We believe this to be true but would welcome any further information or confirmation about this soldier.
William’s surname was Hughes but we believe that he is listed on the Mold Memorial as William Davies. He was brought up by his Grandmother, Elizabeth Davies who was born in Prestatyn but later lived in Mold.
The census of 1891 records the Davies family living at 35 River Bank, Mold. Head of the household was Edward Davies who was a 38 year old Coal Miner. His wife was Elizabeth E Davies. She was 35 and was a Tin Plate Worker. Their listed children were Mary aged 20, Ann was 18, Peter R 14, John D 8, Robert 6, Thomas was 3 and Euan was 4 months. William was born 4 years after this census in 1895.
Wiiliam was first recorded on a census in 1901. He was living with the Davies family in 21 Hughes’s Row, Mold, Flintshire. Head of the household was Elizabeth E Davies. She was 48 and was listed as a married woman but on this census there was no husband listed. The rest of the household comprised of her children. Peter R was 23 and was a ‘Master Malt’. John D was 18 and was a ‘Baker Breadmaker’. Robert was 16 and was a ‘Bottle Washer Cellar’. Thomas was 13. There was one grandson listed. He was William E who was 6 years old.
The 1911 census recorded the family living at 21 Garden Place, Mold. Head of the household was Elizabeth Ellen Davies. She was a 59 year old married woman who lived ‘Apart from her husband’. The form tells us that she had been married for 36 years and had given birth to 11 children. Only five of them were still living as six had died. Listed in the household was her son Robert Davies who was 25 and a Collier (‘Filler for cutter below’). Her Grandson William Edward Hughes was 16 and he was a Collier who worked ‘On screen, Pit Head’. There was also another grandchild listed on the census. She was 12 year old Harriet A Lloyd.
William served in the army under his legal name – William Edward Hughes. His army records have survived and can be found on www.ancestry.co.uk There are parts of the documents that are illegible. There is much that is confusing about the chronology of events. This is a best attempt at figuring out what happened to him.
William enlisted and signed an Attestation form in Mold on the 11th December 1915. He was 20 years and 10 months old. He gave his address as 24 Garden Place, Mold and his occupation at that time was ‘Munitions Worker’. He was then listed as a reservists until the 25th June 1916 when he was mobilised. On that day (25th June 1916), he underwent a medical. He was then 21 years and 5 months old and was working as a collier. He was 5 feet 2 1/2 inches tall, weighed 125 lbs and had a chest measurement of 37 inches – with a 3 inch expansion range. His physical development was declared to be ‘Good’. His Grandmother Elizabeth E Davies was named as his next of kin. Her address was 21 Garden Place, Mold.
It is difficult to figure out, the chronology of what happened next. It looks as if he enlisted into the South Lancashire Regiment on the 31st may 1916 but was in fact directed to the Tunnelling Company of the Royal Engineers with the regimental number 175606. This is undoubtedly because he was a collier. He was stationed at Clipstone Camp in Nottinghamshire, presumably for training. He was deemed to be unsuitable for the Tunneling Company on the 7th July 1916 and returned to the Recruitment Office in Wrexham. William then got into some trouble because he did not turn up in Wrexham on the date he should have done. A sharp letter was then sent to him to his home address in Mold, telling him that he must report to the Recruitment office in Wrexham by 8.00pm on Thursday the 13th (July presumably) or the police would arrest him.
He was transferred to the 2/5th South Lancashire Regiment with the number 6603. He joined the British Expeditionary Force in France on the 17th February 1917. He was in France until the 3rd July 1917 when he received a gunshot wound to his right thigh. He was repatriated to hospital in Colchester with the wound. They discharged him on the 17th July 1917. He then went, presumably to recuperate to the Epping Auxiliary Hospital (from the 18th July 1917 till the 16th August 1917). During this period and beyond he spent many days in and out of Prys Heath Hospital with various conditions. He was hospitalised in May, July, August, September and December. He was posted back to the South Lancashire Regiment in late December 1917.
Eventually, in March 1918, William found himself boarding a ship to return to France. He disembarked on the 23rd March 1918 and eventually joined his regiment in the field on the 1st April 1918. By the 12th April he was ‘missing’. A memo from the War Office to the army record office stated Private William Edward Hughes 242753 had been included on a German list of dead British soldiers. He had been killed on the 22nd April 1918 on a hill north of…..?? . He had been buried by an infantry Company. The war Office accepted this as evidence and officially declared that the date of death should be accepted as the 22nd April 1918 and the next of kin should be informed. They would be informed at some point of the whereabouts of the burial place when details were furnished.
Presumably these details never came and he was one of those listed on the massive Tyne Cot memorial in Belgium (near Ypres).
There is inter army correspondence in the records concerning William’s personal effects and medals which were to be sent to William’s Grandmother – Elizabeth Davies She was also contacted about receiving his commemorative scroll and plaque.
In the early 1920s, the army requested that a living relatives form be completed. This interestingly stated that William’s Mother was “Mrs Lloyd” of 29 Garden Place, Mold. Also that he had two half brothers John Lloyd was 20 and Peter Lloyd was 17. There was one half sister listed and she was Lizzie Lloyd. His Grandmother was Elizabeth Ellen Davies aged 68 who lived at 21 Garden Place.
Two of Elizabeth Davies’s sons were also killed in the war and are both listed on Mold’s Memorial. Robert Davies and Thomas Davies each has a page on this website. Follow the links.
Consider the losses of Elizabeth Davies.
She had given birth to 11 children and by 1911, six of them had died.
Two sons were killed in WW1
One grandson was killed in WW2.
The Flintshire Roll of Honour gives the address 21 Garden Place. His Flintshire index card is signed by Elizabeth Davies.