Bridge of Weir

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45846 Gunner John Begley

"A" Battery, 103rd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery

died of wounds 26th September 1917

aged 30

Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord
St Fillan's Church Memorial Window, Houston

Son of John Begley and Helen Beglay
Cooperative Terrace, Bridge of Weir

His Life

John Begley was born on 13th December 1886 at The Elbow, Bridge of Weir, the youngest of a family of eight born to John Begley, a journeyman stonemason from Bridge of Weir and Helen Beglay, from Glasgow, who had married in Johnstone, Renfrewshire on 17th July 1874.

In 1881 John (28), Helen (28), and their first four children were living in Crofthead, Bridge of Weir.

In 1891 the Begley family, now with eight children, was still at Crofthead. John was not in the family home, James was a mason's labourer, Mary and Jessie were printfield workers and the others, except John (4), were at school.

In 1901 the Begley family of ten was living in a 3-roomed flat in Cooperative Terrace, Bridge of Weir. John senior was still a stonemason, as by then were James and Fergus. Mary and Jessie were thread woollen mill workers, Ellen an assistant schoolteacher, Annie a printfield worker, Thomas a leather stainer and John junior (14) was a message boy. Despite the large family, they also took in a lodger, Samuel Barclay (42), a housepainter from Thurso, Caithness.

By 1911, Ellen (58) was a widow and head of a household of seven children and four grandchildren, in the same flat in Cooperative Terrace. James (36) was a foreman mason and a widower with four children, Mary was a baller in a thread mill, Ellen a schoolteacher, Annie a calico printworker, Fergus a garden labourer, Thomas a leather stainer, and John (24) was a mason's labourer. Jessie was no longer in the family home.

John Begley volunteered in November 1914 and was enlisted into the Royal Field Artillery. His Medal Index Card implies he was not awarded the 1914 -15 Star. A newspaper recorded that in July 1915 he returned home for recuperation after receiving a kick from a horse, probably incurred during training. By 1917 he was certainly on the front, and he died of wounds on 26th September 1917 and is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension in the north of France close to the Belgian border. At the time of his death he was attached to 103rd Brigade, RFA which formed part of 23rd Division, at that time involved in the Third Battle of Ypres, in particular the Battle of the Menin Road (20th-25th September) and the Battle of Polygon Wood which began on 26th September, although his wounds could have been received even earlier. 103rd Brigade positions were bombed by enemy aeroplanes on the nights of 9/10 and 17/18 August 1917 and on 26th August 13 Other Ranks were wounded in action, 5 by accidental explosion of a Mills Bomb. But the casualties noted in the War Diaries were for "C" Battery. All batteries sustained casualties on the morning of 21st August when a barrage of 15.cm. Howitzers found their range.

His name is recorded in stained glass in St Fillan's Church, Houston.

John Begley memorial window


1881 Census 1891 Census 1901 Census 1911 Census Birthplace
Name Age Name Age Name Age Name Age
James6 James16James25James36Bridge of Weir
Mary5 Mary15Mary24Mary34Bridge of Weir
Jessie McK3 Jessie13Jessie22Bridge of Weir
Helen1 Ellen11Ellen20Ellen30Bridge of Weir
Annie10Annie19Annie29Bridge of Weir
Fergus8Fergus18Fergus28Bridge of Weir
Tom6Thomas15Thomas25Bridge of Weir
John 4John 14John 24Bridge of Weir


TO CITE THIS PAGE: MLA style: "Bridge of Weir Memorial". Date of viewing. http://www.bridgeofweirmemorial.co.uk/profile-begley.html