Willie Wright was born on the 10th February 1915, according to the 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th September 1939.
He was the son of Edward & Ellen Wright (nee Davies)who had married on the 21st January 1904 according to the Hope Parish Registers:-
Edward WRIGHT, 27, Bachelor, Miner, Penyffordd, Edward WRIGHT, Labourer & Ellen DAVIES,26, Spinster, Penymynydd, Samuel DAVIES, Collier. (After Banns). Witnesses:- William WRIGHT & Esther DAVIES.
Ellen’s father Samuel, sadly died in a Colliery Accident and he was buried in St. John the Baptist Churchyard, Pentrobin, on the 28th Novemmber, 1885, age 36 years.
Ancestry tell us that on the 25th November 1885 at the Aston Hall Col & Brick Company, Samuel was involved in an accident:-
Notes: Inspection made and inquest attended. Deceased was going down a balance brow on his way to the pit bottom and just as he reached the level was struck by a loaded tub which had been allowed to get away by the balancer before it was hooked on to the chain.
Ellen is seen on the 1911 census with Edward on the 1911 census, living at Chester Road, Penyffordd, Nr. Chester in 3 rooms. Head of the household was Edward Wright, 34, a Coal Hewer (Miner) born Bannel, his wife Ellen Wright, 33 had been born in Penynmynydd,and she tells us that they had been married for 7 years and 3 children had been born, but sadly 1 had died. The two remaining children were Stanley, 2 and Herbert, 11 months old, both born in Penyffordd.
I believe that Willie’s father Edward, died in 1937, but his death certificate would have to be purchased to confirm or deny. (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/24A/54)
I have no details on Willie’s early and teenage years, but he is seen on the 1939 National Register as noted above. This source gives us the dates of birth to the occupants of the household. They were living at Chester Road, Penyffordd, Hawarden, Flintshire. Ellen Wright was born on the 14th June 1877 and was a widow, she is described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.” Herbert Wright was born on the 7th April 1910, was single and a Baker, Table Hand. John Wright had been born on the 11th August 1912 was single and a General Labourer, William Wright had been born on the 10th February 1915 and was a Brick Setter and was also single. Nellie Wright has been born on the 21st September 1916 and was single and an Invalid. Hilda Wright had been born on the 3rd May 1919and was described as doing “Cake Boxing, Silk Factory, and was single, Her sister Elsie had been born on the 15th September 1922 and was single and “Seeking Work.”
This source also tells us that Hilda married Ivor Edwards in the December Quarter of 1957, (Hawarden Vol. 8a Page 789) and Elsie married Thomas E. Newport in the December quarter of 1947, ( Hawarden Vol. 8a Page 1135).
I don’t know for certain when Willie entered the Army, but as he was 24 in 1939, he would have been required to enlist or be conscripted.
Your Country needs you. – On the day Britain declared war on Germany, 3 September 1939, Parliament immediately passed a more wide-reaching measure. The National Service (Armed Forces) Act imposed conscription on all males aged between 18 and 41 who had to register for service.
Willie may have already enlisted but was waiting for orders, I don’t know, so again any information would be appreciated. But he was to find himself in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and in 1942 he was transferred to the Royal Artillery (Field) on the 27th November 1942 and his documents were forwarded on in December 1942. He ended up in the 20th Anti-Tank Regiment of the Royal Artillery.
Willie’s Service Records can be obtained from https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records
HISTORY INFORMATION (Extract from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Citation)
The Allied offensive in north-western Europe began with the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944.
The burials in La Delivrande War Cemetery mainly date from 6 June and the landings on Sword beach, particularly Oboe and Peter sectors. Others were brought in later from the battlefields between the coast and Caen.
William (Willie) may have been involved with the D-Day landings, the websites below, may help in finding out what he went through before his death.
This is the order of battle for Operation Goodwood, a World War II battle between British and German forces in Normandy, France between 18 July and 20 July 1944.
3rd Infantry Division – Major-General Lashmer Whistler
3rd (Royal Northumberland Fusiliers) Reconnaissance Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps
7th, 33rd, 76th Field Regiments, Royal Artillery
20th Anti Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery
20th Light Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery
2nd Battalion, Middlesex Regiment (Machine gun battalion)
William died on the last day of “Operation Goodwood,” the 20th July 1944.
D-DAY – BRITISH FORCES DURING THE INVASION OF NORMANDY 6 JUNE 1944
DEPARTURE FROM UK FOR NORMANDY INVASION (PART 1) [Allocated Title]
BRITISH ARTILLERY IN WORLD WAR 2
A description of the anti-tank artillery tactics and gunnery used by the Royal Artillery and the artilleries of British Commonwealth armies.
Sword Beach -History and photos of the beach
Excerpt from the above:- Special tanks, 25 in total, called “funnies”, are supposed to landing first, before the infantry. Despite a navigation made difficult because of a very strong swell, the boats reach the beach at the appointed time. German fires are numerous, and mortar shells explode near units, wounding or killing assailants.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE D-DAY BEACHES
Willie is on a Casualty List (Page 10) and that tells us he was Killed in Action and his Casualty Card also tells us he was born and resident in Penyffordd and his place of death was “Unknown Europe.”
I do not know for certain where Willie died, but he was first buried , probably where he fell or near by and probably on the day he died, the 20th July 1944, at Colleville-su-Orne, France (Co-ordinates – Sh 7F/2 1/50,000 18077.) then reburied on the 19th May 1945 at La Delivrande War Cemetery, Douvres.
His death was reported in the Chester Chronicle on the 24th September 1944, (Page 6 Col. 7):-
PENYFFORDD – Killed in Action – News has been received by Mrs. E. WRIGHT of Chester-road, that her youngest son Willie, has been killed in action in Normandy. He was 29 years old, educated at Penffordd Council School, and a bricksetter by trade. As a regular worshipper at the Methodist Church and Sunday School at Penyffordd he made himself very useful and was much respected by all in the neighbourhood.
Willie was obviously very much loved by his family as they put his name forward to be added to the WW2 War Memorial, which is in the War Memorial Institute.