MILES, Richard – Gresford War Memorial

Written and researched by Mavis Williams

Richard Miles was born circa 1886 in Gresford and was baptized at All Saints Church, Gresford on the 22nd November 1886, the son of Thomas & Maria Miles.

I believe that Thomas Miles and Maria Hughes had married at a Civil Ceremony in Wrexham in 1880, (Wrexham County Borough (Wrexham) WM/023/57)

I also believe that Thomas had remarried after a Civil Marriage to Ann Tilston in 1862 (Wrexham County Borough (Wrexham) WM/007/80) and her death, she was buried at Gresford on the 12th December 1874 age 34 years) as on the 1881 census Thomas. 42, is seen with Maria, 40, living at Hillock Lane, with Anne’s daughter Jemima Miles, 12 and  Maria’s son Thomas Miles, 10 and also a step-daughter Emily Hughes, age 4, born in Ruthin.   The relationship on censuses is to the head of the household, so Emily could have been Maria’s daughter before her marriage to Thomas.

Richard first appears on the 1891 census, the family living at Hillock Lane, Gresford.   Head of the household was Thomas Miles, 52 an Agricultural Labourer born in Threapwood, Cheshire.   Thomas’s wife Maria, 50 had been born in Ruthin and was bilingual.   Their 2 children, Ann J., 8 and Richard, 5 had both been born in Gresford.

There is a death of a Maria Miles in 1899 (Wrexham County Borough (Wrexham) HOLT/14/75), is this “our” Maria?

I believe that Richard’s step – sister Ann J. Miles, 18, was a servant (Nurse) in the household of the family of Alyn Reginald James on the 1901 census. (see the story of Alyn Reginald JAMES, also on the Memorial)

Also in 1901 in the household of Edward Maddocks at Marford Hall, Marford Hoseley, Flintshire, was Richard Miles, a Stock Boy (Ag. Cattle) age 17, born Gresford.

The 1911 census sees both Annie MILES, Single, 28, Nurse (Domestic) born Wrexham, Denbighshire living at Dilham House, Dilham, Norwich and Richard Miles, age 27, Single, Army Service Corps. at Bordon Camp, Headley, Hampshire, born Wrexham, Denbighshire.

Richard Miles in the British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 tells us that his rank was Sgt.  & A/WOCS 11, that he was awarded the Victory & British War Medals and the 14 Star.   It does not tell us where his first Theatre of War was nor when he entered it.

There are 2 UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 for Richard:-

Richard Miles in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that Legatees were Sister Annie Jane, and half sister Mrs. Ellen Stockton, each of whom received £2.3s.3d.    This paid on the 10th February 1916.   Mrs. Mina McNeal was allocated the same amount twice, once in anticipation on the 16th May 1916 and the other to be refunded, obviously an error in the Paymasters office, so she received the same amount as the other two.    Richard’s War Gratuity of £10 was split between Sister Ellen STOCKTON on the 28th October 1919 and Half Sister Mrs. Mina McNEIL* (sic) on the 11th May 1920, £2 10s each and 2 shares of £2 10s to Annie which was returned to be shared between the children of her half-brother and sister.

*HBM Con. Gen, Phil: Pensylvania, U.S.A.

And – Richard Miles in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that Legatees were his sister Annie J.  and ½ sisters Mrs. Ellen STOCKTON and Mrs. Myra(sic) McNeal, each of whom received 7/6d on the 21st December 1916.   Share of 7/6d retd. for Annie & Ethel, daughter’s of dec’d’s half brother James (Address Unknown), plus £2 3s 3d ret’d at 52/147407/4/15

There is a possible Death certificate for Richard :-

Richard Miles in the England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915

Name:  Richard Miles

Estimated birth year:      abt 1883

Registration Year:            1914

Registration Quarter:     Oct-Nov-Dec

Age at Death:     31

Registration district:        Medway

Inferred County:              Kent

Volume:               2a

Page:     870

His age on this differs from the age on the Gresford War Memorial on the Clwyd Family History Society website    29 on the Clwyd FHS website and 31 on the Death Index above.

Because his death was registered in the UK, he obviously died here, his death certificate would have to be purchased to find out the cause of death, but as he died so early in the war, he may have been wounded and brought home or he died of illness or accident before he went abroad, but he was awarded the medals and the 14 star, but even if he was only abroad a short while he would be entitled.   This article may shed some light on the circumstances:-

Extract from the website:-

The north half of the cemetery contains the graves of soldiers who died during and after the First World War. In the middle of the path is a stone cross of sacrifice, stained green with the verdigris from the bronze sword set into it.

The inscription on it says:








Fort Pitt Cross of Sacrifice (Jason Ross)
Fort Pitt Graves (Jason Ross)

Graves in Fort Pitt Military Cemetery, Chatham Close to the cross of sacrifice, almost all of the grave stones are of the usual Commonwealth design, seen in cemeteries throughout the world, showing that these men were casualties of war.

Before the 1990s*~ the British Government repatriated very few men who had been killed in action, so these men probably died of injuries or illness after they’d been brought home.

*My addendum – 1914 – 1918 War – Only families with money, mostly the wealthy, were able to repatriate the bodies of their loved ones, until William Glynne Charles Gladstone (Lord Lieutenant of Flintshire and son of William Gladstone, Prime Minister) was repatriated in 1915, when it was abruptly decided by the Army that all men would be buried where they fell, the only exception being the Unknown Warrior in 1920.   A hammer blow to families who wanted their loved ones returned.

Graves in Fort Pitt Military Cemetery, Chatham Moving further away from the cross, some different types of grave stones appear. These normally, but not always, signify that the dead soldier did not die due to injuries sustained during active service. I’ll be trying to find out the dates on these stones, to see whether the soldiers died during the inter-war years.

Graves in Fort Pitt Military Cemetery, Chatham.   Although the fort was closed in the 1920s, the most recent graves date from around the 1990s with few of them being in the Commonwealth style. All of them I saw, in the brief time I was there, were the graves of old soldiers and their families.

~Taken from The Quick and the Dead, by Richard Van Emden.  (Fallen Soldiers and their Families in the Great War) ( ISBN 978 0 7475 97797)

Excerpt from Chapter 5 – Next of Kin. Pages 131 – 133

What is significant about Gladstone’s case was not just that a few influential families could organise the return of their fallen to Britain in wartime, but that “ownership” rights to the body might be waived or revert to the family, usurping the traditional privilege claimed by the regiment.

Pic by John Davies 19/04/2014

Written and researched by Mavis Williams. Photographs “Fort Pitt Cross Of Sacrifice” and “Fort Pitt Graves” (c) Jason Ross Historic Medway

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