BAMBER BRIDGE IN WORLD WAR 1
24447 PTE. H. KEANY. R.A.P.C.
Hugh Keany was born in the second quarter of 1872 in Chorley. In the Census records his family name is spelled variously as Keaney, Kaney and Kenny, but Hugh himself uses Keany in the 1911 Census so I’ll stick with that. Hugh’s father was also Hugh (b. 1848 in Ireland). His mother was Ann Gilgun (b. 1849 in Ireland). Hugh and Ann got married in Chorley in 1868 and they had 7 children: Thomas (1868-79), Mary Ann (b. 1871), then Hugh, then Elizabeth (b. 1878), Rose (b. 1880), Catherine (b. 1883) and a second Thomas (b. 1885). In 1881, the family was living at 29 Leigh Road, Chorley and Hugh snr was a striker in an iron foundry.
In 1892, Hugh jnr, aged 19, joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, with service number 3684. He served with them for over 9 years until October 1901 when he was discharged on medical grounds. I don’t have any more information regarding this period of military service. But in the summer of 1900, Hugh married Teresa Worden (b. 1877 in Bamber Bridge). They had seven children: twins Elizabeth and Ann (b. 1901, Elizabeth did not survive), John (b. 1904), Kathleen (b. 1907), Marjorie (b. 1909), Gilbert (b. 1911) and Lavinia (b. 1913). After Hugh came out of the army, the family moved to Wigan and Hugh worked as a colliery labourer. But just after the 1911 Census, the family moved to Bamber Bridge where they lived at 21 Mill Street, School Lane. Hugh was working as a groom.
When War broke out, Hugh went to re-enlist with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on 2 September 1914. But he declares his age as 39 whereas he was actually 42. He was given service number 3755 and posted to 3Bn (Reserves). His medical condition became apparent however and he was discharged as medically unfit on 8 October. Undeterred, on 6 November 1914, he tried to enlist with the Lancashire Fusiliers in Preston. He was given service number 6902 and again posted to the Reserves. He was again discharged as medically unfit on 6 March 1915. At that time, he was at a military camp at Sutton-on-Hull. His medical report says he was suffering from aortic disease of the heart and he was also suffering from the post-operative effects of surgery on a double inguinal hernia. Despite this, his records do say that the illnesses do not seem to cause much trouble and he would ‘suit home defence’. It’s not clear though whether this comment was written before or after the final medical diagnosis.
There is a record of a Hugh Keany serving in the Royal Defence Corps. He enlisted with them on 16 March 1915 (10 days after he was discharged form the Fusiliers, so he wasted no time). He served with 319 Protection Company, R.D.C. until 12 February 1917, when he was again discharged on medical grounds. He was then awarded the Silver War Badge. 319 Pro.Co. served under Western Command but I don’t know anything more about what he would have done or where he would have been posted.
The final military record is from CWGC, which records Hugh as serving as a Private in the Royal Army Pay Corps and he was still in uniform when he died, on 28 January 1921, aged 48.
Service Number 24447
Date of Death: 28/01/1921
Service/Regiment: Royal Army Pay Corps, formerly (19069) The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
Cemetery/memorial reference: G. 3. North part.
Cemetery: BROWNEDGE (ST. MARY) ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCHYARD
Additional Information: Husband of Teresa Keany, of 8 Back Lane, School Lane, Preston.