Rupert was born in 1893 (Hawarden Reg. Dist. (HAW/39/89)) and first appeared on a census in 1901. He was living with his family at Main Street, Hawarden,Cheshire,(now Flintshire). Rupert’s father Thomas Bellis, 40, was a Farmer who had been born in Hawarden. His wife Charlotte 35 had been born in Croxhall, Derbyshire. Their listed children were Rupert, 7, Caroline, 3 and Charlotte M. 1. All had been born in Hawarden.
Interestingly, Main Street was the street where the Tuck family lived and they too suffered losses, in their case, 2 sons. ( Please see their notes on this website.)
Rupert’s father Thomas had died in 1909 at the age of 45. The family was split for the 1911 census and Rupert and his sister Caroline were living at his Grandfather’s home at Field House Aston Hawarden. Rupert Henry was 17 and an Apprentice at the Iron and Steel works. Rupert’s Grandfather Thomas Bellis was 83 and a retired Shoemaker. Luckily for us he wrote down how many children he’d had. He stated on the census paper that he’d had 9 children, 4 of whom had died. This was crossed out by the enumerator. Also living there was Thomas Bellis’s daughter Caroline who was 59. Rupert’s Aunt Caroline had filled in the 1911 census form and she had put Rupert Henry’s name as Thomas Rupert, but on Ancestry.co.uk, a member of the public had corrected this to Rupert Henry and as that is the name written down all through his documents, I believe this is his true name. Incidentally, Thomas Rupert was his father’s name.
The 1911 census shows Rupert’s mother Charlotte 45 was living at Brick Row Hawarden. She was described as an Employer, as a General Carter. She had been born in Edigale, Derbyshire. Living with her was her daughter Charlotte Mary, 11. Charlotte (the mother) had entered on the census form that she had been married 21 years and 3 children had been born, all living. This was crossed out by the Enumerator.
UK soldiers who died in the Great War 1914 -19, accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms the regimental information above and adds that he enlisted in Queensferry. Rupert’s medal card also accessible on ancestry, records his medal details.
Rupert Thomas Bellis’s Army Service Records have survived and are accessible an ‘ancestry.com’ . He attested on the 11th December 1915 in Wrexham. His address was recorded as Field House, Aston, Hawarden and his age was 22years and 4 months. Rupert’s occupation was ‘Carter’ and his next of kin was his sister Charlotte Bellis.
The records show that he was placed in the Army Reserve until January 1917 and he then joined the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. There is a reference to him having problems with septic teeth. It isn’t clear when he was sent to the Western Front but as he died in Belgium he obviously was.
There is correspondence with his sister about the receipt of medals and personal possessions and there is the following letter from the RWF Records in Shrewsbury that gives a clue to other correspondence that took place between the family and the army.
The letter was dated 20th June 1919 and addressed to Miss O M Bellis, Field House, Aston, Hawarden (Should have been C M Bellis)
I beg to acknowledge receipt of your enquiry and correspondence concerning your brother No 203529 Private R H Bellis, Royal Welsh Fusiliers and in reply to inform you if he had been admitted to any field ambulance or hospital subsequent to missing report, it would have been reported at once to this office and you would have been immediately notified.
The correspondence has been forwarded to the War Office for further enquiries to be made and will be returned direct to you after this enquiry is completed.
I have the honour to be
Your Obedient Servant
(Officer Infantry Records)
Addendum :- The Absent Voter’s List of 1919 for Aston Township :- 1549 Bellis, Rupert Henry Field House 203529 Pte., 24th R.W.F., B.E.F. (It was not noted that he was K.I.A. 31/10/1918.) His entry of the 1918 Absent Voter’s List was 2835.