There is much confusion in the census story of this family regarding Edward’s mother’s name.
Edward was born circa 1879 and on the 1881 census Edward,2, was living with his family at 18, Bridge Street, Saltney. Thomas Powell, 40 was a General Labourer. His wife Hannah was 46. They had both been born in Ireland. Their listed children were John, 18 a General Labourer, Mary 16, Bridget, 14, Thomas, 11, James, 9, Elizabeth B. 5 and Edward, 2. They had all been born in Saltney.
In the 1891 census the family was living at 17, Bridge Street, Saltney. Thomas, 54, was still a General Labourer. His wife on this census was named Mary. She was 56 and had been born in Ireland. The listed children in the household, were Edward, 12 and Thomas 20.
In the 1901 census,Thomas’s wife was now named Bridget! Thomas, 66 was still a General Labourer and Bridget was 67. The listed children were Lizzie 23, Edward, 21 a General Labourer, Ellen was 37. There was a Lodger, John Mannering 22.
The 1911 census places the family still in Bridge Street, Saltney. Thomas was 72 and still a General Labourer. His wife of 53 years, Bridget was 71. Ten children had been born to her, but 4 had died. On this census we are told that Thomas had been born in Tipperary and Bridget had been born in Limmerick. (There is an odd and conflicting reference on the form, to Bridget having been married for 47 years) Living in their household with them was their married daughter Mary 34, and her family. Her husband of 4 years was labourer Patrick Mitchell, 36. Their children were Margaret,2 and baby Minnie 8 months. Edward was then 30 years old and he too was a General Labourer. There was an Irish boarder. Thomas Ryley, 30, Railway Shunter.
There is an index card for Edward Powell in The Flintshire Roll of Honour in The County Record Office in Hawarden. (Cards Saltney Ferry F 27). It says his regimental number was 44097, stating he had been in the Labour Company. his period of Service had been 1 year 3 months and that he had died in December 1919. It is not known who wrote it or what date, but someone filled in the card, it was not signed.
I cannot find any mention of Edward on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, nor any Medal Cards for him. Edward Powell’s Army Service Records, however, have survived and are accessible on www.ancetry.co.uk They reveal a complicated story. It seems he joined up twice and was a bit elusive.
He enlisted and attested the first time on the 31st August 1914 at Chester. He was 29 years and 8 months old and was a Roman Catholic Labourer from Saltney. He was medically examined and was described as being 5 ft 7 and a half inches tall. His chest measured 39 inches with an expansion range of 2 inches. He had a scar on his nose, a light complexion, brown eyes and grey hair. His vision was good. He was pronounced fit for army service. His next of kin was his mother, Bridget Powell.
There is a note on one paper that says he served ‘in England’ from 31st August 1914. On the 19th July 1915, an officer in charge of Records at Shrewsbury sent a ‘Memorandum’ to Edward’s mother. It appears to be in response to a letter she sent them. This is how the form was filled in.
Name Edward Powell.
Regiment or Corps None.
Regimental Number. Never had one.
Address last heard from him. 6, Williams Row, Bridge St, Saltney
There is a Conduct Sheet for Edward in this first set of records. It has no disciplinary incidents recorded on it but his details are all filled in at the top. It was dated 18th September 1915. This says he was Edward Powell, 12118 of the 11th Cheshire Infantry which he had joined on the 18th September 1914.
The second set of papers tell us that he was called up for service on the 24th March 1916 and that he signed his attestation Papers in Wrexham the next day. His address on the form was Williams Row Saltney and said his age was 38 years and 3 months. (which does not tally at all with his last attestation papers). He was a single man and a Labourer. He stated quite categorically that he had not served in the military previously. He was described as being 5 feet 5 and three quarter inches tall, (seems he had shrunk by 2 inches since the last time), weighed 138 lbs and had a chest measurement of 38 inches with an expansion range of 3 inches. He was given the medical classification as to fitness for service as ‘Class IVA Labourer’ in the 20th Bn of The Welch Regiment. His number was 193427. Bridget Powell, his mother of Williams Row,Saltney, was named as his next of kin.
It is really tricky to follow the complex army career of this soldier. There were several transfers and several numbers. He was posted on 27th March 1916. He was transferred to The Works Company Liverpool Regiment on the 31st May 1916. Then he was transferred to The King’s Liverpool Regiment on the 9th March 1917. He served ‘at home’ within the UK from 16th March 1916 to the 8th December 1917 a total of 1 year 260 days. It wasn’t all plain sailing because Edward caused the army a few problems.
In August 1916 he forfeited 9 days pay for being absent from Tattoo for 9 days. In January 1917 he forfeited 6 days pay for being absent.
He was discharged as being no longer fit for war service on the 8th December 1917. He was disabled by bronchitis. He had spent a period of 13 weeks in hospital with double pneumonia. He was described a s being at home in Saltney and was clearly very ill.
A death certificate for an Edward Powell in 1919, was registered in Hawarden (HAW/12A/9). It is possibly him, would need to purchase a death certificate to confirm/deny.
Researched and compiled by Mavis Williams