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Roberts, George Ellis

George Ellis Roberts was born circa 1918 in Hawarden.   He was the son of Joseph & Louisa Elizabeth Roberts (nee Jones) who married, I believe, in Christ Church, Mostyn on the 27th December 1909.   Joseph, 27, a Bachelor and Labourer gave his home address as Hawarden and his father was also named Joseph and also a Labourer, whilst Louisa Elizabeth Jones, 23 and a Spinster said she lived at Old Slag Yard, Mostyn, her father John Jones was a Labourer.  The witnesses were : – G. Roberts  (Possibly Joseph’s brother Griffith) & Margaret Ellen Jones, Louisa Elizabeth’s sister.

They are seen on the 1911 census living at Welsh Road, Sealand, Flintshire (4 Rooms), Joseph , 28, was head of the household and a Waggoner on a Farm and he had been born in Dodleston, Cheshire. While Louisa Elizabeth, 24 had been born in Whitford, Flintshire.   They tell us on this census that they had been married 1 year and 1 child, Joseph Arthur Roberts, 4 months old, had been born and was still living. He had been born in Hawarden Parish.

I also believe that Louisa Elizabeth sadly died in the September quarter of 1929, age 42 years, in the Royal Infirmary in Chester ( Chester Vol. 8a, Page 365).  She was buried in Hawarden on the 8th August 1929.

There is a record of a marriage of Joseph Roberts and Ann Jane Reynolds the following year, 1930, in a Civil Ceremony in Hawarden (Flintshire (Mold)       HAW/11/32).

I have no information of George Ellis’s early life, but the family are seen again on the 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th September 1939, living at No 5 New Houses Ewloe Green, Hawarden.   Joseph Roberts, born the 3rd October 1882 was a Charge- hand Boiler- man, Joseph’s new wife of 9 years, Ann J. Roberts’s date of birth was the 23rd August 1892 and like most of the married women on this register, who were not employed, her occupation was described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.” There is a Closed Record and also a William E. Roberts, born 6th March 1916, a Sheet Mill Worker (Steel) and Mary L. Roberts, born 11th December 1924 who was at School.   Mary L. Roberts, I also believe was to marry, in the September quarter of 1947 George T. Fellows in the Church of the Holy Spirit in Ewloe. (Flintshire (Mold) C105/01/E50).    Sadly her father Joseph was not able to walk her down the aisle as he died on the 27th July 1942, as his probate shows:-

Joseph Roberts in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995 – ROBERTS, Joseph of 5 New-houses, Mold-road, Ewloe Green near Hawarden, Flintshire died 27th July 1942.   Probate Chester 3 November to Joseph Arthur ROBERTS, Fruit Salesman.

Before her marriage in 1947, George Ellis’s sister, Mary L. Roberts was to suffer greatly, first the loss of her mother many years before and her brother George Ellis in the December quarter of 1940 and then her father’s death in 1942.   I think she had at least 1 brother, William E, who was on the 1939 Register, possibly another sibling as well.

The Royal Welsh Fusiliers Enlistment Register gives us some information on the date that George Ellis enlisted, which was the 15th September 1936, period for which enlisted – 7/5 years, as a Regular and his date of birth was given as the 26th May 1918 making him 18 years old.   The only other entry was – “Died 7th December 1940.”

On the Casualty List 387, George Ellis is listed under the “Accidently Killed” part of the page, which was listing “Home & Stations Abroad” Casualties, but I cannot find out what happened.   He was able to be brought home to be buried in Hawarden.

When George died, I think it was in Cuckfield, as that is where I found a death in the right time frame for a George Ellis Roberts, age 22 years.  (Cuckfield Vol. 2b, Page 475).  The district Cuckfield is in the county of Sussex and this would have to be purchased to confirm or deny.

His Army Role of Honour states that his residence was in Denbighshire , but that might have been a clerical error.   Any information would be gratefully received.

I do not know why George Ellis Roberts’s name was not added to the War Memorial, perhaps the family were no longer living around here, and they wouldn’t know about the preparations for the erection of a War Memorial, but I am sure he was well loved, as can be seen on the inscription on his CWGC Gravestone “HIS PRESENCE WE MISS, HIS MEMORY WE TREASURE,” which when he was buried reflected the feelings of his family, as his father was still alive, so the family was more or less complete at that moment, except of course his mother had sadly passed away.   Anyway, he had made the supreme sacrifice for us all, so if perhaps there is another plaque made for the ones that were missed off many years ago his name should be added.    Any information would be gratefully received.

After searching local newspaper archives here, I wrote to the West Sussex Record Office to see if they could shine any light on George Ellis’s death, here are excerpts from their reply, which I was grateful to receive.:-

Dear Mavis, Thank you for your email concerning information on Lance Sergeant George Ellis Roberts and his death at Haywards Heath in December 1940.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find out anything specific relating to George’s death from our records, here.

Newspaper reports, in particular the Mid Sussex Times, fail to mention an accident involving George Roberts. And I’m wondering if your local newspapers might have some information?

Regrettably, we don’t have access to his death certificate, but you are welcome to order it through the General Register Office https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/default.asp, using the reference Vol 2b pg. 475. The death certificate will give the cause and location of death, next of kin etc. and therefore may help to narrow down areas or terminology to search, as well as provide additional information to search other records such as the ‘1939 Register’. Ancestry.com suggests at least two possible George Roberts in Flintshire.

You may wish to enquire with the MOD for access to his service record https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records.  General researchers will have limited access compared with those of the next of kin. But this would certainly give details of his movements. You will need his service number and the Commonwealth war grave in Hawarden Churchyard suggests this was 4192497 and he was in the Second Battalion Royal Welch.

Likewise, the regimental war diary found through The National Archives https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_aq=royal%20welch%20fusiliers&_or1=diary&_or2=war&_or3=second&_dss=range&_ro=any&_p=1925&_st=adv&_ps=60, will give the regiments movements at that time and may mention the circumstances concerning George’s death. A quick search suggests the TNA has a war diary for the 2nd Royal Welch Fusiliers at home for 1st August 1940 – 31st December 1941.

In reference to a possible camp at Haywards Heath our West Sussex at War leaflet http://www2.westsussex.gov.uk/learning-resources/LR/learning/learning_resources/wartime_west_sussex_1939-45/wartime_events/the_story_of_the_war_in_west_s.html  suggests that there was a POW Camp, Army Headquarters and a military Hospital at Cuckfield, as well as a military hospital at Haywards Heath. However, a brief skim of the text doesn’t indicate which regiments were stationed where.

Out of interest, Cuckfield and Haywards Heath prior to 1974 were under the jurisdiction of East Sussex County Council and therefore any inquest or report to the police would be handled by the East Sussex Coroner and the specific division under the East Sussex police. I would therefore recommend contacting The Keep – East Sussex Record Office – for information concerning access to these records. Contact information can be found through their website at https://www.thekeep.info/

I hope this helps with your enquiry and should you have any more questions please do not hesitate to ask.

Yours sincerely

Imogen Russell

Searchroom Assistant

Many thanks to Imogen for taking so much trouble, also click on http://www2.westsussex.gov.uk/learning-resources/LR/west_sussex_at_war_leafleta0b8.pdf?docid=0d934bfb-9c01-48d4-ba6b-3b7af5892b3d&version=-1, to learn more about West Sussex in the War.

However, unless the death certificate is purchased or someone has it, there is no other way that I know of to find out how George Ellis died.    Any help would be gratefully received.


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