100 Stories > The McCarthy brothers
More than 50 Burnley families lost two sons in the war, at least 17 lost three and one family lost four sons.
James McCarthy (1882-1915) was the second of five sons of Irish immigrants to Burnley from Carrick-on-Suir in County Tipperary. He was a mechanic and worked at Cooper’s Foundry prior to the war. James had served in the South Africa War and then in the reserve. He was killed 6th July, 1915, along with a number of other men, when German shells landed amongst the group. He left behind his wife, Catherine, and three children, Annie, James, and John. The postcard to James above was written by Catherine as if it was from Annie. “Dear Daday, Just to let you no I am longing to see you…[sic]”
Thomas McCarthy (1892-1915) was the youngest of the brothers.
Thomas grew up in Burnley. Before the war he worked at Towneley Colliery. He joined the East Lancashire Regiment and was reported missing 9th August, 1915, while serving in the Dardanelles. His mother received a letter from Lieutenant Hugh Kelley: “I have made every effort in my power to trace your beloved son. I found out from Sergt. Taylor, of the machine gun section, that he was wounded in the head and also in the body, and he wandered off towards the dressing station a long way behind us. God in Heaven only knows what became of him afterwards.” He was later presumed killed and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial.