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Alfred James Benedict Joseph Allen

  • 2nd Lieutenant, 17th Royal Welsh Fusiliers
  • Killed in action, 3 March 1916, aged 20
  • Buried at Le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L’avoue, France
  • CWGC registered (Son of Alfred and Jane Monica Allen, of Great Orme, Llandudno)

Alfred James Benedict Joseph Allen was born at Aston Manor (now part of Birmingham) in 1895. He was the eldest son of Alfred Allen and his wife Jane Monica Allen (née Timmins) who had a pub and off-licence. Alfred attended St. John’s Preparatory School at Alton Castle in Staffordshire which was attached to a Roman Catholic convent run by the Sisters of Mercy. In 1911, the family, including eight of Alfred’s siblings, lived at Sutton Coldfield, Alfred (senior) being described as a retired house agent. Alfred (junior) is not recorded at that address though a James Allen, 14, born in Aston, is recorded as a visitor at another address at nearby Erdington. Later, the family moved to Craig-y-Don. It is reported that Alfred (junior) intended to become a Benedictine monk and studied at Catholic colleges at Mardesous and Bruges in Belgium.

In early February 1915, Alfred Allen joined the 17th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers with a regimental number of 25142. He was promoted to corporal and then was commissioned as a temporary second lieutenant on 7 May 1915. The battalion had formed at Llandudno earlier that year. After training, the battalion left Winchester on 4 December 1915 and landed at Le Havre on the following day.

Alfred Allen was killed in action on 3 March 1916 aged 20 when he was shot by a sniper when he lifted his head above the parapet of the trench near Le Touret that he was occupying. He was buried at Le Touret Military Cemetery.

Later in 1916, Jane Allen gave birth to another son who was named Alfred JBV Allen. Sadly, he died shortly afterwards.


Robert Henry (Harry) Archer

  • 76751, Lance Bombardier, 51st Battery, Royal Field Artillery
  • Killed in action, 16 April 1918, aged 22
  • Buried at Duhallow ADS Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium
  • CWGC registered (Son of Arthur and Mary A Archer, of Bella Vista, Church Walks, Llandudno. Born Stone, Staffs. An Electrician)

Harry Archer was born in 1896 in Stone, Staffordshire. He was the second son of Arthur Archer, a fruitier and greengrocer, and his wife Mary Ann Archer (née Brown). Their first child, Arthur William Archer had been born in 1894 but did not survive infancy. In 1901, the family lived at 3 Lichfield Street, Stone. Ten years later, the family was split between two locations: Harry (a fruiterer’s errand boy), his father and his brother Leonard lived at 63 High Street, Stone; Mary Ann Archer (a lodging house keeper) and Harry’s sister Gladys Mary Archer lived at “Ordovia House”, Abbey Road, Llandudno. Both Gladys and Leonard attended schools in Llandudno though there is no record of Harry having done so. Leonard died on 7 February 1913.

Harry Archer, now an electrician, volunteered to join the Royal Field Artillery in 1915. He enlisted at Stafford and his number was 76751; this indicates an enlistment date of around February/March 1915. Other recruits at that time with close serial numbers joined at No 5 Depot at Athlone in Ireland and it is quite possible that Harry did as well. Little is known about Harry’s army career but it is known that he disembarked in France on 6 November 1915. Harry was wounded in 1917 though the details are not known.

When Harry was killed in action on 16 April 1918, aged 22, his unit was the 51st Battery of the 39th Brigade. This brigade was attached to the No 1 Infantry Division which served on the Western Front throughout the war. He was buried at Duhallow ADS (Advanced Dressing Station) Cemetery, on the northern edge of Ypres.


Thomas James Astall

  • 265786, Private, 1/6th Royal Welsh Fusiliers (Territorial Force)
  • Killed in action, 28 December 1917, aged 27
  • Buried at Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel
  • CWGC registered (no family details noted)

Thomas James Astall was born in Everton on 31 August 1890. He was the son of William Jefferson Astall, a labourer, and his wife Hannah Astall (née Fick). He was baptised at St. Peter’s Church, Everton on 1 October 1890; the baptismal register records the family’s address as 42 Rushton Street. The census for the following year confirms the family of seven living at the same address, William employed as a bill poster. In 1901, the family lived at 50 Henry Street, West Derby. Ten years later, William and Hannah Astall were living in Everton whilst Thomas and his elder brother Joe were boarding at 4 Jubilee Street, Llandudno. Thomas was as a donkey driver on the sands.

On 12 October 1914, Thomas Astall volunteered at Caernarfon to join the 6th (Carnarvonshire and Anglesey Battalion), Royal Welsh Fusiliers, one of four peacetime battalions of the RWF Territorial Force. At his attestation, Thomas gave his address as 6 Bellevue Terrace, Great Orme, Llandudno and his occupation as a fishmonger. He was given the service number of 2341 (later 265786). Though having signed-up for overseas service, Thomas was posted to the “home” battalion, the 2/6th, on 21 May 1915. He was appointed acting lance corporal in June 1915, to acting corporal in May 1916 and to acting lance sergeant in November 1916. His battalion was engaged in duties at Bedford and Southwold. On 19 May 1917, Thomas was posted to the 4th (Reserve) Battalion RWF, and in July 1917 was posted to the 1/6th RWF (TF) in Egypt, having reverted to the rank of private.

Thomas James Astall was killed in action on 28 December 1917 aged 27 during the Battle of Jerusalem. He was buried at the Jerusalem War Cemetery.


Ellis Atherton

  • 32515, Private, 10th Royal Welsh Fusiliers
  • Killed in action, 16 August 1916, aged 41
  • No known grave (Thiepval Memorial, France)
  • CWGC registered (Son of the late Thomas and Mary Ann Atherton; husband of Annie Atherton, of 38 Mowbray Rd, Llandudno, Carnarvonshire)
  • Uncle of Thomas John Atherton Williams

Ellis Atherton was born at Tywyn, a hamlet in Deganwy, in 1875. He was the son of Thomas Atherton, a railway worker, and Mary Ann Atherton (née Jones). In 1881, the family lived at Maesdu Crossing (the site of the present bridge over the railway). Ellis was the youngest of the six children recorded which included his sister Anne, the future mother of Thomas John Atherton Williams (qv). On a date, unknown, Ellis moved to Tylorstown in Glamorganshire.

On 21 November 1894, Ellis Atherton joined a Militia battalion of the Welsh Regiment at Pontypridd. His regimental number was 7186. He served with the Welsh Regiment until 7 May the following year when he transferred to the 4th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, presumably on returning to North Wales.

On 16 September 1899, Ellis Atherton married Annie Roberts at Llanrhos Parish Church. Both gave their residence as “Castle Farm”, Llanrhos. Two years later, Ellis was serving time at Llanbeblig Prison and described in the census as a labourer in a brickworks. Ellis was discharged from the Militia in November 1904 with a character of “indifferent”. Newspapers of the time reveal that Ellis was repeatedly in trouble with the law and appeared before the magistrates for the 24th time in September 1910. The 1911 Census records the family living at 7 Cyll Terrace, Great Orme, Llandudno. There had been seven children of the marriage, four of whom had died; the three surviving children being: Ellis, Emma and Thomas. Mary Ann Atherton was born later that year.

On 8 September 1914, Ellis joined the Special Reserve of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and given the regimental number 6018. He attested that his age was 38 years and two months and that he had previously served in the 4th RWF and had been discharged on the termination of the engagement. He did not admit to any instance of previous “penal servitude”. On 30 October 1914, Ellis was discharged “in consequence of not being likely to become an efficient Special Reservist” on account of varicose veins. Another daughter, Lizzie Atherton was born in April 1915.

Ellis Atherton joined the RWF for the third time on 5 July 1915. His engagement was for “Home Service”. He joined the 12th Battalion at Kinmel Camp with a regimental number of 32515. The 12th Battalion had formed as a New Army “Service” Battalion in October 1914 but in April 1915 had become a Reserve Battalion and moved to Kinmel Park near Rhyl, training soldiers and subalterns as reinforcements for other battalions. Although Ellis had initially been found fit only for “home defence”, he was posted to France. Embarking at Southampton, he joined No 5 Infantry Base Depot at Rouen on 24 July 1916. Though he had originally been destined for the 19th RWF, he was reposted to the 10th RWF and joined the battalion at Méricourt l’Abbé in a draft of 53 other ranks on 30 July 1916, a day after the birth of his son Richard.

On 15 August 1916, the battalion marched to Talus Bois near Maricourt. The following day, it moved into “Casement” and “Dublin” Trenches. The war diary records that the casualties for that day were three other ranks killed and four wounded. In the following three days, the battalion took over 300 casualties. Ellis Atherton is recorded as being killed in action on 16 August 1916. He was aged 41 and has no known grave.

Annie Atherton and her children, Thomas, Elizabeth and Emma (as Emma Hughes) were all living at 38 Mowbray Road, Llandudno in 1939. Annie Atherton died in 1973.


Jesse Ayres

  • 695451, Gunner, 285th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (Territorial Force)
  • Killed in action, 28 May 1917, aged 29
  • Buried at Anzac Cemetery, Sailly-Sur-La-Lys, France
  • CWGC registered (Son of Jesse Robert Ayres, of Banbury Rd, Brackley, Northants)

Jesse Ayers was born at Radstone, Northamptonshire on 2 January 1888. He was the son of Jesse Robert Ayers, a railway signalman, and his first wife Elizabeth Ann Ayers (née Gessey). Elizabeth Ayers died in 1890 and in 1891 Jesse (junior) was recorded as staying with his grandfather at Radstone. Ten years later, Jesse, now a grocer’s errand boy, was living with his father and stepmother, Mary, at Brackley.

Jesse Ayres began employment with the London and North Western Railway on 8 September 1902 as a porter, serving at Brackley, Bicester and Verney Junction. He later became an apprentice clerk and worked at several L&NWR stations in North Wales including Colwyn Bay, Llandudno Junction (1907), Rhyl (1910) and Llandudno (1912). At Llandudno he is recorded as being a junior relief clerk with an annual salary of £80. In 1911 he was boarding in Colwyn Bay.

Jesse enlisted into the army on 1 November 1915, joining the 3rd West Lancashire Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, (Territorial Force) at Liverpool. He gave his address as “Egerton House”, Vaughan Street, Llandudno. His service number was 2669 (later 695451). Jesse’s attestation paper names his unit the 3rd WLFRA as well as the “Liverpool Coopers”. Information about the Liverpool Coopers as a military unit has not been found. When he attested, he signed the Imperial and General Service Obligation – agreeing to be sent overseas. This is not unsurprising as conscription was to be introduced shortly and had he not signed the obligation, then he might have been discharged and conscripted into a unit over which he had no choice.

Jesse Ayers was promoted to acting bombardier on 3 January 1916 and he was posted to the 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division Ammunition Column on 15 February 1916. On 28 February 1916, he was promoted to bombardier. In July 1916, the division moved to the Aldershot area. Jesse Ayers spent a couple of weeks in Aldershot Isolation Hospital with tonsillitis in November 1916. On 15 February 1917, Jesse embarked at Southampton and landed in France the following day. His division concentrated at Merris, taking over the right sector of II Anzac Corps, north of Le Tilleoly.

In April 1917, Jesse Ayers reverted to the rank of gunner. A certificate in his record reads “1 Section, 57th W. Lancs Divisional Ammunition Column. Certified that 695451 Bombardier Ayers J, reverted to the rank of Gunner at his own request on 28/4/17 did not so revert in order to avoid Courts Martial.” Jesse was posted to 285 (2/1st West Lancs) Brigade, RFA on 17 May 1917. He was killed in action near Laventie by an incoming enemy shell on 28 May 1917, aged 29 and buried at Anzac Cemetery, Sailly-Sur-La-Lys.

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