Williams, William Samuel

I found William Samuel Williams when I added “Saltney” to the search field on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, and the additional information – Son of Annie Williams, of Saltney, Flintshire, came up.   I do not think he is on any memorial and he must be remembered.

William Samuel Williams was born on the 12th April 1921, according to the Registers of Reports of Deaths –  Naval Ratings Williams N – Z, –  he was the son of Owen John & Annie Williams (nee Williams, who had married in the June quarter of 1901 (St Asaph Vol. 11b Page 585).

We see Owen John & Annie Williams, with their family, on the 1911 census, living at 15, Glan-y-mor Road, Llandudno Junction, Carnarvonshire. (5 Rooms).  The census was beautifully written by Owen John Williams:-

Head of the household was Owen John Williams, 33, Married 10 years, a Shunter on the Railway, (L.N.W. Railway Company) born Llanfaelog, Anglesey (All the family were Bilingual).   His wife, Anne Williams, 30, born in Meliden, Flintshire, tells us that 3 children had been born and they were still living.  The children were Margaret Myfanwy, 9, Alfred Jester, 7 and Herbert Oliver,2, all born in Llanrhos, Carnarvonshire.   There was a Boarder, John Williams, 51, a widower and a Labourer on the Railway, (L.N.W. Railway Company), born Llanfihangel-es-geifrog., Anglesea.

We do see the family again on the 1921 census where they are living at 40 Ewart Street, East Saltney, Flintshire, Wales.   The family had grown considerably, but Owen John, 43, was still working for the London & North Western Railway Co., as a Railway Goods Guard.  Annie Williams, 40, was described as doing “Home Duties.”     Their sons, Alfred Jester,17, who was a Railway Engine Cleaner for the London & North Western Railway Co, Herbert Oliver, 11,Raymond, 8, and Arthur Owen, 6, had been born in Llanrhôs, Caernarvonshire.   Elsie May, 2 and William Samuel had been born in 1921 in Saltney, Flintshire.

Sadly tragedy was to strike the family, when Owen John Williams died on the 30th July 1927 (Chester Vol. 8a Page351).   He was 50 years of age, leaving Annie with some very young children, especially William Samuel who would have been 6 years old and Elsie May 8 years old.

I believe that in the September quarter of 1930, Annie had met and married David John Roberts (Chester Vol. 8a             Page 1140) and they are seen on the 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th September 1939.  This source gives the dates of birth and occupations.   They were now living at 20 Dicksons Drive, Chester, Cheshire.  David John Roberts had been born on the 4th August 1884 and was a Railway Guard.   Annie Roberts had been born on the 28th July 1880 and as most married women on the Register, who did not have a job was described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”   Raymond Williams, born 28th July 1912 was single and a Window Cleaner.    Samuel William Williams (sic) had been born on the 12th April 1921, therefore confirming his date of birth, he was an Apprentice Builder and single.

I  really know nothing about William Samuel’s childhood and early years, but I found some information on the website

Taken from the above Website:-

“Before he joined the Royal Navy he worked for C. Davies, Butcher, Ermine Road, Hoole, Chester. He joined the Royal Navy in September 1940 and was an Able Seaman, Service No. C/JX 217109. He was a fine swimmer. He drowned and was lost at sea on active service aged 21 yrs. He is commemorated here on the family grave and also on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Chatham, Kent. (Find A Grave Memorial# 14383324).” (Author unknown)

Photos added by Chris Kemp of the Gravestone helped me in the research of William Samuel, many thanks to him.

I wrote to the WW2 talk Forum – to ask for help in finding out what had happened to William Samuel and below are their replies – many thanks to this forum and the members, without whom many of my research stories would have been sadly poorer . – November 20 – Landing craft mechanised (MkI) LCM No.139 (30-37t), lost through heavy weather in Middle East.  And – –   LCM.139, lost overboard – WILLIAMS, William S, Able Seaman, D/JX 217108, MPK  – Many thanks to Temujin.

The Operation – Operation Torch was the Anglo-American invasion of French Morocco and Algeria during the North African Campaign of World War II. It began on November 8 and concluded on November 16, 1942. It resulted from an uneasy compromise between the Western Allies, and was intended to relieve pressure on the Soviet Union by imperilling Axis forces in the region and by enabling an invasion of Southern Europe in 1943.

Commanded by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the operation was designed as a pincer movement with American landings at Morocco’s Atlantic coast and Anglo-American landings on Algeria’s Mediterranean coast. The primary objective was to secure bridgeheads for opening a second front to the rear of German and Italian forces battling the British in Libya and Egypt.

Operation Torch – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

North African campaign

Operation Torch (8 November 1942 – 16 November 1942) was an Allied invasion of French North Africa during the Second World War.[5] While the French colonies were formally aligned with Germany via Vichy France, the loyalties of the population were mixed. Reports indicated that they might support the Allies. American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied forces in Mediterranean Theater of Operations, planned a three-pronged attack on Casablanca (Western), Oran (Center) and Algiers (Eastern), then a rapid move on Tunis to catch Axis forces in North Africa from the west in conjunction with Allied advance from east.

Western Desert

19 Nov 42 – 4. Gale weather all along the coast delayed the unloading of ships in Bardia and Mersa Matruh.

Friday, 20th November 1942

L.C.M. 139 was stranded and became a total loss at Ras Kanayis in longitude 27-48E. One rating lost his life.   – Many thanks to timuk.

Map of Ras Kanayis – Many thanks to davidbfpo.

Again many thanks for the swift and informative replies to my questions on WW2talk.   It appears that William Samuel may have been involved with Operation Torch, which ended 4 days before he died.

William Samuel’s mother Annie Roberts died on the 15th February 1960 age 79 years and her husband, David John Roberts died on the 17th August 1962 age 78 years.

William Samuel is remembered on the family grave in Overleigh New Cemetery, Chester.    He must have been very much missed by his mother and large family.   He must not be forgotten for his sacrifice for our freedom.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Saltney Ferry Memorial

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