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James (b. 1893) and Thomas (b.1887) Flanagan were the sons of Patrick and Norah Flanagan (née Woods) of Bolton.

In 1901 the family were living at 188 Blackhorse Street, Bolton with his parents and siblings Norah b.1881, Mary b.1883, Catherine (Katie) b.1885, Thomas b.1887,John b.1888 and Ellen b.1892; although the names of Thomas and his father Patrick appear to have been transposed by the enumerator.

James appeared on the 1911 Census living with his widowed mother at 9 Royal Row, Bolton and his siblings, Mary, Catherine, John and Ellen. Thomas had married Phoebe Anne Leigh in Bolton in 1910 and was living at 1 Whittaker Street, Bolton.

When war broke out, James and Thomas enlisted in the Army and joined the 6th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. James had the number 17240, and Thomas was 16990.

James sailed for Gallipoli from Avonmouth aboard HMT Braemar Castle on 15th June 1915, and would be killed in action soon after during the action at Chunuk Bair on the 9th August 1915.

The official despatch about this action states;

“The two battalions of the New Army chosen to hold Chunuk Bair were the 6th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. The first of these arrived in good time and occupied the trenches. Even in the darkness their commanding officer, Lieut-Colonel H.G. Levinge, recognized how dangerously these trenches were sited, and he began at once to dig observation posts on the actual crest and to strengthen the defences where he could; but he had not time given him to do much.

The second battalion, the Wiltshires, were delayed by the intricate country; they did not reach the edge of the entrenchment until 4am, and were then told to lie down in what was believed, erroneously, to be a covered position. At daybreak on Tuesday 10th August, the Turks delivered a grand attack from the Chunuk Bair Hill-Q against these two battalions, already weakened in numbers, though not in spirit, by previous fighting.

First our men were shelled by every enemy gun, and then, at 5.30am, were assaulted by a huge column consisting of no less than a full division, plus a regiment of three battalions.

The Loyal North Lancashire men were simply overwhelmed in their shallow trenches by sheer weight in numbers, whilst the Wiltshires who were caught in the open, were literally almost annihilated. The ponderous mass of enemy swept over the crest, turned the right flank of our line below, swarmed round the Hampshires and General Baldwin’s column, which had to which had to give ground and were only extricated with great difficulty and very heavy losses.

Towards this supreme struggle the absolute last two battalions from our general reserve were now hurried, but by 10am, the effort of the enemy was spent. Soon their shattered remnants began to trickle back, leaving a track of corpses behind them, and by nightfall, except prisoners or wounded, no live Turk was left upon our side of the slope.”

James was initially reported as being missing, but it was later confirmed he had died on that date. He was 22 years old and his body was not recovered from the battlefield. Private James Flanagan is remembered on the Helles Memorial in Gallipoli.

Helles Memorial

Helles Memorial

Having suffered so many casualties, the Battalion required reinforcements. Thomas sailed out as one of these reinforcements on 23rd August 1915 (4 Officers 265 Other Ranks) where they arrived during the first week of September. It is unclear whether he arrived on the shores of Gallipoli and then evacuated, or was dropped off enroute, but he died in Malta from dysentery on 25th September. He was 28 years old and was buried in Addolorata Cemetery.

The Bolton Journal and Guardian of 13th October 1915 reported both deaths;

Mother’s Double Loss
Whilst entertaining fears for the safety of her son, James, who has been reported missing in Gallipoli, Mrs Flannagan (sic), 9, Royal-row, Crook-st., has now learned officially that another son, Lance-Corporal Thomas Flannagan, has died of dysentery. The brothers were both attached to the L.N.L. Regiment, and left for the Dardanelles about six weeks ago. Thomas, who was 28 years of age, leaves a wife and two children, who reside at 1 Whittaker-st. He was formerly employed by Messrs. Brown’s waste merchants, Bridgeman-place. Pte. James Flannagan is 22 years of age, and prior to enlisting in October last year was a fitter at Messrs. Dobson and Barlow’s, Bradley Fold. Both brothers worshipped at St. Patrick’s.

17240 PTE. J. FLANAGAN. L.N.LAN.R.

Rank: Private
Service No: 17240
Date of Death: 09/08/1915
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 6th Bn.
Memorial: HELLES MEMORIAL

16990 LCPL. T. FLANAGAN. L.N.LAN.R.

Rank: Lance Corporal
Service No: 16990
Date of Death: 25/09/1915
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 6th Bn.
Cemetery: ADDOLORATA CEMETERY

* Medal Rolls and Index Cards for Thomas are recorded with the misspelling Flannagan

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DBBC

This article has been reproduced with kind permission from the DBBC young roots heritage project. The young people identified and researched the the servicemen pictured in a 1916 Bolton Journal and Guardian supplement who were killed at Gallipoli. You can visit their website by clicking on the DBBC logo.
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