William George "Dickie" Hawes
William George Hawes was born in Simpson in 1887 and was the eldest son of William Thomas and Eliza Elizabeth Hawes (nee Payne). William was known as “Dickie” – he was a plate-layer on the railway and his gang worked along the line at Denbigh Hall Bridge.
He married Florence Woodward at Simpson Church on 13 February 1909. Dickie & Flo lived at 5 Denbigh Cottages, Denbigh Road, now Watling Street.. The row of cottages were situated near Granby Roundabout and were demolished in the late 1950s.
Some time during the Great War, Dickie enlisted as a Sapper with the Royal Engineers. Large numbers of railway employees volunteered for military service.The training of the regular railway troops was undertaken at Longmoor Camp, Hampshire. By the end of 1917, 40,000 men were serving in Royal Engineer Railway Units.
By September 1917, Dickie and Flo had five children: Florrie, Nellie, William Arthur (known as Sam), Phyllis, and newborn Frederick George (known as George). Around this time, Dickie was serving in Egypt and Palestine and during this time, he learnt to ride a camel and had to endure many sand storms.
Flo died in January 1946 aged 54 and Dickie died ten years later in January 1956 aged 68.