681845 GNR. J. FURLONG.  R.F.A.

 

Joseph Furlong was born in Liverpool in 1885.  There are some gaps and inconsistencies in his biographical background so I have had to make some educated guesses.  If you know more about this man, please let me know.  The facts I am certain of are as follows: he was married in 1910 to Mary Ellen McIver (b. 1892 in Liverpool) and the couple had two children: Margaret (b. 1913) and Henry Joseph (b. 1915).  Joseph was a labourer in a syrup factory, and he and Mary Ellen lived at 200 Burlington Street, Liverpool.  CWGC says he was in 276 Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery and Soldiers’ Effects suggest he was in “B” Battery, but he did not land in France with the first cohort of 55th Division in 1915.  He probably served in the Territorials before the War as he has an old-style service number, 4589, which was later changed to 681845.  My guess is that he attested in 1915 but given his family circumstances he was not called up until 1916.  He died on 9 April 1918 and he is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.  This means his body was not recovered from the battlefield and the fact he is commemorated at Ploegsteert and not Festubert/Givenchy suggests that when he was killed he was actually serving with 286Bde.  By including his name among the 286Bde men killed on 9 April the total of casualties now tallies with the figure cited in the War Diary.

 

His family background is slightly more speculative, but my best guess is that he was born on 4 December 1885 and his father was Patrick Furlong (b. 1856 in Wexford, Ireland), a merchant seaman, and his mother was Bridget Redmond (b. 1863 in Wexford).  Patrick and Bridget were married in Liverpool in 1880 and they had three children: Mary Agnes (b. 1882), Joseph and James (b. 1891).  Patrick died in about 1892 and Bridget remarried in 1894, to Philip Mohan (b. 1866 in West Derby) and they had a son, John, in 1897.

 

Rank:  Gunner

Service No:  681845

Date of Death:  09/04/1918

Age:  32

Regiment/Service:  Royal Field Artillery, “B” Bty, 286th Bde. (CWGC says 276th Bde but see above)

Cemetery/memorial reference: Panel 1.

Cemetery/Memorial:  PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL

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