680126 DVR J. BRENNAN. R.F.A.
Alfred James Brennan (his military records show only James) was born in the last quarter of 1892 in Lancaster. His father was Alfred James Brennan (b. 1853 in Preston), an iron miller. His mother was Annie Maguire (b. 1869 in Lancaster). Alfred and Annie were married in 1890 and they had 6 children, though they lost two in infancy. James was their first and he was followed by: Norah (b. 1894), Hugh (b. 1897) and Annie (b. 1899). In 1911, the family was living at 15 Eastham Street, Lancaster, and James was working as a mule spinner’s piecer.
James’ service numbers indicate he was in the Territorials before the War. When he signed up in 1914 he was allocated service number 1035, which was later changed to 680126. He enlisted in Lancaster and again the service numbers suggest he was first posted to “A” Battery of 276 Brigade. 276 Brigade formed part of 55th (West Lancashire) Division. James landed with his Division in France on 30 September 1915. 55th Division fought at Guillemont and Ginchy (on the Somme) in September 1916, suffering severe losses especially at Guillemont. They also fought at Flers-Courcelette and Morval later that month, and then in October 1916 they were moved to the Ypres Salient, at the time a relatively quieter part of the front. Although there were no major engagements in early 1917, there was constant harassment, shelling and raids. At some point, James left 276 Brigade and was posted to the Divisional Ammunition Column of 58th Division.
58th (2nd/1st London) Division landed in France in early 1917 so it seems likely that this is the point that James joined them. They were engaged in the pursuit of the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line (17-28 March); the Battle of Bullecourt (4-17 May); and the actions of the Hindenburg Line (20 May -16 June). They were then engaged in the later phases of the Third Battle of Ypres: the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge (20-25 September) and the Battle of Polygon Wood (26-27 September). I don’t know the precise circumstances, but James was wounded in action and died from his wounds at 27th Field Ambulance. 27th Field Ambulance was attached to 9th (Scottish) Division, who moved to the front on 10 October, to participate in the First Battle of Passchendaele, 12 October. James died on 20 October. He was 25 years old.
Service No: 680126
Date of Death: 20/10/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, 58th Div. Ammunition Col.
Grave Reference: I. A. 5.
Cemetery: ST. JULIEN DRESSING STATION CEMETERY