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Gannon, J.E., Sgt., 1919

Photo: Raymond C. Reed

751 Sergeant Joseph Edward Gannon served with the Durham Light Infantry died 08/02/1919.

Pauline Priano has submitted the following:-

Joseph Edward Gannon was born May 26th 1891 at Seaham Harbour, County Durham, one of 6 known children, 4 boys and 2 girls, born to cartman, James Edward Gannon 1865 of Sedgefield and his wife Mary Scarr native of Toronto, Bishop Auckland, born 1869, whom he married in 1887 at Stockton, County Durham. Joseph’s father died in 1902, his mother remarried to widower John William Lawson a glass maker, originally from Leeds, who had two children of his own and were living in 1911 at Ropery Walk, Seaham Harbour. Joseph and his brother James William, both working as quarrymen, can be found living with the widow Elizabeth Reed and family at Hawthorn Village. That same year September 11th 1911 Joseph Edward married her daughter Margaret Reed born 1890 at Cold Hesledon, County Durham near Peterlee, at Hawthorn Village Church. Margaret gave birth to a son in 1913 who was named after his deceased grandfather, James Edward.

Joseph Edward Gannon left his employment as a police constable to enlist at Cocken Hall, Fichale, County Durham, September 23rd 1914 and was assigned as Private 751 to the 18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry. Cocken Hall, built in the 17th century, functioned as a military residence and military training ground for the 18th D. L. I. during WW1. Too small to accommodate all the men a barracks, bath house, rifle range, canteen and recreation room were built. Trenches were dug to simulate the warfare the men could expect to find once mobilised. The main body of men departed for France in May 1915 but it was not until December 6th 1915 that Joseph Edward was mobilised and sent as part of the Expeditionary Force to Egypt, having rose through the ranks, now a sergeant. The 18th Battalion was attached to the 31st Division to help defend the Suez Canal against the Turkish attacks, until March 4th, when they left for France in preparation for the Battles of the Somme. Once in France the 18th Battalion still with the 31st Division attacked, July 1st 1916, the German trenches at Serre at the northern end of the Somme battlefield. Many of the battalion in the following days were killed or wounded during the constant bombardments which lasted until the 5th. Joseph Edward sustained a gunshot wound to his left arm and shrapnel wounds to his right arm and leg. Unfortunately, his left arm had to be amputated, he was sent back to England July 8th 1916 to recuperate and was eventually discharged under King’s Regulations 392 xvi, no longer fit for service. He was awarded the Silver War Badge 244736 and would have received a pension. In recognition of his military service he received the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Sunderland Echo 23/01/1917 reads:-

P.C. Joseph Edward Gannon, who has been in the Army and has had the misfortune to lose one of his arms in the fighting in France, has returned to duty and is now stationed on the Parks. The constable's case is in some respects a remarkable one owing to the nature of his injuries. His left arm was practically blown off at the shoulder, he was shot through the chest, his right arm was laid bare to the bone and he was also shot through both legs. Despite the terrible nature of his injuries he walked to the nearest dressing station. When he got there he found a long queue of wounded waiting for treatment and he decided to make his way to another station. He declined the use of an ambulance and walked two miles to the second dressing station, where his injuries were attended to and he was forwarded to a hospital. Such a display of vitality and fortitude is rarely met with. P.C. Gannon has made a splendid recovery and looks fit and well. The duties connected with the parks being of a light nature and mainly a matter of oversight it is anticipated that he will be able to discharge them satisfactorily despite the deprivation of one arm. His brother James William Gannon was killed at the Front.

Ex Sergeant Joseph Edward Gannon died February 8th 1919 at the Royal Infirmary, Sunderland, County Durham. A coroner's inquest was held February 10th and it concluded that his death was caused by multiple sarcomata due to injuries received in operations of war. He was 27 years old.

His brother James William Gannon also a Sunderland policeman died 26/08/1916 and is remembered on the Sunderland Police memorial.

In God’s safe keeping. Rest In Peace.

Joseph Edward Gannon is remembered at Hawthorn on H119.01 and at Sunderland on S140.061 where he is listed as having served.

There is no CWGC entry for Joseph Edward Gannon.

The CWGC entry for Gunner Gannon

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk