50481 LCPL. V. LIVESEY. BORD.R.
I am grateful to John Brown, Vincent's nephew, for the family photos and documents.
Vincent Livesey was born in Bamber Bridge in June 1900. His father was John Thomas Livesey (b. 1864 in Walton Le Dale), an overlooker in a cotton mill. His mother was Mary Smith (b. 1867 in Anglezarke, White Coppice). John and Mary were married in 1888 and they had 11 children, though their first, James (1889-93) died young. The survivors were: Mary Ann (b. 1892), Lucy (b. 1893), Thomas (b. 1896), Agnes (b. 1899), then Vincent, then Esther (b. 1902), Wilfred (b. 1904), John (b. 1906), Teresa (b. 1907) and finally Ralph (b. 1910). In 1911, the family lived at 80 Station Road, Bamber Bridge, though they moved just after the Census to 16 Collins Road. Vincent was still at school at the time of the Census, but all his older siblings worked as weavers.
Vincent turned 18 in the summer of 1918, so that’s presumably when he joined up, though the War was now drawing to a bloody close. He joined the Border Regiment, was assigned service number 50481, and was posted to 2nd Battalion.
2nd Battalion, the Border Regiment, had spent the final year of the War fighting in Italy, but in early 1919 they were moved to Ireland, where the War of Independence had just broken out. They were stationed in County Mayo in the west of Ireland. They had few casualties and the Battalion returned to England in 1922. Vincent died of scarlet fever at Castlebar, Co. Mayo, on 28 April 1920, he was 19 years old.
Rank: Lance Corporal
Service Number: 50481
Date of Death: 28/04/1920
Service/Regiment: Border Regiment, 2nd Bn.
Cemetery/memorial reference: In lower part of New Ground.
Cemetery: CASTLEBAR CATHOLIC CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of John Thomas and Mary Livesey, of 16 Collins Road, Bamber Bridge, Preston.
Vincent and brother Tom, 1918
Vincent’s body was not returned to England for burial, but he was given a grave in Castlebar by his mates. This grave was not adopted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and over the years the grave fell into disrepair. In 2009, a group of volunteers, the Mayo World War Remembrance Committee, refurbished a number of soldiers' graves in the area, and placed an article in the Lancashire Evening Post to try to contact Vincent’s relatives. John Brown, Vincent’s nephew, read the article and got in touch and John and his two sisters were able to attend a rededication service later that year.
Vincent’s brother was Thomas (b. 1896). It appears that Tom enlisted with the other Briggers in May 1915, in the Royal Field Artillery, C/286. His service number was 680816. However, there are no medal records for Tom and so far as I can make out, he did not serve abroad, at least not with the Artillery. However, a family photograph shows the two brothers both in uniform, so this is something of a conundrum… In the photo of the two brothers above, which was presumably taken in 1918 when Vincent enlisted, Tom is not wearing the RFA bandolier, so he may have been transferred to the RDC or ASC and based at home.
Vincent and Thomas’ sister, Teresa Josephine Livesey was married in 1942 to Thomas Norman Brown (known as Norman), who was another Brigger who served during World War 1.
Norman Brown (b. 1896 in Bamber Bridge) joined the Royal Garrison Artillery, I’m not sure when, but records show that he landed in France with 217 Siege Battery, RGA, on 20 January 1917. His service number was 140814. He spent some time attached to the Hampshire Regiment/Labour Corps and the photo shows him wearing the Hants Reg cap badge.
Norman had a brief period of leave in England at the beginning of March 1918 and he arrived back with his battery near Robeqc on 21 March, as the Germans launched their Spring Offensive. Norman kept a sketchy diary which notes all the various places he was then stationed at until the Armistice on 11 November. The places he mentions are plotted on the map below. His battery was heavily engaged in the second phase of the German Spring Offensive – the Battle of the Lys 9-10 April. They spent the summer in training and preparation for the final assault. They left Auchel on 15 August (just after the 100 Days Offensive had begun) and arrived at Arras 3 days later, to join the final push. They ended the War at Tourcoing, south of Menen, and Norman was demobilised the following year.
He returned to Bamber Bridge where he was first married in 1919 to Annie Thompson. Annie died in 1941, and Norman married Teresa Livesey the following year, and they had four children. Norman died in 1962.