Charles Norman Wright was born on the 24th May 1915, the son of Joseph & Maud Eliza Wright, (nee Bellis), who had married on the 26th December 1911 at St. John’s Church, (Pentrobin),Hawarden.
Joseph Wright was 24, a bachelor and Pattern-Maker, his abode was Mancot and his father was Joseph Wright, a Farmer. His bride was Maud Eliza Bellis, 22, a Spinster whose abode was Kinnerton, Penymynydd, her father was Charles Bellis, a Sexton. They married after Banns and their witnesses were Annie. B. Wright, Charles Bellis, Norman G. Wright and Jno. Wright.
Joseph Wright on the 1911 census, only a few months earlier, was living at Mancott Farm, Hawarden, Flintshire with his family (9 rooms). Father Joseph, 55, Farmer (Employer), married 32 years and he also tells us that all the family were born in Hawarden, Flintshire. His wife Susan Elizabeth was 55, she tells us that 10 children had been born and 1 had sadly died. The family consisted of Lottie, 25 and single, she worked on the farm doing “Dairywork.” Joseph, 23, single was a Patter-Maker (General Engineers), Annie Brook, 21 was single and an Assistant Schoolmistress for E. County Council. Susan, 19, also single was also doing “Dairywork.” J. Norman Grenville, 17 was “Working on the Farm.” Doris, 15 was still at school and last but not least was Charles, 12 also at school.
Likewise Maud Eliza Bellis was also on the 1911 census and was living at Waters Green, Penymynydd, Nr. Mold, Flintshire (4 rooms). Maud Eliza was an only child according to this census, her father Charles Bellis, 51 and a Sexton, born Buckley, Flintshire tells us that he had been married 24 years. His wife Sarah Jane, 51, had been born in Chester (Handbridge on the 1891 census) and tells us that 1 child had been born and was still living. Their daughter Maud Eliza was 22 and single and a School Teacher (Education Authorities), born in Hawarden. There is an adopted daughter, Muriel Irene Bellis, age 8, born in Penymynydd and also a nephew, William Henry Bellis, 16 and a Labourer, born Saltney Cheshire.
We know that Charles’s birth was registered in Hawarden (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/19A/62) but I cannot find any Baptisms for him or his siblings, of which he had a brother, Joseph Theodore Geoffrey Wright and a sister Josephine Greta Maud Wright.
I found on the Hawarden Grammar School Admissions Register E/GS/1/10 all three of the children’s entries.
Hawarden County School (Grammar) (National School Admissions Registers 1870 – 1914
899/1512 WRIGHT, Josephine G.M., Date of Birth – 26th May 1912 “Waters Green,” Penymynydd, Mold, Patternmaker, Date of entry – 16th September 1914, Former School – Penymynydd C.P. Left 27th April 1928.
1233/1877 WRIGHT, Charles Norman, Date of Birth – 24th May 1915, Water’s Green, Penymynydd, Penyffordd, Father – Pattern Maker, Date of Entry, 17th September 1928, Pentrobin N.P., Date of Leaving – 18th December 1931 – Woodwork Instructor Apprentice.
1279/2001 WRIGHT, Jos. Theodore G. Date of Birth 12th September 1917, Penymynydd, Penyffordd, Father – Pattern-Maker, Date of entry – 16th September 1929, Former School, Pentrobin N.P., Date of leaving 2nd October 1934 Carpenter
I have no idea of Charles’s childhood or teenage years, but we do know that he married in 1937 to Phyllis Collins Garston in St Cynfarch’s Church, Hope, Flintshire :-
Hope Parish Registers – Marriages
Page 48 No. 95 24th February 1937 Charles Norman WRIGHT,23, Bachelor, Joiner, Oak Mount, Penyffordd, Joseph WRIGHT, Pattern Maker & Phillis Collins GARSTON,23, Spinster, Fern Lea, Penyffordd, Albert GARSTON, Deputy Foreman. (After Banns).
Joseph Theodore Geoffrey WRIGHT & Elsie GARSTON
Then they are seen on the 1939 National Register, which was taken on the 29th September 1939, after the war was declared on the 3rd of September, so we know he wasn’t in the Services then.
They were then living at 66 Spon Green , Buckley, Flintshire. This source tell us that Charles’s birthday was the 24th May 1915 and he was a Carpenter and Joiner, Pattern Maker, his wife Phyllis’s birthdate was the 24th December 1913 and as most married or widowed women on this census who did not have job, was doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.” There is one Closed or redacted record, which I believe to be possibly Wenda Anita (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/48A/26) their first child.
They were then to have another child in 1942, David Maldwyn (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/55A/8). I was looking at Ancestry and noticed a photograph of Charles, so I wrote to Pamela Panting, who is the daughter of Charles’s sister Josephine, to ask permission to use the photograph and that led to a wonderful meeting up, via emails, with Suzanne, Charles’s grand-daughter and daughter of David Maldwyn and Pamela, as they were able to shed lots of light on what happened to Charles, his wife Phyllis and his children after he died in the crash.
Before I start on the story of the discovery of the events of the night of the 7th/8th July 1944 on Flight ND.688 of 630 Squadron, I want to let you know where Charles’s parent’s were on the 29th September when the 1939 National Register was taken.
They were living at Brookside , Hawarden, Flintshire. This source tells us that the birth date of Joseph Wright was the 20th September 1887 and he was an Engineers Pattern Maker & Joiner and Maud E. Wright had been born on the 20th February 1889 and as with Phyllis above, was doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.” Also in the household was Joseph T.G. Wright, Charles’s brother, he had been born on the 12th September 1917 and was a Pattern Maker & Joiner and single. There is a closed or redacted record, I don’t know who it is, but it wasn’t Josephine as she was on the National Register, living in Bath.
At the same time as I was contacting Pamela and Suzanne, I was also searching for how and/or why the plane crashed on the 7th/8th July as all it stated in the Operational Record Book for July, which I unloaded from the National Archived, was that the plane was “Missing without trace.”
7/8th July 1944 Lancaster 111 No. 688 – Up – 22.44, Down – —- NIGHT BOMBING ATTACK ON CREIL (ST.LEUD’ESSERENT).
Missing without Trace.
I like to find out about the Crew of each of the men I research, as they were like family after going through the training and experiences.
Crew of 630 Squadron on Flight ND.688 (Lancaster 111) 7/8th July 1944
NIGHT BOMBING ATTACK ON CHEIL (ST. LEU D’ESSERENT)
W/C. DEAS, W PILOT Missing without Trace.
F/O TAYLOR, J. F/ENG.
P/O WRIGHT, C. NAVRG.
F/L FARARA, G. A/BMR
F/O UPTON, W. W/OPR
SGT. PAGE, L. M/UPPER
F/S LOCKE, R. R/GUNNER
6 members of the Crew, with the exception of P/O W. UPTON, Wireless Operator, were buried in the same Cemetery, so I can only conclude that his body was not found there and had been lost in the crash or he survived. I cannot find him on the CWGC database either, so he might have been thrown from the Aircraft or indeed been blown up when, and if, a bomb hit the aircraft, or gunfire made parts of the aircraft fall away. I searched from the 6th July 1944 to the 16th July 1944, to see if his body had been found elsewhere, and no date of death had been concluded, or perhaps he could have been buried with the Gravestone stating that he was “Known only unto God.” He needs to be remembered somewhere. Any help to find his final resting place would be much appreciated.
I wrote to the RAF Forums about P/OW. UPTON:- http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?26028-Flight-ND-688-(Lancaster-111)-7-8th-July-1944-NIGHT-BOMBING-ATTACK-ON-CHEIL-(ST-LEU&p=151053#post151053
It appears that he survived and ended up in a POW Camp :- This reply from Dave:-
Hi Mavis, Walter Thomas Upton was sent to Stalag Luft 1, Barth (Mecklenburg) Germany. Liberated by the Russian army on 1 May 1945 and would have been flown out by the USAAF between 12-15 May 1945.
I was then contacted by PeterS, who is the webmaster of https://630squadron.wordpress.com/ who had seen my posting on RAF Commands Forum and to whom I am indebted.
I noted your interest in the 630 Squadron crew of W/Cdr Bill Deas DSO DFC. I ‘m a member of the 57 & 630 Squadrons Association and I run the squadron website. I have responded to your query on the RAF Commands forum. The website is here https://630squadron.wordpress.com/
We have photos of a number of the crew on the website and probably have others which still need to be loaded up. Our main note on Wally Upton is below:
Former accountants clerk Wally Upton DFM from Eythorne near Dover, who had already completed a tour with 61 Squadron in 1942 (awarded the DFM London Gazette 29th December 1942), survived the loss of the bomber to be captured on landing by parachute. Wounded he was denied treatment and interrogated at a local Military barracks before being handed over to the SS and Gestapo and imprisoned at Fresnes Gestapo prison near Paris where he was kicked, punched and knocked to the floor. Passed next to the Wiesbaden Gestapo on 2nd September he was again illtreated and threatened with transfer to a Concentration Camp still being denied proper medical attention until he arrived at Stalag Luft I (Barth) on 10th September. Upton settled in Australia post-war and became a world recognised Orchid authority lecturing to fellow enthusiasts in most English speaking countries across the globe, he completed over 500 botanical drawings of orchids and registering over 165 orchid hybrids.Having being awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia he sadly died in 2012.
I hope that we’ll hear back from you, we can probably help further.
Everything was happening, Charles’s story was getting bigger, and then Suzanne and her cousin Pamela were able to add really personal stories about what happened to Charles’ wife and children in the following years, I am adding extracts for some of the emails Suzanne and her cousin Pamela sent me:-
Hi Mavis, My father is David Maldwyn Wright and he was 2 when his father was killed. He will be 78 this year. My Dad has a sister Wenda Jones who was born in 1937 and is still alive.
We are in contact with Locke’s nephew (who died with my Grandfather) and who has given my dad all the info about the Crew. I know that when the plane was missing the families all wrote to each other to find out info and we have those letters. Mrs Deas was particularly kind to my Grandmother and sent presents for the children from South Africa.
We do know about P/O W Upton and I know he wrote to my dad in recent years and told him the story of the crash. Such a moving story!
I know that the wing Commander in the plane’s wife invited my grandmother and her 2 children (my dad being one of them) to move to South Africa to join her after the war. My grandmother declined; she died of cancer when my dad was 17, and my dad spent his time with grandparents and aunts and uncles who looked after him well, until he reached 18- he would live a week at each house!
Josephine moved to London in the early 30’s to be a Nurse and married a Psychiatrist in London and they had my cousin Pam (who you are in contact with) and 2 other children.
Just thought of some more info……
I have been to the Grave in Ommerville twice. The second time I went (in 1998) I took my parents. My husband speaks fluent French and we found someone who remembered the plane coming down – he was 8 years old at the time. He showed me the field that it came down and he told me that they found the parachute from Upton which he had attempted to bury and the women in the village made silk underwear out of it. I thought that was a nice story!
Another anecdote from Suzanne:-
My dad has asked a couple of family members if they can tell him any stories about Charles’s youth…….his dad was never mentioned in his house so he thinks that his cousins may be able to help with that. Dad said his mum died when he was 17 but she was very poorly in the years preceding her death which is where all the uncles and aunts stepped in. Consequently my dad has had a very close relationship with his extended family, much closer than most I think.
I spoke to my cousin Hilton tonight (George Peters)- he is Maud’s step sister Muriel’s son. (He is 7 yrs older than my dad so would be 9 at the time) He said that he remembers the telegraph arriving that Charles was missing in action, presumed dead……it was such devastation to the whole family. Auntie Muriel and George (Hilton to us) were such a huge support to Phyllis and the children, dad remembers many weekends spent all together and Hilton and Dad are still very close today.
Also from Pamela:-
Hi Mavis, I have just been chatting with Suzanne and she is really thrilled to be in contact with you and delighted with all your research. I gather you were looking at records for my mother. Josephine Greta Maud Wright. My father was Wilfred Stewart Morgan.
Pamela’s mother Josephine Greta Maud Wright lived in Somerset in 1939 and started her training as a student nurse at The London Hospital. At the start of WW11 Josephine became a VAD in Bath. She loved nursing & a consultant said she should train as an SRN.(Please see letter below)
Josephine Greta Maud Wright was married in Rochford, Essex, on 5 March 1949 when she was 36 years old.
Pamela also adds in regards to her Uncle Geoffrey (Charles’s brother Joseph Theodore Geoffrey Bellis) that he also served i WW2 and adds this anecdote:-
My uncle Geoffrey was a Despatch rider in the Army he served in North Africa & Italy. He had told me all about the night he had to halt on his motorcycle as the Ash from Vesuvius fell from the sky & it looked like snow.
Many thanks to Suzanne, her father David Maldwyn and his cousin Pamela for being so generous with their reminiscences of Charles and his life and family recollections.
I’m sure that Charles would have been proud of his two children, watching them deal with his death and the subsequent death of their mother who suffered greatly, but David Maldwyn & Wenda Anita were surrounded by love from all their aunts and uncles and I am sure that he was watching over them as they made their way in the world. Also proud of his sister Josephine who trained in The London Hospital and also was in such a dangerous and rewarding job during WW2.
The Graves Registration Report Form and the Graves Concentration Report Form tells us that Charles was first buried in the Omerville Military Plot situated in a field behind Mairie, probably on the day he died or very close, then he was reburied in the Omerville Communal Cemetery on the 4th March 1948.
Charles is also remembered on the International Bomber Command Centre website https://losses.internationalbcc.co.uk/loss/126023/ which gives the reason for the loss:-
International Bomber Command
Reason for Loss – Crashed 01:30 just to the SE of Villers-en-Arthies (Val d’Oise), 11 km SSW of Magny-en-Vexin
Also in the gardens of the International Bomber Command Centre at Canwick Avenue, Lincoln LN4 2HQ England – see https://internationalbcc.co.uk/
Charles’s wife Phyllis Collins Wright died on the 22nd October 1960, her probate below: –
WRIGHT, Phyllis Collins of 5, The Woodlands, Dobshill, Hawarden, Flintshire, Widow died 22nd October 1960 at the Royal Infirmary Liverpool. Administration (with Will) (Limited) Bangor 12 December to Wenda Anita JONES (Wife of Trevor JONES) and the said Trevor JONES, Farmer.
Charles’s mother, died on the 8th June 1976, her probate below: –
WRIGHT, Maud Eliza of Brookside, Waters Green, Penymynydd, Clwyd, died 8th June 1976. Probate Llandaff 27th July. (761901671Y)
Charles’s father passed away in 1978, two years after Maud Eliza so they were all alive when the WW2 War Memorial was built and unveiled to make sure that Charles was remembered in perpetuity. Charles is also remembered on the Hawarden Grammar School Roll of Honour, please click on the link.
FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH