Francis John Hollowell

The following biography was written by Victoria Doran who is working her way through the casualties from West Kirby. The Hollowell family were well known in the area on account of the fact that William Hollowell was sometime Headmaster of Calday Grange Grammar School.


West Kirby Parish Register 1896: John Hollowell's Baptism

West Kirby Parish Register 1896: John Hollowell’s Baptism

On the 1911 census his school recorded him as simply ‘John’ so that is how he will be referred to in this biography. John was another of the significant losses of the ‘Testament of Youth’ generation of Vera Brittain. John Hollowell was the elder son and third child of the four children of Rev. William Hollowell (1859-1932) and Ada Louisa Francis (1859-1938) and was born at Calday Grange Grammar School in the spring of 1896. His father had been the headmaster there since 1891.  His mother Ada was a teacher before her marriage and came from a family steeped in that profession. Both her parents, Alfred Francis (1837-1899) and Harriet Selina Baker (1837-1907), taught at the elementary National School at Aveley, Essex, and at least three of Ada’s sisters became teachers. However her grandfather William Francis (b1796) started life as a miller at Woodborough Mill at Compton Dando, Somerset, became a master baker and confectioner by 1851, and had moved to Liverpool by 1871 as a confectioner, establishing a business in Renshaw Street. The Francis confectionery business under his descendants in Liverpool had expanded by 1911 as the following extract from Gore’s Liverpool Directory shows. Continue reading


Edward Hylton Wynne Hughes

The following biography was written by Victoria Doran. Edward is not mentioned on the Grange Hill War Memorial and does not feature in the Hoylake and West Kirby News and Advertiser‘s 1922 list; neither can his name be found on any church memorial plaques in West Kirby. He is, however, remembered on a memorial window in West Kirby Methodist Church.


Edward Hylton Wynne Hughes was called ‘Hylton’ (sometimes spelled ‘Hilton’) by his friends, so that is how these notes will refer to him. Although he is not recorded as a War Death by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, there seems no doubt that all who knew him thought that his death occurred as a result of his wartime service, as the following article from the Deeside Advertiser makes clear. Several of those recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) would seem to have had no greater reason to be included than Hylton , as he is most unlikely to have died when he did without suffering from his war service.    Continue reading

George Eyton Houldsworth

The following biography was written by Victoria Doran. George was an insurance clerk and therefore a typical member of a Liverpool Pals Battalion; he is one of the many Merseyside Pals who died on 30th July during the Battle of the Somme.


Houldsworth Family Grave, St. Bridget's Church Yard, West Kirby

Houldsworth Family Grave, St. Bridget’s Church Yard, West Kirby

Although George Eyton Houldsworth was born in West Kirby, he had left it as a small child, and was in reality a Liverpool lad. Whilst he was serving in the army his parents returned to West Kirby where they remained for the rest of their lives. George was the elder of the two sons of George Houldsworth (1868-1938) and Catherine Ellen Jones (1870-1951). He had a younger brother Eric (1897-1959) also born in West Kirby but no sisters. Both George and Eric were baptised at the same time in Wallasey on 12th April 1900 whilst the family were living at 11 Kent Road, Poulton, Wallasey. Continue reading

George James Harris

The following biography was written by Victoria Doran.


George James Harris

George James Harris

George James Harris was born in the spring of 1890 at 3 Henshall Street, Chester and baptised at St Oswald on 9th May. He was the second of the three sons of John Edmund Harris (1847-1926) and Rhoda Jane Charlton (1856-1902). He was one of the middle children in a large family as he also had seven sisters. Whilst by no means wealthy, the family were financially secure throughout his life.  Continue reading

Claude Rex Cleaver

The following biography was written by Victoria Doran. When the research into the names on the Grange Hill War Memorial began, it quickly became apparent that the memorial does not bear the names of everybody who was associated with the area. The local newspaper printed some additional names on 22nd December 1922 and other names can be found on different local memorials and in cemeteries and church yards. Victoria has done very well to uncover the following fascinating story of a soldier who has not been commemorated locally in any form whatsoever.


Claude Rex Cleaver is not recorded on any of the memorials in Wirral but he did live in West Kirby for several years as a youth. His eldest brother Harold Willoughby Cleaver (1879-1950) married an elder sister of NICHOLAS ALBERT ROY VAN GRUISEN, one of those recorded on the Grange Hill War Memorial. He is the only known soldier with a West Kirby connection to have died in East Africa during the Great War. Continue reading

Harry Davies and James Collingwood Evans

The following biographies were written by Victoria Doran, who is working her way through all the casualties from West Kirby. Harry and Jimmy are grouped together simply because of their proximity to each other on the Grange Hill Memorial. They were not related.


Harry Davies

Harry Davies

Although having a surname that is common in the area, Harry Davies was not related to any of the other Davies families in Wirral. Very little is known with any accuracy about him;  even his name and birth year are not known for certain. He is likely to have been born between 1876 and 1879, making him amongst the oldest of the soldiers who died from the area. He was born in Whitchurch, Shropshire and seems to have been called Harry, though at the 1911 census and at his marriage he is recorded as Henry. He was a house painter by occupation, and at the 1911 census he was a single man boarding at 20 Willow Street, Oswestry, Shropshire. 20 Willow Street was an Eating House, and he was one of two boarders. The head of the household was Sarah Ann Kynaston a spinster.  Continue reading