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Thread: Private John McKenna 40187

  1. #1

    Default Private John McKenna 40187

    John McKenna - Listed on St Anthony's War Memorial, Scotland Road.

    John enlisted in Liverpool on 11 October 1915, then on 15 October 1915 he joins the 1st Garrison Battalion Manchester regiment at Knowsley with the service number of 30959. He gives his age on enlistment as 20 years and 7 days, is 5 feet 3 1/4 inches tall, weighs 112 pounds and has a chest measurement of 36 inches. His physical development is listed as good and his trade is a Labourer.

    Now John's service records show he was a bit of a lad and was not much bothered about army life. I have to admire him as it looks like he was going to do the war his own way. He trained in Knowsley and on 2 March 1916 he is awarded 14 days confined to barracks and fined 8 days pay for being absent without leave from 20 February to 28 February 1916, thereby being absent from his regiment when they proceeded overseas. During his absense he is transfered to the 2nd Garrison Battallion Manchester regiment.

    John stays in Knowsley but has no intention of changing his ways and is again in trouble on 26 April 1916 when he is charged with being absent from 22 April to 25 April 1916 and fined 3 days pay along with 14 days field punishment number 2.

    An explanation of this punishment can be found here

    On 13 June 1916 John is arrested in Liverpool by Greater Manchester Police for being absent without leave. He is also charged with being drunk in Lord Nelson street at 10.40 pm, disobeying an officer and for being in Liverpool without a pass. He is given 14 days detention.

    John is then posted to Aintree racecourse in Liverpool, maybe in the hope of changing his ways or maybe Knowsley had had enough of him. He is then charged with being asleep at his post at on 13 July 1916 and awarded 18 days detention. Then on 26 August 1916 he goes absent without leave before being apprehended by the Liverpool police at 10.10 am on 6 September 1916, John is given 168 hours detention and fined 11 days pay.

    John is given 7 days confined to barracks for going absent from 23 to 24 September 1916, then amazingly his is confined for 3 days extra on 26 September 1916 for shaving his upper lip ( moustache ) contary to regulations, before being confined for another 7 days on 17 November 1916 for absence from guard mounting parade.

    By the 28 November 1916 the Manchester Regiment have had enough of John and he is transfered to the 6th Garrison Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers under the service number of 62569. He is still in Aintree and is charged on 11 December 1916 with being in Liverpool without a pass, also added is a charge dating back to 19 September 1916 for disobeying Mersey defence order Number 8. John is confined to barracks for 7 days.

    On 24 January 1917 he sails from Devonport, arriving in Port Said, Egypt on 23 February 1917. On 2 August 1917 John is transfered to The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 2nd Bn. service number 40187. He is at Alexandria on 12 August 1917. He is charged on 7 September 1917 with having a dirty rifle on guard mounting parade and given two extra guard duties. It looks like the army was determined to change John as his list of offences starts to get very petty, on 4 October 1917 he is given 3 days confined for having long hair yet is awarded professional pay on 11 Otober 1917. 29 January 1918 he is awarded 5 days confined for eating the biscuits of his ration without permision, Then 4 days confined on 7 February 1918 for being improperly dressed on 9.15 am parade and not having his sheet rolled up. On 25 March 1918 his is given 1 day confined for having a dirty canteen on company parade at 1400 hours.

    John leaves Egypt from Port Said on 18 May 1918 sailing to France he arrives in Marseilles on 27 May 1918. Sadly John is killed in action on 1 August 1918.

    You can make whatever of John's war record, I think fair play to him as he chose to live his life as he saw fit, he made sure he had some fun during all this madness. He died fighting for his country and is one of the most interesting men I have researched. They talk of heroes, well in my book John and all the other service people became heroes when they signed their enlistment papers.

    Son of Mrs. E. McKenna, of 41, Epsom St., Liverpool.

    Remembered at Raperie British Cemetery, Villemontoire, France.
    BE NICE......................OR ELSE

  2. #2
    Martin hmtmaj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Stoneycroft / Old Swan


    Like you say Spike, looks like he did it his way !

    No matter what, he still gave his life for us to be free.

    Started the Old Swan Website:

  3. #3
    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Baltimore, Maryland, USA


    Not exactly a model soldier but still he made the ultimate sacrifice. Thanks for sharing his story with us, Spike.

    Christopher T. George
    Editor, Ripperologist
    Editor, Loch Raven Review
    Chris on Flickr and on MySpace

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