One hundred years…..
My wife’s great-grandfather volunteered, served and was killed in the Great War.
At the time the First World War broke out Joseph Hoolahan was thirty seven years old, a married father of six children, who was living and working as a labourer in Hadfield, Glossop.
Like many, and together with his older brother Thomas, he volunteered, joining the infantry on the 2nd September 1914. On the 6th of March 1915 Private 14111 Hoolahan sailed from Southampton with the 2nd Cheshire Battalion to join the British Expeditionary Force in France.
Joseph was part of an 800 strong reinforcement force which was immediately ordered into battle around Bailleul. After just four weeks of fighting in France Joseph died of shrapnel wounds to his head on 4th April 1915, having been wounded on 1st April as the Battalion sought to re-enter Bailleul.
Official notification of his death was received by telegram on 16th April but the news had got back home before this. This was a Pals Brigade full of friends, family and neighbours. Joseph’s wife, Anastasia, had already lost her brother John William Kane on 12th March. He was also serving in the 2nd Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment, Joseph’s brother and comrade in arms.