Willaim Hamer was born in 1890 the son of James & Elizabeth Hamer (nee Meredith), who had married in the December 1884 in Builth, which spans the boundaries of the counties of Radnorshire and Breconshire. (Builth Vol 11b, Page 145). According to the ‘Overton Oracle’, James Hamer moved to work as Bailiff for the Earl of Lisburne at the Trawsgoed Estate near Aberystwyth. The family lived in the Lodge and William went to school in Llanafan.
William was recorded on the census of 1901, aged 10 years, living with his family at Top Lodge, Penylan, Ruabon, Denbighshire. Head of the household was James Hamer, 40 a Cattle Man who had been born in Llandewy, Radnor. Elizabeth, 44, his wife, had been born in Builth. Their children were Annie, 13, who had been born in Llangolch, Carmarthenshire, William, 10, was born in Bington, Hereford, Margaret J 8 and Arthur D 5, had been born Llanafon, Cardigan. As can be seen by the children’s birth places, the family was much travelled, probably for work.
The 1911 census records the family then living at Bryn y Pys House Farm, Overton, Ellesmere, which had 9 rooms. (This was part of the family estate of the Peel /Ethelston family. See Herbert Wickstead Ethelston’s page on the website). James Hamer, 49, was head of the household and had been married 26 years and was working on the Farm,. His wife Elizabeth, 50, had given birth to 4 children who were all still living. Their children were Annie, 24, Assisting in the Dairy, William, 21, was single and was a Gardener. Arthur D, 16 was also working on the farm. Margaret J was not listed in the household on this census.
According to the ‘Overton Oracle’ in 1913, James Hamer died of throat cancer at the age of 51. The family had to move out of the farmhouse but were given a cottage to rent on Wrexham Road, Overton. William left Bryn y Pys and went to work in the Chirk Castle gardens. The following year, the war began and William Joined the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. He arrived in France in September 1915 but after only a few weeks the Battalion was sent to Macedonia arriving in November 1915. There it spent the remainder of the war on the Salonika front. There was malaria to contend with and bouts of severe fighting. On the 18th of September 1918, William aged 28 was killed.
William Hamer, is listed in the UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 which is accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk it states that his birth place was Aberystwyth and that he resided in Overton, Salop and enlisted in Wrexham. His death was in Salonika, but has no known burial place.
William Hamer’s WWI Medal Rolls Index Card is also on Ancestry. It lists his medals and tells us that his first Theatre of War was France and he entered this on 6th September 1915. He died on the 18th September 1918 in Greece.
William Hamer in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tell us that the Joint Legatees were his mother Elizabeth and brother David Arthur who each received £18 13s 9d on the 6th March 1920. This included William’s War Gratuity of £23 10s.
There is an index card for William in the Flintshire Roll of Honour in the County Record Office in Hawarden. His Flintshire WW1 Index Card (Overton F 8) was completed by his mother and gives the regimental details as listed above. The card tells us that he served for 4 years before being Killed in Action on the 19th September 1918. (This was the wrong date as he died on the 18th). The card was signed by E. Hamer and she dated it the 18th September 1918 ( Another mistake. This was the date of William’s death and not the date she signed the card. Most of the Overton cards were signed in 1919/1920).
Mrs Elizabeth Hamer was relieved when on the 11th November 1918 the end of the war was celebrated and she hoped William would be home soon. Sadly, however, it was after the Armistice that she received the letter saying that William was dead.
William’s brother, Arthur Hamer had a Flintshire WW1 Index Cards (Overton L39) Wrexham Road. 88398 R.W.F. Pte. Period of Service 8 months. Was in France about 5 months in 1918. Card signed by Arthur Hamer on the 7th July 1920.
Thanks to the Overton Oracle for sharing much of the above information much of which they had received from the late Mrs Betty Williams, the daughter of William’s older sister, Annie.