The Hundred Days Offensive (August 8 to November 11, 1918) ended the First World War but many brave men were to pay the price during this last action of the conflict. Jamie Bowman looks at the stories of two Flintshire men who perished during the 'Advance to Victory'.

THE French village of Vis-en-Artois, which lies on the old Roman road from Arras to Cambrai, was deeply affected by World War One. Under the thumb of German troops from September 30, 1914 until its liberation by Canadian forces on August 24, 1918, the village was almost completely destroyed during the fighting and became a focal point for the Allies, who reinforced with fresh troops from the USA, embarked on the offensive which would eventually lead to the end of the war. Bolstered by a large contingent of Australian and Canadian soldiers the British Army, which was responsible for the section of the front between Flanders and the Somme, launched a series of attacks in Picardy, at Arras and Bapaume, and finally on the Hindenburg Line near Cambrai in the autumn of 1918.

After the Canadians took the village they buried their dead there but the village soon became synonymous as a memorial to those soldiers with no known grave. Today, the Vis-en-Artois Memorial bears the names of over 9,000 men who fell in the period from August 8, 1918 to the date of the Armistice in the 'Advance to Victory' in Picardy and Artois, between the Somme and Loos, and who have no known grave. All of them belonged to the forces of Great Britain and Ireland and South Africa and unsurprisingly there are a number of men from Flintshire who are remembered in this quiet corner of France.

Sadly not a lot is known about some of the men whose names appear on the memorial, but thanks to the work of the Flintshire War Memorials project we have more details of a few of the brave soldiers who lost their lives as 'the war to end all wars' was coming to its conclusion.

Thomas (Tom) Humphreys was born in Flint in 1892 and baptised November 30, 1892 in St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint. He was the second of 11 children to Robert Humphreys and Miriam (Smith), and for a number of years the Humphreys family lived at the Yacht Inn in Oakenholt where Robert was the licensee.

The 1911 census found the family living at 1, New Western Terrace, Oakenholt and Robert was now working as a boiler fireman at the Shotton ironworks. Tom was also employed at the ironworks as a galvanizer. The Humphreys family were to move once more to 297, Chester Road, Oakenholt where they settled.

Tom enlisted in Wrexham in August, 1914, landed at Boulogne on 19th July, 1915 and was killed in action on November 7 1918 in Courtrai, France, just four days before the Armistice. Like the majority on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial, Tom has no known grave but he is remembered today on three memorials in Flint Town, St David’s Parish Church, Oakenholt and the North Wales Heroes’ Memorial Arch in Bangor. He is also remembered on his parents’ headstone in the Northop Road Cemetery, Flint.

After his death, Tom was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.Writing to his parents, his officer said: “I am writing to you to extend my sincere sympathy to you and yours, at the great loss of your son, Private Humphreys, killed in action November 7th. Your son was in my platoon. He always was a good boy, and his death is felt as much by myself as by my platoon. He was unhappily killed by a shell, and it was a comfort to know he died a painless death. Assuring you of my heartfelt sympathy.”

Like Tom, David Winton, of Hawarden, was a steelworker. Born in 1895 to George and Mary Winton, David enlisted on the March 9, 1915 and gave his address as The Terrace, Hawarden. He was deemed fit enough to serve in the Territorial Force and was appointed to the 2/5th Bn of The Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

The records show that in 1915 he spent time with the regiment in Aberystwyth and then in Northampton and Bedford. Whilst in Bedford he got into a spot of bother as on November 3, 1915, he attempted to quit the C.O.’s parade without permission and was ‘Confined to Barracks’ for 14 days.

On March 9, 1916 he was transferred to the Army Reserve and was attached for duty to Messers Sandycroft Ironfounders Ltd where he worked as a forgeman’s helper until he was recalled from the reserve to rejoin the regiment on April 8, 1918.

Before he went to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force, he spent some time in Kinmel Park where once again he got into trouble. On June 15, 1918 he went missing and stayed away for for 59 hours and for his trouble was once again ‘Confined to Barracks’ this time for 10 days and he lost some pay. He was obviously a bit of a character.

David joined the British Expeditionary Force in France and reported to the Base Depot on August 14, 1918. He joined 13th Bn (113th Brigade 38th (Welsh) Division) but just a few weeks later on September 1, 1918, he was killed in Morval as the Welsh retook the village. From August 23 to September 6, the 13th Bn suffered 114 dead with 24 dying on August 23 alone. Many of the casualties from the Division during this period have no known grave and are recorded on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial, but Pte Winton's family had some comfort in that his body was found and is today buried in Morval.

A few weeks later, the Flintshire Observer reported Pte Winton's death, saying "the news of his death has been received with the deepest sorrow in his native village."

For more information on those who died in The Great War 1914 -18, and are remembered on the war memorials of Flintshire, go to