Prescot Roll of Honour

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WW1 Casualty: Private 240876 Joseph Donnelly -

Private 240876 Joseph Donnelly

Unit/Regiment 1st/5th Bn., South Lancashire Regiment
Date of Death 29/07/1917 Age at Death 28
& Reference
Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery
CWGC Family Details (if shown) Son of William and Catherine Donnelly, of 42, Swan St., Stanley, Liverpool. Native of Prescot, Lancs.
Census Details 1901 Census -
Joseph lived at 15, Bond Street, Prescot, the home of his mother's aunt, Ann Byron
Birth/Marriage/Death Registrations Birth registered Q1/1889, Prescot, Volume 8b, Page 726
SDGW – Where Born Prescot, Lancs
Enlisted Prescot
How Died Died of Wounds Theatre of War France & Flanders
Notes attd. 166th Trench Mortar Battery Previously served as Private 2884, South Lancs. Regiment
Research Ref. No. P085

Service Details

From his initial service number of 2894, it would seem that Joseph Donnelly enlisted with the 1st/5th Battalion of the Regiment in September 1914. He will have undergone training at various camps within the UK before arriving in France as part of a draft of reinforcements on 28th June 1915.

The battalion were billeted at Forceville in mid-Jul to early August, when it moved to trenches in the Auchonvillers section. They remained there, with rest billets at Maillly-Maillet, until 29th October when they retired to Bertencourt for training and work party assignment. The casualties suffered in this period were a result of the intermittent artillery and mortar fire, as well as constant sniping.

At the beginning of October, the battalion was once more moved to the Ypres sector, to a line from Wieltje to Railway Wood. Unusually, this was a quiet sector at that time, with both armies exhausted after the long Somme campaign. The regimental history does not record much action over the remaining weeks of 1916.

The start of the New Year saw the battalion still in the Ypres Salient, carrying out normal trench relief duties. By the beginning of May, however, activity was on the increase as the British forces prepared for the forthcoming Third Battle of Ypres, better known as Passchendaele. On 29th May, the battalion was sent to Garrison Railway Wood and then in the first week of June they moved to a new sector near to Zillebeke. Towards the end of June they were withdrawn to rest and train at St Omer in preparation for the offensive, due to commence on 31st July. On 20th July they returned once more to Ypres and continued training until they moved into assault positions on the 30th.

Private Donnelly is reported to have been attached to a Trench Mortar unit and he died of wounds on 29th July. It is impossible to be sure where or when he received his wounds. His burial at Lijssenthoek indicates that he died at one of several casualty clearing stations just behind the lines but out of range of most German artillery.

Joseph Donnelly's Medal Index Card shows his arrival in France on 28th June 1915, qualifying him for the 1914-1915 Star in addition to the British War Medal and Victory Medal. It is also noted that the medals were returned for adjustment after delivery, probably in 1921 or 1922.

Private Donnelly's grave at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery

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