Poppy In memoriam Poppy

Lance Corporal Frederick Thomas Scanlon

 

 

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Frederick Thomas Scanlon was born at Bohermore, Bagenalstown, County Carlow on 24 February 1889, the second of nine children of farmer James Scanlon and his wife Sophia (nee Collier). In 1911 he was working as a grocer's shop assistant.

Scanlon enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 3 March 1915 (No.1460). On 17 November that year he embarked for France with F Squadron. He was promoted to lance corporal on 12 August 1916.

In June 1916 F Squadron had joined with C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment. In September 1917 the regiment was dismounted and most of its officers and men were transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – which was renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. Like most of the men, Scanlon was transferred to the battalion on 20 September. He was issued a new regimental number – 41482.

Scanlon was home on leave in early November 1917. It is said that he couldn't get from Bohermore to Bagenalstown by road to catch the train to begin his journey back to the front, so severe were the snowfalls. Instead, he chose to cross the fields, managing to get to the station in time.

In November and December 1917 the 9th Battalion played a role in the Battle of Cambrai, first going into action in the attack on the village of Moeuvres on 22-23 November. The battalion war diary for those days reads as follows:

[22 November] The Battn moved up at 6.30 a.m. to a position N. of Bapaume & Cambrai Road arriving at 8.30 a.m. Here the Battn waited for an order to attack Inchi when Moeuvres was taken by the 12th Royal Irish Rifles. At 11.45 a.m. the 12th R. Ir. Rifles captured village of Moeuvres. It was unable to clear trenches East of village. At 5.30 p.m. Battn moved up to support 12th R. Ir. Rifles in the village of Moeuvres. At 5.45 p.m. 12th R. Ir. Rifles reported driven out of village. At 8.30 p.m. Battn less 'D' Coy counter attacked village of Moeuvres but was driven back to trenches immediately south of the village, where it took up a defensive position for the night.

[23 November] Battn attacked Moeuvres at 10.30 a.m. At 11 a.m. Battn reported in village. At 11.45 a.m. enemy counter attacked from trenches West of village. 12.15 p.m. counter attack driven off. At 4.30 .p.m village evacuated by Battn on account of supports not coming up. 5 p.m. 'C' & 'D' Coys took up position on Sunken Road South of village and 'A' & 'B' Coys went back to trenches North of Bapaume & Cambrai Road.

Casualties for 22nd & 23rd: Officers killed 1. Officers wounded 6. ORs 82 casualties.

Scanlon was one of the 82 casualties, though whether he was killed on the 22nd or 23rd is uncertain.

The regimental chaplain wrote the following letter to Scanlon's father, which was published in the Carlow Sentinel:

Dear Mr Scanlon – I have to sympathise with you on the death of your very gallant son who was killed in action here on 23rd inst. He was exceedingly popular with both officers and men, and his loss is greatly deplored. He died like a hero in a charge against an enemy position and suffered none. You have every right to be proud of your boy.

As he has no known grave, Lance Corporal Scanlon is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France, Panel 10.

 

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Image and letter from the chaplain sourced from meganwatters1 at Ancestry. (An earlier copy of the image of Scanlon was kindly provided by his grand-nephew Allan Scanlon.) The story about the snow sourced from Carloviana, journal of the Carlow Historical and Archaelogical Society, 2003. Memorial images Copyright © Phillip Tardif with all rights reserved as set out in this Use of Material policy.