Plea to family in bid to tidy Bacup hero’s grave
2:00pm Monday 3rd February 2014 in North West
A VETERANS’ charity is urging the family of a Bacup soldier who died in the First World War to come forward so it can repair his unmarked grave.
Haslingden-based Veterans in Communties is running Operation War Graves 100, fixing missing, damaged and dilapidated war graves in Bacup Cemetery, creating memorials, and delivering talks on soldiers’ stories.
Through working with Wendy Lord, a Bacup author and historian from the town’s Natural History Society, war graves project co-ordinator Peter Webster discovered the stories of John and James Flynn, and their eldest brother Thomas, who survived the war.
All three fought in the Boer War and held silver medals. Only John is buried in Bacup Cemetery.
Mr Webster said: “Having seen the picture of John and learning so much about him, I feel like I actually know him. It’s very moving, knowing the three brothers went off to fight together. It doesn’t seem right that John should now be in an unmarked grave. The head- stone has disappeared. We want to replace it but don’t want to upset any of his living relatives.”
Corporal John Flynn, who lived at Britannia House in Britannia with his wife and child, enlisted to the East Lancashire Regiment shortly after the outbreak of war.
He died, aged 32 on July 21, 1916, at the High Street Military Hospital in Manchester, from wounds he received fighting in France.
Within days of his death, his younger brother James was wounded in Mesopotamia and died from fever on August 27, 1917. At the same time, Thomas was recovering from injury in a hospital in France.
Corporal Flynn’s was one of the biggest military funerals held in Bacup.
The cortege was headed by more than 12 wounded soldiers from Fern Hill Auxiliary Military Hospital in Stacksteads and they were followed by workers from the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway where John worked as a signalman.
Britannia Workmen’s Club members were followed by a dozen National Reserve soldiers. The coffin was carried in an open hearse draped with a Union flag. John was survived by his wife, child, mother and three sisters.
Anyone wishing to contact Veterans in Communities should call 01706 833180.
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