405240 PTE. W. GAHAGAN. K.L.R.

 

Walter Gahagan was born in the third quarter of 1894 in Preston.  He was Roman Catholic but I have been unable to trace his family in the Censuses.  Aged 18, in 1913, he married Mary Ellen Pomfret (b. 1890 in Preston).  When war broke out the following year, he and Mary Ellen were living in Bamber Bridge, at 13 Withy Grove Road, and Walter was working in a cotton mill.  He enlisted immediately in the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) and was assigned service number 2588 and posted to 1/8 Battalion.  1/8Bn came under orders of 6th Brigade in 2nd Division.  They landed in France on 22 February 1915, and Walter joined them in the field on 3 May 1915.

Walter was straight into action, as 2nd Division was heavily engaged in the Battle of Festubert, and here he was wounded.  At Festubert, the British suffered almost 17,000 casualties, with 5,500 of those coming from 2nd Division.  Walter then spent some time in hospital and on leave, as on 7 June 1916 Walter and Mary Ellen had a daughter, Frances Doris.  Walter may have returned to the front in 1917, as he was given a new-style service number, 405240, and posted to 11Bn.  11th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers) were attached as Army Troops to 14th (Light) Division.  In 1917, 14th Division were engaged in the Battle of Arras (First and Third Battles of the Scarpe), and in the Third Battle of Ypres (Langemark, and the First and Second Battles of Passchendaele).

 

Walter was killed in action on 23 March 1918, during the German Spring Offensive.  He was 23 years old.  From 21-28 March, 11Bn had 89 officers and men killed.

 

Rank:  Private

Service No:  405240

Date of Death:  23/03/1918

Age:  23

Regiment/Service:  The King’s (Liverpool Regiment), 11Bn

Cemetery/memorial reference: Panel 21 to 23.

Memorial:  POZIERES MEMORIAL

 

After the War, Mary Ellen re-married, to Thomas Shaw (b. 1889 in Bamber Bridge).  She died in 1974.

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