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Private William Durkin

Civilian Occupation: CollierDURKIN-PHOTO DURKIN-TEXT

William Durkin was 35 when he died at Ypres on 23/10/1914.

His sacrifice is recalled at the YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL and he is recorded in the Chorley Memorial Album in Astley Hall on page CMB/II/15a.  He attended Sacred Heart, Chorley.

Notes of his life and service include: 

Enlisted in Regular Army. One of general French’s “Contemptible Little Army”, and amongst the first Regulars who landed in France in August 1914. Killed in retreat of Mons [See below]. Son of Thomas and Margaret Durkin, of 7 Leigh Row, Chorley, Lancs.

Possible link to James Durkin [CMB/II/16b] not clearly established.

The Register of Soldiers’ Effects notes he Enlisted in Chorley 4/9/1909 at the age of 18 years and 110 months, though an earlier date can be seen below. He was a Collier. It also notes he is killed in action at Ypres 23/10/1914. His sole legatee was his father, Thomas.

Attestation Paper for 4th September 1902 shows he enlisted at the age of 18 and 10 months. Religion as Roman Catholic. Address at this stage is given as 1 Elliot Street, though an address of 108 Standish Street for a J Durkin has been added alongside. Transferred to Army Reserve 1905. Mobilised 5/8/1914. Posted 12/8/1914. Killed in Action 13/10/1914 at Ypres [though CMB specifies Mons]. Address of father given as 108 Standish Street and crossed out to be given as 13 Balcarres Road, Chorley.

A entry in the Service Record dated 2/2/1915 regarding the return of personal possessions after William Durkin’s death has his father’s address as 1 Elliot Street, Chorley, though 108 Standish Street is scribbled at an angle on the botton of the form. [See above for 13 Balcarres Road].

An early medical report notes he was admitted to hospital at the age of 22 years andter 3 years of service 10/9/1905 to 24/9/1905 with a syphalitic swollen left tonsil.

Service Record notes occupation as Collier in civilian life in connection with 108 Standish Street address.

In a form regarding living relatives dated 10/5/1917 the following addresses are given:  Father, Thomas Durkin, 13 Balcarres Road  Brother, John Durkin, Brook Street. Hugh Durkin, 128 Standish Street. Annie, in America. Mary, 13 Balcarres Road. Uncles William Dawney and Thomas Dawney Standish Street. His father was living at 14 Balcarres Road, Chorley according to this form.

His brother, John Durkin, served in WW1 and his Service Record survives. Peter Nolan [CMB-II-47b] and Agnes McPartlin families witnessed the brother’s  marriage in 1915. Thomas, another brother, served and his Service Record Survives. Thomas Durkin, of 16 Standish Street, Chorley, was wounded and invalided home.

The 1911 Census has him at 108 Standish Street: Thomas Durkin (56, Head, Collier, Born in Chorley), Annie McPartlin (33, Daughter, Cardroom Hand, Married 11 years, 3 children, 2 living, 1 dead), William Durkin (31, Son, Collier, Coal Labourer, Undergroiund, Born in Chorley), Thomas Durkin (20, Collier, Labourer, Underground, Born in chorley), Frederick Durkin (12, grandson, Born in chorley), Margaret McPartlin (9, Granddaughter, Born in Chorley).

1901 Census has him at 108 Standish Street. His household comprises:  Thomas Durkin (46, Head, Widower, Coal Miner, Hewer, Born in Chorley), William Durkin (21, Son, Coal Miner, Hewer, Born in Chorley), Mary (18, Daughter, Rover in Cotton Mill, Cotton Card, Born in Chorley), John Durkin (17, Son, Coal Miner, Hewer, Born in Chorley), Catherine Durkin (15, Daughter, Cotton Creeler, Cotton Card, Born in Chorley), Hugh Durkin (13, Son, Dodger,  Tenter, Cotton Works, Born in Chorley), Thomas (10, Son, Born in Chorley).

His entry in the 1891 Census has not yet been identified.

William Durkin was born in Chorley in 1880. His mother’s maiden name was Downs.  Thomas Durkin and Margaret Downs were married by Registrar in Chorley in 1877.

Margaret Downs’ brother, Thomas Downs, married Jane Gilmartin by Registrar in 1884. Thomas Downs was the cousin of William Durkin  [CMB/II/15a] though the marriage of his father’s sister, Margaret, to  Thomas Durkin. The 1891 Census is significant as it shows that Jane Downs and Ann Whittle were sister, which makes Thomas Downs [CMB/II/13b] and James Whittle [CMB/II/23a] cousins.

Rank: Private
Service No: 6849
Date of Death: 23/10/1914
Age: 35
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

Adam Cree
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