Powell, Henry

John Henry’s parents, John & Ann Powell were possibly married at St. Mary the Virgin’s Church at Overton, Flintshire in 1875.  if this is the right marriage, then Ann’s maiden name was Evans. (C55/01/93)

By the 1881 census they were living at Salop St, Overton, Flintshire.   Head of the household was John Powell, 24,  a Bricklayer’s Labourer who had been born in Overton, Flintshire. His wife Ann, 27 had been born in Cefn, Denbighshire.  Their listed children were John H. Powell, 5  Margaret, 3 and Sarah A. 9 months.   All three had been born in Overton, Flintshire.  There were 2 lodgers, Robert Allmand,  and Henry Butler.

The 1891 census shows the family still living in Salop Rd., Overton. John Powell, 34 was still a Bricklayer’s Labourer. (This census stated he had been born in Ellesmere, Salop). His wife Ann, 37 (had been born in Rhos, Denbighshire according to this census).   Their listed children were  John H. 15  a Grocer’s Apprentice. Sarah A.10,  Albert, 6 and Edith, 3 were all scholars.  Ellen was 1 . All the children had been born in Overton, Flintshire.

I believe John Henry was to marry twice.The first marriage was in 1896 in Nantwich to Eleanor Jackson, (Volume 8a, Page 557). The 1901 census records the couple living at 33, Bowden Street, Litherland, Lancashire.  John H. Powell, 25 was an Insurance Agent. His wife Eleanor, 25 had been born in Alpraham Taporley  Cheshire. Their listed children were  Lionel A  4 and  John P, 3.

The family may have moved to the Wrexham area as I believe Eleanor died in 1903 and her death was registered there ( Vo. 11b, Page 197).   In 1904 John H.enry married again, this time to Barbara J. Boswell in a Civil Ceremony at Hawarden (HAW/02/E60)

The 1911 census sees the family living at 24 Farm Road, Sealand, Chester, Flintshire. John Henry, 35 was a ‘Catcher’, in the Sheet Steel Works. His wife of 6 years,  Barbara Jane, 37 had been born in Neston. Two children had been born to them, but 1 had died.  The surviving child was Cyril aged 3.  John Henry’s son from his first marriage, John Percival, 13 was a scholar.

UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 accessible on confirms John Henry’s regimental information and tells us that he was born in Overton, Flints  and enlisted in Shotton. His medal card also on ‘Ancestry’  tells us that his first Theatre of War was France and he entered it on 4th December 1915.

John Henry Powell’s Army service Records have survived and can be viewed on ‘Ancestry’. They include his Attestation Papers which he signed in Llandudno on the 2nd March 1915. They give his address as 76 Farm Road, Garden City. He was 37 years and 4 months old and was a Grocer. He stated on the form that he had served previously. He was 5 feet 11 inches tall, with a chest measurement of 37 inches with a range of expansion of 3 inches. There was a linear scar above his right brow.

He was appointed Corporal on the day he attested and then this became a ‘promotion’ to Corporal on the 1st May 1915. He was promoted to ‘Acting Sergeant’ one week later . He embarked from Southampton on the 4th December 1915 for France. John Henry was granted leave of absence in France from 30th May 1916 to the 5th June 1916 but it doesn’t tell us why.

The records say that he died in 21 Field Ambulance  of wounds received in action in the field  on the 11th July 1916. He was buried the next day at the English plot at Morlancourt.

There is correspondence between the army and Barbara Powell concerning the receipt of his medals and also about the paternity of the child from his first marriage in respect of her pension entitlement. An army form lists details of his marriage and his family as follows,

John Henry Powell had married Barbara Jane Boswell on 12th October 1904 at  a chapel in Hawarden. Their listed children were Albert Eric who had been born in Wrexham on 14th April 1902.  Cyril had been born in Queensferry on 22nd February 1908 and Margaret Annie had been born 24th April 1914 in Queensferry.

There is an index card for John Henry Powell in the Flintshire Roll of Honour in the County Record Office in Hawarden.( Index Card  Sealand F7)  It gives the address Bridge View, Sealand and it was signed on the 28th September 1919 by J.P. Powell.   I can only presume that Barbara Jane Powell had moved to Connah’s Quay after 1919, and before the Commonweath War Graves Commission starting taking down the family particulars.

UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920  inform us that the 17th battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers  was a Sub Unit of the 38th Division.  The Battle of Mametz Woods took place from the 5th to the 11th  July 1916. John Henry died on the 11th.   (I have transcribed this extract from the diaries, which is accessible on Ancestry. but I can send to you if you contact the website).

Bernard Lewis posted the following piece on the Army Forum  on the 9th July 2007.

“Remembering the lads of the 38th (Welsh) Division as they waited in the darkness opposite the dark mass of Mametz Wood on the night of 9 July 1916. They sang in Welsh to relieve the tension of a long night…

Twenty years later an officer of the Swansea Battalion commented that during the war the Swansea Battalion had done a great many things – but, he added, the hardest thing it ever did was attack Mametz Wood.

The battalion was never the same after that and the town of Swansea observed the 10 July as ‘Mametz Memorial Day’ until the outbreak of World War Two. The Old Comrades of the battalion posted an ‘In Memoriam’ notice in the local press until 1966, at which time there only a few left. –

Not forgotten… Bernard

John Henry Powell is also remembered on the Bangor North Wales Memorial Arch (Panels) for Sealand) so I have also added him on the Sealand page.

He is also remembered on the Overton Memorial – the place of his birth.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Hawarden Memorial

Back to top