The Ithells were a very large family living in the Kinnerton area for many years. There are parish records of Ithell baptisms and burials in Flintshire going back to at least the 1600s. Although Thomas’s paternal grandfather was a clock cleaner most of the next two generations were gardeners.
Thomas was born on 4th November 1890 in Kinnerton to Ann (nee Edwards) 1854 -1904 and William 1851 – 1919. He was the youngest of 8 children, 6 of whom survived until at least 1911:
- John Ithell 1878 – 1961 John’s son John William died 1918 – see link to page
- Martha Ithell 1879 – married George Harley
- Mary Ithell 1887 –
- William Ithell 1887 -1955
- Arthur Ithell 1888 – 1969
- Thomas Ithell 1890 – 1918
Thomas started at the local school (Higher Kinnerton National School) on 6th May 1895 and left there on 1st June 1905, to work as a market gardener.
The 1911 census recorded Thomas living at home in The Dale, Kinnerton with:
- His sister Mary who was working as a domestic servant
- His brother William (and William’s wife Kate and child Leonard)
- Their widowed father William.
Thomas, his father and brother were all market gardeners.
On 11th December 1915 Thomas enlisted at Chester and joined the Army Reserve. He was aged 24 and a labourer. He signed his name as Thomas Ithell (confirming that the family name was not Ithel, as often written elsewhere).
By 18th December he was declared fit for active service. On 13th May 1916 he was mobilised, and the next day a medical described him as 5’ 4” tall, weighing 129 lb (just over 9st), of good physical development. The next day he was posted from Preston and a month later joined the 3rd Battalion Lancashire Regiment. On 29th December 1916 he joined the 11th Battalion Lancashire Regiment in the field.
Thomas was granted leave to the UK from 19th January till 2nd February 1918, and on the 23rd January he married Ida Piercy at the Primitive Methodists Chapel in Chester. Ida was the daughter of a coal miner, and her family lived in Brunswick Road, Buckley in the 1901 Census. At the time of the marriage she lived at 64 Hough Green, Chester. There appear to have been no children of this marriage.
On 21st October 1918 Thomas was compulsorily and permanently transferred to the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derbyshire Regiment) 25th Signal Company – reason: benefit of service. The next day he was killed in action. He was buried in Honnechy Cemetery. The CHGC site states that “Honnechy was part of the battlefield of Le Cateau in August 1914, and from that time it remained in German hands until the 9th October 1918, when the 25th Division and the 6th Cavalry Brigade captured it. It had been a German Hospital centre, and from its capture until the end of October it was a British Field Ambulance centre. The village was inhabited by civilians during the whole of the War”. Honnechy is south east of Cambrai. The location of the Allied line on 18th October 1918 can be seen on the map (source http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/maps/allied18o.jpg):
A history of the Sherwood Foresters was written in 1920:
The Men from the Greenwood
Page 151 contains information relating to late October 1918, and it can be found at:
In April 1919 Thomas’s widow Ida received her late husband’s effects – a wallet, photo-case, photo, letters, and a Christmas card.
In November 1919, Ida married George Frederick Pleavin (1894 – 1968) in Chester. Three children were born:
- Frederick W Pleavin, b 1920
- Kathleen Pleavin, b 1922
- Edward Pleavin, b 1927
Ida did not receive her first husband’s British War and Victory medals. The receipt of these was signed by his sister Mary Evans on 6th January 1922.
Thomas Ithell’s family:
Martha Ithell (his sister) –
- In the 1901 census she was a domestic live-in servant for a solicitor at Crompton Hall in Kinnerton.
- In 1911 she was a domestic live-in servant at Oakcliffe, Helsby for Sydney Goffin, who was a civil servant with the War Office’s Local Audit Staff.
- On 10th September 1917, as a 39 year old spinster she married a widower called George Harley (1876 – 1958) from Bramley Lane, near to her family home in the Dale. His wife had died in 1913 at about the same time as she gave birth to their 6th His eldest son, also George Henry Harley, had been killed in action on 15 Oct 1917 (see http://www.flintshirewarmemorials.com/memorials/caergwrle-memorial-3/caergwrle-soldiers/harley-george/)
- At the end of 1918, just about a year after her wedding to George, Martha gave birth to her only child, also named George. Both Martha and baby George died in the same quarter.
Arthur Ithell 1888 – 1969 (older brother)
- In 1911 he was a farm labourer at Ellis Taylor’s family farm in Pontybodkin, but described himself as a horseman when enlisted.
- Called up 27th Sept 1916 under military service act 1916. Served as a private in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (number 44423), and later in the Labour corps, and Royal Army Medical Corps (number 150319). He married Daisy Mabel Plastow in the Presbyterian Church, in Wallasey on 16th November 1916 and that month was posted to India.
- He was demobbed to an address in Blundellsands. In 1928 and living in Battersea he was still trying to obtain his war medals (British War Medal and Victory Medal) and discharge papers.
- He later returned to the Wrexham area, where he died aged 80, surviving his wife by two years.
- William Ithell (brother) 1887 – 1955 was widowed in 1918
- William Ithell (their father) died 24th November 1919 aged 68.
- John Ernest Ithell 1898 – 1954 (cousin) was a railway porter at Buckley Junction prior to enlisting. Joined aged 17 in 1913. 5th battalion RWF then labour corps. Discharged 01/07/1917. Specialist military occupation> bomber. Suffered frostbite to both feet. Served in France and with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.
- Lloyd Ithell 1888 – 1941 (cousin) served with The King’s (Liverpool) Regimental Number: 27537
Thomas Ithell’s family history is available at: http://person.ancestry.co.uk/tree/70118846/person/42353644272/facts
He is also commemorated on the Hope and Caergwrle memorials.