681010 PVT J. HANNA. MM. R.F.A.


Joseph Hanna was born in the first quarter of 1895 in Bamber Bridge.  His father was James Hanna (b. 1859 in Ballela, Co. Down, Ireland), a bricklayer and later night watchman working for the Urban District Council.  His mother was Mary Bolton (b. 1863 in Samlesbury).  James had been married before – his first wife was Ann Park (b. 1863 in Blackburn).  They married in 1882 and had two children, Mary Ann (b. 1887) and John James (b. 1890), but Ann died in 1891 and James remarried the following year.  He and Mary had 6 children, losing one in infancy; the five survivors were: Jane (b. 1894), then Joe, then William (b. 1896), Margaret (b. 1897) and finally Robert (b. 1900).  In 1911, the family lived at 2 Montgomery Street, Bamber Bridge, and Joe worked as a creeler in a spinning mill. 


It’s not absolutely certain but from his service number (681010) and the pattern of recruitment it looks as though Joe joined the Royal Field Artillery in 1915 and was posted to C/78 Bde.  78Bde came under orders of 17th (Northern) Division.  Joe was not awarded the 1915 Star so the earliest he could have been in France is 1916 but it seems more likely it was 1917 before he arrived (the same as other Briggers in 286Bde).  In 1917, the Division fought at the Battle of Arras (First and Second Battles of the Scare and the capture of Roeux), and later at the First and Second Battles of Passchendaele.


In 1918, the Division was engaged in the early part of the German Spring Offensive, in the Battles of St Quentin and Bapaume, but they played a much more significant role later in the year once the 100 Days’ Offensive had been launched in August.  That month they fought at Amiens, Albert and Bapaume and in September they fought with the Canadians to push the Germans back from the Hindenburg line, at Havrincourt, Epehy, and Cambrai.  After Cambrai had fallen in October, they continued with the final advance in Flanders at the Battles of the Selle and the Sambre.  On Armistice Day they were at Maubeuge.  At the end of the year they moved to Amiens and then Hallencourt.  Demobilisation began in January 1919 and was completed by May.  Joe was awarded the Military Medal.  The announcement was made in the London Gazette on 21 January 1919.  There is no citation and by this time there were lengthy delays in publication so it seems likely that his award was for gallantry in the earlier part of the 100 Days’ Offensive.


When Joe came home he quickly got a job in a spinning mill but a sad accident then occurred.  Whilst at work he picked up a splinter in his foot.  The wound became infected and then sepsis set in and Joe died a few days later of septic poisoning. He was 24 years old.  Because Joe had been discharged from the army and the cause of his death was not related to his war service, Joe does not qualify for inclusion on any War Memorial.


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