Wynne, Thomas

Thomas Wynne about 1912. Courtesy Walker Family Tree [Ancestry]

*Thomas Wynne was born on the 22nd March 1886, in Everton, Liverpool. His parents were John & Grace Wynne, both of whom were Welsh. Christened at St. Chad’s on the 22nd August 1886, the family’s address was recorded as 11 Nesfield St, the occupation of Father was that of Labourer. Sometime before 1889, when his brother Robert was born, the family had moved to Rhuddlan. Subsequently 3 more children were born..

The 1891 Census [Ancestry] records the family living in Church Street, Rhuddlan. John Wynne’s occupation is given as “General Labourer”, and he was aged 30. His wife Grace was 28, Thomas was a 4 year old Scholar, and Brother Robert was 2. The family were recorded as Welsh speakers.

By the time of the 1901 Census [Ancestry], Thomas had left home and was living in at Merllyn Farm, Rhyl, and employed as “Yardman on Farm”. Subsequently his fortunes improved, as the 1911 Census [Ancestry], finds him lodging at “Ty’n Rhyl Cottage, Vale Road, Rhyl, the home of 57 year old John Mullock, and employed as “Chauffeur”

*Later that year, Thomas migrated to Canada aboard the s.s. Hesperian and arrived in Montreal, via Port Huron, Michigan, on the 6th November 1911. On the passenger list he recorded his occupation as, “Chauffeur” and marital status as “single”.  On the 6th April 1912, Thomas married Elizabeth [Bessie] Ellis, originally from Llandegfan, Montgomeryshire[Powys]. According to the marriage certificate [Ontario Archives-Ancestry], she was a spinster aged 30. Both gave their place of birth as Wales, their Nationality as Canadian and their current address as Toronto. Elizabeth had been living in Canada since 1907, where she had family*. The couple returned to the UK aboard the s.s. Cedric, landing at Liverpool on 17th August 1912.

RMS Hesperian.

The RMS Hesperian, built in Glasgow in 1908, was to become a war casualty also. On 4th September 1915, it was torpedoed by U20 [the same Submarine & Captain which had sank the Lusitania] and eventually sank 130 mile west of Cobh [Ireland] with the loss of 32 lives.

The RMS Cederic, built in Belfast in 1902, survived the war and was eventually scrapped in 1932.

RMS Cedric

The couple moved back to north Wales, the birth of their first child a daughter, was registered at Holywell during the March quarter 1913 [FreeBMD]. They then seem to have spent some time back at Elizabeth’s birth area, as the birth of their second child a son, was registered at LLanfyllin Montgomeryshire {Powys] during the December quarter 1914 [FreeBMD]. The family then moved out of north Wales and were living at *40 Shamrock Place, Birkenhead, when Thomas enlisted in the Army. The birth of third child a boy, was registered at Birkenhead during the September quarter 1917[Free BMD].

Thomas applied to join the Army Service Corps [Mechanical Transport Div.] at Birkenhead on 23rd July 1915. His trade examiner on enlistment described him as, “an expert driver and good mechanic, capable of doing all repairs.” Following a medical examination which adjudged him fit for General Service, he was instructed, on the 26th July 1915, to report to; O/C Mechanical Transport Depot, Grove Park, London.[Ancestry] At some point thereafter, he deployed to the Western Front. *He transferred to the; 66th Auxiliary Petrol Coy [also known as ASC 933 Company], on the 5th September 1918, during a period of furlough.

Most ASC transport companies had two designations: one in a single list of around 1200 ASC companies, and one in a sub-series describing the nature of its work. 933 Company ASC was indeed 66 Auxiliary (Petrol) Mechanical Transport Company and was involved in the delivery of petrol, very little of which was used by front-line units. Its duties would have consisted in topping up the Corps and Divisional MT Companies, who’s Lorries carried forward supplies and ammunition as far forward as the road network permitted [Ron Clifton- Great War Forum Member]

The officers and men of the Army Service Corps [the {R} Royal prefix was not awarded until late 1918] – sometimes referred to in a joking, disparaging way as Ally Sloper’s Cavalry – were the unsung heroes of the British Army in the Great War. Soldiers cannot fight without food, equipment and ammunition. They cannot move without horses or vehicles. It was the ASC’s job to provide them. Lines of Communication” was an army term used to describe what today we might call the army’s logistics: the supply lines from port to front line, and the camps, stores, dumps, workshops of the rear areas. It is difficult to comprehend just what supply to an army that in France alone built up to more than 2 million men actually means. [The Long, Long Trail]

At the beginning of November 1918, Thomas was admitted to No 1 General Hospital; suffering from Bronco-Pneumonia. After some initial improvement, his health deteriorated and he died in hospital on the 15th November 1918 [Ancestry], a few days after the guns finally fell silent on the Western Front. An added poignancy to his death.

No 1 General Hospital, was established at Etretat in September 1914 and subsequently taken over by No 2 [Presbyterian U.S.A.] Base Hospital, though it continued to function as a British Hospital. [CWGC]

On the 30th April 1919 a total of £19.5.3p, [which included the War Gratuity of £19], was paid to his widow, Elizabeth [Soldiers Effects- Ancestry].

Left with three young children, Elizabeth subsequently remarried. Her marriage to Charles Ombler was registered at Birkenhead during the September quarter 1920 [Free BMD].

There is an undated & unsigned Flintshire War Memorial Record of Service card at Hawarden for Thomas, which gives his address as, 3 Church Terrace, Rhuddlan. [His parent’s address].

Thomas was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, which are in the safe keeping of his Grandson. My thanks to him for allowing their reproduction.

Thomas Wynne’s War and Victory Medal. Photo Credit; James Walker [Walker-Thomas Family Tree] with the kind permission of Thomas’ Grandson.

Thomas is commemorated on St Mary’s Roll of Honour & Stained Glass Memorial Window, the Royal British Legion Roll of Honour, [inside the Community Centre] and the North Wales Memorial Arch at Bangor.

*Biographical details with kind permission of James Walker; [Walker Family Tree (Ancestry)] and William Schumm; [Schumm-Thomas Family Tree. (Ancestry)]

I am grateful to Sarah Hodnett of Rhuddlan Local History Society, for her assistance in compiling this record.


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