Tuck, Francis Douglas

Douglas’s parents, John Henry Tuck and Susan Wyatt Davies, were married in St. Deniol’s Church, Hawarden on the 15th September 1890 (Page 164, No. 328).   John Henry was 29, a Bachelor and Shoemaker. His abode was Hawarden and his father was Thomas Francis Tuck,  a Servant.   His bride, Susan Wyatt Davies was 22, a Spinster and her abode was Hawarden.   Interestingly, one of the witnesses was Catherine Gladstone.    John Henry Tuck had been one of the pupils at her Orphanage.

Their first born, Thomas John Tuck was born on the 15th June 1891 and Baptized in St. Deniol’s Church, Hawarden on the 26th July 1891. Their second child, Charles Ewart Tuck was born  on the 12th August 1893 and baptised in September that year. Tragically he did not survive the year,  (HAW/24/69).      Francis Douglas Tuck their 3rd son was born on the 31st March 1895 and Baptized on the 3rd May 1895.

The 1901 census shows the family living at Ashwood Cottage, Hawarden (Flint), Hawarden, Cheshire.   Head of the household was John Tuck, 38, Boot Maker who had been born in London.  His wife Susan Tuck, 33 had been born in Hawarden. Their listed sons were Thomas J. Tuck, 9 and Francis D. Tuck, 6.   There were two a Boarders, John Leitch, 36, a sculptor and Hugh R. Hughes,a Commercial Clerk.

By the 1911 census, the family was  living in Main Street, Hawarden.  John Henry, 48 was a Bootmaker, Dealer. His wife of 20 years, Susan Wyatt was 42.  Three children had been born to them and 1 had died.    Thomas John, 19 was a Joiner and  Francis Douglas, 16 was an Iron Turner.  A niece, Sarah Louise Hamer, 14 and a George Beddard Stoke, 26, a Gardener, were also in the household.

According to family lore, John Tuck had been “adopted” by Old Mr. Gladstone along with many boys and girls, possibly 60 in all, from London, who were homeless, and brought to Hawarden in the Gladstone Orphanage in the Castle grounds. (See also John William Harding, another of the orphanage children who lived at Hawarden,  who also died in the war and is remembered on the Hawarden Memorial and Hawarden County School. Frederick Harding, John’s brother,  survived the war.)

Both Tom and Douglas must have been in the Territorials to be involved so early in the war.   A post card posted by Tom from Aberystwyth on the 3rd August, 1914, where he was stationed with the 5th R.W.F. confirms that he was with the R.W.F. (Territorials) when the camps were “struck” by special Government Orders on the early morning of the 3rd August. They returned home travelling throughout the night reaching Flint soon after six o’clock, to return home and await further Orders which might be received.   I have no proof that Douglas was with him, but as he was also in the 5th R.W.F., the chances of them being together is very great.    (The story of the striking of the camp etc., was printed in the County Herald on the 7th August 1914.)

UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 accessible on  confirms Francis’s  regimental details above and tells us that he enlisted in Hawarden. His medal card also on ‘Ancestry’  details his medals and tells us that his first Theatre of War was the Balkans and his entry therein was the 8th August 1915.  Less than 2 months later he had died.

There is an index card for Francis in The Flintshire Roll of Honour in the County Record Office in Hawarden. (Card Hawarden F33)  The address given was Main Street, Hawarden.  His period of service was 1 year & 61 days  and he was  buried in Alexandria, Egypt.  The card was signed by his father John Tuck who also signed his other deceased son, Thomas Tuck’s,  Card on the same day. They had died within 6 weeks of each other.   Please see Thomas’s story on his page, click the link to read it.

Both Tuck boys are commemorated on a family grave in the churchyard of St Deniol’s in Hawarden and is also recorded on the Imperial War Museum – Memorial Project Website – Description – Churchyard. Old part (1860) –

The inscription reads

In Loving Memory of our dear sons who fought at Gallipoli

Pte. J.T. Tuck R.W.F. died August 22nd 1915 age 24 buried at sea.

Pte. F.D. Tuck R.W.F. Died October 5 1915 age 20 buried in Egypt,

“We are resting”

Also infant son C.E. Tuck aged 1 month.

Also Susan Tuck Mother of the above who died July 31st 1924 aged 56 years.

Also John Tuck died January 1945 aged 82 years. “At Rest”.

(St. Deniol’s Churchyard -Monumental Inscriptions T 7 Churchyard extension).


  Flintshire Observer 21st October 1915 (Page 8, Col. 1/3):-

Died – Private Douglas Tuck, Hawarden – “On Friday information was forwarded to Mr. Tuck (Hawarden) that his second son, Douglas, had succumbed to dysentery in hospital at Alexandria.   It was only recently that his brother Tom, serving in the same regiment, died from the same disease in the same hospital.  They were the only children, and the greatest sympathy is felt with Mr. and Mrs. Tuck in their sorrow.   The flag upon the church tower was placed at half-mast.    Special prayers were said at the service, where reference was made to the gallant soldiers.   Both young men were of estimable character and very popular and highly respected by all who knew them.   Instead of the funeral march at the close of the Sunday morning service the National Anthem was sung and the thoughts of the large congregation were of the two gallant brothers who had given their lives for King and country.”

 Flintshire Observer 4th November 1915 (Page 7 Col. 1/4):-

Both Sons Fallen – Memorial Service at Hawarden. – A touching and impressive memorial service for Private Douglas Tuck took place in the Hawarden Parish Church on Wednesday morning of last week.   There was a large congregation of the neighbours and friends of Mr. & Mrs. Tuck who have lost both their sons – all their family- through the war.    The Service was a beautiful combination of the Holy Communion and the burial service.   The celebrant was the rector (the Rev. F.S.M.Bennett), assisted by the Rev. W. Gravell as deacon and the Rev. C. Dearney as sub-deacon.   The Benson Memorial Cross was borne by Mr. W. Bell Jones, and the service was Merbeck sung in unison.    The hymns “Let Saints on Earth in Concert sing,”  “Thine for ever God of Love” were feelingly sung, and the beautiful commendation from the Russian Liturgy was chanted at the end of the service.   The parents of the deceased were seated in the chancel pew so often occupied by Mr. Gladstone and also by the gallant Squire of Hawarden.

All present were deeply impressed, and though the remains of Douglas Tuck are resting far away, the service which will be long remembered, was offered in his honour and memory at the church where he had worshipped since boyhood.   We may add that Mr. & Mrs. Tuck have received very many messages of sympathy, including the whole of the Gladstone family.   Appropriate music was played by Mr. R.W. Pringle, organist of Hawarden.

The following newspaper cutting was given to me at an event about WW1 that took place at Mold Library. It was from the Edmonton Journal (Canada). The article is from a story told by Bill Smith to the editor of the paper Stephen Hume in 1986. He talks of his reasons for leaving Hawarden after the hell of the Dardanelles.  Harry Williams* features in these extracts as do the Tuck brothers.

* Harry has a page on this website.

“You’d see Mrs Williams coming down the street and she would want to know if I was there when Harry got killed,” Bill said . It was only about 4 or 5 of us came back to my little town after the war I got some literature about Canada, the Last Great West and there was a mention of Peace River, I got the impression it was a new country, named after Peace and I went to Chester, and I got my ticket to the Peace. And I found peace.   I was confirmed there in the old log church”.   Bill Smith went on to say in other parts of the article that “The Royal Welsh Fusiliers landed on that Beach (Sulva Bay) 1000 strong on August 10th,” Bill remembers, “When they took us off in November there were 145.”

“And the Tuck Brothers, they joined the band, but of course there was no place for musicians as the casualties began to mount so they went into the front lines as stretcher bearers and were slain”

Many thanks to the kind lady who gave me this article and apologies for not taking her name, please get in touch if you can help me identify her for me to thank properly.

COUNTY HERALD 30th July 1922 (Page 8, transcribed from newspaper, no cutting)

Flintshire Territorials

            Arrangements have been made for the unveiling at the Head Quarters at Rhyl of a massive granite and bronze memorial tablet, bearing about 250 names, in memory of the members of the Flintshire Territorials who fell in the great war.

            It has been subscribed for by the officers and men of the battalion and will be unveiled on Thursday July 13th – the anniversary of sailing of the battalion for Gallipoli, where it fought so heroically, – by Mrs. Philips, of Rhual, Mold, widow of the commanding officer, who fell in Gallipoli, and Mrs. Tuck, of Hawarden, who lost two sons in the war.

Many thanks to Wendy & Gary Williams for their help and generosity giving information, post cards, photo’s etc., helping tell the story of the Tuck brothers, so much part of the Hawarden story.

Post script: –  Burial of John Tuck – St. Deniol’s Church Registers – Burials

Page 68 No 541 John TUCK, 1, Aston Mead, Aston, Hawarden 10th January 1945 age 82 years.

Chester Chronicle 20th January 1945.

THE LATE MR. TUCK. – The funeral took place on Wednesday week of Mr. John Tuck (82), retired shoemaker, 1, Aston Mead, Aston, who died in the Old Rectory Hospital.   Mr. Tuck came to Hawarden Orphanage about 75 years ago with his brother, William.   On leaving school he became an apprentice shoemaker with Mr. Wm. Roberts, who had his shop down the entry – still in existence – between the Glynne Arms and the Midland Bank.   He later opened his own shoemaking business in the village.   He had been a widower for 20 years.   His two sons, Douglas and Tom, were killed in the 1914 – 18 war.   Mr. Tuck was a godson of the late Viscount Gladstone, the late Lord Gladstone of Hawarden, and Mrs. Potter.   He was a Churchman, member of the choir, of the Hawarden Volunteers’ Band, and interested in all forms of music and the garden, his pride.   The Rector officiated at the funeral service assisted by the Rev. B. Tecwyn Jones.   The choir were in attendance, and the organist was Mrs. Marian Williams.    The family mourners were Miss A. Tuck, Mrs. W. Tuck, Cissie, Ethleen, and Davida (nieces), and Mr.  and Mrs. Massey.   The bearers were Messrs. F. Buckley, A Catherall, E. Cannon, and R.P. Phillips.   Messrs. G. Bailey and Son were the undertakers.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Hawarden Memorial

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