There is no card for Charles in the Flintshire Roll of Honour in the Hawarden archives, but we know from the Ancestry censuses that he was born at Llanasa about 1883.
In 1891 Wales census, the family were living at Fairfield House, Gwespyr, Llanasa. William Williams was 40, and a stonemason. He had been born at Llanasa and spoke only Welsh. His wife Margaret was 34, had been born at Bettws, Merioneth and was also Welsh speaking. Ann Jane, 14 had been born at Chester, but all the rest of the family had been born at Llanasa, they were John Hugh 10,Charles 8, William Morris 5, Margaret 3, and Frances 1. All spoke Welsh, and Ann Jane and John Hugh also spoke English.
We next find the family, in 1901, still at Fairfield House. William is described as a quarry proprieter and employer, and he and Margaret, 40, now spoke both languages. Morris William, 15, was a joiner’s apprentice, and Fanny 11, and Eunice 7, were at home. Charles was not at home, but we find him living at Rochdale, Lancashire, in the household of Martha Holden, 47, a cotton weaver. Charles was described as a boarder, age18, born Llanasa, Flintshire, and his occupation was a stonemason.
In 1911, Charles was once again back home. William ,now 60, was still a stonemason, Margaret was 55, Fanny was 21 and “at home”, Eunice 17 worked in a printing shop, and a cousin from Merioneth, Catherine Roberts was also there. Charles was now 28 and also a stonemason. The family lived at 2, Cairns terrace, Marine Road, Prestatyn. The parents had been married for 35 years, they had had 10 children, of whom 6 were still living. All spoke both languages. In addition, William Williams was described as a monumental mason, living on his own account.
U K Soldiers died in the Great War, available on Ancestry, confirms the regimental details above, and tells us he enlisted at Manchester. There were no Army Service Records for Charles, but the British Army WW1 Roll Index cards tell us that he was awarded the Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
We know that Charles was a sapper, or combat engineer, belonging to a field company. Sappers perform military engineering duties, such as bridge building laying minefields, and general construction. and are trained infantrymen. Field companies of R E’s to which Charles belonged, provided technical skill and know-how in support of the fighting units or divisions.(The Long Long Trail.) Charles belonged to the 1st/3rd East Lancs Field Company.
The U.K. Army Register of Soldier’s Effects, in which the Army calculated what monies were owed to deceased soldiers, includes an entry for Charles. It is from this record that we learn that Charles died at the”M” Special Hospital , Abbassia, Cairo, so Charles must have died from illness. Abbassia was a large training centre on the outskirts of Cairo, about five miles out in the desert, to the north-east.
From the Register, the entry states that Margaret received a payment of £3 8s 2d in 1917, and a war gratuity of £3 on 23 rd September 1919.
In the Prestatyn Weekly April 5th 1915, there is a funeral notice for William Williams, Charles’ father.
Mr William Williams, Maesteg, died on Saturday at the age of 64 years. A native of Gwespyr, he came to Prestatyn some ten years ago, and with his son, carried on the business of a monumental mason .He was a faithful member and worker at Horeb Weslayan Church. The chief mourners were Mrs Williams, (widow), Mr Chas. Williams (son), and three daughters. Two of the deceased’s sons are in Queensland, Australia.
There are frequent advertisements in the Prestatyn Weekly for the William’s monumental business, but after Charles enlisted, it was accompanied by a note which stated
- WILLAMS AND SON.
During the war, Mr John Thomas, C.M .Chapel House, will attend to Messrs W. Williams and Son stonemason’s business.
From Prestatyn Weekly August 5th 1916
On Thursday the sad official news was received that Charles Williams R.E., Cairns Terrace, had passed away in hospital in Egypt on July 17th. Before he joined the colours in November last, deceased had carried on his late father’s stonemasonry business in Prestatyn and Mostyn. Being of a quiet and genial disposition, deceased had gained the esteem of a wide circle of friends in the neighbourhood. He was leader of the singing at Horeb Church for many years, and had successfully trained the children’s choir, and had taken much interest in the Band of Hope, and other causes in connection with Horeb, where his loss will be keenly felt.
On July 17th, in Egypt, Charles Williams, R.E., son of Mrs W. Williams. Maesteg Prestatyn; aged 34 years. (death notice in Prestatyn Weekly).