Bonnell, John

Once again this is a soldier named on the Hawarden Memorial but very difficult to connect with the local area. The regimental information above has been gleaned from the Commonwealth War Grave Commission records and other military sources.

UK Soldiers Who Died in The Great War 1914 -19 accessible on  confirms the regimental details and adds that he was born and enlisted in Warrington. This source tells us he was killed in action.  His medal card also accessible on ‘Ancestry’ is the source that gives us his former regimental number as well as detailing his medals. Interestingly the card has the word ‘Returned’ written prominently.

There is no  Index Card in the Flintshire Roll of Honour  for John in the County Record Office which would have been helpful in telling his story.

The following details are speculative and may not be the right man.

A John Bunnell was recorded on census returns having been born and lived in Warrington.  The age of this John Bonnell matches up with what we know from military sources.

He was shown on the 1881 census as living at 28, Longford Street, Warrington, Lancs.  His father Francis H. Bonnell  was head of the household  and a File Smith (Maker). All the family was born in Warrington, Lancashire  He and his wife Margaret Bonnell ( nee Johnson), 28, had married in 1872 (Warrington Vol. 8c Page 184).  Their children, Alfred, 7, John 5, Clara, 4 were all scholars and baby William J was age 1.

In 1889 Francis Henry Bonnell died (Warrington, June Qtr Vol. 8c  Page 111), leaving Margaret a widow. By the 1891 census she was left with 4 extra children born since the last census, making 8.    Margaret, 38 and her family were still living at 28, Longford Street, Warrington, Lancs.  The children were listed as  Alfred, 17  and John 15 ( both blacksmiths),  Clara, 14 was a Cotton Weaver. William, 12, Harrison, 7, Lenard, 2 and Frank 1 made up the rest of the  family.   Interestingly, the Enumerator had written above Margaret’s name “Iron Works – Mr. John Bonnell”.

The family was shown still living together on the 1901 census but at a new address,  Long Ford Terrace, Winwick Road, Orford, Warrington,Lancashire.   Margaret  45, was still a widow with all her children.  Alfred 27 and single was a Ships Engineer (Seas). John, 25 was a Steel Sheet Worker. Clara, 23,  is recorded as married, but was listed with her maiden name of Bonnell. William, 21 was  a Painter’s Labourer. Ernest 20 and Harrison 16 were House Plasterers working from home.  Edith 14,  Leonard, 13 and Frank, 11 completed the family.

However there is a mystery, as  Clara and William also appear at another address on the same census.  Clara Pollard ( nee Bonnell), 22, and William Pollard, 21, a Joiner were shown living at 545, Fifth Street, Stretford, Barton-on-Irwell, Lancashire  They had married in the September Qtr of 1899 in Warrington (Vol. 8c Page 294).   Also on that census was William Bonnell, Clara’s brother, single, 21 and a Painter & Stencilor

In the 1911 census,  Margaret and her remaining (resident) family had moved to 48, Aikin Street, Warrington, Lancashire.   On the census, Margaret  states that she had been married for 19 years, and had 3 children still living. This was all crossed out by the Enumerator.     Margaret 55 was still a widow and ‘working on her own account’ (again crossed out by the Enumerator).   Alfred was 37 and a Fisherman.  John was 35 and a  Steelworker at the Sheet Mill,  Harrison, was a General Labour.

I think that Margaret thought she had to put who was in the house and not the true number of children born as she had given birth to at least 9 children according to the previous census returns.


Any information on this man would be greatly appreciated as I only have suppositions and no great facts about his time in the Deeside area. The only tenuous connection is that he was a steelworker.

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