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Burntwood Family History Group
John MALLEY
 
Researched and written by Sheila Clarke

The MALLEY Family

John MALLEY was born in Hammerwich, Staffordshire to John MALLEY and Bridget his wife. John MALLEY senior, a coal miner had changed his name from O’MALLEY after his marriage in 1875.
 
 
(*1) Marriage certificate of John O’MALLEY and Bridget WELCH
 
The family lived for many years at 1 Triangle Terrace, Hammerwich. At the time of the 1901 census when John was eight years old, there were eight children in the family living at home.
 
(*2) Birth certificate of Bridget WELCH the mother of John MALLEY
 
Ages ranged from Edward at twenty-two to one year old Margaret. Also living in the house were boarders Martin GALLAGHER and John HIGGINS, both Miners. Edward, Patrick and Thomas MALLEY also worked at the mine. John and Bridget’s eldest child Anne had sailed to Boston, Massachusetts in the USA in about 1890 when she was around fourteen years old. There she married Joseph GRIFFITHS, and they had two children.
 
 
 
(*3) Death certificate of Michael WELCH, grandfather of John MALLEY

John O’MALLEY was born in Cong, County Mayo, Ireland in 1849. He came to England with his elder brother Patrick and was a lodger with James and Catherine WELCH who had both come to England from Ireland. James was born in Lough Glynn County Mayo and Catherine from Cong. Bridget WELCH the niece of James and Catherine WELCH was born in Alrewas but later lived in Lichfield, Staffordshire with her mother.

Cong

The MALLEY family came from Cong and the surrounding area. Cong is a village straddling the boarders of County Galway and County Mayo on an isthmus connecting Loughs Corrib and Mask, in the Irish Lake District. William WILDE Historian and father of Oscar WILDE came from Cong. Cong was the filming location for John FORD’s 1951 film, ‘The Quiet Man’, featuring Maureen O’HARA, John WAYNE and Barry FITZGERALD.
 

 
(*4) Ashford Castle near Cong. Former home of the Guinness family, now a hotel
 
 
(*5) MALLEY family living at The Triangle at the time of the 1901 census
 
She was seventeen at the time of her marriage to twenty-four year old John O’MALLEY. Her mother born Bridget LEE, was a widow at the time of her daughter’s marriage. Bridget’s father had died from tuberculosis when he was six years old. He had been suffering from the disease for six years.
 
 
(*6) Family of John O’MALLEY and Bridget WELCH showing surviving children

The wedding of John and Bridget took place at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Chapel, Lichfield.

Triangle Terrace, where the MALLEY family lived, consisted of fourteen three storey houses between the Triangle Tavern and the Hammerwich Hospital. The houses are long gone, and the site of what was the Hammerwich Hospital was developed as housing in the early years of the 21st century. At the time of the 1911 census, John junior, now eighteen, was also at the mine working as a hewer.

The Operation in Gallipoli

Some ill-conceived political decisions meant that Turkey entered the war on the side of the Germans. It was decided the Allies (France, Britain and troops from the British Colonies) should conquer Gallipoli; but the British preparations for a combined operation between land and sea forces were extraordinary casual and unprofessional with little coordination between the services. No care was taken to keep the invasion plans secret, so the Turks and Germans were able to prepare for the invasion.

The first assault in February 1915 was a disaster costing the Allies around seven hundred men and a third of their ships. Three large warships were sunk and three damaged together with a number of minesweepers. The operation was a failure; the minefields still existed and the waterways to Istanbul closed to Allied shipping. After a period of uncertainty, it was decided to go ahead with another invasion attempt. John MALLEY had joined the Royal Worcester Regiment and in March 1915 he was probably billeted in Leamington Spa with the rest of the 4th battalion. They were deployed to the Dardanelles as part of the 88th Brigade. Legions of relatives travelled to Leamington to see the trains depart for Avonmouth on 21st and 22nd March 1915. Foreign Service helmets were issued and embarkation on troop ships began at 11 am on 22nd March. The Worcester Regiment was divided between four ships.

On the 31st March the convoy arrived off Malta and reached Alexandria on 4th April, Easter Sunday. The harbour was so crowded with ships that the transporters carrying the Worcesters had to lay off the harbour for three days waiting for space. On 11th April the battalion embarked on HMS Aragon with the 21st Hampshires. The rendezvous was to be Lemnos on 13th April. It was possible but unlikely that the troops were able to disembark at Lemnos because during the earlier campaign it was clear that the small island could not accommodate very large numbers of troops. They may have had to stay on board ship in the harbour at Mudros.

On the 21st April 1915 the order to land on the beaches of Cape Hellas was received.(B) Landing sites were named SVWXY.(C)
 
         
 
(*7)                                             (*8)
 
Position of landing sites in Gallipoli 1915
 
The Worcester Regiment were ordered to land on W beach.
 
 
(*9) W beach at Gallipoli
 
SS River Clyde had been run aground a V beach to act as a base and provide cover.
 
 
(*10) SS River Clyde run aground on V beach 1915
 
On the cloudy morning of 2th April landing boats, were towed towards the beach. These small craft had been used by the Dublin Fusiliers that morning and were badley damaged, blood and sea water covering the boots of the Worcesters. An account written by Private Ben WARD(*A) of the 4th Battalion graphically describes the campaign. The plan was to capture high ground in order to work towards V beach. The troops encountered formidable obstacles included barbed wire laid by the Turks both in the sea and on the land. The Turks had had time to reinforce their positions and again were well prepared. The Allies suffered heavy casualties. Of the 1000 men that landed on W beach, three-quarters were killed and 283 seriously wounded.

After the 12th May there was short lull in the fighting and on 17th May parties of troops were able to bathe in the sea. Soldiers were often short of clean drinking water. The Turks had spoiled wells near the landing beaches. Some water was distilled from the sea, but often the scale of the fighting meant that the troops were unable to replenish their supply from clean springs which were further afield. Men filled their bottle with any water they could find to slake their thirst in the heat, many succumbed to dysentery.

The next engagement was on the 22nd May when a strong counter Turkish attack meant that a detachment of the 4th Worcesters were sent to reinforce the Royal Fusiliers. On the night of the 25/26th May they had to dig new trenches near Turkish positions in bright moonlight under heavy fire. A new attack following reinforcements began on the 4th June at Krithia. At 9.30am the British began their bombardment. Then the battalions scrambled out of the trenches. The Worcester platoons rushed forward across open ground and into three successive lines of enemy trenches. During the night of the 6/7 th June another attack took place and was repulsed, but many of the surviving officers and men of the 4th Worcesters were killed.

Private John MALLEY died of wounds on June 7th 1915. His injuries may have occurred during any of the fierce battles which took place during late May and early June. The medical facilities on Gallipoli were poor and heavy fighting meant that the dead and injured from both sides lay in the open for many hours. The wounded often died in agony before they could be attended to. The transport of injured soldiers was inadequate. It is impossible to say if John MALLEY and other wounded would have survived if better medical facilities had been provided.

Private John MALLEY Regimental Number 15338 is buried at the East Mudros Military Cemetery on the island of Lemnos. The cemetery is situated on rising ground on the north east side of the village of Mudros and is about 1 Km out of the village, next to the Greek Civil Cemetery. Mudros is on the east side of Mudros Bay, on the way to Kaminia village.
 
 
(*11) Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record
 
                   
 
(*12)                                          (*13)                                            (*14)
 
East Mudros Military Cemetery
 
He is remembered on the war memorial in St John the Baptist Church, Hammerwich as  J. MALEY  4th Worcesters
 
                                     
 
(*15) St John the Baptist Church, Hammerwich             (*16) St. John the Baptist War Memorial Plaque

Reference, item and source

1.     Marriage Certificate courtesy of Claire LANGSTON, descendant of the MALLEY family © The National Archives
2.     Birth Certificate of Bridget WELCH © The National Archives
3.     Death Certificate of Michael WELCH © The National Archives
4.     Photograph of Ashford Castle
5.     Extract from 1901 Census © The National Archives
6.     MALLEY family tree © Sheila CLARKE (BFHG)
7.     Image of position of landing sites in Gallipoli © The Worcestershire Regiment
8.     Image of position of landing sites in Gallipoli © The Worcestershire Regiment
9.     Photograph of W beach, Gallipoli © The Worcestershire Regiment
10.   Photograph of SS River Clyde © The Worcestershire Regiment
11.   Image of John MALLEY’s burial record © The CWGC
12.   Photograph East Mudros Military Cemetery © Alan BETTS (BFHG)
13.   Photograph East Mudros Military Cemetery © Alan BETTS (BFHG)
14.   Photograph East Mudros Military Cemetery © Alan BETTS (BFHG)
15.   Photograph St John the Baptist Church © Alan BETTS (BFHG)
16.   Photograph St John the Baptist Church Memorial Plaque © Alan BETTS (BFHG)
 
Reference
 
A.    ‘Tales of the Dardanelles’ by Private 11526 Ben WARD
B.    The Royal Worcester Regiment
C.    The Royal Worcester Regiment
 
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