source that gives us the date of birth of all householders. Edward was born on the 4th December 1887, he was a Shift Worker at the Steel Works (I am presuming John Summers & Sons) His wife was Margaret J. Bryan and she was born on the 27th March 1877 and like most married women on this register who did not have a job was doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.” Then we have Edward A. Bryan, born on the 29th September 1915, he worked in the Sheet Mills and was a Heavy Worker, his brother Sydney Bryan was born on the 16th December 1916 and like his brother worked in the Sheet Mills, they were both Single. They had a sister Susie Bryan and her birthday was the 19th July 1923, she was single and “Not Formerly Employed.” This source also gives us a clue to Susie’s marriage to a gentleman called Griffiths, and I find a marriage of an Edward M. Griffiths marrying a Susannah Bryan in the December quarter of 1943 (Hawarden Vol. 11b Page 412). There was a redacted or Closed Record* on the Register, but I don’t know who that would be.
*For individual people, records remain closed for a century after their birth (the 100-year rule), unless it can be proven that they passed away before this milestone
I also believe that shortly after the 1939 National Register Sydney Walter Bryan was either conscripted or he enlisted and found himself as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers.
https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/units/4981/royal-engineers to read about the history of the Royal Engineers.
I do not know exactly what happened to Sydney, but I believe that he was involved in “Operation Husky” and was killed on the first day of the operation in Sicily on the 10th July 1943.
Operation Husky order of battle. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Before he went into battle in Sicily, I believe, that he married Irene Bell in the Highway Methodist Church , Ewloe, Hawarden in the March Quarter of 1943 (Flintshire (Mold) A103/02/E11).
There is an anomaly on the 1939 National Register for the Bell family living at 65 Mancot Way Mancot Royal, Hawarden, Richard Bell was born on the 28th March 1875 and was a general Labourer, Agnes Bell was born on the 9th July 1885 and as most married women on this register who did not have a job was described as “Doing Unpaid Domestic Duties,” Then May Bell born 1st September 1918 and was a Silk Work Twister, She was to marry a gentleman named Fahey. As you see on the Register below, Irene Bell didn’t marry until 1943, but this source shows that there is an Irene Bryan, born on the 23rd January 1920 and she is a Silk Worker, Reeler and she is single. This also tells us the she was to marry to a gentleman called Whitehouse. I do think that this is “our” Irene Bell, and having found the marriage, I am more convinced, as she is described as a widow and her father is Richard Bell. Then there was Arthur Bell born on the 27th July 1924 and was a Van Boy.
I did indeed find a marriage of an Irene Bryan (nee Bell) in the September quarter of 1946 in St. Deniol’s Church, Hawarden (Flintshire (Mold) C106/06/E10) to Harold Whitehouse. Harold was a widower.
Sydney’s father died in Chester Royal Infirmary, and was buried in Hawarden on the 13th August 1947, age 61 years. He died before the Hawarden WW2 War Memorial was erected and therefore Sydney’s name was no put forward, sadly so. I hope one day that his name will be included in another plaque for all the ones who were missed off. They must not be forgotten – “We will remember them.”
Sydney Walter was probably buried on the day he died, near where he died. The Commonwealth War Graves Concentration Report Form tells us that this was at 43.GRIS/289, but I do not know where that is, but he was reburied on the 24th November 1943 at his resting place at Syracuse War Cemetery.
But someone in the family had the Inscription below added to his Commonwealth War Graves Gravestone.
AT THE SETTING OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER