Watkins, Felix Norman

Felix Norman Watkins was born on 9th July 1891 in Saint Asaph.

I made the decision to write about Felix’s family prior to his birth in 1891 as his father Felix Charles Watkins was a very well thought of gentleman in Saint Asaph.

The 1881 census on shows that the Watkins family were living at the Clwydian Vaults, Chester Street Saint Asaph, Flintshire. Head of the household Felix Charles Watkins a Teacher of Music and Innkeeper born in Coaley, Gloucestershire was 36 years of age. His wife Eleanor Elizabeth Watkins was considerably older than her husband at 51 years of age and was a native of Rhyl, Flintshire. At that time they didn’t have any children and had married on 15th April 1873.

Sadly Eleanor died in 1886.

Felix Charles Watkins married Mary Cecil Watkins nee Davies in Liverpool in 1887.

The 1891 census reveals that the Watkins family were living at Brownlow Villas, Saint Asaph and Felix Charles Watkins’ trade is shown to be Professor of Music. together with  his wife Mary Cecil, age 29 and a native of Denbigh, they had two daughters, Elsie Mary age 2 born in 1889 and Vera Elizabeth age 1 born 1890. There were also two servants, Mary L Gazard age 10 and Elizabeth Blake age 18.

Felix Norman Watkins was born in July 1891 after the census.

Sadly Felix Charles Watkin died in 1893  age 44.

Felix Norman Watkins’ mother, Mary Cecil died on 28th January 1895 age 37.

Mary Cecil’s mother was deeply saddened by the deaths of Felix Charles and Mary Cecil and the fact that they had left three children orphaned.

The 1901 census reveals that Felix Norman Watkins was a Boarder at a Masonic School in Middlesex, he was 9 years of age.

In 1857 The Royal Masonic School for Boys, for the sons of deceased and needy Freemasons, was founded on this site in the former Lordship Lodge on an estate of 10 acres. Originally catering for 70 boys, the old house was replaced in 1865 by a substantial Gothic building with accommodation for 200. In 1898 the site was sold to the Home and Colonial School Society, which opened a Training College for Schoolmistresses in 1904. This ran until 1930 when the site was sold to the Tottenham District Gas Company, and the building was renamed Woodall House after its chairman, Sir Colbert Woodall. It later became the offices of Eastern Gas until 1974 when the site was acquired by Haringey Council. The building was modernised and became the Wood Green Crown Court and Remand Centre with the rest of the site developed for housing. The building was struck by arson in 1989 and promptly rebuilt with a new and very assertive roof.

I cannot locate Felix’s sister Elsie Mary who would have been 12 years of age but his other sister Vera Eleanor age 11 was, according to the 1901 census, to be living at Primrose Cottage, Saint Asaph in the care of Mary Gerard who was a nurse age 39 born in Saint Asaph.

Sadly Vera Eleanor died of Consumption in 1907 age 17.

The 1911 census reveals that Felix Norman was back in Saint Asaph, living at Bronwylfa Square,  and still studying, as he is described as a Student, age 19. He was living as the Ward of Mary Gerard, Housekeeper age 48. His sister Elsie Mary Watkins was, in 1911 living at The Downs School, Malvern, Herefordshire, age 22 a School Matron by trade.

Record of  Service Card held at Flintshire Record Office, Hawarden.

This card shows that Felix had enlisted into the 13th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, current address Bronwylfa Square, Saint Asaph. His period of Service was 31 months, regimental number 17137, Private. He was Killed in Action on 26th June 1917, 26 years of age and the card was signed Mary Gerard and dated 8th June 1920.

Soldiers who Died in the Great War on

The information other than that already given on the Record of Service Card is that Felix enlisted in Rhyl and he was killed in Action in France/Flanders in the Western European Theatre of War.

Information from the Forces War Records website.

13th (Service) Battalion (1st North Wales)
03.09.1914 Formed by Denbigh & Flint T.F. Association at Rhyl and then transferred to the Welsh National Executive Committee.
Nov 1914 Moved to Llandudno and transferred to the 128th brigade of the 43rd Division.
28.04.1915 Formation became the 133th Brigade of the 38th Division.
Aug 1915 Moved to Winchester.
Dec 1915 Mobilised for war and landed in France and engaged in various actions on the Western front including;
The Battle of Albert (The Division suffered severe casualties and took the rest of the year to rebuild).
The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of Langem

I cannot find a Service Record for Felix and therefore can’t confirm any postings.

Felix was awarded the The 1915 Star ( disembarkation 1/12/1915) The British War Medal and The Victory Medal.

Felix Norman Watkins is buried in Bard Cottage Cemetery, Leper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

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