Charles Thomas was born circa 1889, the son of William & Ann Thomas (formerly Bennion, nee Crump), and on the 1901 census they were living at Smithy Yard, Llay, Denbighshire. Head of the household was William, 47, an Agricultural Labourer, who had been born in Liverpool, Lancashire. His wife Ann, 42 had been born in Malpas, Cheshire and their children, William, 4 and Charles, 2 had both been born in Rossett, Denbighshire.
Before I go into the future with Charles’s story, I have to go back to the first marriage of Charles’s mother Ann. Ann had been married to George Bennion in a Civil Ceremony at Wrexham in 1871(Wrexham County Borough (Wrexham) WM/015/10). On the 1881 census they had settled at Harryurts Lane, Allington, Denbighshire. (After Allington Hall). George Bennion, 38, was head of the household, a Road Labourer who had been born in Allington, Denbighshire. Ann, 33, had been born in Lower Witch (sic), Flints. Their children, Martha, 9, John, 7, Fanny, 5 and George, 2 had all been born in Allington. Ann’s father John Crump, 73 and a widower and Road Labourer had been born in Malpas, Cheshire.
Sadly, I believe that George Bennion died in 1882 (Wrexham County Borough (Wrexham) HOLT/11/20) and I found a burial for a George Bennion of Harwood Lane in the Rossett Parish Registers. He was buried on the 19th July 1882, age 38 years.
I then found a marriage in the Rossett Parish Registers on the 3rd August 1885 of Ann Bennion, age 36 a widow from Rossett, to a William Thomas, 41, Bachelor, Labourer, also from Rossett. The respective fathers were John Thomas and John Crump.
I can go back to 1891 when I found young George Bennion, 13, a Farm Servant living at Lower Rackery, Burton, Denbighshire in the household of Peter DUTTON, wife Elizabeth, 1 Daughter and 4 sons. This explains him not being on the 1891 census with his mother Ann and her new husband William.
Going forward now again to 1901, the census tells us that the family of William and Ann were still at Smithy Yard, Llay, Denbighshire. However, disaster struck again as poor Ann is shown as a widow, age 49 years. Her son from her 1st marriage, George Bennion, 21 and single was a Railway Platelayer. Her son William Thomas, 14 was an Agricultural Labourer, son Charles Thomas, 12 and Grand-daughter Annie Bennion, age 5, had all been born in Gresford. Her daughter Martha Probin (nee Bennion), 27 and her husband Harry Probin, 26, also an Agricultural Labourer born in Broxton, Cheshire, made up the household.
The 1911 census shows the family unit had shrunk somewhat and they had moved to Gwastadd Farm Cottage, Gresford, Denbighshire. (2 rooms). Head of the household was Ann Thomas, 61 and a widow and she tells us that she had been married for 7 years and 5 children had been born to her, but 2 had died, this was crossed out by the Enumerator, as she was a widow, but a boon for family historians. Living with her was her son Charles, 21, single and a Miner Waggoner, born Llay, Denbighshire on this census. Her grand-daughter Annie Benjon (sic), 15 was a Nurse, (Domestic).
Charles Thomas in the UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 tells us that his birthplace was Gresford and he enlisted in Caergwrle, Denbighshire. And was killed in action in Gallipoli.
Charles Thomas in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that the sole Legatee was his Niece Miss Annie BENNION who was paid 3 0s 5d on the 13th December 1915 and his War Gratuity of £3 10s on the 5th July 1919.
Charles is mentioned in the book “Come On the Fighting Fifth, Remembering 10th August 1915” by Charles W. Evans-Gunther. The book tells the story of the 5th Bn R.W.F. in Gallipoli, and lists local soldiers from this area who died and the suffering they endured.
Any help would be gratefully received.
Researched and compiled by Mavis Williams
The Helles Memorial stands on the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula. It takes the form of an obelisk over 30 metres high that can be seen by ships passing through the Dardanelles.
Gresford Memorial photographs by John Davies.