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John Higgins

Rank: Corporal
Townland: Slieve
Town/Village: Clondra
Civil Parish: Killashee
Catholic Parish: Killashee
Alternative Address: 8 Winter Street, Four Hill, Liverpool, Lancashire
Census 1901:
Census 1911:
Regiment/Unit: Leinster Regiment, 2nd (or 5th) Battalion; [Grenadier Guards, 1st Battalion]
Regiment Number: 5490; [10776]
Date of Death: 17-05-1918
Cause: Died of wounds, 51st Casualty Clearing Station, Merville, France
Memorial: Aire Communal Cemetery, Rue de Saint-Martin Aire, Pas-de-Calais, France

John was born in Co. Longford c. 1883, and grew up in Slieve, Clondra and worked as a labourer. By 1903 John had moved to England, and lived in both Liverpool. He married Elizabeth Rock(s), on the 31 July 1909  at St. Alban's, Liverpool**. By 1916 he had two children, James and Aileen. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission gave Elizabeth's address as Tubberaboure Cottage, Cabinteely, Co. Dublin at the time of his death.

John had a long military service, initially enlisting with the Grenadier Guards in Manchester at the age of 19 in 1903. His attestment shows that he was comparatively tall for the time, standing at just under 5' 11" (180cm). Higgins was remobilised for service in WW1 in August 1914. He served two terms in Belgium with the Grenadier Guards: November 1914 to September 1915 and October 1915 to March 1916. He likely took part in the First Battle of Ypres where only 204 members of the regiment remained. At the end of his first period of service in 1916, John transferred to rthe Leinster Regiment. While casualties were noted in the regimental diary for the 17 May, a letter by chaplain Ambrose McGrath to John's wife, Fr McGrath noted that John had suffered a gunshot wound during shelling on that date, so it is possible that he was temporarily with another battalion.

John's brother Michael also served in the Grenadier Guards, but it is unclear whether he fought in WW1 or with which regiment.

Parents Names: Son of John and Ellen Higgins* of Slieve, Clondra, Co. Longford.
Notes: John was one of seven children, including: William, Mary Anne, Margaret, James and Christy. *Ellen was likely Ellen Colgan, daughter of Michael Colgan of Rynmount.**Now a centre for indoor climbing.

Link to CWGC entrylink to Soldiers' Wills; Grenadier Guards overview; read Ponsonby's The Grenadier Guards in the Great War Vols 1-3; 

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