Malings, William Henry

William Henry Malings was born in Rhyl, Flintshire, North Wales in 1869.

The 1911 Census shows that the family lived at 269 Liverpool Road, Warrington, Lancashire, England.  The head of the family was William Henry Malings aged 42, who was a self employed Hairdresser.  His wife Janet Malings and their four children – Laura Malings aged 13, Veronica Malings aged 11, Samuel Malings aged 9 and William Malings aged 7 years.

William had served with the 8th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment during the Boar War and had been awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal.  On Monday 7 December 1914, he was discharged as medically unfit for military service.  However, on Saturday 5 June 1915 he re-enlisted into the Royal Defence Corps.  His Territorial Force Attestation Certificate stated it was for 1 year’s service.  William at the time was 46 years of age.  He was passed fit as a local guard in the Territorial Service.

On Monday 15 May 1916, CS William Henry Malings was on duty as a Guard at the Knockaloe Military Internment Camp, Peel, Isle of Man.  At that time some 23, 000 German prisoners of war were in the camp,looked after by 3,000 Royal Defence Corps Guards.

Knockaloe Internment Camp

Knockaloe German Internment Camp. Peel, Isle of Man.

The tragedy which occurred at the camp that day was later recalled at a Court of General Goal Delivery, which was held at Douglas, Isle of Man, when a Sergeant John Williams, Royal Defence Corps was charged with the murder of Colour Sergeant William Henry Malings, also of the Royal Defence Corps.  Williams pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The facts of the case were remarkable.  Williams and the deceased William Henry Malings had been in the Sergeants Mess and so far as could be discovered, there had been no dispute or ill-feeling between them.

At about 3pm that afternoon, Williams left the Mess followed shortly afterwards by Malings.  A witness saw him going into the Sergeants sleeping quarters and then heard a shot fired, on going in he saw CS Malings lying on his back and he appeared dead.  William’s rifle was lying on his own bed with two live cartridges beside it. William’s readily admitted that it was he who had shot CS Malings, which he later confirmed during interview.  All the witnesses present at the time agreed that Williams had a dazed appearance and found in his pockets were incoherent letters addressed to his wife.

 Following his arrest, the prisoner Williams was medically examined a number of times but no signs of insanity were discovered.  The jury found him guilty of murder whilst insane and he was detained.

On Tuesday 28 November 1916 Mrs Janet Malings was awarded a pension of 20 shillings a week for her and her two children, with effect from 20 November 1916.

He is also remembered on The North Wales Heroes Memorial Arch, Deiniol Road, Bangor, North Wales and on a Remembrance Plaque at The Royal Alexandra Hospital, Marine Drive, Rhyl, Flintshire.

There is no Flintshire Roll of Honour card for him at the County Archives Office, Hawarden, Flintshire.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Rhyl Memorial

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