Our People - John McNamara V.C.
28939 Corporal John McNamara V.C.
9th (Service) Battalion, East Surrey Regiment - 72nd Brigade, 24th Division
(formerly 25097 Loyal North Lancashire Regiment)
Killed in action 16/10/1918.
John is buried in Romeries Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France. Ref: IV. D. 17
Bamber Bridge - Corporal John MacNamara V.C. Plaque
Bamber Bridge - Brownedge St. Mary's R.C. War Memorial
Lostock Hall - South Ribble Civic WW1 Memorial
1914/15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Victoria Cross
If you have a picture or more information about this man, please contact us
John McNamara V.C. is arguably the most famous of all the soldiers, sailors and airmen from the South Ribble area, and one of the few to have his own memorial which stands nearby his old house.
John was born in 1887 to John Thomas McNamara and Margaret McNamara (nee Kelly) in Walton-le-Dale. His parental heritage was Irish, his grandfather (also John) was born in Ireland about 1842. In 1911, John was living with his uncle, John Eckersley at 6 Charnley Fold, Bamber Bridge and was working as a ring jobber at A. S. Orr's cotton mill. He was courting his future wife at this time, Mary Ann Atkinson of Higher Walton and they married in 1912 at the Preston register office. They would go on to have four children together.
John's service record does not survive, but we know from various records that he at first enlisted with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and transferred sometime later to the 9th East Surreys. He is famous for the gallant action that won him the British Army's highest award for gallantry, the Victoria Cross. All V.C. awards are published in the London Gazette, the official public record. The edition dated 15 November 1918 reads as follows:
Just after the action, John wrote to William Eckersley describing in some detail the action he had been involved in. Extracts from the letter dated 8 September 1918 were published in the Preston Guardian after John's death.
The award was made posthumously. John was killed in action 16 October 1918 in fighting in and around the town of Haussy, where the East Surreys were pushing the Germans back in what was increasingly becoming a mobile war as the German army began to crack. He is buried at the Romeries Communal Cemetery near the town of Solesmes. He is remembered by a plaque on an earth bank where his house used to stand in School Lane, Bamber Bridge, and his is one of the names on the Brownedge St. Mary R.C. Memorial at Brownedge Green, Bamber Bridge. On 22 November 1918, John's C.O., Lieutenant Colonel Ewan A. Cameron wrote to his widow.
You can see a facsimile of the letter below kindly provided by the Surrey Regimental Museum. Use the controls to turn the page, or click the letter to go to my Flickr site where it is stored. These images belong to the museum and must not be duplicated.
In July 2014, "Forward" newspaper produced a piece on John McNamara and the centenary of the Great War. The article(s) are reproduced as below.
Please email the project with any amendments or corrections
Edited 31 December 2016
John McNamara Wikipedia page
Nephew and granddaughter of World War One Victoria Cross soldier meet for the first time - Lancashire Evening Post
Queens Royal Surreys Website
1901 Census of England via Ancestry.co.uk / 1911 Census of England via Ancestry.co.uk / Commonwealth War Graves Commission / Soldiers Died in the Great War via Ancestry.co.uk / Newspaper articles as noted above / Lancashire BMD