J Burntwood & District Memorials Project

The Burntwood & District War Memorial Project

Servicemen Biographies

Michael Geraghty

Burntwood Family History

 

 
Researched and written by Carole Jones
 
Michael GERAGHTY was born in 1897 at Walters Buildings, Triangle Terrace, Triangle Road, Chasetown, and was one of twelve children born to Michael GERAGHTY and his wife Ann (nee NEENAN). Michael’s father Michael GERAGHTY (Senior) was baptised on 11th October 1858 at Cam and Kilthomas Roman Catholic Church, Roscommon, Ireland, and was one of nine children born to Patrick GERAGHTY and his wife Bridget CARROLL. Michael (Senior) arrived from Ireland in 1881 and on census night 3rd/4th April 1881 was boarding close to the docks at 27 Regent Street, Liverpool. He was 23 years of age and listed as a farmer’s son. He had probably not long been in England and possibly travelled with 22 year old Michael DOYLE, who was also a farmer’s son from the same village.
1881 census – household transcription (*A)
 
Name
 Relation
Condition
Sex
Age
Birth Year
Occupation / Disability
Where Born 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
GERAGHTY Michael
Boarder
Single
M
23
1858
Farmers Son
Ireland 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1891 census – household transcription (*B)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Name
Relation
Status
Sex
Age
Birth Year
Occupation / Disability
Where Born 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
GERAGHTY Michael
Head
Married
M
33
1858
Coal Miner
Ireland
GERAGHTY Ann
Wife 
Married 
24 
1867 
 
Walsall Wood, Staffs
GERAGHTY Mark 
Son 
Single 
1885 
 
Hammerwich, Staffs
GERAGHTY Mary A
Daughter 
Single 
1887 
 
Hammerwich, Staffs
GERAGHTY Thomas
Son 
Single 
1889 
 
Hammerwich, Staffs
GERAGHTY Luke
Son
Single 
M
(8m)
1891 
 
Hammerwich, Staffs
GERAGHTY Thomas
Boarder 
Single 
25 
1886 
Coal Miner 
Ireland 
GERAGHTY John
Boarder 
Single 
27 
1884 
Coal Miner 
Ireland 
GERAGHTY Michael
Boarder 
Single 
45
1846 
Coal Miner 
Ireland 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1901 census – household transcription (*C)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Name
Relation
Status
Sex
Age
Birth Year
Occuation / Disability
Where Born
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
GERAGHTY Michael
Head 
Married 
46 
1855 
Coal Miner Hewer 
Ireland 
GERAGHTY Ann
Wife 
Married 
34 
1867 
 
Walsall Wood, Staffs 
GERAGHTY Mark
Son 
Single 
16 
1885 
Labourer Pit Bank 
Triangle Terrace, Staffs 
GERAGHTY Mary A
Daughter
Single 
14 
1887 
 
Triangle Terrace, Staffs
GERAGHTY Thomas
Son 
Single 
12 
1889 
 
Triangle Terrace, Staffs 
GERAGHTY Luke
Son 
Single 
10 
1891 
 
Triangle Terrace, Staffs
GERAGHTY Lizzie
Daughter 
Single 
1895 
 
Triangle Terrace, Staffs 
GERAGHTY Michael
Son 
Single 
1897 
 
Triangle Terrace, Staffs 
GERAGHTY Patrick
Son 
Single 
1899 
 
Triangle Terrace, Staffs 
GERAGHTY Winifred
Daughter
Single 
(11m)
1990 
 
Triangle Terrace, Staffs 
CAFFERTY Thomas
Boarder 
Single 
62 
1839 
Coal Miner Banksman
Ireland 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By the time of the 1901 Census another four children have arrived including Michael (Junior) in 1897. The two GERAGHTY boarders had moved on but the family now had another boarder by the name of Thomas CAFFERTY. The family were living Triangle Terrace, Triangle Road.
 
Daughter Winifred age 11 months on the 1901 Census died in the March Quarter of 1902.
 
1911 census – household transcription (*D)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Name
Relation
Status
Sex
Age
Birth Year
Occupation / Disability
Where Born
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
GERAGHTY Michael
Head
Married
M
53
1858
Coal Miner Hewer
Ireland
GERAGHTY Ann
Wife
Married
F
34
1867
 
Walsall Wood, Staffs
GERAGHTY Mark
Son
Single
M
26
1885
Coal Miner Hewer
Chasetown, Staffs
GERAGHTY Mary A
Daughter
Single
F
24
1887
 
Chasetown, Staffs
GERAGHTY Luke
Son
Single
M
20
1891
Coal Miner Banksman
Chasetown, Staffs
GERAGHTY Michael
Son
Single
M
14
1897
Coal Miner Hewer
Chasetown, Staffs
GERAGHTY Patrick
Son
Single
M
12
1899
 
Chasetown, Staffs
GERAGHTY Ellen
Daughter
Single
F
9
1902
School
Chasetown, Staffs
GERAGHTY John
Son
Single
M
7
1904
School
Chasetown, Staffs
GERAGHTY William
Son
Single
M
4
1906
 
Chasetown, Staffs

At the time of the 1911 Census the family were still in Triangle and another three children had joined the family. Ann stated she had had 12 children two of which died. At 14 Michael (Junior) was a coal mine Banksman along with his brother Mark. His father Michael (Senior) worked below ground as a Hewer. 

Michael was 17 when war broke out and although in a reserved occupation may have got carried away with the romance of fighting for King and Country. His parents tried to dissuade him from enlisting but he was adamant that he would join. Unfortunately, Michael’s exact enlistment date is not known but from his medal card it would appear he was not in France until after 31st December 1915. He first entered as a Private in the South Staffs Regiment (No. 1575), later transferring to the 10th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment (No. 40064). 

Medal Card (*1)
 

Michael was killed in action on 23rd March 1918 probably during the “Spring Offensive called Operation MICHAEL mounted by the Germans on 21st March. Around 10,000 guns fired over a million shells in five hours against Lieutenant General BYNG’s Third and General GOUGH's Fifth Armies before 47 German divisions attacked. Using infiltration tactics the German storm troopers by-passed pockets of resistance and broke through the British trench system, leaving the following waves of troops to 'mop up' any resistance. Lacking reserves, GOUGH's line soon gave way and by the evening of 23rd March the Germans had advanced 19 kilometres (12 miles)”. (*E)

 Unfortunately only Michael’s medal card details are available as the rest of his army records did not survive the bombing during WW2. 

Below is a map of the Second Battle of the Somme.The red dotted line shows the approximate area where the army was on 21st March 1918 and where Michael was probably killed.

Great Britain Great War Casualties 1914-1918 (*2) 
          Mobilised          Dead          Wounded          Missing & PoW          Dead %          Wounded %          Missing & PoW % 
         8,904,467        908,371     2,090,212         191,652                  10.20%          23.47%                2.15%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1918 – soldier details (*F)
 
Name:                                    Michael GERAGHTY
Regiment, Corps, etc.:        Worcester Regiment
Battalion etc.:                       10th Battalion - Formed at Worcester Sept. 1914-K2-57th Bde. 19th Div. on Salisbury Plain. Dec. 1914 billets. Mar. 1915 19th Div. in Tidworth area. 19.7.15 landed at Boulogne. 22.6.18 reduced to Training Cadre at Hautvillers, personnel to 3rd Bn. 28.6.18 cadre to 121st Bde. 40th Div. and on 10 July absorbed by 17th Bn.
Last Name:                            GERAGHTY
First Name(s):                      Michael
Birthplace:                           Hammerwich, Staffs
Enlisted:                               Lichfield, Staffs
Residence:                            Chasetown, Staffs
Rank:                                     PRIVATE
Number:                                40064
Date died:                             23 March 1918
How died:                             Killed in action
Theatre of war:                    France and Flanders
Supplementary Notes:         FORMERLY 1575 SOUTH STAFFS REGT
 

Arras Memorial (*3)
 
In Memory of Private MICHAEL GERAGHTY 40064, 10th Bn., Worcestershire Regiment who died on 23rd March 1918
 
Remembered with honour ARRAS MEMORIAL. Commemorated in perpetuity by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission 
 
 
Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1918 – soldier details (*G)
 
Name:                                          GERAGHTY Michael
Initials:                                        M
Nationality:                                 United Kingdom
Rank:                                           Private
Regiment / Service:                   Worcester Regiment
Unit Text:                                   10th Bn.
Date of Death:                             23/03/1918
Service No:                                  40064
Casualty Type:                            Commonwealth War Dead
Grave /. Memorial Reference:    Bay 6
Memorial:                                    Arras Memorial
Cemetery:                                   Arras Cemetery
Country:                                      France
Locality:                                      Pas de Calais
 
Visiting Information:
The Panel (or Bay) numbers quoted at the end of each entry relate to the panels dedicated to the Regiment served with. In some instances where a casualty is recorded as attached to another Regiment, his name may alternatively appear within their Regimental Panels (or Bays). Please refer to the on-site Memorial Register Introduction to determine the alternative Panel (or Bay) numbers if you do not find  the name within the quoted Panel (or Bay). Wheelchair access to the memorial is possible via an alternative entrance at the rear of Faubourg-d'Amiens Cemetery.
 
Location Information:
The Arras Memorial is in the Faubourg-d'Amiens Cemetery, which is in the Boulevard du General de Gaulle in the western part of the town of Arras. The cemetery is near the Citadel, approximately 2 kms due west of the railway station.
 
Historical Information:
The French handed over Arras to Commonwealth forces in the spring of 1916 and the system of tunnels upon which the town is built were used and developed in preparation for the major offensive planned for April 1917. The Commonwealth section of the FAUBOURG D'AMIENS CEMETERY was begun in March 1916, behind the French military cemetery established earlier. It continued to be used by field ambulances and fighting units until November 1918. The cemetery was enlarged after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields and from two smaller cemeteries in the vicinity. The cemetery contains 2,651 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. In addition, there are 30 war graves of other nationalities, most of them German. During the Second World War, Arras was occupied by United Kingdom forces headquarters until the town was evacuated on 23rd May 1940. Arras then remained in German hands until retaken by Commonwealth and Free French forces on 1st September 1944. The cemetery contains seven Commonwealth burials of the Second World War. The graves in the French military cemetery were removed after the First World War to other burial grounds and the land they had occupied was used for the construction of the Arras Memorial and Arras Flying Services Memorial. The ARRAS MEMORIAL commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7th August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave. The most conspicuous events of this period were the Arras offensive of April-May 1917, and the German attack in the spring of 1918. Canadian and Australian servicemen killed in these operations are commemorated by memorials at Vimy and Villers-Bretonneux. A separate memorial remembers those killed in the Battle of Cambrai in 1917. The ARRAS FLYING SERVICES MEMORIAL commemorates nearly 1,000 airmen of the Royal Naval Air Service, the Royal Flying Corps, and the Royal Air Force, either by attachment from other arms of the forces of the Commonwealth or by original enlistment, who were killed on the whole Western Front and who have no known grave. Both cemetery and memorial were designed by Sir Edwin LUTYENS, with sculpture by Sir William Reid DICK. The memorial was unveiled by Lord TRENCHARD, Marshal of the Royal Air Force on the 31st July 1932 (originally it had been scheduled for 15th May, but due to the sudden death of French President DOUMER, as a mark of respect, the ceremony was postponed until July).

Thiepval Memorial Plan (*4)
 
Number of Identified Casualties: 34,795 - Michael's name is recorded on Pillar 6
 
2ND BATTLE OF THE SOMME
 
During World War I, the Second Battle of the Somme, the first major German offensive in more than a year, began on the western front on 21st March 1918. After five hours of bombardment from more than 9,000 pieces of German artillery, the poorly prepared British Fifth Army was forced into retreat in France's Somme River region. For a week, the Germans pushed toward Paris, shelling the city from a distance of some 80 miles with their "Big Bertha" cannons. However, the poorly supplied German troops soon became exhausted, and the Allies halted their advance as French artillery knocked out the German guns besieging Paris. On April 2nd, U.S. General John J. Pershing sent American troops down into the trenches to help repulse the German offensive. It was the first major deployment of U.S. troops in World War I. (*H)
 
By the time the Somme offensive ended, on April 4, the Germans had advanced almost 40 miles, inflicted some 200,000 casualties, and captured 70,000 prisoners and more than 1,000 Allied guns. However, the Germans suffered nearly as many casualties as their enemies and lacked the fresh reserves and supplies enjoyed by the Allies following the American entrance into the fighting. Several thousand American troops fought alongside the British and French in the defence of Paris. (*H)
 
The last great German offensive was launched on March 21, 1918, with Operation "Michel". It was opened with an unprecedented 6,000 gun barrage which delivered a lethal gas attack deep into Allied lines. At one point, the Germans advanced 14 miles in one day, more than at any other time during the fighting in the West. During the first six weeks of fighting, the Allies lost 350,000 casualties, but more troops were rushed in from across the channel, and American units began arriving for the first time. (*I)
 
The attack was quickly followed by a second offensive at Ypres, but this was halted after a brief threat against the channel ports. Another German blow to Allied lines fell with the twin operations "Blucher" and "Yorck," whose combined might drove south toward Paris, occupying Soissons and nearly cutting off Reims. The spearhead of their advance penetrated as far as Chateau-Thierry, only 56 miles from Paris. This operation however, suffered from the same flaw as many which had preceded it. Ludendorf had not planned for this offensive to succeed. It had been intended as a feint in order to draw French troops away from the main offensive to the north, and so the astounding achievements were not exploited because inadequate reserves were available. Still, the Allied situation was very grim, and the Allies were forced to issue a "backs to the wall" order. (*I)
 
Notes and References
 
(*A)     The 1881 census - household transcription © (Findmypast.co.uk)
(*B)     The 1891 census - household transcription © (Findmypast.co.uk)
(*C)     The 1901 census - household transcription © (Findmypast.co.uk)
(*D)     The 1911 census - household transcription © (Findmypast.co.uk)
(*E)     Extract from the diary of Captain Ernest Ambler, 1st Battalion, The Prince of Wales's Own © West Yorkshire Regiment
(*F)     Soldiers Died in the Great War database © Naval and Military Press Ltd 2006
(*G)     Personal Description © (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)
(*H)     Extract taken from ‘© (This Day in History)
(*I)      Extract taken from ‘© (This Day in History)
 
Item, Source and Credit
 
(*1)      Medical Card Memorial © (Ancestry.co.uk)
(*2)      Map from ‘© (This Day in History)
(*3)      Arras War Memorial © (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)
(*4)      Thiepval Memorial Plan © (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

 

Burntwood Family History Group

 

(C) Mike Woolridge - Site Last Updated 01 November 2014