Thomas HANRAHAN
Rank: Private
Number: 41330
Unit: 9th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 8 October 1918
Age: 32
Cemetery: Serain Communal Cemetery Extension, Aisne, France

Patrick Hanrahan and Eliza Downs married in a civil ceremony registered at Stockport in the final quarter of 1881. They had two children together, Edith and Thomas. Patrick died in 1892 and, a couple of years later, she remarried to Charles Cartwright, a widower some 12 years old than her. At the time of the 1901 Census, the family was living at 4 Carr's Court, Stockport. It included Charles' daughter from his previous marriage and the two children that he and his new wife had together. 15 year old Thomas was working as a doffer in a cotton mill. This was a job usually undertaken by children who had just started work in the mill and involved them replacing the full bobbins on the spinning machines with empty ones. As far as is known, Thomas continued to work in the mills until he joined the army.

In the late summer of 1909, he married Mary Ann Hanson at All Saints Church, Heaton Norris. They are thought to have had only one child - a boy born in the March quarter of 1914 who they called Thomas after his father.

When War was declared in August 1914, Thomas enlisted within a few weeks, joining the South Lancashire Regiment (service number 28648). However, whilst still in training, he was transferred to the Manchester Regiment and given the above number. He will have gone abroad on active service around the middle of 1916 and this will have been with one of the new "service battalions" which had been formed for the duration of the War only. It is not known which one this was but it was probably the 13th Battalion which was disbanded as a separate unit in August 1918 and was merged into the 9th Battalion.

On 7 October 1918, Thomas and his comrades moved towards the front line ready for an attack the next day, north of the River Scarpe. The Battalion's War Diary notes that they reached their assembly point at 3.40am and, three hours later, advanced towards their objective. Other units had already taken the German front line, and the Manchesters leap-frogged them to move on towards the next objective - described as "high ground NW of Serain".

"The Battalion had few casualties by enemy artillery before passing through 197th Brigade and encountered MG (machine gun) resistance at the Walincourt - Audigny trench and reache dits objective by about 11.45 hours. "B" Company was fired on by enemy field guns at point blank range ....(illegible).... at our tanks as they came over the skyline. This Company opened fire at the enemy gunners with two Lewis guns at which the enemy left his guns and retired."

The Brigade on the left had not had as much success and this left the Manchesters' flank exposed so the reserve company was brought up to re-enforce that side of the line and the process of consolidating the gains began. Thomas was one of eleven men who had been killed in the attack.

In 1924, Mary remarried to Fred Harrison at All Saints and was then living at 5 Clement Street, Heaton Norris.

   
           
   
     
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