Captain M J Kavanagh

Timelines: Ribbon of Remembrance Captain M J Kavanagh
Announcement Date: October 3, 2018

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.

Return to the ribbon

Explore more memories from the ribbon

  • Olive Yeates

    Olive was born on the 29th August 1899 in Harrogate. The 1911 census shows Olive living at home with parents George and Miriam, and baby brother George (aged 1). Other than she would gain employment at Barnbow Munitions Factory little is known of her life. Barnbow Munitions Factory, at Crossgates Leeds, was one of the new purpose built munitions factories to meet the demand for shells and ammunition. The factory was operational by December 1915, so it would have probably been around that time or shortly after that Olive started work there. It was a huge complex and at peak output was employing about 16,000 workers. The local train station was extended and would bring in workers from the surrounding towns and villages. It even had a farm producing 300 gallons of milk per day, with employees receiving a free daily milk ration. Munitions work was dangerous. Barnbow ran 3 shifts a day and involved hard manual work involving the use of heavy machinery. Most of the workforce was women and young girls, attracted by the high wages on offer. Conditions at the factory were very hot, the raw materials toxic which would turn their skin and hair yellow in a short time. This led to the nickname ‘The Barnbow Canaries’. The uniforms offered inadequate protection against the dust which could prove deadly if settling in the lungs, even though masks were provided. Olive worked in Room 42, as one of about 170 workers, where the fully loaded shells were…

  • Captain John Maughan

    John was born on the 4th January 1890 at East Witton in North Yorkshire and was the eldest son of John and Annie Maughan. They lived at Abbey Hill, a large house overlooking Jervaulx Abbey near Middleham, North Yorkshire. John senior was the agent for the Jervaulx estate. John was educated at Marlborough College. He was gazetted to a commission in the 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment in 1909 and was promoted Captain on the 3rd November 1914. John went to France in April 1915 and was in action at the 2nd Battle of Ypres just a few days later. His distinguished service during this action resulted in him being ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’ by Sir John French. On the 12th February 1916 the Battalion occupied trenches around Hill 60 near Ypres. Work was ongoing repairing trenches when on the 14th February the Germans began to bombard them. The enemy also exploded a mine which killed thirteen men. On the 17th February, ironically regarded as a relatively quiet day, some minor shelling resulted in John being hit and killed by shrapnel. Captain John Maughan was buried in Poperinghe New Military Cemetery. John’s name is commemorated on the War Memorial at East Witton.

  • Captain Thomas Ernest Dufty

    Captain Thomas Ernest Dufty 5th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment Captain Dufty was born in on the 30th of June 1880. His father was Arthur Richard Sykes Dufty and his mother was called Katie. He was educated at Pocklington Grammar School. He joined the 5th Battalion in 1912 and became a lieutenant in June 1913. Prior to this his profession was as a banker and manager of the Bridlington branch of the London Joint Stock Bank. Dufty was promoted to Captain on the 18th of April 1915. He was reported as killed in action on or about the 19th of May 1915 (killed by a shell). His Battalion had been deployed to Sanctuary Wood (1.9 miles east of Ypres). He left a widow, Beatrice, and a 4-year-old son Arthur Richard. He is buried at the Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery in Belgium and commemorated at the Manor Road Cemetery Scarborough.