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Flannery 1According to official birth records Louis Flannery was born in Preston in the June quarter of 1899 to Charles Edwin and Annie Flannery (nee Davies). His parents married in the church of St. Thomas in Preston on the 25th October, 1898.

Louis had three sisters; Lily (1897), May (1900) and Lena (1902). In 1901 Louis, his parents and two sisters Lily and May were living at 56 Elcho Street in Preston. Charles and Annie were both employed as weavers of fancy cotton goods.

The 1911 Census shows they had moved to 21 Broughton Street in Preston. Louis`s parents were both still weavers and his sister Lily was a weaver`s tenter. Louis was a `half timer`, attending school in the morning and then going to work in the mill in the afternoon.

Somehow on the 3 November, 1914 Louis managed to enlist when he was only 15 years old. However, the medical inspection form shown below states his `apparent age` as 19 years. He was 5`5” tall so slightly taller than the average lad of his age. Louis and his family were living at 26 Eldon Street at the time of his enlistment and according to later information he was an apprentice to Mr. Platt, a printer of Fishergate in Preston.

Flannery 2

He was allocated the number 3165 and posted to the 4th Battalion.

Louis signed his agreement to serve abroad in the event of a national emergency on the 4th January, 1915 at Blackpool, he was still only 15 years old.

On the 4th May, 1915 Louis sailed to France with the 1/4th Battalion and just over a month later on the 15th June, 1915 he was killed in action at Festubert aged just 16 years.

The Lancashire Daily Post printed an extract of a letter sent from Captain J. Widdows to Mr and Mrs Flannery in Preston, the tone of which suggests they had been trying to find out what had happened to Louis;

I have made numerous enquiries amongst the men who were with him, and in my own mind, I don`t think there is any doubt about him. He was shot in the stomach just after we had taken the first line of German trenches, and his death must have been instantaneous. I only wish it were possible to find our missing, but I am afraid this cannot be, and can only hope that our enemies give them a burial befitting soldiers and brave men” – Captain J. Widdows

The article also goes on to mention that his father Charles Edwin Flannery was a National Reservist and was employed at the Lathom Park Remount Depot near Ormskirk. It also states that Private Flannery`s Uncle was Leading Seaman Louis Flannery of H.M.S. Lord Nelson.

Sadly, Louis Flannery has no known grave and so his name is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial to the Missing. Louis is also remembered on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and Public Library in Preston (pictured below).

Flannery 3

Louis was later awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals which his father Charles signed for.

Rank: Private
Service No: 3165
Date of Death: 15/06/1915
Age: 16
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

Janet Davis
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