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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Victor's Family


Victor was born at 10 Clonmel Street, Llandudno on 10th June 1897, the second child in the family. His sister, Mary Eleanor was two years older. His father, Robert Samuel worked as a printer and his mother Mary Grace (nee Pritchard) was from Amlwch.

At the time of the 1901 census the family with three year old Victor was still living at 10 Clonmel Street, next door to the Alexandra Hotel. I assume they were living on the premises of his father’s print workshop.

Was he a happy child I wonder? He was the only boy and grew up in a household of sisters, Grace Elizabeth b 1901, Nora (my grandmother) b 1903, Edith Hannah (my aunt Edie) b 1906 and Robina (my aunt Bena) b 1908.

In 1908 the family were struck by disaster as Victor’s father, Robert died on 11th February of influenza and pneumonia. He was only 39 years old and his death was registered by his brother and Victor’s uncle John Henry Davies who had been present at the death. Victor was ten when his father died and his youngest sister, Robina (Bena) was born on 23rd March. How on earth did his mother cope with no husband and six children to care for? John Henry who lived nearby at 5 Hills Yard, Madoc Street, Llandudno will have helped I expect.

By the time of the 1911 census the family was living at 20 Alexandra Road Llandudno. His mother, Mary Grace was working as a dressmaker. Victor aged 13 was at school as were three of his sisters Grace Elizabeth, Nora, and Edie with the three year old Bena still at home. The family had taken in lodgers, a married couple John Richard Williams and Lydia Williams and Emily Gadd with her two children George Henry aged 6 and Annie May aged 1. His uncle John Henry, a 44 year old widower was still living at 5 Hills Yard with Mary Davies, Victor's grandmother. 

Victor's medal card (WO372/5) has him serving with the Welsh regiment (Soldier Number: 1466, Rank: Private,) and then the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (Soldier Number 56806 and rank Private. He was with the 15th Battalion of the Royal Welsh when he was killed on 31st July 1917 in the attack on Pilkem ridge. He had just turned twenty years of age.

His mother had gone home to Amlwch and he was remembered by the family with a notice in the local paper every August

2 August 1918 IN MEMORIAM Davies – In loving memory of Private Robert V. Davies, who fell in action July 31st, beloved and only son of Mrs Davies and the late R.S. Davies, printer, Llandudno. At his country’s call. Sadly missed by his mother and sisters, Mona CafĂ©, Amlwch. 

For years there was a photograph of Victor in uniform which stood in the front parlour with all the family photographs so he remained a part of their lives long after he'd gone. I've no idea what might have happened to the photograph. My cousin Elizabeth remembers decorating it with holly in the 1940s and 1950s.

My father, Norman was born in April 1919 and in a way Dad took his place as he was raised by Mary Grace, Victor's mother as Nora was too young and unmarried. It would have been out of the question for this baby to have been given away for adoption when Mary Grace had lost her only son, just two years earlier. So Norman was brought up in the family home with Edie and Bena.

4 comments:

Nana Brenda said...

Hi Caroline,What a sad story..often wondered how many of these young family's managed.many children were put into homes and adopted.I did find a record of one young Honeybill who was sent to Canada by Banardo's homes.
Brenda Warren nee Honeybill

Caroline M Davies said...

Thanks for the comment Brenda. I knew my great aunts, Bena and Edie as a child but didn't know about their brother until fairly recently and too late to ask them about him. My maternal grandfather John Honeybill born Sandbach 1864 was an orphan and was eventually sent from Cheshire to Holyhead with his sister Maria.

Who was the Honeybill child who was sent to Canada?

Nana Brenda said...

This is what I found...
Home Children (1869-1930)
Item Display
Return to results | Search | Search Help
Surname: HONEYBILL
Given Name: James C
Age: 12
Sex: M
Ship: Circassian
Year of Arrival: 1891
Departure Port: Liverpool
Departure Date: 1891-06-11
Arrival Port: Quebec
Arrival Date: 1891-06-21
Party: Barnardo Homes
Destination: Toronto, Ontario
Comments: Mr. Owen accompanied the party
Source: Library and Archives Canada
Reference: RG 76 C1a

Microfilm: C-4538
Type of Record: Passenger Lists
Group of Children Traveling Together

Caroline M Davies said...

I wonder what happened to him but these children often had sad lives.