Private James McCarthy
6184 1st East Lancashire Regiment
Killed in Action 6th July 1915, aged 33
Lived at 51 Leyland Road
James was born, 1882 at Heywood, Lancashire
Buried in Talana Farm Cemetery, Belgium

Burnleys Great War Centenary Sponsored by: Catherine Blakeley

The McCarthy brothers of Leyland Rd are my Mums Uncles, as is P Lavin (my Great Uncles) I have a copy of the Burnley Express with the article A family hard hit. My Grandmother called her first son James (who died in childhood) and her other son Thomas (who is now 87) after her two brothers who died. My mum can still remember her Uncle Mick of 11 Leyland Rd looking after her as a child whilst her mother worked in the factory at the top of Leyland Rd (my mum lived at 21)

KILLED IN A TRENCH.(Burnley Express 14 July 1915)

Death of a "Good Soldier"

On the eve of coming home for four days leave, Pte, James McCarthy, of the 1st East Lancashire Regiment of 51, Leyland Road, Burnley, has been killed in action somewhere on the Western front. The news was conveyed to his mother by Sergt. F.C. Scott, another Burnley man on Saturday morning. The sergeant wrote - "Dear Mrs. McCarthy, - I am sorry to inform you that your son, James (No. 6184 Pte. J. McCarthy), was killed yesterday morning, Tuesday, 6th July. You have no idea how sorry I am as he was such a good man for doing his duty and work, etc. I was holding a trench with - men, and there was a very heavy bombardment all day yesterday. Two shells dropped into the trench and killed eight men of my platoon. James was amongst them. Most of them were old hands and had done duty here since the start and they will be a great loss to me. But James will be a greater loss to you and also his poor wife. I called on his wife while I was on leave last February. Unfortunately, she was not at home, but I am living in hope to come out a visit if it is my luck to pull through all right.

I don't know the number of his wife's house so kindly break the news to her. You will hear from the War Office, but it may be a week or two. Please except my greatest sympathy to his wife. The remainder of the men in the Platoon wish to send their sympathy to you both. P.S -

When they were burying James this morning they found his wife's photo etc."

Pte. McCarthy who was 33 years of age, was a reservist, having been with the colours for seven years. He went through the South African War, and held the King and Queen's medals. His wife is left with three little children - a girl aged four, a boy aged three, and a little boy born after the father's departure to the western front and which the father never saw. The photo found on the dead soldier was that of his wife and three children. Before being called up Pte. McCarthy worked at Messrs. Cooper Bros. Foundry. Three of his brothers are in the Army, one of them Sergt. M. McCarthy, of the East Lancashire Regiment, having been wounded. The others Ptes. John and Thomas McCarthy, are in East Lancashire Battalions.

Only on Wednesday last week Pte. McCarthy's wife received a letter from him saying he was expecting to be home on leave in a few days, and promising to give her a good time when he came.
Burnley Express - date unknown, circa. 1915



These photographs, along with four others, have been sent to his wife at 51 Leyland Road, Burnley by Private J McCarthy (6184) of the 1st East Lancashire Regiment. In an accompanying letter to his wife he says: - "I am sending you these photographs, which I have found. I have been all round our regiment, and cannot find an owner. I think they are Burnley people, and you might know some of them." Mrs. McCarthy will be glad to give the photographs to claimants. At the back of the one of the four men is the following: "Dear Fred, - I have sent on Harry's photo. They are taken in their working clothes. Molly and Albert have gone out for a walk. - Rose." The message on the other photograph is "Dear Fred - just a few things from Bird."
Pte McCarthy went to the front as a reservist with the first draft of East Lancashire's. He had served seven
years with the colours, four on the reserve and two under section D. Three of his brothers are also in the Army, and one of them, Sergt M McCarthy, is at present home wounded. The photographs were received by Mrs McCarthy on Sunday.


Family That Has Been Hard Hit. -- Two Brothers Killed, Two Wounded, Cousin Missing. (Burnley Express and Advertiser, March 17, 1917 (page 9))

A family very hard hit by the war is that of the McCarthy's, one of whom as announced Wednesday's issue, has now been presumed dead, after being missing at the Dardanelles from August 9, 1915. It is a remarkable record of four brothers and a cousin. All were in the East Lancashire Regt. Two brothers have now been killed; one has lost his left eye but is still serving; whilst the cousin, Pte. Lavin, has been reported wounded and missing since July 1st last, and there are no hopes that he is alive, as nothing has been heard of him, either officially or otherwise since. The unmarried McCarthy brothers lived at 11, Leyland Road, and the cousin (the only cousin) resided with his widowed mother in Pitt Street. Two of the brothers, John and Thomas, and the cousin enlisted within three days of each other.

The eldest of the McCarthy brothers is Sergt. Michael, who is forty years of age. He served in the Boer War, and was a reservist when the present war began with the 3rd East Lancashire Regt. He was on going out attached to another battalion, and has been wounded twice -- once at Neuve Chapelle and once at Salonika. He has now been in hospital at Salonika for the past eight months. He is unmarried.
Denis McCarthy, the second brother, has been rejected for military service, but he is working munitions.
The third, Pte. James McCarthy, who was 33 years old at the time he was killed, was with the 1st East Lancashire Regiment, and previous to joining the Army worked at Cooper's Foundry. He was married. He was killed at Ypres on July 6th 1915. He was a reservist having been with the colours seven years. He went through the Boer War. He left three little children, and on his dead body was found a photograph of his wife and children.
John McCarthy, the fourth son who is 32 and married, and belongs to the 6th East Lancashire Regiment lost his left eye through a bullet wound received at the Dardanelles. He was just coming out of the trenches when he was hit. He was taken to a hospital at Port Said, and afterwards came to a hospital at Brockenhurst, Hants. Pte. John McCarthy is still serving, being at the headquarters at Plymouth. He was formerly a joiner's labourer.
The fifth brother, Thomas is now presumed to have been killed after being missing at the Dardanelles since August 9th 1915. He was 23 years of age then, and previously was employed at Rowley Colliery. At the time he was missing a comrade said he was wounded in the head and body, and then disappeared.
Their cousin Pte. John Lavin, also of the East Lancashire Regiment was wounded and has been missing since July 1st. It is feared that he is dead.
The McCarthy family are connected with St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church.

TALANA FARM CEMETERY - Location Information:

From Ieper the Cemetery is located on the Diksmuidseweg road (N369) in the direction of Boezinge. From the station in Ieper turn left into M.Fochlaan and go to the roundabout, turn right and go to the next roundabout. Here turn left and drive to the next roundabout. Turn right into Oude Veurnestraat. Take the second turning on the left, which is the Diksmuidseweg, and carry on under the motorway bridge. The cemetery will be found a further 600 meters on the left hand side of the road. N.B. Talana Farm Cemetery is the second cemetery on the left, the first being Bard Cottage Cemetery.

Historical Information:

Talana Farm was one of a group of farm houses named by the army from episodes of the South African war. The cemetery was begun by French troops in April 1915, taken over by the 1st Rifle Brigade and 1st Somerset Light Infantry in June 1915, and was used by fighting units until March 1918. Buried in Plot II, Rows E and F are a number of men of the 1st East Lancashire Regiment who died in a small but successful attack on 6 July 1915. Plots III and IV contain many 49th (West Riding) Division graves and also those of the artillery units that took over the ground in August 1917. There are now 529 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. 14 of the burials are unidentified and there are special memorials to six casualties whose graves in the cemetery could not be located. It is probable that the cemetery contained other graves later destroyed by shell fire. The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.




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