Joseph "Machine Gun Joe" Flanagan

Jul 16, 1887

Born in Liverpool, England


Oct 21, 1914

Attested into the 21st Battalion in Kingston, Ontario


Ø  Number 59325 (temporary number 975)

Ø  Next of kin given as Mrs. A Flanagan, mother, 12 Roade St., Liverpool, England

Ø  Previous occupation given as Fireman

o   Later noted as Plumber

Ø  No previous military experience given

Ø  Religion given as Church of England

Ø  Posted to the Machine Gun Section

The 21st Battalion trained in the Kingston, Ontario area through the winter of 1914-15.


May 6, 1915

Embarked the RMS Metagama in Montreal, Quebec



May 15, 1915

Disembarked in Devonport, England and the battalion proceeded to the West Sandling Camp, near Hythe, Kent to continue training


May 24, 1915

Sentenced to 5 days detention for being AWL (Absent Without Leave)


Jul 19, 1915

Admitted to the St. Martin’s Plain Tent Hospital with a diagnosis that reads VDG (Venereal Disease Gonorrhea)


Aug 7, 1915

Discharged to duty from hospital


Sep 14, 1915

Embarked the St. Seiriol in Folkestone



Sep 15, 1915

Disembarked in Boulogne, France and the battalion proceeded to St. Omer


Dec 26, 1915

Appointed to the rank of Lance Corporal with pay to replace L/Cpl George Paudash who had been promoted


Jan 18, 1916

Granted 9 days leave


Jan 28, 1916

Rejoined the battalion from leave


Jun 14, 1916

While the 21st Battalion was occupying the front line trench near Verbrande Molen, Belgium, Lance Corporal Flanagan and 6 others were manning a machine gun post when they received a direct hit from a rifle grenade.  5 of the crew were killed and L/Cpl Flanagan and 1 other were severely wounded.  Joseph had multiple shrapnel wounds to his hands, back, abdomen and legs.  He was evacuated to a field ambulance for first aid and then transported to a casualty clearing station for further assessment.  He was transported the same day and admitted to the No. 8 Stationary Hospital in Wimereux, France where he was placed on the dangerously ill list


Jun 23, 1916

Invalided to England aboard the Hospital Ship St. Denis


On arrival in England he was admitted to the No. 5 Northern General Hospital in Leicester

Transferred to the CCAC (Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre) for pay purposes while in hospital


Sep 19, 1916

After X-Rays showed more foreign bodies in his leg, surgery was performed to remove 2 pieces of shrapnel


Jan 17, 1917

Transferred to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital in Woodcote Park, Epsom


Jan 23, 1917

Transferred to the Horton County of London War Hospital in Epsom


Mar 10, 1917

Transferred to the EORD (Eastern Ontario Regimental Depot) for pay purposes while in hospital


Aug 11, 1917

Approximately ½ inch of bone removed from bone in left thigh


Dec 13, 1917

Transferred to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital in Woodcote Park, Epsom


Apr 17, 1918

Distal part of little finger left hand amputated.  Ring finger noted as being hyper-extended


May 25, 1918

Invalided to Canada aboard the Hospital Ship Araguaya sailing from Avonmouth



Jun 4, 1918

Disembarked in Halifax, Nova Scotia and proceeded to Kingston, Ontario where he was Taken On Strength Military District #3 and posted to the Queen’s Military Hospital Section


Jun 6, 1918

Granted leave until June 21, 1918.  On completion of his leave he was admitted to the Queen’s Military Hospital


Jun 27, 1918

Surgery performed to remove shrapnel from his left thigh


Aug 13, 1918

Medical Board in Kingston notes

Ø  Suffered from multiple shrapnel wounds to back, hands, groin and left leg

Ø  Small finger left hand amputated at first phalange a result of his wounds

Ø  Ring finger of left hand damaged from wounds and is fixed at an angle of 150 deg and cannot be flexed or extended

Ø  Fracture of middle third of left femur

Ø  Patient walks with a limp due to muscle loss from injuries

Ø  Left leg gives way but is controlled by wearing a leather splint

Ø  Complains of pains in left side of his abdomen that is helped by wearing an abdominal belt

Ø  X-Ray shows piece of shrapnel near right kidney

Ø  Board recommends he be discharged with a pensionable disability


Aug 21, 1918

Posted to the No. 3 Casualty Company in Kingston


Aug 26, 1918

Discharged from the CEF in Kingston, Ontario

Ø  Rank on discharge Lance Corporal

Ø  War Service Badge Class “A” issued

Ø  War Service Badge Class “B” issued

Ø  Proposed residence on discharge 18 Dufferin St., Kingston, Ontario

Following the end of the war the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medals were sent to him at the Rideau Health Centre, Ottawa, Ontario


Sep 10, 1918

Married to Catherine (Kathleen) Fay in Kingston, Ontario


Jan 27, 1965

Joseph Flanagan died while a patient of the Rideau Health Centre, Ottawa, Ontario.  His remains were taken to Kingston for service and interment in the St. Mary’s Cemetery, Division St., Kingston, Ontario

An interesting story that appeared in the summer edition of
the Communiqu
é, the post war newsletter of the 21st Battalion.
This speaks not only to the character of the men of the battalion,
but the fact that it wasn’t all death and despair in the trenches



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