The census of the time tells us that David Hughes was born in Denbigh in 1897. His parents were Elias and Catherine Hughes, he originally from St Asaph, she from Denbigh.
In 1901 they were living in the hamlet of Axton near Llanasa. Elias was a lead miner and their family consisted of Martha (6), David (4) and William (1). The family spoke Welsh and English.
By 1911 they had moved to Bryn Rodyn, Newmarket (Trelawnyd). The children were listed as David, William, 9 year old Elias and their sister Margaret Catherine aged 6. It looks as though Martha must have died as the census states there were 6 children born to Elias and Catherine but only 5 were living.
David joined up when he was 18 enlisting in Prestatyn into the 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He embarked on 21st August 1916 and joined his Bn on the 4th Septmeber 1916. He served for 14 months and was wounded on the 15th May 1917 – he had gunshot wounds to his right leg and buttock. He succumbed to his wounds in Boulogne, France on the 20th of May 1917. (RWF Archives)
Boulogne, was one of the three base ports most extensively used by the Commonwealth armies on the Western Front throughout the First World War. It was closed and cleared on the 27 August 1914 when the Allies were forced to fall back ahead of the German advance, but was opened again in October and from that month to the end of the war. Boulogne and Wimereux formed one of the chief hospital areas. Until June 1918, the dead from the hospitals at Boulogne itself were buried in the Cimetiere de L’Est, one of the town cemeteries, the Commonwealth graves forming a long, narrow strip along the right hand edge of the cemetery. This is where David Hughes lies.
Boulogne Eastern Cemetery contains 5,577 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 224 from the Second World War. (Commonwealth War Graves web site)
Elias requested the following inscription for his son’s gravestone:
“SLEEP UNTIL WE MEET EACHOTHER
SLEEP, AND BLEST BE THOU FATHER”
I have not been able to find any of David’s service records. However the Register of Soldier’s Effects shows that in September 1917 his father received David’s outstanding wages of £3/6/6 (three pounds, six shillings and six pence) followed in 1919 by a War Gratuity of £4/-/-.
Elias is named as the “sole legatee”. Therefore he must have already lost his wife by 1917. Perhaps she was at least spared from the grief of losing a second child.