James Williams, because of his Williams surname, has been a little bit of a mystery, so please let me know if I am wrong, this is a shot in the dark, but time will tell.
I believe that “our” James was born circa 1893, the son of David Williams and this is where it gets mysterious, as on his Army Papers his mother is, on one paper described as Stepmother, and on another one Mother, her name being Jane Williams with only 1 sister Elizabeth J. Williams, age 26, no full- blood or half-blood brothers.
However, I found living at Saithffynnon, Whitchurch, a family on the 1901 census that could very well be James’s family. Head of the household was David Williams, 41, a Roadman (Labourer) born Whiford, and his wife Ann, 41, born Gwyddelweion, Merionethshire. Their children were John David. 12, James 8 and Elizabeth 6, all born Whitford.
By the 1911 census the family had disintegrated, David, 53 and daughter Elizabeth Jane, 16, Housekeeper, were all that are left in the household. The address was still Saithfynnon, Whitford,and David was still a Roadman for the County Council. David also tells us he is a Widower and had had 4 children born, all still living, this was crossed out by the Enumerator as David was a Widower, but adds to the belief that this is the right family. I think I have found James, 18, working as a Cowman in the household of Thomas & Ann Jones, at Shop Goch, Mostyn. There was 1 other servant, Margaret Jones, 15, from LLoc.
I found in the Gorsedd Parish Register, a marriage of a David Williams and Jane Edwards, formerly Davies in 1911 at St. Paul’s Church, Gorsedd. They married on the 22nd October 1911, David, 54 was a Widower, a Roadman, his address was Saithffynnon and his father was John Williams, a Miner, his new wife Jane Edwards was a widow, 55 and her address was Brynaseg? Gorsedd Parish, father Thomas Davies, Labourer.
I also found on the Gorsedd Parish Registers the burials of both of James’s parents, his father David, was buried on the 19th January 1918 age 58 years and his mother Ann’s burial was on the 27th July 1910 age 52 years. The address on both was Saithffynnon, Whitford.
I also believe that James was in the Territorial Force before the war, as he has to sign a paper saying he was willing to go anywhere in a National Emergency and as far as I know that only applied to soldiers who were already in the Army.
James Williams in the British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 tells us that he had a previous Regimental number, which also convinces me that he may have been a soldier before the war in the Terrirorial Force. This was 2973 and he was in 5th R.W.F. His address was Saithffynon, Whitford.
Oath taken at Holywell, – papers badly ripped at the place of date etc. Cannot give date.
Statement of Services
2/5th R/W/F/ Attested, Embodied and Posted – Private 6th March 1915
1/5th R.W.F. Posted 15th March 1915
2/5th R.W.F. Posted 29th July 1915
3/5th R.W.F. Posted 23rd November 1915
Depot EEF* – 1/6th Posted 4th February 1917
6th – Killed in Action 6th November 1917
*Egyptian Expeditionary Force.
The next paper – War Office Authority for release of medals dated 6th February 1923 to his Step-mother Mrs Jane WILLAMS, Saithffynnon, Whitford, Flintshire
Next Papers (3) from the War Office to Infantry Records No.2 Coleham, Shrewsbury, stating that any articles of personal property or medals now in their possession to be sent to James’s father David Williams , but they were all cancelled. (Dated 4th May 1918).
Next Paper – Receipt of James’s British War & Victory Medals dated 16th February 1923 , signed by Mrs. Jane Williams.
Next Paper – Medical History
Examined 6th March 1915 at Holywell.
Declared age – 23 years.
Height – 5feet 7 and ½ inches.
Chest Measurement when fully expanded – 37 inches, range of expansion – 2 inches.
Physical Development – Good
Vision – Normal
Joined on Enlistment – 2/5th R.W.F. Regtl. No. 2973
Enlisted 4th March 1915 at Holywell.
Next Paper – Admission to Hospital – on 3rd May 1915 to 12th May 1916 for Scabies. – 9 days.
Next Paper – Delivery & receipt of Memorial Plaque and Scroll, receipt signed by Mrs. Jane Williams dated 18th March 1920.
Next Paper – Army Form E 624 which is an agreement usually signed by Territorial Force Soldiers agreeing to subject himself to liability to serve in any place outside the United Kingdom in the event of a National Emergency. I (No.) 2973 (Rank) Pte. (Name) James Williams of the (Unit) 2/5th Royal Welsh Fusiliers do hereby agree, subject to the conditions overleaf, to accept liability, in the event of national emergency, to serve in any place outside the United Kingdom, in accordance with the provisions of Section XIIL. (2) (a) of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act, 1907. This was signed by James and Chas Hurlbutt*, Commanding Officer 2/5th Bn R.W.F. at Holywell on the 18th March 1915.
*Charles Hurlbutt was the Recruiter for the R.W.F. on Deeside and he is remembered on the Connah’s Quay Memorial, even though, to my knowledge, he didn’t do any fighting, but died during the war years from illness, however he did his bit to add to the war effort. (Click on the link to read his story).
Next Paper – Statement of the Names and Addresses of all the Relatives of the above-named deceased soldier in each of the degrees specified below that are now living.
Father – Blank
Mother – Jane WILLIAMS
No Full or Half – blood brothers
Full Blood Sister – Elizabeth WILLIAMS, 25 yrs Saithffynnon, Whitford, Holywell
Half-Blood Sister Mary E. BELLIS (Mother of 1 child) age 40 yrs. Pault Cottages, Sonced?( Lonced?) Holywell.
Declaration signed by Jane Williams Saithffynnon, Whitford, Holywell on the 15th September (year missing, paper ripped or scorched) Witnessed at Saithffynnon by Owen DAVIES, Clerk in Holy Orders Address – Gonas?????? (Paper ripped as above.)
Next Paper – Particulars of Dental Treatment – U/D Y Teeth £1 8s 0d signed by a Lieutenant of the R.A.M.C. (Royal Army Medical Corps.
Embarked Southampton 5th February 1917 via Marseilles, Disembarked Alexandria 28th February 1917, Joined for Duty 31st March 1917.
James suffered 2 bouts of Diarrhoea and 1 of Dysentery between 31st March and 6th November when he was killed, in hospitals in Cairo, Montazah and Alex as well as in the Field.
James Williams in the UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 confirms his regimental details and tells us that he was born in Whitford, Flintshire. And enlisted in Holywell, Regimental Number: 240989.
James Williams in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that the Sole Legatee was his father David to be paid on the 4th May 1918, but this was cancelled as his father was Deceased so this was then sent to joint Legatees, his mother Jane and sister Elizabeth J. Their portions were – Mother Jane £5 11s 1d and sister Elizabeth J. 19/1d. His War Gratuity was similarly shared – Mother Jane – £4 3s 4d and Elizabeth J. £8 6s 8d.
I found a Death Certificate for a David Williams for 1918. (Flintshire (Mold) WHIT/25/21), possibly in the March quarter. Going by David’s age on the 1901 census as 41years, he would have been 58 years old, which is what Free BMD state. I will try to find his burial to see if this is correct, but it seems to be as David was still Next of Kin on Army Papers till the money was to be distributed in 1918.
James Williams in the UK, WWI Service Medal and Award cards, 1914-1920 tells us his previous unit as R.W.F. and regimental number as 2973, Infantry Base Depot. Then 6/R.W. Fus. 240989. It doesn’t tell us where his first Theatre of War was nor when he entered it. He was just noted as “Dead.” However on the Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects he was said to have died “In Action.”
James’s Flintshire WW1 Index Card (Whitford F10) gives his address as Turnpike,Whitford, confirms his regimental details and tells us his period of service as 2 years 8 months. Killed in Action 6th November 1917. Card not signed but dated 18th September 1919.
If anyone has any more information on James and his family, it would be gratefully received.