James Alfred Hanna, Private 5682, 9th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
Died of wounds 16th December 1915 at the Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich, aged 23
James Alfred Hanna was born in 1892 in Newtownards, County Down, Ireland, the eldest son of David Hanna.
In 1901, eight year old James was living in Ennis Road, Limerick, with his widowed father, brother William (2) and his father’s aunt Jane Gordon (60). The family must have moved to Macclesfield within the next few years as James enrolled at Macclesfield Technical School in January 1908, when the family lived at 32 Oxford Road. He had been educated at Crompton Road and Mill Street School, where he attained grade VII, and was then employed as a gardener.
By 1911, the family had moved again, to 8 Market Place, Macclesfield, and James was employed at his father’s nursery in Park Lane.
James joined the 9th Batallion of the Royal Fusiliers, also known as the City of London Regiment, which was formed at Hounslow on 21 August 1914 as part of the 36th Brigade, 12th (Eastern) Division. After training, James landed in France on 1st June 1915.
The death of James Hanna was reported in the Macclesfield Times of 24th December 1915:
“As briefly reported in our last issue, Private James Alfred Hanna, Royal Fusiliers, eldest son of Mr David Hanna, florist, Market Place, Macclesfield, died in the Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich, from wounds sustained in the fighting at Loos, France, on October 28th.
Private Hanna was employed at a nursery in Middlesex, and shortly after the outbreak of war, joined the Royal Fusiliers (9th Battalion). After some months’ training he was drafted out to France, and saw six months’ heavy fighting. He was in the battle of Loos, being one of four in his platoon who came through that engagement. Shortly after being relieved, a shell burst over them as they got to the last trench. Two of the party were killed outright, and the other two, including Private Hanna, were very severely wounded. Private Hanna sustained injuries to the face, neck, both arms, chest and legs. He was brought to hospital at Woolwich, where … his father visited him several times. Three weeks ago there were hopes of a recovery, but after undergoing an operation he became worse and died last week.
Private Hanna was 23 years of age and was educated at Crompton Road and Mill Street schools. He was the seventh old boy of the last-named school to lay down his life on the field of honour. Mr T H Hewitt (headmaster) has written a letter of sympathy to his father, who has promised a photo of private Hanna for the school heroes’ gallery. Deceased was a member of the Parish Church Men’s Bible Class and a regular attender at the Parish Church.
The remains of Private Hanna were conveyed to Macclesfield on Saturday night, and interred, with military honours, at the Borough Cemetery on Monday afternoon.”
Erroneously named as Joseph on his medal index card and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.
Private James Hanna is buried in grave ref. A. 239 in Macclesfield Cemetery. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private James Hanna, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Mr Hanna of the Market Place was named as one of those who supplied pot plants for the wards of the new Military Hospital (converted from the Workhouse Hospital in Prestbury Road) when it opened in July 1916.