Dominick (aka George) Brannan

Name: Dominick Brannan
Rank:
Private
Unit/Regiment: ‘B’ Company, 1st Battalion, The King’s (Liverpool Regiment)
Service Number
: 6256
Date of Death:
19 May 1915
Memorial:
Le Touret Memorial, Pas de Calais, France

Inscription on Le Touret Memorial, under the name Brannen G

Unusually, I believe Dominick Brannan appears twice on Batley War Memorial: under the name Dominic Brennan, and also as George Brannen. Here is his story, and the explanation behind his double commemoration.

Dominick’s parents were Mark Brannan and Mary Mulligan, whose marriage was registered in the Wigan district in 1866. The family surname has several spelling variations, including Brennan and Brannen.1 For consistency I will stick to the St Mary’s War Memorial spelling of Brannan. I will also use the St Mary’s War Memorial Christian name spelling of Dominick, rather than Dominic which is how he is recorded in most records.

His parents Mark and Mary were both Irish-born, with the 1911 census putting Mary’s birthplace as ‘Kilomare’, County Mayo – possibly a corruption of Kilmore Townland.2 After their marriage the couple initially lived in Lancashire. This is where their first two children were born – Michael in 1868, and Peter, whose birth was registered in 1869. The censuses pinpoint their birthplaces as Ashton, which in this case seems to be a shortened form of Ashton in Makerfield. By the birth of their third child, John, in June 1870 the family lived in Batley, and were recorded as at New Street in the following year’s census.3

Mark Brannan worked as a coal miner. Mary, for who no employment is recorded in the 1871 census, latterly worked in the woollen industry as a rag sorter in 1881,4 a weaver in 1891,5 a rag sorter in an 1899 document,6 and a woollen cloth refiner in 1901.7 This work was around pregnancy after pregnancy, and looking after her growing family. At one point in the 1870s Mary was having a child virtually every year.

In fact Mary gave birth to 14 children during her marriage. Her 1911 census entry helpfully, though given her widowed status at this point unnecessarily, records this information, showing nine children still living.8

All 14 children have been identified. Following Michael, Peter and Batley-born John, who died in November 1882, the other Brannan children were: Margaret, born in 1871, and died in June 1878; Harriet, born in 1873 and died in 1876; James born in 1874; Catherine born in 1875; Martin born in 1877; Mary born in 1878; Dominick, born on 10 August 1879; Annie born in 1881; Alice born in 1883; Mark born in 1885; and finally Bridget, born in 1887.

There is no son named George among these 14 children. This is all backed up by GRO Index searches, and parish baptisms. Neither does a George appear in any census entry with the family. This is one piece of evidence for the name of George being as an alias in military service records, including those relating to the First World War.

In the 1891 census, in the Brannan’s three-roomed house at 6, New Street were Mark and Mary, plus their now 11 children, who ranged from 23 years old downwards.9 And it was in this house that tragedy struck in 1899. The subsequent inquest report gives some evidence of the crowding difficulties and their impact on sleeping arrangements, even with by now a reduced number of children living permanently at the family home.10

Ordnance Survey Maps – 25 inch England and Wales, 1841-1952, Yorkshire CCXXXII.11, Surveyed: 1889-1892, Published: 1894 – National Library of Scotland, under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC-BY-NC-SA) licence

In the early morning of 25 November 1899 one of the Brannan’s daughters, 18-year-old Annie, died. A rag sorter like her mother, she had been in good health until around four months before her death. This health issue was attributed to a growth spurt – the doctor said she was not producing sufficient blood! The medicine prescribed seemed to do the trick, though her sister, Mary, said she did occasionally vomit, and was not strong. But, until the day before her death, according to Mary she never complained of any pain. Mary’s evidence here though was contradicted in that given by neighbour Bridget Gannon, who said Annie did occasionally complain of chest pain.

On the Friday morning, 24 November, Annie ate a hearty breakfast and went to work as usual at the mill at around 8 o’clock. However, she returned home two hours later complaining of a pain under her left breast. Her mother applied a plaster with some kind of pain relief preparation to ease the discomfort. She also gave her some kind of medicinal concoction, along with milk and soda water, after which Annie went to bed. Drowsy, Annie did not feel up to eating solid food, and remained in bed for the rest of the day. There was no indication though that she was dangerously ill. She even told Bridget Gannon, who popped round, that she would be all right and able to go to work in the morning.

Older sister Mary, who slept in the same room as Annie, along with younger sister Alice, was tasked with taking care of her through the night. Annie’s mother, Mary, also slept in the same room that night and several times gave her ailing daughter drinks of soda water and milk. She called to son Mark to be quiet when he got up for work at about 3.45am on Saturday morning. At around that time Annie drank another full cup of milk and soda water and told her mother she believed she was getting better. She reiterated she thought she would be able to go to work later on Saturday morning.

At this point Dominick, who was home on furlough from the army, came upstairs. Annie sent him away saying she wanted to sleep.

An hour later Mary woke her mother to say the now sleeping Annie was cold. Another blanket was placed on her. But thirty minutes later Mary again called out to say Annie, lying next to sister Alice, was dead, wrapt up just as her mother had left her.

The jury at the inquest, held on Monday 27 November 1899 at the White Hart Inn on the Wellington Street junction with New Street, found Annie died of natural causes.11 The pub is no more, a residential building stands there. A pub sign is the only evidence of its former incarnation.

This image was taken from the Geograph project collection. Photo date 15 February 2008. See this photograph’s page on the Geograph website for the photographer’s contact details. The copyright on this image is owned by Betty Longbottom and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

As can be seen from the above account, Dominick saw Army service from an early age. A coal miner by trade, the October before his sister’s death, after serving 14 days with the militia, he enlisted in Warrington as a Private with The King’s (Liverpool Regiment). He signed on for three years Army service, followed by nine years on the Army Reserve. Assigned to the 2nd Battalion, his allotted service number was 6256.12

His medical examination described him as standing at 5’ 3½”, weighing 116lbs, with a sallow complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. He had numerous scars over the back and base of his right thumb, a linear scar on the middle finger of his left hand and a scar at the back of his head.13

His age was given as 18 years two months, equating to a birth date of 1880, not 1879. I’m not overly concerned about this, as birthdates – particularly military attestation ones – can be notoriously inaccurate. But by far the most curious part of his attestation documents was the fact he signed, and served, under the name of George Brennen.14 Buried amongst these same service papers though is confirmation that he was indeed also known as Dominick.

Other information gleaned from his service papers included his education level, ranked at 3rd Class for reading, writing and arithmetic terms.15 This meant he could read a short paragraph from a more advanced reading book; he could write a sentence slowly dictated once by a few words at a time, from the same book; and he could also undertake arithmetic up to long division standard and understand compound rules around money.16

In terms of military accomplishments, he was rated as a 2nd Class Shot in the musketry classification.17 Troops could be classified as Marksman, 1st Class, 2nd Class or 3rd Class Shots, the latter being sub-standard. The majority of British troops, even cavalry, were excellent marksman with 50 per cent of troops in some battalions rated as Marksman, with the rest being 1st and 2nd class shots.18

As for his duties, after initially being employed as a cycle orderly at the Curragh in County Kildare, he eventually became a signaller – a role he retained throughout the remainder of his military service.19 And it was at the Curragh Camp’s Beresford Barracks that Dominick can be found in the 1901 Irish Census, on the roll of the Regiment’s 2nd Battalion, ‘G’ Company.20

He had a couple of minor blemishes on his military record in these early days, both for drunkenness and both whilst serving at Curragh Camp. These occurred in May and July 1902. On each occasion his punishments were seven days confined to barracks. Overall though his conduct was described as very good, and he received proficiency pay after the two-year service mark.21

He transferred to the Army Reserve on 19 July 1902, returning to his New Street family home in Batley. Here he resumed his civilian occupation as a coal miner. He later joined the St Mary’s Batley Branch of the National Catholic Benefit and Thrift Society, being one of 11 members listed in March 1916 who gave their lives for their King and Country.22 He was also a member of the Batley (John Dillon) Branch of the United Irish League.23

And it was here in Batley that he came to the attention of the local police on several occasions. Two of these landed him with short stays in Wakefield Prison.

The first of these custodial sentences on 8 August 1904 was for being drunk and disorderly on 2 August in Hume Street. It was his fourth offence that year.24 In default of paying the fine he ended up staying 10 days at His Majesty’s pleasure.25 Although he was now back in civilian life, HMP Wakefield contacted his Regiment because he was on the Army Reserve. It is this paperwork which thankfully ended up on his service papers files and has survived….confirming that his name was “Dominic Brannen,” not George under which he served. The Batley Police Court offence was also duly entered on his Regimental Defaulter Sheet documenting his misdemeanours.26 This is the keystone piece of evidence for Dominick serving in the military as George.

Dominick’s second detention at Wakefield Prison, and now his seventh conviction,27 was consecutive sentences of seven and 10 days in event of failing to pay his fine and costs.28 His sentence commenced on 24 May 1907. Again the offence was one of drunk and riotous behaviour.29 This prison sentence though did not this time reach the attention of The King’s (Liverpool Regiment), according to his surviving paperwork. And this imprisonment came less than a month after the death of his father, Mark, on 29 April 1907.30

But this was not the only loss the Brannans faced in this period. Interspersed between Dominick’s two prison sentences came another huge blow for the family. Military service is a thread which runs through the Brannan brothers, both as pre-War Regulars as well as with Great War service. Besides Dominick, I have found military links for four other brothers – Peter, James, Martin and Mark.

Martin served briefly in the first part of 1897 with the 3rd Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment, before transferring to the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in June 1897. And like Dominick his attestation age is inaccurate, given as 18 years one month in June 1897, equating to an 1879 not 1877 birth date. He served with them in South Africa during the 2nd Boer War.31 But it was whilst with them at Gosport, on 22 July 1905, that he died of illness.32

But throughout all this turbulent period, military life did not lose its appeal to Dominick. In June 1910, with his Army Reserve service due to come to an end in October, displaying neat, legible penmanship, he requested to be kept on. He wrote (spelling and punctuation as per the letter):

Sir
I wish to try
and engage in Section D
Army Reserve I would be
thankful if you would give
me instructions how to proceed
Yours

G Brennan
801 Walker Rd
Newcastle on Tyne

6256
The Kings
Liverpool Regt33

One example of Dominick signing himself as George for military service. Note also the Brennan spelling of his surname. And the neatness of his writing.

The Newcastle address from which he wrote, according to the 1911 census the following year, was the home of the Carney family who hailed from Batley.34

He was duly sent, and completed, the required re-engagement forms. His medical examination showed he now stood at 5’ 5”, with a chest measurement of 36”, waist of 37”, and size seven boots. On 6 August 1910 he was accepted for a further four years on the Reserve on expiration of service.35 It proved to be a fateful decision. It meant he was now on the Reserve at outbreak of war.

On 5 August 1914, the day after Britain’s declaration of war in Germany, he rejoined the Army, posted to the Regiment’s 3rd Battalion at Seaforth, Liverpool. It was in these early days of his renewed service that his defaulter sheet shows two more transgressions at Crosby on 14 and 22 August for being absent from guard.36

Then, before the month was out, on 31 August 1914, he was sent out to France to join the 1st Battalion who had already been involved in fierce fighting.37 Depleted by the Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, the Battle of the Marne, and then their involvement in the early phases of the Battle of the Aisne, Dominick (or George to give him is military alias) is listed amongst the Battalion’s third lot of reinforcements, joining them on 22 September 1914 at billets at Oeuilly.

After Dominick’s initial few weeks in France, on 15 October the Battalion received orders to move north, final destination Belgium and the Battles of Ypres 1914 (First Ypres). This series of battles took place between 19 October and 22 November 1914. It was a desperate fight to the east of Ypres as the Germans repeatedly pushed to capture the city. It ultimately resulted in trench warfare and the entrenched, stagnant positions synonymous with the First World War. And it was during this period, on 14 November 1914, that Dominick’s mother died.38

The 1st King’s Regiment did not become actively involved in First Ypres until 24 October, described as an unforgettable date in their history. This was because their Commanding Officer, Lieut.-Colonel William Stirling Bannatyne, was shot through the heart by a sniper, and killed. The death of a Commanding Officer, particularly in conflict, could have a huge impact on officers and men. 39

The 1st King’s then spent until mid-November in and around the Polygon Wood area, in the the triangle formed by Ypres and the villages of Gheluvelt and Zonnebeke. Black Watch Corner, Polderhoek, Veldhoek, the Nonne Bosschen Wood (Nun’s Wood), Hooge and Bellewaarde Farm were all to become unwantedly familiar to them, as they experienced heavy shellfire day upon day, and repulsed repeated German attempts to break through the line.

I will focus on the critical events around 11 November 1914 to give some idea what Dominick’s battalion faced in this period.

An indication of conditions is given in an account written in 1923 by Captain Miller of the 1st Battalion The Kings Regiment, appended to the unit war diary. In relation to events of 11 November he describes these as follows:

It must be remembered that the Batt[alio]n, in addition to being weak in numbers, and occupying a very broad front, had been shelled almost continuously for eleven days, with practically no British counter artillery-fire, and that the lack of any hot meals or hot drinks, or any washing and sanitary facilities whatsoever, had greatly impaired the health of the troops, and the fact of being shot at all day and night without being able to shoot back was beginning to make itself felt.40

Everard Wyrall in his official Great War history of the King’s Regiment describes the men in this period living and fighting in holes full of water, and thick slimy, sticky mud which clung to clothes and clogged rifles.41

Captain Hudson, 1st King’s adjutant, described on 11 November “the most awful bombardment I have ever been under.42

The Prussian Guard attacked ‘B’ and ‘A’ Companies at around 7 a.m that 11 November morning, in pitch black the men:

…whose nerves had, by this time, been badly overstrained, immediately opened rapid fire, and from the trenches of the King’s Regiment there belched an almost continuous sheet of flame which continued for about 15 minutes….. Just as dawn was breaking, what appeared to be another German attack was seen to be developing along the battalion front. Again sheets of flame leapt from the trenches held by the King’s men, and for several minutes there was continuous rapid fire.

Gradually it became light, and soon it was possible to see what had happened. To the utter astonishment of the King’s men, what was thought to be a second German attack was, in reality, a continuous “wall” of German dead and wounded lying several deep in line parallel with the battalion front, and from 25 to 70 yards away. That first burst of rapid fire had done such terrible execution that, in spite of the great masses of the Germans who had advanced to the attack, not one had reached the trenches of the King’s men. There they lay, in serried ranks, shot down by that deadly “rapid fire” — ghastly evidence of the efficiency of the peace-time training of the British soldier in the use of the rifle.43

The 1st King’s had repulsed the first attack wave by the Prussian Guard, shooting down hundreds of enemy in the process. All this under extreme conditions, while nerves were so frayed and fire so rapid that rifles overheated; and all without the aid of any machine gun fire as their two machine guns were out of action, blown up by German shell fire.

The King’s Regiment were eventually relieved on 18 November. General French inspected and addressed the battalion as follows on 26 November 1914:

Officers, N.C.O’s and men of the Kings Liverpool Regiment. It gives me great pleasure to be able to come here today to see you….

I have come to congratulate you on the work your Regiment has done. You bear on your colours names and records of battles in which your Regiment has fought and distinguished itself; you have added to their list, and have worthily upheld the tradition and fame of your Regiment….It has been due to the splendid determination and fighting qualities of you British soldiers that we have been able to maintain our line against great odds. You have never failed to keep your line. I congratulate you all on the fine performance of your Regiment.44

The first Christmas of the war came and went. After a hard frost Christmas Day dawned, cold and foggy. Christmas dinner was taken at noon because the battalion were due to relieve the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in the trenches at Cuinchy, in northern France. According to the King’s Liverpool Regiment unit war diary the King’s Royal Rifle Corps were quite annoyed at being relieved – the trenches were described by 1st King’s adjutant Captain Hudson as “the best trenches we have been in.45

This bright spot was an exception. On the whole the diary contains descriptions of the horrendously unrelenting cold, wet, and occasionally snowy, conditions; this before the spells in the trenches, and the interminable stream of casualties, resulting from them. It all took its toll on the men. On 16 January 1915 the diary contains the following entry which gives testimony to the effects it all took. At this point they were in billets at Hingette where they:

…started a bathing establishment to bathe all the men who are in a verminous condition also arranging to wash all blankets with crusot [sic] M[edical] O[fficer] says great amount of sickness is due to men being in such a bad state.47

But the men retained their humour, even in the midst of these dreadful conditions. On 27 January, Kaiser Wilhelm’s birthday, the battalion received news during the night of action in the North Sea. One company of men obtained a large door and chalked the following notice on it:

Great Naval Victory
BLUCHER                 sunk
SEDLITZ                  }
                                   }BENT
DERFBINGER       }48

They then put it up in front of their nearest post. Despite the incorrect spelling of the Seydlitz and Derfflinger the Germans got the message, a reference to the Battle of Dogger Bank on 24 January in which these German armoured and battle cruisers suffered. The inflamed Germans proceeded to shoot at the sign, damaging it.

The other event which marked a change from the now established routine of rotation from billets to trenches, punctuated by occasional attacks, occurred on 1 March 1915. At 7.20 a.m. HRH the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VIII of abdication notoriety) visited their trenches and was shown dead Germans!49

Days later it was back to their own losses, with an attack on 10 March, the opening day of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. By the time the 1st King’s were relieved, just before midnight, their casualties totalled 219. This comprised six officers and 39 other ranks killed; three officers and 109 wounded; and 62 other ranks missing.50

Four days later, on 14 March 1915, Dominick was in trouble, for being drunk in billets at Bethune. He was awarded seven days Field Punishment No. 1.51 This:

…consisted of the convicted man being shackled in irons and secured to a fixed object, often a gun wheel or similar. He could only be thus fixed for up to 2 hours in 24, and for not more than 3 days in 4, or for more than 21 days in his sentence. This punishment was often known as ‘crucifixion’ and due to its humiliating nature was viewed by many Tommies as unfair.52

Two months later Dominick was taking part in the Battle of Festubert. Everard Wyrall described it thus:

No soldier can read the story of the King’s Regiment (Liverpool) at Festubert in 1915, without a quickening of the pulse and the red blood coursing more quickly through his veins. For it is a story of fine leadership, hard fighting, and, despite great losses, undaunted courage in the face of fierce opposition from the enemy…53

Dominick was one of the losses. His Casualty Form states he was wounded in action at Richeburg (the correct spelling is Richebourg) between 16-19 May 1915. The next entry changes this to ‘killed in action’ between these two dates.54 Official records put his death date as 19 May 1915, which is the night when the battalion were relieved and came out of the line. 2nd Division casualty figures between midnight 15 May to 7 p.m. 20 May puts the 1st Kings losses at 639 killed, wounded and missing.55

These enormous figures may in part explain why there is no official 1st King’s unit war diary for the month of May 1915. Their account is extracted from the private diary of its Commanding Officer, Lt-Col C. J. Steavenson.

It is not clear when Dominick, who was in ‘B’ Company, died. Reading Steavenson’s account it could in theory have been as early as the 16 May. His account records on that day:

At 3.30 a.m. B Co[mpan]y attempted the crossing [of No-Man’s Land] by platoons; the first one was mown down by machine-gun fire …on the right; the second was out before it could be stopped and was also wiped out, but the third one was stopped. Then started a very heavy bombardment of our front and communication trenches, which lasted all day. The communication trench was completely wrecked. We suffered heavily (over 100 casualties) as there was not the slightest bit of parados to protect the men from the back explosions.56

It was in the aftermath of this action that the King’s Regiment won its first Victoria Cross of the war, when Lance-Corporal Joseph Tombs went out into No-Man’s Land to bring in the wounded. Wyrall describes the ground as:

…being littered with the dead, dying and wounded men. Through the awful crashing of shells agonising cries from the wounded could be heard — one of the most heart-rending sounds on the battlefield.57

‘B’ Company was not wiped out by this early carnage, and were involved in attacks on 17 May. But by the end of that night all Companies were reduced to about 60 men each. Despite this, even at 4.20 p.m. the following day, 18 May, ‘B’ and ‘C’ Companies were involved in further attacks. The worn-out battalion was finally pulled back, relieved through the night of the 19 May.58

On 21 June 1915, increasingly worried at the lack of news, his family contacted his Regiment. The letter read (I have kept the original spelling and punctuation):

Dear Sir
I would be very pleased if
you could give me any
information as to the whereabouts
of my brother No6256 Pte
G. Brennen 1st B[attalio]n Kings Liverpool
Reg[imen]t. Reported wounded at Richebourg Battery 16th-19th
of May we have not had a letter
from him since 15 May I remain your
Humble Servant Mr J Brennan
No 6 New St Batley Yorks59

There was no positive news, a death report being forwarded to his family. On 21 December 1915 the War Office wrote to the Infantry Records Office in Preston asking them to forward any articles or personal property belonging to him to his family in New Street. They also said that any medals granted to the deceased should be sent to his sister Bridget at that address.60

Dominick was awarded the 1914 Star, Victory Medal and British War Medal (under the name of George).

Dominick (George) Brannan’s 1914 Star with Clasp and Victory Medal from my Batley St Mary’s One-Place Study Collection – Photo by Jane Roberts

Dominick has no known grave and is commemorated on Le Touret Memorial, Pas de Calais, France, under the name G Brannen. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note he was the son of Mark and Mary Brannen, of 6, New St., Batley, Yorks.61

As for his brothers who served during the Great War, Mark was wounded in the German Spring Offensive and taken prisoner, but survived. James and Peter also saw service with the Army. Both survived.

Dominick’s brother Mark

As I mentioned at the outset I strongly believe Dominick Brannan appears twice on Batley War Memorial. His first entry, as Dominic Brennan, is on the original Memorial plaques which were officially unveiled on 27 October 1923. The second entry, as George Brannen, is on the addenda panel unveiled by then MP Mike Wood on Remembrance Sunday, 14 November 1999. The programme for that unveiling gives additional details as follows:

BRANNEN. Pte George, aged 33,62 B Company, 1st Battalion, The King’s (Liverpool) Regt, died 19 May 1915. Named on Le Touret Memorial, France.63

This information appears to be taken directly from his Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry, which also has the additional information about his parent’s names and their address. It would be interesting to see the research behind this addition. However, based on my exhaustive research, I still firmly hold the opinion that George was an alias used by Dominick when enlisting, and one carried throughout his Army service. He was recorded on Batley’s War Memorial right from its original unveiling in 1923 under his real name.

To end with, here is a summary for evidence to support my opinion that Dominick and George Brannan/Brannen are one and the same man:

  • The service records for George Brannen which include the letter from HMP Wakefield regarding the 1904 jail sentence for Dominick Brannan, a civil sentence which is then entered on his Regimental Defaulter Sheet;
  • The fact that Mark and Mary Brannan had 14 children. All have been identified. None were registered or baptised as George. No George appears in any census entry for the family;
  • A letter from Batley St Mary’s priest Father Lea dated 20 July 1922 in which he lists the St Mary’s parishioners who died in the war. This includes “Brennan Dominick, Pte, K Liverpool Reg, May 27th 1915.” Note in this letter Brennan, rather than the later St Mary’s War Memorial spelling of Brannan, is used. And the date of death is slightly out. There is no mention of a George in this parish list – which given that Mark, Mary and the family were parishioners is unexpected;
  • The Batley (John Dillon) Irish League Branch and St Mary’s (Batley) Branch of the National Catholic Benefit and Thrift Society, in their early 1916 annual meetings, both mention the death of member Dominick Brannan;
  • Similarly, newspaper reports in 1918 regarding the Brannan family’s military service make no reference to George. The Batley Reporter and Guardian mentions the death of Dominick. The Batley News though, in more name confusion, state “Signaller Donald Brennan was killed in France three years ago.” The year of death and trade match those of Dominick; and
  • In a search of military records there is no death for a Dominick Brannan, or variants, in The King’s (Liverpool Regiment). There is only one Dominick Brannan (and variants) British Great War death irrespective of regiment, and he is accounted for as another St Mary’s man who died in 1918.

No photo of Dominick has been traced. If anyone does have one, or if you have any further information, please do get in touch.


Footnotes:
1. The inconsistency is demonstrated by the fact Brennan, Brannan and even Bannon appear on his military records; Brannan and Brennan on St Mary’s records.
2. 1911 England & Wales Census, The National Archives (TNA) Ref: RG14/27244/115.
3. 1871 England & Wales Census, The National Archives (TNA) Ref: RG10/4581/31/26/145. Note this is the most likely entry for the family despite Mark being recorded as Martin, and Peter as Billie. One of the keys here are the birthplaces for Michael and Billie being Ashton, Lancs.
4. 1881 England & Wales Census, The National Archives (TNA) Ref: RG11/4546/20/34/147.
5. 1891 England & Wales Census, The National Archives (TNA) Ref: RG12/3718/79/33/187.
6. West Yorkshire Coroner Notebooks, West Yorkshire Archive Service (WYAS), Ref: C493/K/2/1/215.
7. 1901 England & Wales Census, The National Archives (TNA) Ref: RG13/4255/77/20/125.
8. 1911 England & Wales Census, Ibid.
9. 1891 England & Wales Census, Ibid.
10. West Yorkshire Coroner Notebooks, Ibid.
11. The account of Annie’s death is taken directly from the West Yorkshire Coroner’s Notebook, rather than relying on newspaper reports which contain some discrepancies.
12. George Brannen British Army Service Records, TNA Burnt Records, Ref: WO363.
13. George Brannen British Army Service Records, Ibid.
14. George Brannen British Army Service Records, Ibid.
15. George Brannen British Army Service Records, Ibid.
16. “The Standards of Education in Schools in England from 1872.” The Victorian School. Accessed February 21, 2022. http://www.victorianschool.co.uk/school%20history%20lessons.html.
17. George Brannen British Army Service Records, Ibid.
18. Historicalfirearms. “The Mad Minute Marksmanship Training in the…” Historical Firearms, February 15, 2013. https://www.historicalfirearms.info/post/43102565094/the-mad-minute-marksmanship-training-in-the.
19. George Brannen British Army Service Records, Ibid.
20. 1901 Irish Census.
21. George Brannen British Army Service Records, Ibid.
22. Batley News, 18 March 1916.
23. Batley News, 19 February 1916.
24. Batley Reporter and Guardian, 12 August 1904.
25. HMP Wakefield Nominal Register Number 72; Year Range: 1904 Aug – Oct, WYAS, Ref: C118/182.
26. George Brannen British Army Service Records, Ibid.
27. Batley News, 7 June 1907.
28. HMP Wakefield Nominal Register Number 85; Year Range: 1907 Mar – Jun; WYAS, Ref: C118/195.
29. Batley News, 7 June 1907.
30. Batley News, 3 May 1907.
31. Martin Brannan/Brennan Service Records, TNA, Refs: WO96/1069/100 and WO363.
32. Martin Brannan/Brennan Service Records, Ibid and National Army Museum Soldiers’ Effects Records, 1901-60; NAM Accession Number: 1991-02-333; Record Number Ranges: 110001-111049; Reference: 36.
33. George Brannen British Army Service Records, Ibid.
34. 1911 England & Wales Census, TNA Ref: RG14/30677/65
35. George Brannen British Army Service Records, Ibid.
36. George Brannen British Army Service Records, Ibid.
37. George Brannen British Army Service Records, Ibid.
38. Batley News, 21 November 1914.
39. Wyrall, Everard. The History of the King’s Regiment (Liverpool) 1914-1919. 1. Vol. 1. London: Arnold, 1928.
40. Unit War Diary, 1st King’s Regiment (Liverpool) 1914, TNA Ref: WO-95-1939-1.
41. Wyrall, Everard, Ibid.
42. Unit War Diary, 1st King’s Regiment (Liverpool) 1914, Ibid.
43. Wyrall, Everard, Ibid.
44. Unit War Diary, 1st King’s Regiment (Liverpool) 1914, Ibid.
45. Unit War Diary, 1st King’s Regiment (Liverpool) 1914, Ibid.
46. Unit War Diary, 1st King’s Regiment (Liverpool) 1915, TNA Ref: WO-95-1359-2.
47. Unit War Diary, 1st King’s Regiment (Liverpool) 1915, Ibid.
48. Unit War Diary, 1st King’s Regiment (Liverpool) 1915, Ibid.
49. Unit War Diary, 1st King’s Regiment (Liverpool) 1915, Ibid.
50. Unit War Diary, 1st King’s Regiment (Liverpool) 1915, Ibid.
51. George Brannen British Army Service Records, Ibid.
52. “Military Crimes 1914-1918 British Army.” The Long, Long Trail, July 26, 2016. https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/a-soldiers-life-1914-1918/military-crimes-1914-1918-british-army/.
53. Wyrall, Everard, Ibid.
54. George Brannen British Army Service Records, Ibid.
55. Unit War Diary, 1st King’s Regiment (Liverpool) 1915, Ibid.
56. Unit War Diary, 1st King’s Regiment (Liverpool) 1915, Ibid.
57. Wyrall, Everard, Ibid.
58. Unit War Diary, 1st King’s Regiment (Liverpool) 1915, Ibid.
59. George Brannen British Army Service Records, Ibid.
60. George Brannen British Army Service Records, Ibid.
61. Cwgc. “The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.” CWGC. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://www.cwgc.org/.
62. He was in actuality 35.
63. Programme for unveiling Batley War Memorial addenda panel, 14 November 1999.


Other Sources:
• Batley Cemetery Burial Registers.
• England and Wales Censuses, 1881 to 1911, TNA, various references.
• GRO Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes.
• International Committee of the Red Cross Prisoner of War records.
• Long, Long Trail website.
• Medal Award Rolls.
• Medal Index Cards.
• National Library of Scotland maps;
• Newspapers – various editions of the Batley papers;
• Parish Registers – various.
• Soldiers Died in the Great War.
• Soldiers’ Effects Register.