Press Cuttings Commemorating Some of Our Local Catholic War Dead:

 

 

From the Burnley News dated Sat 14 June 1919;

 

FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT: IMPRESSIVE CATHOLIC MEMORIAL SERVICE AT BURNLEY: 72 FALLEN HEROES:


One of the most impressive memorial services ever held in Burnley took place at ST Mary Magdalene's Church , Haslam St on Weds evening, when a special service was conducted in memory of 72 members of the congregation who gave their lives for King and Country in the war. The church was crowded; the congregation being very large composed of the immediate relatives of the men whose memory the service was held. A catafalque draped with the Union Jack, on which was placed a soldiers helmet had been erected on the altar and was surrounded by lighted candles. A fortnight’s mission conducted by Fr. Charles Cooksey, S J of Leeds and Fr. Thomas McPhillips, S J of Leigh is present in progress at St Mary Magdalene’s and at the service on Wed evening the mission Fathers officiated. The service opened with a recitation of the rosary followed by a short address by Fr. McPhillips S J.

THE ROLL OF HONOUR:

The Rev Fr. Cooksey, S J delivered a most impressive discourse which he prefaced by reading the following list of the names of men of St Mary Magdalene’s Church who made the great sacrifice:- Killed in action Pte Wm E Barry, 1st E Lancs; Lance Corporal John Borman, 1st E Lancs; Pte Thomas Callaghan 1/4 R Scots Fus; Pte Lawrence Clarke, Scottish rifles; Pte Albert Clarkson, R F C; Pte John Ed Cor 2nd E Lancs; Pte Michael Desmond, 1st Leicestershires; Pte A Diamond 1st E Lancs; Pte Chas Doran 2/6 E Lancs; Pte Harry Dougherty, 19th Kings Liverpool; Pte William Dougherty, 11th E Lancs; Pte Richard Dunne, 1st E Lancs; Bugler Jas Eckersley, 5th E Lancs; Bomb. Herbert Edmondson, T M B R F A; Gnr Joseph Fairclough R F A; Pte John Feligan, 8th Kings Liverpool; Pte Wm. Flynn E Lancs; Drummer Anthony Flannagan, Pte Joseph Gaynor, Lcpl Irish K L R; Pte John Gladstone, E Lancs; Pte John Hanrahan, A Cyc C; Pte Thomas Hewittson, 7th K O R Lancs; Drummer Jas E Holland 6th K O R lancs; Pte Walter Howarth 1/5 E Lancs; Pte John Hulton, 9th Scottish Rifles; Pte William Johnson 3rd E Lancs; Pte H McCarrick 11th Lanc Fus K B S; L Cp Thomas Mitchell, 1st E Lancs; L/cp H Marshall, Lancs Fus; Pte Hubert Mondy, 2nd Lancs Fus; Pte Patrick Moran, M G C; Pte J H Marsh, 1st E Lancs; Pte George Middleton, 16th Lancs Fus; Pte Anthony O'Neill, R Iriah Rifles; Pte Hubert Parker, 11th E Lancs; Gnr James Riley, R F A; Pte John Jas Robinson, 2/5th E Lancs; Sergt Chas Edgar Salmon, E Lancs; Pte Sam Sharples, E Lancs; Pte Wm Singleton 11th E Lancs; Pte Thomas Smith Welsh Reg; Pte Henry Smith, 2nd E Lancs; Pte H Tarren 1/7th Lancs Fus; Pte Walter Taylor, Scottish rif; Bomb John Thomas 158th Bn R F A; Pte A Wilson 1st E Lancs. Died of wounds: Pte Jack Allen 1/4 L N Lancs; Pte James Boland 7th E Lancs; Pte H Entwistle, 5th E LAncs; Pte Sam Fairclough, 6th L N Lancs; Pte Wm. Fairclough, 1/4 L N Lancs; L/cp Thomas Francis 2nd Manch; Pte Thomas Hy Howard S Wales Bord.; Cpl J A Jackson 7th E Lancs; Pte Fred Kearns, 11th E Lancs; Pte Henry Rushton, 2/4 E Lancs P O W; Pte Chas Smith 1st E Lancs P O W; Pte Arthur Taylor 8th E Lancs; L/Cp John Taylor, E Lancs; L/Cp John Taylor , E Lancs; Torpedoed: Pte Chas Wm Crane, R A M C, H M H S Royal Edward; Sgt Ernest Howarth, R A M C, H M H S Royal Edward; Sgt Patrick Kindall, R A M C H M H S Royal Edward; Ship's cook John F Murphy, H M S Hawke; Died of disease: Pte Thomas McIntyre Labour C; Pte John Thomas Johnson, R D C; Gnr J E Moor, R G A; Ferrier S Sgt Alf Stowe, A S C; Missing (presume killed): Pte James Atherton, 1st E Lancs; Pte james Dunleavy, 2nd Scottish rifles; Pte John Mulrooney, 7/8th R Irish Fus. Died since discharge: Cpl John Donovan, Na. Res and Lab Bn aged &1yrs.

EARLY RUSH FOR SERVICE:

Fr. Cooksey said that night the congregation of St Mary Magdalene’s mourned 72 of its people, practically 3% of its members, it was a heavy toll. When they look back on these last five years, it was well that they should be faced at least once with the fact that such a large number had perished from amongst them. They went forth in the early days of the war. In that congregation as in practically every catholic congregation in England, the Military Service Act made little difference except to the young men who were coming on to 18. They were proud of the fact that the Catholic’s of this country, taken as a body, did not wait for conscription and the result was that of those now in the army the younger men alone showed a good many Catholics. More Catholics had been discharged from the army because there were more there first; more had got their discharge by reason of their long service and the result was that at the present moment he was assured by a Chaplain who had just come from it the proportion of Catholics in the peace army was remarkably small, just as in the war it was remarkably large. The doings of those regiments which contained the largest proportions of Catholics equalled the doings of any of the most gallant troops who served at the front and they were proud of their dead. They delighted to honour them and they must never forget them. They had collected in 10 days in that parish 72 names and there was a number of others yet to come in. They included young and old - a bugler and two drummer boys and the last on the list, old John Donovan who when nearly 70 managed to pass as an able bodied man and served abroad for many months before the secret came out that he was at the end of the ordinary span of human life.

SPLENDID COMRADESHIP:

There was only one reason why those men served - because they thought it was their duty. They were fighting for those they left behind, and they fought the good fight and they fought it well. Whatever men might say of the various phases of the campaign, whatever blame might be laid to leaders at home or abroad: whatever the recriminations, politicians and generals might have between one another, the very enemy themselves acknowledged that the rank and file of the men was splendid. Splendid in fight, splendid in comradeship, sharing and sharing alike, splendid in the cheerfulness with which they underwent those terrible hardships in the first unprepared winter in the trenches and all subsequent mud and snow the cold and dry weather, when there was a lack of water to drink though the men were standing in water to the knees, how they helped one another, the risks they took for one another - they were all splendid. And in that working class congregation of St Mary Magdalene's with not an officers name and but few Sgt's on the list, they could truly say that those men had nobly earned through their fidelity to death the tribute everyone gave them - splendid.

DUTY FAITHFULLY DONE:

They were not all perfect, many of them had their faults but they did their duty to god for country and king. They read of those gallant fellows willingly laying down their lives, sometimes directly to save a wounded comrade and always doing their duty manfully and contributing to the great victory which their blood and exertions won. They willingly laid down their lives for their friend, the greatest love that any man could show. They were Catholics all their lives - doing their duty faithfully and well until death. Fr. Cooksey asked the congregation to remember those men in their prayers before the altar and while reciting the Rosary in church or in their own homes. Let them always remember those 72 who were of their own town, of their own church and baptised in that font where their own children were baptised. let them remember that they died for each one of them, that they might enjoy the peace they were so patiently waiting for. Fr. Cooksey warned the congregation against those people who were trying to embarrass the negotiators who were making superhuman efforts to bring the warring nations to reason. The 3% of the congregation who had made the great sacrifice was not merely the average in that church but were the average in practically every Catholic Church all over the country. A LASTING PEACE: He urged Catholics throughout the country to pray earnestly that the efforts of the negotiators might result in a most honourable and lasting peace. He prayed that God in his mercy might grant rest to the souls of those 72 men who laid down their lives for them and his thought this congregation to hand on from one generation to another the names of those men from St Mary Magdalene's Church who had sacrificed themselves for, those yet unborn for every breath of peace drawn from this time henceforth had been paid for by the blood of those men. Let them therefore not listen to those who would ........ (rest unreadable)

 

This article copyright © George Coppock 2019