680863 S/SGT. M. KENNEDY. R.F.A.
Matthew Kennedy was born in the last quarter of 1894 in Higher Walton. His parents were both born in Ireland. His father was William Kennedy (b. 1860 in Dublin), a general labourer. His mother was Julia Ann (maiden name not known, b. 1861 in Galway). The couple may have married in Ireland before coming to England in the early 1880s. They had 5 children: Mary Ann (b. 1883), then Mathew, then William (b. 1888), Martha (b. 1891) and Thomas (b. 1897). William (snr) died not long after Thomas was born. In 1901 the family lived at Salisbury Road, Brinscall, and in 1909 Julia Ann re-married, to Robert Wareing (b. 1879 at School Lane). In 1911, Robert and Julia and her children were living at 23 Alma Place, Gregson Lane. Robert also includes Mary Ann and Matthew (Julia’s oldest children) in the Census return although both are married and living elsewhere. Mary Ann was in fact living next door with her husband, and Matthew was living just down the road at 26 Alma Place. In 1907, Matthew married Elizabeth Ellen Smith (b. 1885 in Brindle), and the couple had two children: Roger Matthew (b. 1909) and William (b. 1911). Matthew was a carter.
Matthew was a parishioner of Brindle St Joseph’s but he clearly had a link with Bamber Bridge as he enlisted with the other Briggers in May 1915 in the Royal Field Artillery. (Also, some time between 1911 and 1917, Julia and Robert Wareing moved to 10 Withy Grove Road, Bamber Bridge). Matthew was assigned service number 680863 (680862 was Joseph Jackson DCM). It seems Matthew went through training with the other Briggers and they went to France in February 1917. Matthew did not go with them, as there are no records that he was awarded medals for overseas service. CWGC records his rank as Staff Sergeant, so he may have had a role in training troops at home. The newspaper article says that in September 1917 he was home on leave from a military hospital in Whitchurch. He stayed with his mother and visited his sister, but there is no record that he saw his wife or children, before taking his own life at Hewn Gate Farm, Brindle. He was suffering from depression but we don’t know if this was related to military service, or family life, or both, or neither. He was 32 years old.
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Service Number: 680863
Date of Death: 29/09/1917
Service/Regiment: Royal Field Artillery, 2nd Reserve Bde.
Cemetery/memorial reference: South-West part.
Cemetery: BRINDLE (ST. JOSEPH'S) ROMAN CATHOLIC CEMETERY
In 1919, Matthew’s wife, Elizabeth Ellen, married Edward Martin
(b. 1889 in Cuerden), and her two children went to live with their grandmother.
Hewn Gate Farm, where Matthew took his life, was also the scene
of a V1 attack in December 1944. See here for details.