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202216 PTE. J. NAGLE. L.N.LAN.R.


Joseph Nagle was born in the last quarter of 1880 in Everton, Liverpool.  His family background is somewhat obscure.  His mother was Bridget Mary Nagle (b 1842 in Co. Dublin).  In the 1911 Census, Bridget says she had 11 children, 9 of whom survived.  Her previous married name was Kenny, and she had at least one daughter from that marriage – Maggie Kenny (b. 1865).  The other surviving children I have identified are Kate and Mary (Kenny or Nagle?, b. 1872 and 1874 respectively), then Joe and finally Chris (b. 1884) (both Nagle).  Bridget (now twice widowed) moved to Bamber Bridge in the late 1880s and by 1901 was living on Duddle Lane.  In 1911, she was living on Station Road and the Census lists another daughter, Mary aged 24 (b. 1887), but this doesn’t fit with the other Census data – very odd.  On Joe’s attestation form, he gives his address as 166 Station Road, Bamber Bridge (his mother’s address, though he wasn’t living there in 1911).  He was a cotton weaver.


Joe attested on 7 February 1916, aged 35, and he was called up just over a month later.  He was a slightly-built man, being only 5’2” tall and weighing 103lbs.  He was initially assigned service number 5104 but this was later changed to 202216.  He was posted to 2/4 Battalion, L.N.LAN.R.  The Battalion formed part of 170th Brigade in the 57th (West Lancashire) Division. In the months before their departure for France, the Battalion engaged in training at Willsborough, Barham Downs and in and around Aldershot. They embarked at Southampton on 7 February 1917 and disembarked at Le Havre the following day and then made their way to Sailly sur la Lys (near Armentières on the Belgian border) where they first went into the trenches on 17 February. Although the fighting was light at this time, the conditions were appalling: trenches were poorly maintained and often under water; communication trenches were narrow, deep in mud and all but impassable; parapets were low and in bad repair and the enemy had marked superiority in sniping. The thaw, after the winter, made conditions doubly uncomfortable.

The Battalion remained in this area throughout the summer but, after a month’s further training in September, they moved north to Boesinghe, just north of Ypres, where they went into the trenches on 24 October, as 57th Division prepared to make its contribution to the Second Battle of Passchendaele.


At 3.40 on the morning of 26 October 1917 the Battalion was formed up in its assembly position and moved off to attack at 5.40 and captured their immediate objectives (Mendling and Rubens farms) fairly quickly and with relatively light casualties. In the process, however, all four company commanders had become casualties. The centre of the attack was then held up by heavy fire from German pill boxes. The pill box was eventually taken and a more dominant position achieved, but further advance was impossible due to heavy German machine-gun fire from all sides. The Battalion captured 18 Germans and destroyed several enemy machine-guns. The ground advanced over was very bad, swampy and covered with shell holes.


Joe was listed as missing presumed dead.  He was 37 years old.  112 other officers and men from 2/4Bn were killed that day. 


Rank:  Private

Service No:  202216

Date of Death:  26/10/1917

Regiment/Service:  The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 2nd/4th Bn.

Panel Reference:  Panel 102 to 104.


Joe Nagle was the brother of Chris Nagle, who appears in the list of St Mary’s parishioners who had enlisted before 1915.  Chris served with the Army Veterinary Corps, he was SE18603 Pte. C. Nagle.  I don’t know where he served.  Before the War, in 1905, Chris had married Annie Brierley (b. 1882 in Bamber Bridge).  Annie was my grandfather’s sister.

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