Francis Charles Hughes 1882 - 1917


Francis Charles Hughes was born at Earls Croome, Worcestershire in 1882.  His father Edward was a butcher.  By 1901 at the age of 18 he was living with and working for Francis Somers, a butcher in Queen Street Droitwich.

 

Here he met Gertrude Lily Everton daughter of Thomas and Alice Everton who lived in Hanbury Street.  Thomas was a coal merchant and canal toll collector.


Francis married Gertrude in 1903.  Francis was a master butcher.  By 1905 they were renting from the Droitwich Salt Union Limited 20 AND 22 HIGH STREETwhere Francis opened a butcher's shop in No 20 and Gertrude opened a drapery shop in No 22.  In 1906 they were expecting an addition to the family.  She had a baby son, Francis Edward .  Sadly he died in July 1906. Gertrude also died on 31 August 1906, aged 22, from heart disease. She was interred in the graveyard at St Mary Witton. 

 

Gertrude had an older sister, Alice Edith Everton.  Francis and Alice were married in 1909.  Alice continued the drapery business at 22 HIGH STREET

At the start of the 1914-18 war there were numerous volunteers joining the army but the numbers gradually dwindled and conscription was ordered by the Government.  Francis Charles Hughes appeared before the military tribunal in May 1916.  He reported that he employed no men and slaughtered for other butchers.  He was granted two months temporary exemption in the expectation there might be some government guidance on how tribunals should treat such traders.

He reappeared in September 1916 appealing for extra time to settle his business affairs.  He argued that he had attempted to join up in May when he could have sold his business. At that time he was passed as fit only for garrison duty and sent home.  If he had to go now, in September, his business would be ruined. He was granted a further temporary exemption until 1 November 1916, little over a month.  In November he appealed again for a further period to put his affairs in order.  The case was dismissed.

Francis then  appealed to the county appeals tribunal.  Mr Harrison spoke on his behalf.  The Local Tribunal (Droitwich) pointed out that he had been granted time to settle his affairs and he was always putting forward the same plea.  Mr Hughes claimed that he and another were the only practical butchers for the district.  He had tried unsuccessfully to dispose of the business.  The county appeals tribunal granted temporary exemption to 31 December 1916 [a period of about a fortnight from the date of the hearing].

Francis Hughes enlisted as a private in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment 11th Battalion Regimental  No. 28733.  He was killed in action in France on 12 August 1917.  Alice received £3 3s 2d on 1 December 1917, money due to her late husband, and a War Gratuity of £3 on 7 November 1919.

His name is engraved on the Menin Gate, Ypres and also on the Droitwich Memorial.

 

Sources

1891 Census

1901 Census

1911 Census

Nelly Copson Collection

Droitwich Military Tribunals researched by Pat Niner