Kenny, Richard Francis

Richard Francis Kenny was born in Saint Asaph on 27th March 1894.

Admission and Discharge Book for Saint Asaph Workhouse held at Flintshire Records Office Hawarden.

On 17th January 1894, Annie Kenny was admitted to Saint Asaph Workhouse. Annie was a member of the Kenny Family, for her story please click on this link

Richard was born on 27th March 1894 and both Annie and her new baby were discharged into the care of her mother at her request on 24th April 1894. Annie’s mother, Jane Kenny was living in Luke Street, Saint Asaph. Annie’s father, Patrick Kenny had died on 5th January 1893.

Annie Moseley nee Kenny is shown on the 1901 Census to be living in Littleborough, Lancashire. She married  George Moseley, a career soldier in the second quarter of 1898 having given birth to a son, Richard  Francis Kenny in the St. Asaph Workhouse in 1894, he is shown to be living with his mother but has the title of Nephew on the census.

In 1904 and 1905 it appears that Richard was again living with his Grandmother in St Asaph. Two newspaper articles show that his name was mentioned in the Diocesan Inspectors reports on St. Asaph Schools.

The 1911 Census on shows that Richard Francis, age 17 was a Boarder at 8, Wellington Terrace, Littleborough, Rochdale, Lancashire, He was a Cotton Weaver by trade.

Richard remained close to his Aunt, Mary Whitehead nee Kenny who married John Whitehead and also lived in Littleborough with her husband, two sons and a daughter.

Mary Whitehead died in 1914 and Richard is shown in a newspaper article in the Denbighshire Free Press dated 21rd March 1914 as one of the chief mourners.

During my research I came across a Family Tree on where I found a lot of information and photographs. I contacted the owner Dawn who is a descendant of Richard Francis Kenny, in fact she is the Grand daughter of James Kenny who was Richard’s uncle. Dawn has very kindly allowed me to use the information.

Richard enlisted into the 16th Bn., King’s Royal Rifle Corps on 10th November 1914 at Bury, Lancashire, He was posted to France with the British Expeditionery Force on 16th November 1915.

Information from The Long Long trail Website

16th (Service) Battalion (Church Lads Brigade)
Formed at Denham, Bucks., on 19 September 1914 by Field-Marshal Lord Grenfell, Commandant of the Church Lads Brigade, from current and previous members of that organisation. Moved in March 1915 to Rayleigh but returned to Denham in May.
June 1915 : moved to Clipstone Camp and came under orders of 100th Brigade in 33rd Division. Moved on to Perham Down in August 1915.
17 November 1915 : landed at Le Havre.

Information from Forces War Records Website.

16th (Service) Battalion (Church Lads Brigade)
19.09.1914 Formed by Field Marshal Lord Grenfell (Comdt.) in Denham, Bucks.
Mar 1915 Moved to Essex, back to Denham and then to Clipstone to join the 100th Brigade of the 33rd Division.
01.07.1915 Taken over by the War Office and moved to Salisbury Plain.
17.11.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The attacks on High Wood, The capture of Boritska and Dewdrop Trenches.

Richard Frances Kenny was Killed in Action on 28th January 1916.

Article from the Rochdale Online. Sent to me by Dawn.

Richard Francis Kenny was born around 1894 (second quarter) in St Asaph, North Wales. He was a choir boy in St Asaph’s Cathedral before he came to Littleborough circa 1907. He had an aunt, Mary Whitehead (nee Kenny), living at Hollingworth.

The 1901 census notes that he was living with his Aunt, Annie Mosley (28), at 23 Exchange Street, Ramsbottom. It is now known that Anne was in fact his mother and she lived until 1930.

On moving to Littleborough he lodged at 9 Joseph Street. In 1911 he was boarding at 8 Wellington Terrace, Littleborough and was employed as a Cotton Weaver. He became a member of the Littleborough Parish Church Choir as a treble soloist until his voice broke when he became a bass vocalist. Richard was a teacher in the Sunday School, a sergeant in the Church Lad’s Brigade and was also a member of the Littleborough Male Glee Club, of which he was the conductor. He also joined the Littleborough Volunteer Force.

Prior to enlisting in November 1914 Rifleman Kenny was a warehouseman at Frankfort Mill, Durn, Littleborough. He went to France one year later but after only a few months, 21-year-old Rifleman C/1031 Richard Francis Kenny, 16th Battalion (Church Lads Brigade Bn) of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps was killed in France on Friday 28 January 1916 at Bethune (Factory trench) during a heavy bombardment by German artillery.

Rifleman F Horrocks of the same battalion wrote to a friend in Littleborough and said that: “Signalman Kenny along with three other lads were in the signallers dug-out when a shell dropped on it, killing all four instantaneously.

“Dick was liked by all he came into contact with, and it is a hard blow losing him.”

The Rochdale Observer dated 16 February reported that here was a crowded congregation at a memorial service held in the Church of the Holy Trinity on Sunday 13 February 1916 in memory of Signaller R F Kenny and Rifleman Tom Rushton, both of whom were killed in France.

Members of the Littleborough Volunteer Defence Corp and Glee Club with who Signaller Kenny was associated were present. The ‘Dead March in Saul’ was played.

His name is on the Parish Church War Memorial, the Oddfellows, Lodge 3397, Roll of Honour – Voluntary Section (now in the History Centre) and on the Cenotaph in Littleborough, the St Asaph War Memorial as well as being on Panel 101 and 102 Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

Richard Francis Kenny was awarded The 1915 Star medal, The British War Medal and The Victory Medal.

Richard is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Plas de Calais

As prevoiusly mentioned I was fortunate to find a Family Tree on and on contacting the owner Dawn I was able to receive permission to use family photos and information. I also received this newspaper article by e mail outlining the determined two year quest by Dawn’s father David ( Richard’s cousin) to get Richard Francis Kenny’s name inscribed onto the St Asaph Memorial.

Richard is commemorated on the Littleborough War Memorial, Lancashire.

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