The story of George Bellis, connects three different families and 2 World Wars, and is really a mirror image of a lot of the families in this country in these two horrific wars.
George Bellis is the stepson of Mary Elizabeth Bellis, (Formerly Wilcock, nee Parish), his mother Amy Bellis, (Nee Broughton) is the step-sister of Louis Deniol Broughton, who also died in WW2 and who is also on the Hawarden WW2 War Memorial.
George Bellis was born on the 5th May 1901 and Baptised on the 9th June according to the St. Deniol’s Church Parish Registers – Baptisms, his father’s name on that was Joseph, a Labourer, his mother Amy and they lived in Hawarden. There is another Baptism for a James Herbert Bellis, born on the 24th September 1905 and Bapt. 2nd November 1905, he was the son of Edward Joseph & Amy Bellis, from Hawarden, Edward Joseph was a Machinist. I believe that they were brothers and that their parents, married In St. Deniol’s Church, Hawarden:-
Page 233 No. 466 17th February 1898 Edward Joseph BELLIS, 23, Bachelor, Labourer, Hawarden, Thomas BELLIS, Labourer & Amy BROUGHTON**, 22, Spinster, Hawarden, Joseph BROUGHTON, Foreman. (after Banns)
Witnesses:- Frederick BELLIS & Gertrude SAYRE.
** Amy is the daughter of Joseph Horace & Eliza* BROUGHTON, born in Manchester, who lived at the Wynt, Hawarden on the 1891 census? And step – sister of Louis Deniol Broughton (See Louis BROUGHTON Notes).
*Eliza died in the June quarter of 1881, age 27 years.(Cheshire West CAT/47/15) and the census show us that on the 3rd April 1881, Eliza was still alive as they are living at Catherine Street, Chester, Joseph, 29 was head of the household, he had been born in Manchester, Eliza, 27, tells us that she had been born in Matlock, Derbyshire, Sylvia, 8 and Amy 5 made up the family unit.
(Eliza was dead by the end of the June Quarter 1881 so may have died shortly after the Census).
Edward Joseph & Amy are seen on the 1901 and 1911 censuses and it seems that the only had 3 children as they are seen on the 1911 census living at Stone Row, Hawarden and she was dead in 1917.
Sadly Amy was to die in 1917 age 41 years, her burial is in The Hawarden Parish Registers:- Page 29 No 230 Amy BELLIS, Hawarden 17th March 1917 age 41 years. Death Certificate – (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/10A/65).
Edward Joseph Bellis was to meet and eventually marry, after Banns, on the 28th September 1921, Mary Elizabeth Wilcock, 33, a widow, who lived at Rose Cottage, Moor, Hawarden, her father was George Parish, a Smith’s Striker. Edward Joseph was now age 47 and a widower of course, an Ironworker, whose address was Stone Row, Hawarden. His father was Thomas Bellis, a Gardener. Witnesses were M.E. Thomas & J. Bellis.
Edward Joseph had been in WW1:- Flintshire WW1 Index Cards L18 Hawarden. -BELLIS, Edward Jospeh, Stone Row, Hawarden. 24oo21 4th Res. R.W.F. Rank – CSM Period of Service – 1st February 1891 – 20th January 1919. War Service 4 years 5 months. Card signed on the 17th October 1919 by J. BELLIS.
Mary Elizabeth had suffered bereavement as her first husband was a Soldier and had died in the Great War, please click on the link to read Charles Wilfred Wilcock’s story, he is in the Hawarden WW1 War Memorial as Wilfred Wilcock. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/100565/wilcock,-wilfred/
Mary Elizabeth Wilcock, formerly Parish, had married, after Banns, Charles W. Wilcock in St. Deniol’s Church on the 20th December 1916. Charles Wilfred Wilcock was 25, a Soldier whose address was given as Whitchurch, his father, Charles Wilcock was deceased. Mary Elizabeth on her marriage was 28 years old, a spinster, and her father George Parish was a Labourer. Witnesses were Thomas Edward Wilcock & Elsie Wilcock.
So both Edward Joseph & Mary Elizabeth then made a life together after their grief, and are seen on the 1939 National Register still living at 11 Stone Row, Hawarden, the 1939 Register was taken on the 29th September 1939. Edward J. Bellis gave his date of birth as the 14th June 1874 and he was a General Labourer, his wife Mary E. Bellis‘s date of birth was the 11th February 1888 and like all married women on this Register who did not have a specific job, was doing” Unpaid Domestic Duties.”
The Casualty Card does not throw any light on how or why George was to die and the only clue is on the Casualty List No 1128 (Page 23) which states that he died in an accident. This is in contrast to the Newspaper report which states that he had to have an operation after becoming ill.
Also on the newspaper cutting, his father is stated to be Co.-Sergt- Major Bellis of 10, Glynne Way, Hawarden and I find that he was in the Great War with a Flintshire WW1 Index Card, L18, that tells us that his Regimental no. is ………. This address is also the address that was entered in the Parish Register at his burial in 1947 – Page 89 No. 707 Edward Joseph BELLIS, 10, Glynne Way, Hawarden, 15th March 1947 age 72 years. Mary Elizabeth was to die in 1965 where her address was Stone Row, Hawarden, age 77 years. So it seems that Mary Elizabeth went back “Home.”
George Bellis’s burial entry in the St. Deniol’s Parish Registers in Hawarden on the 20th April 1943 gives his address as 10, Glynne Way, Hawarden and tells us that he died in Ross Memorial Hospital, Dingwall, Rosshire 20th April 1943 (no age entered.) I wrote to the Ross and Cromarty Heritage Organisation – http://www.rossandcromartyheritage.org/Home/Contact.aspx on the 9th June 2018 asking for help to find out why Gorge was in Scotland and how he died, as there is a mystery from the different accounts from the Casualty List and the newspaper. Mhairi Mackenzie who replied was very helpful, and suggested local newspapers, which I had looked at and secrecy was suggested as they would not mention Regiments or Regimental No.’s or names as it was wartime. Mhairi suggested the following:-
- Personally I can’t think why the Royal Artillery would have been in Ross-shire. Perhaps George was one of a small group? There was a considerable RAF presence in the eastern part of the county and the Navy operated from the port of Invergordon while the Arctic Convoy ships sailed from the west coast.
- The Ross Memorial Hospital, Dingwall (then a small, cottage hospital), would not have been regarded as a military hospital but military personnel would have been treated for non-combatant illnesses or accidental injuries.
- Someone I know has been involved in an exercise such as the one you are undertaking and she has researched through the National Archives at Kew. As you have the service number, regiment etc of George Bellis that would be a good starting point, I think, to learn about his wartime service.
I hope this is of some help. If you wish, I can make time to research the newspaper issues around the occasion of his death.
(George Bellis is the stepson of Mary Elizabeth Bellis, (Formerly Wilcock, nee Parish)
Chester Chronicle 24th April 1943 Page 3 Col. 4
Funeral of Sergt.-Major G. BELLIS
Two weeks ago Battery Sergt.-Major George BELLIS, R.A. spent his leave with his parents, but on his return to Scotland was taken ill, and following an operation died last Thursday. He was the second son of Co-Sergt.-Major BELLIS, of 10, Glyn (sic) Way. Sergt.Major G. BELLIS joined the Royal Artillery in 1921 and had 21 years’ service. He was 41 and a bachelor. The funeral at the Parish Church on Tuesday was accorded military honours. The Rev. D. Saunders REES officiated and the mourners were Mr. & Mrs. E.J. BELLIS (parents), Mr. & Mrs. J. BELLIS (brother & sister-in-law), Mrs. B. BELLIS(sister-in-law), Mr. J. H. BELLIS, Mrs. McCADDON, Mr. & Mrs. H. BELLIS, Mr & Mrs. E. BELLIS, Mr. & Mrs. ELLWOOD, Mrs. M. BELLIS, and Mr. & Mrs. R. PARSONAGE (uncles & aunts), Mr. & Mrs. L. ROBERTS, Mr. L. McCADDON, Mr. & Mrs. S. PARRY and Derek, and Mr. & Mrs. R. FAIRHURST (cousins), Mr. & Mrs. B. JONES, Mrs. DICKINSON, and Miss SUTTON. The arrangements were by Messrs. G. BAILEY and Son.
If anyone knows any more information about George, either his childhood or his death, please get in touch so his story can be told.