Walter Hanaghan, Private 47237, Royal Army Medical Corps
Died of illness 24th January 1919 at sea on Hospital Ship Valdivia, aged 42
Walter Hanaghan was born on 6 April and baptised at St Alban’s Church, Macclesfield on 30 April 1876, the son of Margaret (nee Doyle) and Patrick Hanaghan, a plasterer’s labourer, both originally from Ireland. In 1881, four-year-old Walter was living at 7 Wellington St, Macclesfield with his parents and siblings James (25), John (23), Thomas (22), Catherine (19), Margaret (15), Peter (13), Mary A (11), Alice (9) and Agnes (7). Ten years later in 1891 the family was living at 10 Water Street.
On 30 September 1899 Walter married Esther Greatarix at St Alban’s Church, Macclesfield, and by 1901 the couple were living at 54 Pinfold Street with their eight-month-old daughter Alice. In 1911 the family had moved to 2 Court, 3 House, Bridge Street, Macclesfield and included children Laurence (8) and Mary Ellen (5); sadly the couple’s first child, Alice, had died.
Walter volunteered for service with the RAMC early in the war and was drafted to France on 15 May 1915. He is listed in the 1918 and 1919 Absent Voters Lists with the home address 22 Chatham Street, Macclesfield.
It is not known when Private Hanaghan became ill, and whether he boarded Hospital Ship “Valdivia” as a member of the ship’s medical crew or as a patient, but he died of illness at sea on 24 January 1919.
Private Walter Hanaghan has no known grave and is commemorated on panel ref. 73 of the Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton, England, which includes the names of all those who were lost or buried at sea. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Walter Hanaghan, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Private Walter Hanaghan is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall and St Alban’s Church war memorials. Elsewhere, he is named in the first RAMC Book of Remembrance, a copy of which is available to view online.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births, Marriages
Family History Society of Cheshire: Catholics in Macclesfield CD – Baptism and Marriage indexes
Census (England & Wales): 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects (Ancestry)
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards (Ancestry)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
RAMC Books of Remembrance