Williams, Hugh Edward

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Hugh Edward Williams

49983, Private, 9th Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Killed in action, 22 March 1918, aged 29
No known grave (Arras Memorial, France)

CWGC registered (no family recorded)

Hugh Edward Williams, the son of John E Williams and his wife Ellen Williams (née Allman), was born in Llandudno on 4 May 1888. When Hugh was baptised on 18 July 1888, the family’s address was recorded as Back Caroline Street. The Census of Wales for 1891 records the family living at 17 Talisen Street, Llandudno; John Williams was described as a painter and his wife as a lodging house keeper. Hugh Williams attended Lloyd Street School which he left in May 1896 when the family left the neighbourhood. In 1901, the family lived at 2 Bryn Maelgwyn Cottages in Llanrhos and in 1911 it lived at “Ephraim Villa”, Old Road, Llandudno; both John and Hugh (22) were described as painters.

It would appear that in December 1915, Hugh Williams volunteered under the Derby Scheme to join the Royal Artillery. He would have been given a day’s pay and put on the reserve. He was probably called up around May 1916 and given the service number of 137575. Unfortunately for Hugh, the Military Service Act that had just been passed gave the army authority to compulsorily transfer him to an infantry regiment – in his case the Royal Welsh Fusiliers with a service number of 49983. Little is known of his service with the RWF except that it is whilst he was serving with the 9th (Service) Battalion, he was killed in action on or after 22 March 1918 aged 29. The 9th RWF was the second of the New Army battalions of that regiment to be formed having landed in France in July 1915. A German offensive, Operation Michael, began on 21 March 1918. On the first day of what became known as the Battle of St. Quentin, the 9th RWF was in billets near Haplincourt. The following day, the battalion created a new line of defences near Morchies and awaited the oncoming enemy. Over the next few days, the battalion suffered 460 casualties, the greater number being missing.

Because his body was never recovered, both Hugh’s father and his sister Ethel made fruitless enquiries to the Red Cross to ascertain whether or not he had been taken as a prisoner of war.

Known memorials:

  • Arras Memorial, France
  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno
  • English Presbyterian Church, Llandudno
  • Family memorial, St. Tudno’s Churchyard

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