Information submitted by Liz Thompson, a resident of Richmond.
Michael Joseph Kavanagh (Liz’s Great-Uncle) was born in Walsall, Staffordshire on 20 February 1879. He joined the South Staffordshire Regiment, serving in the Boer War in the Cape Colony, the Transvaal and at Wittegbergin. At the outbreak of the First World War he reenlisted into the same regiment as a Private and advanced to the rank of Colour Sergeant. He was Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in January 1915 and promoted to Lieutenant in September of the same year.
He was wounded twice during the Battle of the Somme and was awarded the Military Cross. The citation published in the London Gazette stated “For conspicuous gallantry during operations. Though knocked over and wounded by a shell, he took over command of a machine gun company two days later, and, suffering from shock and considerable pain, stuck to his command and did good work”. He was promoted to Acting Captain on 8 March 1918. On his retirement in November 1919, Michael Joseph Kavanagh was granted the full rank of Captain.
In later life Captain Kavanagh moved into local politics, being elected to the position of Mayor of Walsall in 1945. During the Second World War he served as Platoon Commander of No. 21 Platoon of the 27th Staffordshire Home Guard.
Explore more memories from the ribbon
Steven Shackleton told us about his great uncle, Thomas Edwards from Ironbridge. During the First World War, Tommy Edwards was a Corporal in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. Prior to the war he had served as 86589 Pte T Edwards with the Territorial Reserve Battalion. He served with the 10th KOYLI and then transfered to the 2nd KOYLI before he was killed in action on 30th September 1918, aged 19. He is buried at Bellicourt British Cemetery in France. His mother was Mrs Francis Edwards of Hoylake, Cheshire and had the following inscription added to the bottom of his headstone: ‘Peace, perfect peace’.
Researched by Will Young. Second Lieutenant Oakley Alsop Browning is burried in the cemetery in Catterick Village. He enlisted on 6th October 1915 as 9587 Private Browning, as a member of 12th Field Ambulance, Australian Imperial Force (Browning came from North Carlton, Victoria, Australia and was the son of Major Demby de Courcey Browning, Commanding Officer of Base Command, Keswick Barracks, Adelaide). He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the Royal Flying Corps on 17th March 1917. On 11th August 1917, while flying an Avro 504 at Catterick aerodrome he was in a collision with a BE12 flown by Lieutenant Errington Edward Castle. Browning died on the same day while Castle (who is also burried in Catterick) died of his injuries on 12th August.
Ewen George Sinclair-Maclagan was born on the 24th December 1868 in Edinburgh. He was educated at the United Services College, Westward Ho! North Devon and commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the Border Regiment in 1898. He served in India, including the expedition to Waziristan in 1894-5, and was promoted Captain in 1898. He saw action in the 2nd Boer War (1899-1902) as an Adjutant in the 1st Battalion Border Regiment. He was severely wounded at Spion Kop, mentioned in dispatches and received the Distinguished Service Order. In 1901 he was posted to Australia when their Army was being organised, being appointed Adjutant to the New South Wales Scottish Rifles. On the 29th January 1902 he married Edith Kathleen, daughter of Major General Sir George French, at St’ Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral in Sydney. They would have one daughter. In 1904 Maclagan resumed regimental duty in Britain. Promoted Major in 1908 he then transferred to the Yorkshire Regiment. In 1910 Major General Sir William Bridges, who had known Maclagan in Australia, was recruiting for staff for the Royal Military College in Duntroon, Canberra. He made Maclagan director of drill with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. When Bridges raised the 1st Division Australian Imperial Force (AIF) he chose Maclagan to command the 3rd Infantry Brigade. On the 25th April 1915 landed at Gallipoli. A ridge leading from Anzac Cove is named after him. He would stay on the peninsula until evacuated sick in August 1915. He did not return to his Brigade in Egypt…