John Arthur Bill was born around 1899 in Bagillt to Fred Walter & Frances Elizabeth Bill. They had married at St. Mary’s Church, Bagillt in 1898 (C01/1/222).
Fred was a Railway Goods Guard and as such probably went to live where his occupation took him, so on the 1901 census we can see them living at 29, North Street, Mold Junction, Saltney, Hawarden, Flintshire. Fred, 25 had been born in Flint, Flintshire, his wife Frances, 23 had been born in Twogates, Leicestershire. Their son Arthur, 1, had been born in Flint.
The 1911 census sees the family living at the same address, Fred Walter, 35, was still a Railway Goods Guard, but Frances Elizabeth, 34 is listed as having been born in Tamworth, Warwickshire. Their listed children were Herbert Eric, 7 and Florence Evelyn, 4 had both been born in Bagillt and were both at school. The strange thing is that John Arthur Bill was the name written down before it was crossed out and the name Herbert Eric was written over the top, so where was John Arthur? Fred also stated that they had been married for 14 years, 4 children had been born, but 1 sadly had died.
I cannot find any Army Service records but found his ‘Discharge Papers’. According to these papers he was in Service for just 87 days. He enlisted on the 18th June 1917 at White City, London. His service was entirely ‘Home’ service. He never served abroad. He was discharged on the 12th September 1917 at Warley, as being ‘no longer physically fit for war service.
British Army WWI Pension Records 1914-1920 tells us a little about him .His home residence was 29, North Street, Saltney Ferry, Nr. Chester. He was in the Training Reserve. There is a description of him at the time of his discharge when he was 18 years and 3 months of age. His height was 5 feet, 10 and 1/2 inches and his chest measurement was 34 inches with a range of expansion of 3 inches. His complexion was pale, his eyes light blue and his hair was brown. His former ‘trade’ was recorded as ‘Valet’. The records included the following satement –
‘Judging from his records, his conduct has been quite satisfactory during his short period of service’.
There is a detailed medical report which is very difficult to read. The following is a best attempt at interpreting it. It seems to be saying that Arthur had a longstanding heart condition. There is a reference to an incident which had taken place at home 4 years previously when after a meal, he fell unconscious to the floor and was then ‘laid up’ for two weeks. The doctor had at that time said he had heart disease. Arthur had no awareness of this disability. There was no history of rheumatic or scarlet fever. The report goes on to say he was a tall and fairly well built lad but that at times he looked very ill. He suffered from periods of pain of an ‘angainal’ nature and that these episodes were often associated with asthma. His disability was a result of aeortic abnormalities.
He was discharged as being permanently unfit for war service. (VDH Aortic). He was awarded a gratuity of £12..10 s.
There is a medal card for Arthur but because he did not actually serve in the war he was not entitled to any medals. The card (on www.ancestry.co.uk) gives us his regimental details (TR Batattalion 25946 and gives his enlistment and discharge dates)
Arthur was discharged from the army and died in Chester in 1918 (Cheshire West CHC/1/59). This was when the flu epidemic was raging. Had he succumbed to it, his medical condition would have made him very vulnerable.
There is an index card for Arthur Bill in The Flintshire Roll of Honour at The Counyt Record Office in Hawarden (Saltney Ferry (F4)). It tells us that he died of pneumonia and the card was signed by (Mrs.) F. BILL, (his mother) on the 16th November 1918. His death date was not recorded
There seems to be no Commonwealth War Grave for Arthur he died after being discharged and never actually served abroad.
His name is also on the North Wales Memorial Arch Panels at Bangor, North Wales.
As yet it has not proved possible to determine where he was buried. Any help would be greatly appreciated.