‚ÄčRoyton Roll of Honour

John Brannon was born in Warrington in 1869,to Irish parents Thomas & Bridget. On 18th November 1888 at the age of 18 he enlisted in the King's Liverpool Regiment whose regimental depot at the time was in John's home town. His battalion, the 1st King's, were stationed in Bermuda from February 1891 through to March 1893 and from there moved to Halifax in Nova Scotia. It was whilst here that John had a brush with the law in June 1895. He was imprisoned by the civilian authorities for 55 days, 5 for non payment of a fine and 50 for fighting with police. In December of that year John headed back to England having done his seven years service. During this period back as a civilian he married his wife Florence in 1897 in Warrington.
On December 26th 1899 with the British embroiled in the Boer War, John as a reservist was recalled to the colours.In March 1900 he rejoined the 1st Battalion in South Africa. They had been there since 1899 and were one of the British units besieged at Ladysmith that year.
Later in 1900 the British Army pushed into the two Boer Republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal and on August 21st at Van Wyk's Vlei two men of John's battalion (Sergeant Hampton & Corporal Knight) won the Victoria Cross for evacuating wounded men under heavy fire. Two days later Boer forces attacked the battalion while it was at the forefront of a British advance south of Dalmanutha. The protracted fight ended when the King's, almost out of ammunition, were ordered to withdraw. Yet another Victoria Cross was won (Private Heaton) and casualties exceeded 70 men. John was one of those injured - the exact nature of his wound is unknown but it is recorded in his military record as having been 'severe'.
He arrived back in England in November 1900 and was discharged from the army twelve months later.
John & Florence had five children in total; George, Mary Ellen, Aida, James & Teresa. The first four were all born in Warrington with Teresa coming along in 1910 in Royton, the Brannon's having moved there at some point since 1906. John was working as a 'boiler fireman' in 1911 but by 1914 was a bricklayers labourer. He had a further two children, who these were and who their mother(s) were is currently unknown. After John's death the Oldham Chronicle reported that he had "seven children,some grown up with one son - if not more - in the army". His eldest son with Florence at this point was George who would have been 17 or 18, James was only 10 or 11.
When war broke out in August 1914 John was quick to enlist, this time in his new local regiment - the Manchesters. He was sent out to Gallipoli, arriving on September 13th 1915. He was with the 11th Manchesters, the battalion having arrived there on August 6th. By the time John joined them the 11th were already a unit in ill health and their water supply was recorded as being very bad. Two Royton men of the battalion had already died - John William Buckley, killed in action, and James Edwin Wild of his wounds. On November 26th a thunderstorm washed away dugouts and flooded trenches. The men were soaked through and then on top of that the following days were bitterly cold and wet. Three days later a howling blizzard struck followed by a hard frost. The battalion suffered throughout and over 200 men were hospitalised through frostbite and hypothermia. 23 men were discovered to be missing after the storms. John Brannon was one of those who suffered frostbite (to his feet) during this period and he was sent home to England to convalesce. The 11th Manchesters evacuated from Gallipoli shortly afterwards. 172 men from the battalion are buried there still but John survived to see another day.
He recovered and on March 4th 1916 it was time to return to the war. He had been transferred to the 12th Battalion who had been in France since July 1915. They had spent plenty of time in the front line but were not called upon to go over the top until July 1916.
The day came to go into action during the Battle of the Somme on July 3rd in an attack on Railway Copse and Bottom Wood near Fricourt.They found themselves in two old German trenches looking north to Contalmaison where they remained until July 5th. The following day they advanced into Fricourt Wood and at 07:25 were ordered to attack Quadrangle Support Trench which two other battalions had already failed to take (in which Walter Thomas was killed).The assault was hastily organised and began at 07:50 in bright sunlight without any cover. The result was a complete disaster under a heavy barrage with enfilading machine gun fire and 555 men were killed,missing or wounded.
An officer who survived the action wrote afterwards:

"The steadiness of the men was wonderful and they went over in as good a line as if on parade, although as soon as the advance started they were subjected to very heavy shelling and machine-gun fire. As our barrage had ceased, they had no shelter whatever and had a distance of 700 yards to cross. As soon as the first three companies showed themselves on the ridge overlooking the trench they were met by a withering fire and were mowed down in great numbers.......in a few seconds, hardly any of us were on our feet. The casualties were very numerous. Only two officers came out unwounded and one wounded officer was never fit for service again"

Before they'd gone into action they had passed through the 9th Northumberland Fusiliers (who had failed in attacking the same positions just hours before) and one of their officers observed:

"It was splendid to see them as they crossed our line in single file, rifles with ready fixed bayonets slung over their shoulders, cigarettes in their lips, and without a sign of concern. They moved into open order in the open, under cover of our heavy artillery barrage and immediately the guns lifted they charged. A few actually reached the objective, some tried to bomb up Pearl Alley and Quadrangle Alley, but the opposition was too great, and they in turn fell back with losses no less than our own"

One of the killed was John Brannon. 18 men from the Oldham area died including Albert Clarke who was born in Royton. The CWGC lists the following men of the 12th Battalion as having July 7th 1916 as their date of death:

ALDCROFT THOMAS 31 Private 13882 Husband of Elizabeth Aldcroft,Patricroft                                               
ALDERTON COLIN Second Lieutenant                                                                                        
ALLCOCK  SAMUEL Serjeant 11366 born Ancoats.Lived Chorlton-on-Medlock                                                  
ANDERSON JOHN  33 Private 13918 Husband of Polly Anderson,Atherton                                                    
ANDERTON JOHN Corporal 1174 born Manchester.Lived Salford                                                              
ANDREW  ERNEST Private 30419 born Stalybridge                                                                          
ARKWRIGHT THOMAS Private  4695 born Bolton.Lived Oldham.Enlisted in Shaw                                               
ARRANDALE GEORGE Lance Corporal  4060 born Bradford,Manchester                                                           
BAGLEY WILLIAM 36 Private 23661 from Harpurhey                                                                        
BALL ERNEST 23  Private 4668  son of John&Annie Ball of 51 Foundry Street,Oldham                                    
BARROW DANIEL Private 16990 born Waterhead,Oldham                                                                   
BATE HAROLD  19  Lieutenant Son of Mr&Mrs Charles Alfred Bate                                                       
BATEMAN  ARTHUR  22 Private 4984 Son of Thomas&Margaret Bateman,Chorlton-on-Medlock                                     
BEBBINGTON CHARLES MM Serjeant 5538 born Manchester.Lived Hale                                                        
BECKETT  SAMUEL Private 23473 from Manchester                                                                           
BETTS JOHN 28 MC Captain Son of Annie Betts of Polperro,Cornwall                                                     
BOOTH HENRY Private 11399 born Collyhurst,lived Blackley                                                                
BOYLAN WILLIAM Private 5520 born Salford                                                                               
BRACEGIRDLE ROBERT 31 Private 13783 born Miles Platting.Lived Sale                                                      
BRACEWELL STANLEY Lance Corporal 5527 born in Chesham,Bury.Enlisted in Manchester                                     
BRADBURY JOHN  38  Private 23556 Husband of Annie Bradbury,Ardwick                                                     
BRADBURY THOMAS  27 Private  7984  Son of Thomas&Mary Bradbury of Old Trafford                                           
BRADWELL ROBERT Private 4148 born Droylsden                                                                             
BROWN WILLIAM  Private 13044 born Northampton.Enlisted Manchester                                                      
BURGESS ALBERT 20 Private  16116 Son of Sampson&Sarah Burgess of Higher Broughton                                    
BYRNE EDWARD Private 16164 born Co.Roscommon.Lived Heaton Moor                                                         
CARNEY WILLIAM Private 4016 from Manchester                                                                            
CARROLL  THOMAS Private 13031 born Failsworth.Lived Manchester.Enlisted Hollinwood                                      
CARTWRIGHT BERT 22  Private 15995 Son of William Cartwright of Walsall                                                  
CARTWRIGHT G Private 12933                                                                                                
CAVANAGH JAMES  24 Private 4101 Son of Mrs Cavanagh of Princess Street,Oldham                                          
CHALMERS ANDREW  38 Private  24850 Husband of Martha Chalmers of Ashton-under-Lyne                                       
CHAPMAN  THOMAS 29 Private 5555  born Oldham.Husband of Sarah Chapman of Swinton                                       CHAUNDY  JOHN Lance Corporal  24345 born Leighton Buzzard.Enlisted in Manchester                                          
CHEW FRANK  24 Private 33072 Son of Francis&Maria Chew of Austerlands,Oldham                                           
CHILDS LUKE Private  13821 born Liverpool.Enlisted in Manchester                                                         
CLARKE ALBERT Private 13814  born Higginshaw,Royton.Enlisted in Oldham                                                   
COLLINS  THOMAS Serjeant 5549 born Rochdale.lived in Salford                                                            
CONNOLLY JOHN Private  3139 from Oldham                                                                                
CONNOLLY WILLIAM Lance Corporal 4332 born Newton Heath.lived in Ashton-under-Lyne                                       
CONROY HENRY  Private  1945 from Manchester                                                                            
COOPER PHILLIP Private 24862 born Barnsley.Enlisted in Wilmslow                                                        
COOPER WILLIAM  39 Private  16842 Husband of Edith Cooper of Audenshaw                                                  
CRAWHALL NEIL Lieutenant                                                                                                
CROFT HARRY 29 Private  5546 Husband of Lilian Croft of Northwich                                                       
CROMPTON WALTER  34 Private 4310 from Ancoats                                                                           
DANIELS  FRED Private 5191 born Pendleton                                                                                
DAVIES JOHN Private 16143  born Flintshire.Enlisted in Wigan                                                           
DAVIES JOSEPH Lance Corporal 4964 born Salford                                                                          
DAWSON FRANK 39  Lance Serjeant  4333 Husband of Elizabeth Dawson of Salford                                             
DELANEY  JOHN 33  Private  7307 Husband of Florence Delaney of Chorlton-on-Medlock                                         
DIXON HERBERT 31 Private 13667 Son of Robert Dixon of Middleton                                                        
DODD LEONARD Private 11381 born Cambridgeshire.Enlisted in Eccles                                                      
DOYLE HENRY 38 Private 16744 Son of Mr&Mrs David Doyle of Coatbridge                                                    
DRUMMOND CHRISTOPHER 39  Private 15603  Husband of Martha Drummond of Didsbury                                          
ELLIS JOSEPH 33 Private 15592 Born Glasgow.Lived in Maine,USA.Enlisted Liverpool.Husband of Alice Ellis                 
ENGLAND FRANK 36 Private 16238  Son of Annie England of South Milford,Yorkshire                                         
ENGLAND  JOHN Private 4057 born Miles Platting                                                                           
EVANS GEORGE Private 3381 born West Bromwich.Lived Stalybridge                                                          
FAIRLEE WILLIAM 32 Private 30224 Husband of Bertha Fairlee,Manchester                                                  
FARAGHER WILLIAM  MM Lance Serjeant 4348 from the Isle of Man                                                           
FEELEY CHRISTOPHER Corporal 4201 born in Hurst                                                                          
FLEET  FRANK  33 Private 5541 Husband of Jeannette Fleet of Withington                                                  
FOSTER WILLIAM  26 Lance Corporal 4675 Brother of Mrs E.Haken of Burnley                                               
FOY THOMAS  Private 4249 born Northwich.Enlisted in Oldham                                                              
FRANCIS CHARLES 45 Private 4017 born Liverpool.Lived in Preston                                                        
GALLEY JOHN  31 Private 4116 Husband of Gertrude Galley of Chorlton-on-Medlock                                      
GASKELL  ARTHUR   Private  4086  from Stockport                                               
GATFIELD ALFRED 21 Lance Serjeant 4344 Son of Ellen Gatfield,Castletown,Isle of Man                                    
GATLIFFE ARTHUR 25 Lance Corporal 5366 born Manchester.Lived in Mossley                                                
GEE  WILLIAM  Lance Corporal 3766 from Shaw                                                                              
GIBBINS THOMAS Private 16107 enlisted in Leigh                                                                         
GILMORE JOHN 30  Private 4163 Husband of Mary Comerford(formerly Gilmore) of Manchester                                 
GREENHALGH JAMES 34 Private  16995 Husband of Hannah Ross(formerly Greenhalgh) of Salford                                
GREENLEES LEONARD Private 4050                                                                                            
GREENWOOD TOM  31 Second Lieutenant from Manchester.Served in the Boer War      

GRIFFITHS JOHN 21 Serjeant 4023  Son of Charles Griffiths of Manchester.His brother James also fell                   
HADFIELD JOHN  37  Private  30168 born Dukinfield.Lived in Reddish                                                      
HALL WILLIAM  23  Lance Corporal 4030  Son of Robert Hall of Clayton                                                   
HANCOCK JAMES  Private 23492 from Manchester                                                                           
HANLON  ARTHUR Private 4026  born Salford.Enlisted in Manchester                                                       
HARRISON FRANK 34 Private 4133 from Manchester                                                                        
HEVERON  JAMES 39 Private 24019 Husband of Mary Heveron of Rochdale                                                   
HEWITT LEWIS  40 Private 3394  Husband of Elizabeth Hewitt of Liverpool                                              
HIBBERT ALBERT 21 Private 32893 born Failsworth.Enlisted Hollinwood                                                   
HIGGINSON WILLIAM  21 Lance Corporal 15895 Son of James&Ellen Higginson of Leigh                                   
HILL HARRY Lance Corporal 24205  from Reddish                                                 
HINDS WILLIAM  Private  24416 from Manchester                                                                           
HOLT WILLIAM  Private 13723 born Cadishead.Enlisted in Manchester                                                     
HOUGH HARRY 16 Private 24966 Son of Harry&Louisa Hough of Harpurhey                                                    
HOWARTH  DAVID Private  4216  enlisted in Ashton-under-Lyne                                                             
HULSTON  ALBERT 26 Private  4840  from Manchester                                                                     
HURST THOMAS  Private 24386  born Toxteth.Enlisted in Wigan                                                              
HUSBAND WALTER  28 Corporal 5493 Son of Patrick&Catherine Husband of Pendleton                                   
JACKSON  GEORGE Private 23456 born Chadderton.Enlisted in Hollinwood                                                    
JOHNSON  THOMAS  Private 4015  from Manchester                                                                           
JONES EDWARD 19 Private  23302 from Manchester                                                                         
JONES FREDERICK Private 13995  born Hanley.Enlisted in Manchester                                                      
JORDAN WILLIAM  31 Private  4770  from Manchester                                                                     
JURY WILLIAM Lance Corporal  15898 born Millom.Enlisted in Wigan                                                       
KAY J Private  23901 born Hollinwood.Enlisted in Manchester                                                            
KEIGHER  BERNARD Private 2467 Husband of Lizzie Keigher of Levenshulme                                                   
KENNEDY  GEORGE Lance Corporal 5235 from Newcastle-on-Tyne                                                             
KERR  WILLIAM  45 Serjeant  3624  born Stranraer.Lived in Lanarkshire                                                   
KIBBLE JOHN  23 Lance Serjeant  4087 Husband of Elizabeth Howard(formerly Kibble) of Ashton-under-Lyne        

KILLELAY FREDERICK  24 Private  13806 born in Manchester.Enlisted in Liverpool                                          
KING  ARTHUR Second Lieutenant                                                                                            
KINGSLEY ERIC Second Lieutenant                                                                                            
LARKIN JAMES Private 27668 born Co.Galway.Enlisted in Manchester                                                       
LATIMER  FRANCIS 24 Second Lieutenant Son of Vincent Latimer of Anglesey                                                 
LEARY MARK Private  4701 born Stalybridge.Lived in Oldham.Enlisted in Royton                                            
LEICESTER SYDNEY Private 13835 born Knutsford.Enlisted in Manchester                                                   
LENNOX JOSEPH Private 32874 from Manchester                                                                            
LEVEY JACOB 22 Private  2309 born Dukinfield.Enlisted in Ashton-under-Lyne                                              
LODGE HENRY Private 27986 born Preston.Enlisted in Manchester                                                           
LOMAX FRED Private  4041  born Bury.Lived in Rochdale                                                                   
LORD FREDERICK  Private 27808 SERVED AS LLOYD.Born Stalybridge.Lived in Leeds                                           
LYNCH TERENCE Private 13742 from Manchester                                                                           
MAHON JAMES 23 Private 13097 Son of James&Bridget Mahon of Salford                                                     
MARSH ROBERT Private 7926  born Upholland.Enlisted in Oldham                                                         
MARSHALL CHARLES Private 16178  born Upholland.Enlisted in Wigan                                                        
MARTIN CHARLES 20  Private 15586 Son of Charles&Annie Martin of Longsight,Manchester                                   
MARTIN JAMES  Private 13866 enlisted in Manchester                                                                    
MASON SAMUEL Lance Corporal 16333 from Manchester                                                                    
MASSEY EDWIN 35 Lance Corporal 27832 born Burnley.Lived in Chorlton-on-Medlock                                       
MAWMAN JOHN 23 Private  4364  from Nelson                                                                               
MAXWELL  WILLIAM 29 Private 4810 born Salford.Enlisted in Manchester                                                    
MELLOR JOHN 23 Private  2776  Son of Mrs.Isabella James of 103 Suthers Street,Werneth,Oldham                            
MILLER GEORGE Private 3191  from Manchester                                                                           
MINTON PETER  Private  24640 from Manchester                                                                           
MINTY ALFRED  Private  29995 born Salisbury.Lived in Collyhurst                                                        
MOORES JOSEPH  Private  5233  from Manchester                                                                           
MORRIS JOHN  41 DCM Company Serjeant Major 3131 Born Pontypool.Lived in Walsall.Served in Boer War   
MORRIS WILLIAM  22 Private  5862  Son of Charles&Dora Morris of Rusholme                                                
MOSS HENRY Corporal  16317  from Manchester                                                                              
McCARTHY MICHAEL Private 30296 born Co.Cork.Lived in Salford                                                           
McCORMISH THOMAS Private 3727 from Manchester                                                                         
McGOWAN PATRICK  Private 4154  born Belfast.Enlisted in Pendleton                                                      
McGREGOR ROY  34 Private 13921  Son of Isabella McGregor of Eccles                                                  
McKEAN  HUGH  Captain Son of Annie McKean&the late Arthur McKean                                                        
NEWMAN CHARLES Serjeant  4996 born Scarborough.Lived in Swinton                                                          
NIHILL WILLIAM  18  Private  27740  Son of Mrs Caroline Nihill of Hulme                                                 
ODONNELL GEORGE Private  16289  born Seaham.Enlisted in Wigan                                                           
OWEN  WALTER 32  Lance Corporal 4860 Husband of Elsie Owen of Manchester                                             
PARCHMENT PERCY 33  Corporal 7969 from Clapham                                                                          
PARRY EDWARD  Private 4173 born Salford.Lived in Manchester                                                             
PHILLIPS ISAAC  21 Private 4608 Son of Mrs.Marr of 87 Maple Street,Hollinwood,Oldham                                 
PIERPOINT VINCENT  Private  4322 from Liverpool                                                                         
PLATT JOHN  22 Lance Corporal 5249 Son of Stephen&Margaret Platt of Irlams otheHeight                                   
POTTER ARNOLD  22 Private 13023 Son of Mrs&Mrs Tom Potter of Hurst,Ashton-under-Lyne                                    
POTTS JOHN 30 Private 5211 Son of Joseph&Mary Nixon of Haltwhistle,Northumberland                                     
PRESCOTT SAMUEL 19 Private  5381 Son of Samuel Prescott of Salford                                                      
PRITCHARD JOHN  23 Lance Corporal 5206 Son of John&Mary Pritchard of Shrewsbury                                        
QUINN FRANK  Private 5499 born Blackley.Enlisted in Oldham                                                             
QUIRK JOHN  Private 4342 from Isle of Man                                                                            
RAISWELL WILLIAM  Private 13540  from Manchester                                                                         
RAMSDEN  THOMAS Private 24881 from Manchester                                                                         
REAVEY ALLAN 33  Private  4018 Husband of Harriet Miller(formerly Reavey) of Ancoats                                  
RENSHAW ALBERT  18 Private 4291 Son of William&Elizabeth Renshaw of Chorlton-on-Medlock,Manchester                     
ROACH GEORGE  40  Private  13102 Husband of Lucy Furagher(formerly Roach) of Salford                                   
ROBINSON HENRY  32  Private 15629 Son of Margaret Robinson of Garston,Liverpool                                         

ROBINSON WILLIAM Private 13871 born Prescot.Lived in Droylsden                                                          
ROCHE JAMES  Serjeant 1226 born Notting Hill.Enlisted in Ashton-under-Lyne                                             
RONAN HERBERT Private 4353 from Manchester                                                                            
RUDDICK JOHN Private   5593 from Manchester                                                                            
SHAW  ARTHUR  Private  30344 from Hollingworth,Cheshire                                                                
SHEDLOCK JOSEPH  Private 5666  Son of Margaret Shedlock of Bury                                                          
SHELTON WILLIAM 29 Private 23435 born Bradford,Yorks.Lived in Salford                                                  
SKAIN JOHN  Private 16331 from Ardwick                                                                                
SLATER HERBERT Private 5534  born Salford                                                                            
SMITH EDWARD 23 Second Lieutenant Son of Rupert&Sarah Smith of Walthamstow                                              
SMITH ERNEST Private 27909  from Manchester                                                                             
SMITH GEORGE 20 Private 13928 Son of Joseph&Ellen Smith of Reddish                                                      
SMITH HARRY  27 Private 13575 Born Chadderton.Son of the late Richard&Mary Smith                                        
SMITH JOSEPH 34 MM Lance Corporal 13845 from Birmingham                                                               
SMITH WILLIAM Private 4149 born Beswick.Lived in Eccles                                                                 
SPINK ALFRED  Private 4314 from Bradford,Yorkshire                                                                      
STEWART  CHARLES Private 30500 Husband of Alice Stewart of Miles Platting                                                
TAYLOR LEO  30 Private   27929 Husband of Margaret Taylor of Collyhurst                                                  
TAYLOR SAMUEL 21 Private 4297 from Ancoats                                                                              
TONGE  EDWARD 18  Private 27903 Son of John&Martha Tonge of Collyhurst                                                
WAGSTAFFE BENJAMIN Private 7961  born Droylsden.Lived in Moston                                                        
WARDLE SIDNEY 33 Private 13703 Son of Harry&Elizabeth Wardle of West Gorton,Manchester                               
WATERHOUSE FRED 25 Private 32148 Son of Joseph&Sarah Waterhouse of Stockport                                         
WELCH CHARLES  21 Private 7987  Son of Mrs Mary Welch of Miles Platting                                               
WHEELDON WILLIAM  Private  4783  born Leek.Enlisted in Manchester                                                      
WHITEHEAD WILFRED Private 16318 born Oldham.Enlisted in Manchester                                                    
WILKINSON ROBERT  Corporal  2355  from Burton-on-Trent                                                                  
WILLIAMS FRANCIS  Private  23490 from Hulme                                                                            
WILLIAMS JOHN  Private  8111 from Manchester                                                                            
WILLIAMSON  WILLIAM Private 30462 from Stalybridge                                                                    
WILSON HENRY Private 5731 from Patricroft                                                                            
WILSON JOHN 24 Serjeant  5403 from Pendleton                                                                             
WINWARD  CHARLES Private  3990 born Beswick.Lived in Bradford,Manchester                                                  
WISE JOHN  22  Private 5438 Son of Mr&Mrs Wise of Audenshaw                                                            
WISEMAN  FREDERICK 35 Private 2181 from Manchester                                                                       
WOODHEAD HARRY  Private 2068 from Oldham                                                                                
WRIGLEY  FRED 24  Private  33076 Son of Mr&Mrs Wrigley of Waterhead,Oldham                                               
YOUNG RICHARD Private  4307 from Manchester 

Service No:2359
Date of Death:07/07/1916
Regiment:Manchester Regiment
Unit:12th Bn.
Thiepval Memorial
Panel Reference:Pier &Face 13 A & 14 C.

John Brannon's inscription on the Thiepval Memorial