Owen Mulrooney, Private 10682, 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment
Died 6th April 1915 in France, aged 42
Owen Mulrooney was born on 4th February and baptised on 16th February 1873 at St Alban’s Catholic Church, Macclesfield, the son of Mary and William Mulrooney. Owen’s parents were from Ireland and married at St Alban’s Church on 12th January 1859.
In 1881, Owen was living with his mother and siblings Thomas (21), Mary (19), Martin (17), Margaret (14), Michael (10) and Sarah (3) at 7 Watercotes (now called Waterside), Macclesfield. Owen’s father was not at home on the day of the census.
Ten years later, aged 18, Owen was a private with the 2nd Battalion of the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment at Bowerham Barracks in Lancaster. He served with this regiment for a total of twelve years, until he was invalided out of the army on 14th September 1900. As a result of his service in the Second Boer War he was awarded the South Africa Medal, with entitlement to the clasps of the Orange Free State, Transvaal, Tugela Heights, the Relief of Ladysmith and Laing’s Nek.
Returning to Macclesfield, Owen married Mary Ellen Jordan in the spring of 1902 at Macclesfield Register Office – perhaps because it was a mixed faith marriage. His first child, Owen Joseph – known as Joe – was born the following year.
On 17th March 1903, supported by a reference from Mr Adshead, the Macclesfield Borough Surveyor, Owen gained employment as a railway labourer with the London and North Western Railway. Starting work at 6am, his foreman was Mr Stringfellow, and he was paid 18 shillings (90p) per week – worth about £85 today. Unfortunately this employment only lasted for two weeks – on 30th March he was dismissed due to “services not required”.
Owen enlisted with the 4th (Militia) Cheshire Regiment on 4th June 1903 for a period of 4 years. At that time he was still living at 7 Watercotes and employed as a labourer with the Macclesfield Corporation. He was described as 5 feet 6½ inches tall, weighing 144 pounds with a 36 inch chest. He had blue eyes, light hair and a fair complexion, and had a leaf tattoo on his left forearm.
By 1911 Owen and Mary had their own home at 12, Bank Street, Macclesfield. The couple now had four children: Joe (8), Mary Lizzie (5), Alban (2) and William (6 months), and Owen was working as a general labourer.
With the declaration of war Owen re-enlisted at Macclesfield, joining the 1st Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment, and was drafted with the British Expeditionary Force to France on the 11th January 1915; he died three months later on 6th April 1915 aged 42 years.
Private Owen Mulrooney is buried in grave ref. I. E. 24. in Wimereux Communal Cemetery in France. His widow asked for the inscription “GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN, FROM HIS LOVING WIFE AND CHILDREN” to be added to his headstone.
In Macclesfield, Private Owen Mulrooney is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael’s Church and St Alban’s Church war memorials.
He is also remembered in Macclesfield Cemetery on a private headstone, grave ref. K7922.