Thursday, 15 April 2021

John Robert Griffiths 1877-1918

York and Lancs Cap Badge

Born: Q2 (April, May or June) 1877 Wrexham, North Wales

Son of:
William Griffiths b.1855 Wrexham, Denbighshire, North Wales
(at William's marriage in 1875 he declared his father was William Halliwell, Breaksman)
who was a Coal Miner in 1881, 1891 not at home 1901, not at home 1911
and married at St George's Wigan on 25 January 1875
to Mary Ann (maiden name Davies) b.1857 Ince, Lancashire
Position in family: The second of at least 8 children
1. Mary b.1875 Wigan, Lancashire
2. John Robert b.1877 Wrexham, North Wales  FWW Missing Presumed Dead/Killed in Action
3. Jane b.1880 Ince, Lancashire
4. Maria b. 20 Feb 1882 Wigan, Lancashire m. George Needham 25 October 1902 at St Mary's, Ince.
George Needham served in the FWW Enlisted 11 Jan 1915, Private 14/80 14th Y&L then Labour Corps
(Maria Needham was later guardian of John Robert's children)
5. Ann b.1885
6. William b.1887 m. Ellen c.1910 probably in Wigan (boarding with George and Maria Needham in Dalton, Rotherham in 1911)
7. Joseph b.1890
8. Thomas b.1896

John Robert Griffith's home addresses, age and occupation:
1881: 8 Parliament Street, Ince in Makerfield, Lancashire Age 4
1891: 89 Warrington Road, Ince in Makerfield, Lancashire Age 13 Pony Driver in Coal Mine
1901: 89 Warrington Road, Ince in Makerfield, Lancashire Age 23 Coal Miner Hewer
1911: 81 Warrington Road, Lower Ince, Lancashire Age 34 Colliery (Hewer)

John Robert Griffiths married Clara Hilton (b.1881 Ince, Lancashire d. Q2 1917 Barnsley)
at St Mary's Ince on 1 January 1902

Clara Griffiths died at 47 Providence Street, Barnsley in June 1917. She was buried in Barnsley Cemetery, Section (i), Grave 60, on 16 June 1917.

1. Edwin b. 8 May 1902 Ince, Lancs m. Ada Hirst Q4 1926 in Barnsley
2. Edith b. 16 October 1903 Ince, Lancs m. Albert Ford Q4 1923 in Barnsley
3. Florence b. 8 June 1908 Ince, Lancs m. Albert Beevers 6 April 1931 at St John's, Barnsley

In the 1911 census John R and Clara declare that they have had 6 children, 3 living but 3 have died. John R's mother Mary Ann Griffiths was living with them. 

Possibly see:
Thomas Griffiths b. Q3 1906 Wigan Registration District d. Q1 1907 Wigan Registration District
Lily Griffiths b. Q3 1912 Wigan Registration District d. August 1914 at 47 Providence Street, Barnsley
Lily Griffiths b. Q4 1915 Barnsley Registration District d. April 1916 at 47 Providence Street, Barnsley

Military Service:
Enlisted: 1915 at the age of 37 years (He must have enlisted after George Needham who was 14/80)
Regiment and Battalion:    14th York & Lancs
Service number and rank:  14/899 Private
Regiment and Battalion:    14th Northumberland Fusiliers
Service number and rank:  61017 Private
Awards: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Death:     27 May 1918 age 41
CWGC Remembered: Soissons Memorial, France

Soissons Memorial, Aisne, France

Information from Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
Father of Edwin Griffiths, of 22, Allott St., Winn St., Barnsley, Yorks.

St John's, Barebones, Barnsley (a replica memorial is now in St Peter's, Doncaster Road, Barnsley)

From the Barnsley Chronicle, 27 July 1918
Pte. John Robert Griffiths, Northumberland Fusiliers, was killed in action on May 27th, his sister (Mrs. Needham, of 23, Princess Street, Barnsley), having received the official intimation. Pte. Griffiths, who was 40 years of age, at first joined the local Battalion, but was afterwards transferred to the Northumberland Fusiliers. He worked at the Barrow Colliery before the war. The deceased soldier's wife died last year, and there are left three children.

Information from P. E. Griffiths great-grandson of John Robert Griffiths:
My great grandfather was John Robert Griffiths born 1877.
He joined the 2nd Barnsley Pals battalion ie 14th Yorkshire and Lancashire in 1914. He served overseas and later on the western front. He survived the Somme campaign and he was transferred to the Northumberland Fusiliers after the Barnsley battalion was split up. He was killed in action on 27th May 1918. He was killed near Aisne and is remembered at Soissons in France.   
John Robert Griffiths was a miner who worked at Barrow Pit. He was born in North Wales but moved to Staffordshire then to Wigan in Lancashire and finally to Barnsley. He lived in Wynn Street.
He volunteered at the age of 37 years, which is not the first flower of youth exactly for soldiering!
He was granted leave in 1917 and returned to England as his wife was dying of TB.
After the death of his wife and his return to the front the children (one boy called Edwin and two girls called Eadie and Florrie went to live with their aunt at Nelson Street in Barnsley.
My great aunt once told my dad that he was killed by a shrapnel burst but I have no way of knowing if that was correct.  I have tried to track down a photograph of him but to no avail. I have his medals in a cabinet in my home.      

Lives of the First World War
Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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