NEWNS, Robert Henry – Gresford War Memorial

by Mavis Williams

Robert Henry & Samuel Newns were brothers, please see Samuel’s story.

Robert Henry Newns was born in the March Quarter of 1885 (Shropshire Volume: 6a Page: 720) and Baptised on the 20th April 1885 in Oswestry, Shropshire.

He was the son of Thomas and Sarah Newns and appears on the 1891 census for the first time living at Hughes Yard, Llys Lane, Oswestry, Shropshire.   Head of the household is Thomas Newns, 38 a Gardener and his wife Sarah, 40 with son Thomas, 16 a Grocer’s Porter, they had all been born in Gresford.   Son Frank, 14, also a Grocer’s Porter had been born in Llanegrau, Merionethshire, while   daughter Sarah Jane, 9, a Scholar, Robert Henry, 5 and Samuel, 2 had all been born in Oswestry, Salop.

Thomas Charles Newns and Sarah Woolrich had married at All Saint’s Church, Gresford.

Gresford Parish Registers Marriages

Page 215 No 429 18th February 1873 Thomas Charles NEWNS of Full Age, Bachelor, Farmer, Llay Father Samuel NEWNS, Farmer & Sarah WOOLRICH of Full Age, Spinster, Hoseley ,Joseph WOOLRICH, Farmer.

Witnesses_ Joseph WOOLRICH, Samuel Robert NEWNS, Annie WOOLRICH & Ann EVANs (or Eeans?)

I believe, sadly, that Robert Henry’s mother Sarah died in the September Quarter of 1892 age 44 (Oswestry Vol.  6a, Page 396) as on the 1901 census living just before the Royal Oak, Gresford, Thomas is shown as a widower, age 50 and now a General Labourer.   Daughter Jane, 19 and son Samuel, 12 make up the household.

No sign of Robert Henry or Samuel in Gresford on that census, but I did find a possible sighting on the 1911 census of at least Robert Henry living at 25, Probert Road, Bridon, Surrey.   In the household of Thomas Alexander GEORGE, 77 , his wife Sarah Ann, 65 and his sister Maria George 69 was Robert Henry NEWNS, 26 Boarder, Gerald NEWNS, 24, both Machine Minders (Letter Press Printers), both born Oswestry, Salop and Cecil Robert NEWNS, Boarder, 17. A Bookseller’s Apprentice, born Clapham, Surrey, all three were single.   I don’t know if there is any family connection between the 3 Newns boys.

Likewise the 1911 census shows a possible T.C. Newns, 60 and his son, S. Newns, 21, living at High Street, Gresford, Denbighshire (4 Rooms).   T.C. Newns is a widower and a Jobbing Gardener, his son is 21 years old and states that he is a General Labourer, this I believe is Samuel.  Thomas Charles NEWNES, filled in and signed the census form.

Tragedy struck again as Thomas C. Newns was to died in the June Quarter of 1911, shortly after the census was taken.( Wrexham County Borough (Wrexham) HOLT/16/53)

Robert Henry Newns in the UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919, tells us that he was born in Oswestry, Salop and lived at Wrexham, but he enlisted in Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey, this source also tells us that he “Died.”   This usually indicates that he did not die from wounds or was killed in Action, it usually means he died from disease or other means.

Robert H Newns in the British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 tells us that he was awarded the Victory & British War Medals, but does not tell us where his first Theatre of War was nor when he entered it.

Luckily his Attestation papers have survived and they explain a little, but add more of a mystery really:-

Age – 30 years 8 months

Trade – Printer – Machine Minder

Married – No.

Form signed on the 22nd October 1915

Next paper – Service

Next of kin – Mrs. Sarah Jane ROBERTS, Sister.???ordee, Gresford, Wrexham, North Wales

Service towards Limited engagement reckons from 20th October 1915.

Joined at Kingston on 20th October  1915.

(See Folder)

Missing – 9th April, 1918

Died of Haemorrhage War Hosp., Lille.  Cpl.10th April 1918

Next paper – Names and Addresses of all the Relatives of the above-named deceased soldier in each of the degrees specified below that are now living


Father of the Soldier – Dead

Mother of the Soldier – Dead

Full blood brothers of the Soldier – Frank NEWNS, (no age)1 Holt Terrace Gresford, Wrexham North Wales

NO Half-blood brothers

Full blood sisters of the Soldier – Sarah Jane ROBERTS, 37, 1 Holt Terrace Gresford, Wrexham North Wales.

 NO Half-blood sisters.

Declaration signed by Sarah Jane ROBERTS, (Sister) 1 Holt Terrace Gresford, Nr. Wrexham  on the 24th July 1919, witnessed by (Bottom part of form ripped and missing, but a Clerk in Holy Orders was witness.

 Next paper  – enlisted at Kingston-on Thames. On the 20th October 1915

Robert Henry Newns in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995 NEWNS, Robert Henry of No. 1 Holt-terrace, Gresford, Denbighshire, a Corporal No. 14589, 13th Bn East Surrey Regiment died 10th April 1918 in France on Active Military Service.   Administration (with Will) St. Asaph 1st September to Sarah Jane ROBERTS, (Wife of William John ROBERTS).   Effects £142 9s 9d.

Any help would be gratefully received.

Researched and compiled by Mavis Williams



Lille was occupied by the Germans from the 27th August, to the 5th September 1914, and again on the 12th October; and it remained in their hands, undamaged by Allied artillery, until the 17th October 1918. Southern Cemetery was used by the Germans during the greater part of the War, and after the Armistice by the 39th Stationary Hospital and the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station. During the 1939-45 War, at the end of March 1940, the 50th Division was near Lille; while in May the same year No.10 Casualty Clearing Station used the Cemetery from the 16th to the 25th of the month. There are now over 600, 1914-18 and nearly 300, 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, a small number from the 1914-18 War are unidentified and a special memorial is erected to one soldier from the United Kingdom known to be buried among them. From the 1939-45 War nearly 40 are unidentified. The French number of Plot I is V.2; that of Plot II, V.4; and that of Plot III (where British prisoners of War are buried) J.1. The Second War graves are in French Plot 82.

Pic by John Davies 19/04/2014

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