Poppy In memoriam Poppy

Driver Matthew Callanan




Matthew Callanan was born born at Knightsbridge, London in 1878. On 3 January 1903 he enlisted in the Army Service Corps at Aldershot (No. T/20248). His time in the army was not the happiest, being marked by a number of disciplinary breaches, and at the expiration of his three years he left, being placed on the 1st Class Reserve list for nine years. 

Perhaps Callanan had Irish connections, because when war broke out in August 1914 he was living in Dublin. When the call went out for reservists to mobilise, Callanan went to the nearest Army Service Corps depot and joined the 19th Company. Three days later he was attached to A Squadron of the North Irish Horse and in a week was sailing with them on the SS Architect for Le Havre.

Driver Callanan's role was most likely to help manage the squadron’s baggage train.

In France they travelled by train to Le Cateau, where two troops of A Squadron under Captain Herdman (including Callanan) were attached to General French's GHQ. From 22 to 28 August they accompanied GHQ as they withdrew from Le Cateau to St Quentin to Noyon to Compiegne.

While at Compiegne, Callanan was involved in an accident that broke his spine. He died there on 1 September 1914. His comrades passed his body and personal effects to the care of GHQ’s Field Ambulance.  He was quickly buried and the location of his grave forgotten. 

Driver Callanan was the North Irish Horse's first casualty of the war.

After the war his medals were returned unclaimed - no trace could be found on his next of kin, his brother John.

As Callanan has no known grave, he is commemorated at the La Ferté-sous-Jouarre Memorial, Seine-et-Marne, France.


Callanan 2


Image kindly provided by Steve Rogers, Project Co-ordinator of the The War Graves Photographic Project, www.twgpp.org.