315051 PTE. J. H. FLANNIGAN. R.W.F.

 

James Hunter Flannigan was born in the third quarter of 1887 in Maryport, Cumberland.  His father was Robert Flannigan (b. 1858 in Maryport), a coal miner and later dock worker.  (The family surname is also spelled Flanagan in some sources.)  His mother was Annie Isabella Hunter (b. 1856 in Maryport).  Robert and Isabella were married in 1880 and they had 8 children:  Mary J (b. 1881), Robert (b. 1885), then James, Annie Isabella (b. 1890), Joseph (b. 1892), Catherine (b. 1895), Thomas (b. 1897) and Millicent (b. 1907-1912).  Thomas was the last of their children born in Maryport; Millicent was born in Bamber Bridge.  So the family moved to Bamber Bridge around the turn of the century.  In the 1911 Census, Isabella is shown as the head of the family, and married, but I haven’t traced Robert.  They were living at 304 Station Road, and later moved to 28 Mounsey Road.  In 1913, James married Lily Sharples (b. 1889 in Walton Le Dale) and they had a son, George (b. 1914).  James was an angle iron smith and by the time he enlisted his family had moved to 15 Oxford Road, Bamber Bridge.

 

James attested he was willing to serve on 8 December 1915.  It appears he originally wanted to serve in the Army Ordnance Corps but was redirected to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and assigned service number 11083.  It also appears from his records that James spent most of the war in army reserve.  He was allowed to remain in the reserve on condition that he worked for the Municipal Appliances Company, Hecla Works, Bamber Bridge.   He was eventually called back up from the reserves on 6 April 1918 and he was finally posted to France on 11 August 1918 and he joined 14th Battalion in the field on 22 August 1918.  14Bn came under orders of 113th Brigade in 38th (Welsh) Division.  In August 1918, 38th Division were engaged in the initial battles which would lead to the breaking of the Hindenburg Line: the Battles of Havrincourt (12 September), Épehy (18 September) and Beaurevoir (29 September).  James was killed in action during this advance on 18 September 1918.  He had been less than a month at the front.  He was 31 years old.

The newspaper article doesn’t quite square up with the military records, but the gist is correct.

 

Rank:  Private

Service Number:  315051

Date of Death:  18/09/1918

Age:  31

Regiment/Service:  Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 14Bn

Cemetery/memorial reference: Panel 6.

Memorial: VIS-EN-ARTOIS MEMORIAL

 

James’ brother Joseph was in the Scots Guards and, as the article says, was one of the earliest casualties from Bamber Bridge.

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