Jump to content


Remembered Today:

Photo

Researching grandfather Griffith Williams Royal Field Artillery 64318


28 replies to this topic

#1 shirlgwil

shirlgwil

    Sergeant

  • Members2
  • 35 posts

Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:29 PM

Griffith Williams - Royal Field Artillery 64318 - Bombardier
From Beddgelert North Wales
Mother Elizabeth Williams Father unknown
Have birth certificate : DOB 18 Nov 1891
Have medal card info but do not know when or where he enlisted. He joined the army before WW1 and was certainly in uniform in 1913 (have photo).
I'm not sure of what the numbers mean on the card although I see some are explained on your site. Thanks for that.
He seems totally missing from the world in the 1911 census. I am with Ancestry but cannot find him.
Do not know battery/company etc
I have a large portrait photo of him on horseback. Would that be Woolwich?


He was critically injured - but recovered.
But was taken POW on 9/11/14 in Germany
Then POW in Holland rest of the war (Have photo of RFA men in Holland POWs including my grandfather in the group photo).


I would like to know which battery/company etc he was with so I can work out where he was and in which battle he was injured. He still had shrapnel in his back throughout his life.
Also if possible when/where he enlisted. And how do I find if he was already in the army in 1911 as he was 20 years old but I can't find him on the census.


Lots of questions I know but any help will be very gratefully received. Am desperately awaiting Switzerland's POW lists to come online in 1914 but in the meantime anything new about my grandad - my taid - would be fantastic. Thank you.

#2 Grantowi

Grantowi

    Major-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 3,095 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sunny Swindon
  • Interests:Men of the GWR works in Swindon who gave their lives for their country

Posted 01 March 2012 - 09:10 PM

Hi, Welcome to the Forum.

Did he have Brothers Rowland (1880) and Richard (1878) ?

Grant

#3 hywyn

hywyn

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweat
  • 2,807 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 01 March 2012 - 09:31 PM

Hi Shirl
The following newspaper snippets may be of interest to you.

Hywyn

Mr Griffith Williams, Ivy House has gone overseas with his Regiment. (Y Genedl Gymraeg 22/9/1914)
Griffith Williams, Ivy House has been wounded at the front. He has been with the RFA for four years. (Y Genedl Gymraeg 27/10/1914)

Griffith Williams, RFA is a prisoner of the Germans.(Y Genedl Gymraeg 10/11/1914)

Bombardier Griffith Williams, RFA, Ivy House, Beddgelert was taken prisoner by the Germans on 9th September 1914 and with him was Bombardier F Folwell, 68th Battery, RFA. Both were wounded and were in hospital in Noyon. Folwell was too ill to do the work he was told to do after being captured and was among the prisoners exchanged. He writes to a friend describing how they were treated terribly by the Germans. (letter with article) (C&D Herald 22/9/1916)



Pte Griffith Williams, Ivy House, Beddgelert is a prisoner in Germany. (HC 8/10/1918)

Bombardier Griffith Williams, Ivy House, Beddgelert has returned home having been a prisoner of war in Germany since just after war started. His uncle Pte David Williams, Cronwyn is home on leave before setting off for France.
(HC 10/12/1918)

#4 hywyn

hywyn

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweat
  • 2,807 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 01 March 2012 - 09:40 PM

I have a note which says that the uncle refered to, David Williams, may be 440472 ASC (T) whose papers are in the Service set. You may want to look them up.

Hywyn

#5 hywyn

hywyn

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweat
  • 2,807 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 01 March 2012 - 09:59 PM

Going off slightly and you may already know it but the Rowland Williams shown on the 1901 with Griffith and his Mam and Richard looks to be the below. His papers are also on Service under his previous RWF number 43734. Any idea where Richard lived wartime?



Last week news was received that Pte Rowland Williams, 2 Gwynant Street was dangerously ill having been seriously wounded in the leg on the 19th March in France. On Saturday the sad news was received that he had died of the wounds. Before enlisting he was a gardener at Craflwyn. He leaves a widow and four children.(HC 2/4/1918)

Mrs Ellen Williams, 2 Gwynant Street, Beddgelert acknowledging her sincere thanks for condolences etc re the loss of her husband Rowland Williams.(HC 23/4/1918)

GFHS MI for St Mair, Beddgelert (Ref A55): Pte Rowland Williams RWF beloved husband of Ellen Williams, Gwynant Street, Beddgelert died of wounds in France 18th March 1918 aged 38 years.

Name: WILLIAMS, ROWLAND
Initials: R
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Unit Text: 14th Bn.
Age: 38
Date of Death: 18/03/1918
Service No: 317032
Additional information: Husband of Ellen Williams, of 2, Gwynant St., Beddgelert, Carnarvon.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: I. C. 58.
Cemetery: MERVILLE COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION

#6 Verrico2009

Verrico2009

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,057 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Leeds

Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:05 PM

The only Griffith Williams I can find in the Royal Horse and Field Artillery pre-WW1 is a man whose calculated year of birth is 1894 and who gives his birthplace as Maerdy, Fendall. He attested on 1 July 1912 and his regimental number was 69908. I don't have a subscription to FindMyPast, but here's the link, in case you think it's worth buying credits and following up: FMP

#7 shirlgwil

shirlgwil

    Sergeant

  • Members2
  • 35 posts

Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:30 PM

Hi, Welcome to the Forum.

Did he have Brothers Rowland (1880) and Richard (1878) ?

Grant




Hi Grant
No he was an only child. But his mother had brothers Rowland- RWF - got killed in 1918 - his records are on Ancestry. His grave is on the War graves site. Also a David Williams who only joined up after his brother was killed - as a driver and survived the war. There was a Richard born 1877 but I don't know anything about him so again any info gratefully received.
Thanks
Shirley

#8 battiscombe

battiscombe

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,369 posts

Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:30 PM

So Bdr Griffith Williams (64318) was probably (the paper implies?) in 68th Battery, 14th Brigade RFA- in 4th Division, when captured. His service number would indeed be OK for a 1910 enlistment - and he would have been serving in 1911 census time - but then not listed with 68th Bty - then at Deepcut/Farnborough.. perhaps most likely with a unit in Ireland where most RFA men are listed only by initial - not by name (so hard to track). But both men seem elusive with regard to a medal card for a 1914 star which they qualified for... with a quick check... It would be not unusual for him to have been transferred to 68th Bty in Aug 1914 from another unit when 14th Brigade was brought up to full strength to go to France. Likely to have been wounded at Le Cateau when 68th Bty had at least 2-3 men killed and several wounded and several men reported missing from the Brigade in casualty returns of early september 1914 (a few turned up, others were POWs). This would seem to fit what we know..

#9 shirlgwil

shirlgwil

    Sergeant

  • Members2
  • 35 posts

Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:31 PM

Hi Shirl
The following newspaper snippets may be of interest to you.

Hywyn

Mr Griffith Williams, Ivy House has gone overseas with his Regiment. (Y Genedl Gymraeg 22/9/1914)
Griffith Williams, Ivy House has been wounded at the front. He has been with the RFA for four years. (Y Genedl Gymraeg 27/10/1914)

Griffith Williams, RFA is a prisoner of the Germans.(Y Genedl Gymraeg 10/11/1914)

Bombardier Griffith Williams, RFA, Ivy House, Beddgelert was taken prisoner by the Germans on 9th September 1914 and with him was Bombardier F Folwell, 68th Battery, RFA. Both were wounded and were in hospital in Noyon. Folwell was too ill to do the work he was told to do after being captured and was among the prisoners exchanged. He writes to a friend describing how they were treated terribly by the Germans. (letter with article) (C&D Herald 22/9/1916)



Pte Griffith Williams, Ivy House, Beddgelert is a prisoner in Germany. (HC 8/10/1918)

Bombardier Griffith Williams, Ivy House, Beddgelert has returned home having been a prisoner of war in Germany since just after war started. His uncle Pte David Williams, Cronwyn is home on leave before setting off for France.
(HC 10/12/1918)



#10 shirlgwil

shirlgwil

    Sergeant

  • Members2
  • 35 posts

Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:35 PM

helo Hywyn

Diolch - Thank you that is so fantastic. Looks like he joined up in 1910 then. Does that make it any easier to track his records - the fact he was regular army? May I ask how you got all that info so quickly when I have struggled for years to find stuff about him? He was such a lovely man I just wish I had been old enough to ask him these questions before he died in 1966.

Fantastic job
Thank you
Shirley

#11 andrewr

andrewr

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 560 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bracknell, Berks
  • Interests:Researching the men from the Bracknell area who fell in WWI

Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:37 PM

I do have a FMP subscription- the man above was born in the parish of Maerdy, Fendall, Glamorganshire. If the age given at the time of attestation is correct, he would have been born at the end of 1893

#12 andrewr

andrewr

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 560 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bracknell, Berks
  • Interests:Researching the men from the Bracknell area who fell in WWI

Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:42 PM

And there's no G or Griffith Williams in the 1911 Irish Census that fits

#13 shirlgwil

shirlgwil

    Sergeant

  • Members2
  • 35 posts

Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:43 PM

Going off slightly and you may already know it but the Rowland Williams shown on the 1901 with Griffith and his Mam and Richard looks to be the below. His papers are also on Service under his previous RWF number 43734. Any idea where Richard lived wartime?



Last week news was received that Pte Rowland Williams, 2 Gwynant Street was dangerously ill having been seriously wounded in the leg on the 19th March in France. On Saturday the sad news was received that he had died of the wounds. Before enlisting he was a gardener at Craflwyn. He leaves a widow and four children.(HC 2/4/1918)

Mrs Ellen Williams, 2 Gwynant Street, Beddgelert acknowledging her sincere thanks for condolences etc re the loss of her husband Rowland Williams.(HC 23/4/1918)

GFHS MI for St Mair, Beddgelert (Ref A55): Pte Rowland Williams RWF beloved husband of Ellen Williams, Gwynant Street, Beddgelert died of wounds in France 18th March 1918 aged 38 years.

Name: WILLIAMS, ROWLAND
Initials: R
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Unit Text: 14th Bn.
Age: 38
Date of Death: 18/03/1918
Service No: 317032
Additional information: Husband of Ellen Williams, of 2, Gwynant St., Beddgelert, Carnarvon.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: I. C. 58.
Cemetery: MERVILLE COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION


Although I knew about poor Rowland I did not know he was a gardener in Craflwyn! Got his record from Ancestry. The 1901 census shows Griffith my grandad as brother to Rowland etc but he wasn't. The Elizabeth who is head of household had a daughter called Elizabeth too and she had my grandfather illegitimately and was working away in service. Griffith was in fact the grandson but is down as son. Shirley

#14 shirlgwil

shirlgwil

    Sergeant

  • Members2
  • 35 posts

Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:52 PM

So Bdr Griffith Williams (64318) was probably (the paper implies?) in 68th Battery, 14th Brigade RFA- in 4th Division, when captured. His service number would indeed be OK for a 1910 enlistment - and he would have been serving in 1911 census time - but then not listed with 68th Bty - then at Deepcut/Farnborough.. perhaps most likely with a unit in Ireland where most RFA men are listed only by initial - not by name (so hard to track). But both men seem elusive with regard to a medal card for a 1914 star which they qualified for... with a quick check... It would be not unusual for him to have been transferred to 68th Bty in Aug 1914 from another unit when 14th Brigade was brought up to full strength to go to France. Likely to have been wounded at Le Cateau when 68th Bty had at least 2-3 men killed and several wounded and several men reported missing from the Brigade in casualty returns of early september 1914 (a few turned up, others were POWs). This would seem to fit what we know..




This is fantastic information. I am attaching an image of his medal card which you will understand better than I do.

oops forgot to attach the fileAttached File  Griffith Williams medal card.jpg   89.76KB   0 downloads

#15 hywyn

hywyn

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweat
  • 2,807 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:53 PM

Helo Shirley

I have been gathering snippets re men from Arfon area in WW1 for some time. If you are near enough to Caernarfon to nip into the Archives then I suggest you look up the C& D Herald one of Sept 1916 I refer to as I 'm not sure if the letter is one that Griffith sent. The thing is that it would take me forever to write all the stuff down so I would just scribble pertinent points. I can see now that how I wrote it that the identity of the letter writer is a bit ambigious. I haven't gone through all the papers for all the years yet.

With regards to his records it looks as if his were destroyed in the bomb damage in WW2. If you seem to think he served after (I think) 1922 then they will be at the MoD.

Did you get his number off his medal? I can't see his medal card on Ancstry so you obviously have downloaded his National Archives one. See if you can post an image here so that the Artillery experts can have a look to see if it fits in with stuff known to them. I'm afraid I don't know much about the RFA.

Hywyn

#16 hywyn

hywyn

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweat
  • 2,807 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:59 PM

I see you've done the card bit and that states taken PoW 9/11/1914 whilst the newspapers says 9/9/1914. Or at least my version does! May be even more worth looking it up now although I must say that the Genedl Gymraeg ones above it tend to support the September date?

Hywyn

#17 hywyn

hywyn

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweat
  • 2,807 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 01 March 2012 - 11:35 PM

Re the F Folwell referred to in the Sept 1916 newspaper article. No F Folwell that I can readily see in RFA that fits. There is however a Herman F Folwell 34825 whose papers are in Service and whose circumstances seem to mirror the newspaper info. The papers are in poor condition but image 11034 puts him in 68th Battery on mobilisation and to France 21/8/1914.Next image states he was taken PoW 9/9/1914 whilst with 68th Battery and gives particulars of Camps he was at.Haven't looked at the rest.

Hywyn

#18 shirlgwil

shirlgwil

    Sergeant

  • Members2
  • 35 posts

Posted 01 March 2012 - 11:36 PM

I do have a FMP subscription- the man above was born in the parish of Maerdy, Fendall, Glamorganshire. If the age given at the time of attestation is correct, he would have been born at the end of 1893


i I have a copy of my grandfather's birth certificate so know the date is correct - 1891. It is a copy he must have requested himself as it was a copy issued in 1923 so am not sure if he needed it and went to Ireland with other ex-army men after WW1 but he was back in Beddgelert in 1926 as he got married there. He has put as profession "ex-soldier" on the wedding certificate.
Shirley




#19 hywyn

hywyn

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweat
  • 2,807 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 01 March 2012 - 11:57 PM

Looking at those Folwell images again he states he was taken PoW 9/9/1914 at Noyon and in a separate questionwhen asked which battles he took part in he states Ginchy 26/8/1914. In image 11024 it says he was wounded 26/8/1914.
It seems to me then,adding this to my scribbled newspaper report, that he and Griffith were wounded 26/8/1914 with 68thBattery and were taken prisoner whilst at hospital in Noyon on the 9/9/1914.

Hywyn

#20 Verrico2009

Verrico2009

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,057 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Leeds

Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:12 AM

i I have a copy of my grandfather's birth certificate so know the date is correct - 1891.

The Army were sometimes a bit lax when it came to accuracy on age, Shirley. I remember reading one set of papers where the serviceman was querying why he was a couple of years younger on his papers (for the purposes of claiming his pension), despite presenting his birth certificate and the response was effectively "it's up to the officer completing the records to decide on the apparent age and it's only intended as a rough guide"! We have a similar thing with Gunner Pritchard, my half-brother's paternal grandfather, a pre-War regular who saw action in the Boer War and was serving in India in 1911. My brother discounted the census entry because the age is a couple of years out (at that point all we had was his marriage certificate, though we've got a lot more now) but by getting his Battery number from the medal roll we've come full circle and proved it was him.

However, the numbering evidence seems to be in favour of him joining in 1910, so it doesn't appear the 1912 man is relevant. Unfortunately, like Gunner Pritchard, it would appear all your grandfather's papers were kept together and, sadly, destroyed together during WW2.
Louise

#21 shirlgwil

shirlgwil

    Sergeant

  • Members2
  • 35 posts

Posted 02 March 2012 - 06:35 PM

The Army were sometimes a bit lax when it came to accuracy on age, Shirley. I remember reading one set of papers where the serviceman was querying why he was a couple of years younger on his papers (for the purposes of claiming his pension), despite presenting his birth certificate and the response was effectively "it's up to the officer completing the records to decide on the apparent age and it's only intended as a rough guide"! We have a similar thing with Gunner Pritchard, my half-brother's paternal grandfather, a pre-War regular who saw action in the Boer War and was serving in India in 1911. My brother discounted the census entry because the age is a couple of years out (at that point all we had was his marriage certificate, though we've got a lot more now) but by getting his Battery number from the medal roll we've come full circle and proved it was him.

However, the numbering evidence seems to be in favour of him joining in 1910, so it doesn't appear the 1912 man is relevant. Unfortunately, like Gunner Pritchard, it would appear all your grandfather's papers were kept together and, sadly, destroyed together during WW2.
Louise


Yes - although heart breaking - I fear you are right in that his papers were destroyed in the Blitz. What a shame! It just seems so weird that as well as that he also seems missing from all census returns in 1911. His mum was working in Llandudno in 1913 and he posts her a postcard from Caernarfon station at that time when it looks like he was on his way back to the Army after some leave. They were both born in Beddgelert and both returned to live there. He must have been missed off the census somehow.

Well I am pleased with the information I have received so far and am hoping to go to Caernarfon Archives next week as recommended by Hywyn above to look at the newspapers.
Shirley

#22 kildaremark

kildaremark

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 739 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Kildare, Ireland
  • Interests:James McLoughlin 64278 RGA<br />Interested in anything Irish related

Posted 02 March 2012 - 07:31 PM

Here's a possibility from Athlone Barracks in 1911. Athlone was the home of No. 2 Depot RFA so maybe if you compare the men around him to get their regimental numbers, it might confirm if this is the correct man. For example, 64312 is John Bartley. There is a JB above him on the list. The next man after him is H.B. Could this be 64313 Harry Birkinshaw. Not very scientific but worth considering.

You could check all the 643** RFA men for service/pension records to see if many went initially to No 2 Depot in Athlone and see how long training was and what batteries they went to. This might help get a good understanding even without his record. For example 64305 Hennessy aged 18, enlisted Feb 22, 1911, joined at Athlone 1 Mar, 1911 for 3 years. Posted 30 May 1911 from Athlone to 55 Bty. This would increase the chances that 64318 was in Athlone in April 1911.


Attached File  GW1911census.JPG   56.41KB   0 downloads


Here's the link:

http://www.census.na...s/nai003519071/

Mark

#23 shirlgwil

shirlgwil

    Sergeant

  • Members2
  • 35 posts

Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:21 PM

Wow this could be him but I could not be sure as I thought he was C of E but maybe not. As for being a groom - well I know his uncles worked at Craflwyn which was a big house now owned by the National Trust so he may have been a groom and certainly the big photo I have of him as a RFA soldier - he is on horse back. I will see if I can do as you suggest. Thanks for that. Shirley

#24 kildaremark

kildaremark

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 739 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Kildare, Ireland
  • Interests:James McLoughlin 64278 RGA<br />Interested in anything Irish related

Posted 02 March 2012 - 09:02 PM

64314 John Kilby from Croydon, 18 yrs 8 mths attested Manchester 3/3/11 and joined at Athlone on 6/3/11 for 3 years. What are the chances that this man would have travelled to Athlone on the same ferry and train as your man to Athlone? Kilby was a glass beveller on his service record and on the census and is just above your man on the 1911 census at Athlon.

Looks like a good file to compare to your man's service. In 1913 he was 55th Bty. This man had to sign up again in March 1914 after the expiration of his first 3 years' service. Your man might have signed up again or was transferred to the reserve and would have been called up again in August 1914 keeping the same number.

64319 Henry Lovatt from Cheshire, 20 years, 9 mths, formerly a hawker on service record and census. Two below your man on the census. Enlisted 8/3/11. Attested Athlone 12/3/1911. Posted to 40th Bty 1/6/1911.


It is worth pointing out that there are a number of hits for "Williams" in the Westmeath Examiner newspaper in 1911 whic covered Athlone at http://www.irishnewsarchive.com . Gunners have been known to leave barracks for refreshments and end up in the local press or courts You never know!!
Mark

Attached Files



#25 battiscombe

battiscombe

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,369 posts

Posted 02 March 2012 - 10:13 PM

This looks good for a G W - Methodist from Wales - and being amongst the wounded from Le Cateau would fit otherwise. There may be someone who has a special interest in 14th Bde RFA who may know more. I have not seen their war diary for 1914 - but it may have more information on early casualties - there may even be a Battery diary (within the Brigade diary papers) at that date (some RFA units kept Battery diaries during the first months of the war).
That Griffith was a Bombardier in 1914 is suggestive that he was on a longer enlistment and still with the colours in 1914 - I would hazard a guess, that would be most likely to have got that promotion.