Thomas (Tom) McCunniffe was born in Flint in 1880 and was the second of six children to John McCunniffe and Elizabeth (Flanagan).
John was born in Ireland and Elizabeth in Flint and they married locally in 1877. In the early years of their marriage they lived at No 2 Court, Holywell Road then by 1901 they had moved to 29, Commercial Road.
Elizabeth died suddenly in Bagillt on 1st August, 1901 and her death was reported in the County Herald.
In the early morning of Thursday last, a married women named Elizabeth Cunliffe, 42 years of age, who lived at Commercial Road, Flint, went with four other women to gather cockles in the River Dee. About half-past eight o’clock they were preparing to go home with their loads, when Mrs Cunliffe suddenly fell, and died in a few minutes. She was a weakly woman, and her death is attributed to over-exertion and the heat. Her husband, a chemical labourer, is also in bad health, and only able to work occasionally, and as they had a large family the deceased had endeavoured to eke out the family earnings though physically unfit to do so.
Inquest: On Friday afternoon, at the Town Hall, Mr F Llewelyn Jones, deputy-coroner, held an inquest as to the death of Elizabeth Cunniliffe, who resided at 29, Commercial Road. John Cunniliffe, chemical labourer, identified the body as that of his wife, who was 42 years of age. For the last twelve months deceased had been in weak health, but she had not been attended by any medical man. Sarah Ann Harrison, also living in Commercial Road, said she and deceased left for Bagillt at half-past six the previous morning. Deceased did not complain of feeling ill. They reached the sands about twenty minutes to eight, and remained for about an hour gathering cockles. When they were ready to return the deceased fell down. She tried to get up, but failed to do so. Witness asked Sarah Williams to help. With assistance they carried deceased to the Bettisfield Bank, and they sent for the doctor. Sarah Williams, living near the Dee Bank Hotel, Bagillt, said she saw the deceased fall down and helped to carry her to the Bettisfield Bank. Dr Robert Keys, Bagillt, said he was called to the deceased about 10-15 the previous morning, and found her at the Bettisfield Bank. When he arrived she was still alive. Her heart was beating a little, but her breathing had entirely stopped. He was informed that the deceased was unable to move her left arm and leg. From what he saw of the deceased, and from the statements of witnesses, he had no doubt the deceased died from apoplexy. The jury found that death was due to natural causes.
John died on 24th April, 1902 at Holywell Road, aged 44, and is buried with Elizabeth in an unmarked grave in the Northop Road Cemetery.
In the 1911 census Thomas, and his brother Edward and sister Elizabeth, were boarders at the home of a Mr and Mrs Peter Edwards and their five children at 6, Earl Street. Thomas and Edward were employed as ironworkers.
Thomas enlisted in Flint and fought in the Gallipoli Campaign. It was reported in the County Herald on 12th November, 1915 that he was home on leave.
FLINT SOLDIER HOME FROM THE GALLIPOLI SCENES
Private Tom McCunniff, who resides in Castle Dyke Street, Flint, and who is a member of the 1/5th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, having been in the Suvla Bay fighting which ensued upon the notorious landing of the troops, has arrived in the Borough on leave. He was invalided home in consequence of a very serious attack of dysentery. His reminiscences of the fighting and subsequent events up to the early part of September are not unlike those of other members of the Flintshire Territorials who took part in the march across Salt Lake, and when the men subsequently were obliged to take cover.
He was posted to Egypt where he was killed in action on 9th March, 1918, and buried in Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel (Plot L, Grave 52).
ANOTHER FLINT SOLDIER KILLED
(County Herald 5th April, 1918)
The information has been received by Mrs Brown, of 12, Castle Dyke Street, Flint, that Private T McCinniff had been killed in action in the East. Deceased was well known to a number of the residents in Flint. The information was officially sent through the Shrewsbury Records’ Office.
He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal and is remembered on two war memorials – Flint Town and St Mary’s Catholic Church, Flint.
Mr and Mrs Peter and Jane Brown must have been his next of kin for they received a war gratuity in Thomas’s name; Jane £14 14s 11d and Peter £16.