Sunday, 26 November 2017

26919 Corporal Michael CONDRON (1897 - 1918)

The Battle of the Lys (7-29 April 1918), also known as the Lys Offensive or the Fourth Battle of Ypres, was part of the German 1918 Spring Offensive. The front for the German offensive ran north-south from about 6 miles east of Ypres in Belgium to about 6 miles east of Béthune in northern France (near the towns of La Bassée, Givenchy and Festubert). The southern part of the front, which was defended by British and Portuguese forces, was attacked by the German Sixth Army beginning with a bombardment on the evening of 7 April. German attacks took place at different points along the front in the following three weeks. 

On 18 April the German Sixth Army attacked in the southern sector towards Béthune. The records of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment for 18 April at La Bassée Canal report:

"The Germans began an intense bombardment of the line at 04:15 hrs that morning, following that by advancing in attack at 08:00 hrs. The Germans were successful in gaining a foothold in the main Divisional line, before C and D Companies of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment ejected them through vigorous counter-attack. The majority of the line being back in our possession by 11:00 hrs."

Corporal Michael CONDRON (service no. 26919) was killed in action at La Bassée Canal on 18 April 1918.

Michael CONDRON was born in Liverpool in 1897, the eldest child of Michael and Annie (née GILMOUR) CONDRON. He is recorded in the 1911 Census of England at 174 Liverpool Road, Great Crosby, living with his parents and five siblings, and one servant. In 1911 Michael was 13 years old and at school. When he enlisted in the Liverpool Regiment on 20 May 1915, he gave his age as 19 years old and his trade or calling as "seaman". After serving in the Liverpool Regiment and the Machine Gun Corps, he was transferred on 7 September 1916 into the 1st Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

Michael's father, also called Michael CONDRON, was born in Liverpool in 1864 and died in 1913. In the 1911 Census his occupation was given as Master Contractor; at the time of his death he was a "ship scraper". (Following his death, probate on his estate was granted to Arthur STARK and James CAREW, ship scalers. James Carew's name will occur again shortly.) Michael (senior) married Annie GILMOUR from Edinburgh, though I do not know the date or place of their marriage. Apart from Michael, their children who survived infancy were: Janet (born 1901), Thomas (1903), James Joseph (1905), Eric Robert (1908), Theadora ("Dora", born 1910) and Harold (1912). All were born in or near Liverpool and their births registered in the West Derby Registration District.

Michael's grandparents were Thomas and Jane (née MUIRHEAD) CONDRON. Thomas was born in Dublin in about 1834 and died in Liverpool in 1897. Thomas and Jane had four children that I know of: Michael (1864), Mary Jane (1867), Susannah (1870) and Elizabeth (1879). Thomas and Jane did not get married until 1894, at Holy Trinity Church in Liverpool. According to their marriage registry entry, Thomas's father was Michael CONDRON (deceased), formerly a land steward. 

When Michael CONDRON enlisted, he gave his next of kin as the above-mentioned James CAREW. Consequently, when he was killed in action, his British War Medal and Victory Medal, as well as memorial plaque and memorial scroll, were sent to James CAREW. Michael's service record shows that his mother Annie made an application in 1921 for these items to be returned to her. By that date, she had presumably remarried, as she gave her name as Annie McMAHON and her address as 57 Barracks, King Street, Aberdeen. 

According to Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Michael CONDRON is buried in the Post Office Rifles Cemetery, Festubert, in northern France. 
In addition to drawing on my usual sources, I am grateful to Paul McCormick and his web page about Michael CONDRON's service in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, from which the above quotation from the regiment's records is taken.

For other blog posts about CONDR*Ns in the First World War, click on "First World War" in the Labels list on the right of the blog web page. Comments and corrections welcome, either by leaving a comment below or by email to me: CONDRAN[AT]ONE-NAME.ORG .