Smith, William John

William John Smith was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Ann Smith. There is a marriage of a Joseph Smith and an Elizabeth A. Latham in St. John’s Church, Chester, in 1890 (CE13/12/210). (The certificate would have to be bought to confirm that this is them). Joseph’s wife is referred to as Annie on William’s Army documents and on some censuses.  She is referred to as Elizabeth Ann in the 1901 census.

 William J ‘s birth was possibly recorded in the District of  Hawarden in 1891 (HAW/37/56).

The 1891 census records the family in Pentre Saltney.  Head of the household was Joseph Smith, 27, a General Labourer, who had been born in Birkenhead, Cheshire.  His wife Annie Smith who was 19, had been born in Saltney, Flintshire.  Their son William J. Smith was 2 months old. He had also been  born in Saltney. Living next door to them were Annie’s parents, Henry Latham, 57, a General Labourer and Mary, 56.  Their son John Latham 16, also a General Labourer, as living there too.

The census of 1901 records Joseph & Elizabeth Ann Smith living at Dee Terrace, Pentre, Hawarden with Elizabeth Ann’s father Henry Latham, 67, (a General Labourer, born in Aston, Queensferry) Henry was listed as ‘married’ but his wife was not present for the census. In the household was a son Alfred, 40, a General Labourer recorded as a widower. Joseph Smith, Son-in-Law, 41 and his wife Elizabeth Ann, 30 were listed in the household with their children. William A.(sic) 10,  Mary,9,  Emily,6, Joseph H 4 and  John, 2 and Alfred.

(Deaths of 4 Mary Lathams were recorded in Hawarden in the following years, 1898,  1895 and 1892. Any information would be gratefully received).

The 1911 census sees the Smith family still living with Henry Latham at 1 Parrys Row Pentre Hawarden Flintshire. Henry Latham was then listed as a 76 year old widower. Joseph Smith, 49, his Son-in-Law was a Labourer at the Ironworks (Industry – Steel maker). His wife Annie was 39. They had been married 21 years and 10 children had been born to them, 8 were still living.  William was 20 and was like his father, a Labourer in the Ironworks. Mary was 19 . Joseph, 14 was a Labourer with a Coal Merchant. John was 12,  Alfred, 10, Harry, 6 and  Bessie, 10 months old.

UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 accessible on includes an entry for  William John Smith. It tells us that he was born, lived and enlisted in Hawarden, Flintshire

There is an index card for William in the Flintshire Roll of Honour at the County Record |Office in Hawarden. ( Card F21 Queensferry.) tells us that he was Killed in action in the Dardanelles 13th August 1915 and his card was signed by Joseph Smith (Father) 23rd October 1919.

British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 also on Ancestry, lists his medals and states that William John Smith’s  first Theatre of War was the Balkans  (Gallipoli) and he entered it on 28th June 1915 Less than 2 months later, he was killed, age 24.

William Joseph is also remembered on the Sandycroft War Memorial in St. Francis’s Church.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Hawarden Memorial

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