2445 PTE. H. HALPIN. R.F.A.
Henry (Harry) Halpin is my great-uncle (my grandmother’s brother). He was born in the second quarter of 1895 in Bamber Bridge. His father was Thomas Halpin (b. 1860 in Preston), a cotton spinner. His mother was Lucy Baxendale (b. 1862 at Walton Summit). Tom and Lucy were married in 1882 at Brownedge St Mary’s and they had 7 children, though 2 died in infancy. The survivors were: Mary (b. 1884), Maggie (b. 1886, my grandmother), Christopher (b. 1891), then Harry and finally Vincent (b. 1900). In 1911, they were living at 11 Church Road, Bamber Bridge. Harry was a creeler in a cotton mill.
Harry and his brother Chris, and cousins Joe and Jack Halpin, all enlisted together on 15 May 1915, at Bamber Bridge, in the 2/2 West Lancashire Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. This became “C” Battery of 286 Brigade. Harry had service number 2445.
Harry’s military record lists his service at home, from May 1915 to May 1916. During that period it appears he was at Charing, where he is listed as being late for 6.45 roll-call on 5 occasions throughout the year he was there. Charing is a small village near Ashford in Kent. During the War it was the location of a VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) Hospital. There were eighty or more VAD hospitals in Kent providing accommodation for 4,730 patients. In addition to the members of the VADs, local surgeons and physicians gave their advice and long hours of service together with other medical professionals, nurses and masseuses. Kent accommodated far more wounded soldiers than any other area of the country and by the end of the war the VAD hospitals had cared for 125,000 patients - 30,000 more than any other county in England. Harry may have been working here as a driver, or he may have been a patient. He was discharged in May 1916 as unfit for military service – he was suffering from tuberculosis. He died of TB in Bamber Bridge on 16 December 1920.
Harry’s brother was 680861 PTE. C. HALPIN, R.F.A. Chris served with “C” Bty, 286Bde. He survived the was, married Annie Dagger in 1928, and died in 1970.
Their cousins were 680428 PTE. JOHN HALPIN, R.F.A. and 680804 PTE. JOSEPH HALPIN, R.F.A. They all served in C/286. Jack and Joe’s father was William Henry Halpin, who served in the Royal Defence Corps and died on duty in Cumberland in December 1916.