James McCabe, Private 1500 in South Lancashire Regt

McCabe Medal card

The Roll Book gives this service number. James McCabe was from St Helens, Lancs on Keogh's notes. Casement has him as a labourer before enlistment. Mahony has him as South Lancs Regt. The following is his service record . There appear to be two men, both James McCabe from the right area, who could be our man - the Widnes man or the St Helens man . McDonagh calls him Irish/English, one of 3 he call this

1893 Sept 25. Born in Simms Cross, Widnes from his service record

1912 Jan 30 Attested for South Lancs Regiment at Warrington. 5ft 6inches tall. Fresh complexion, grey eyes, brown hair. Aged 18 years 5 months. A general labourer of 28 Woodward St, Ancoats, Manchester

1913 May 29 married Margaret McCabe (nee Barnes) of St Helens (Prescot 8b, 1202). Eldest child, James, born 16 April 1915. Her address is given as 28 Woodward St, Ancoats, Manchester on his service record.

1914 Sep 11 joined Expeditionary Force in France

1914 Oct 24 Prisoner of War (details removed from his service record) and followed the rest of the Irish Brigade through Limburg, Zossen and Danzig

1916 Jan Volunteered for service in Egypt

1917 Jan 14. Hahn to St J Gaffney. Reports that there are 29 men in the camp and that he hopes to send the 8 men away soon. He mentions debts of Fulford, McCabe, P Carr and Long, and asks Gaffney to settle them directly with the Camp Commandant.

1917 Jan 10. They had a hut inspection one day from an American official, who they mistook for someone from Dublin, and gave him information about themselves that they should not have give. Soon after this the NCOs appear to have drawn up a black list of grumblers and men branded as English. And some days later a fully armed section of German troops entered the barracks, and the Irish Brigade NCOs seemed aware of what was happening. Nine or ten names were read out, and the men ordered to have their kit ready to leave in 5 minutes. They were then marched out of the camp under guard and into as Rahilly says "slavery", a punishment camp. A letter that Burke wrote to Gaffney about their treatment confirms the state of affirs given by Rahilly, and one can arrive at list the men sent to the punishment camp from putting together information from Burke and O'Toole, plus the official list from Hahn gives:-

They went by train and road until they found themselves in a hut built near a river at Quadsow (now Kwasowo in Poland) in a wilderness. Quadsow was a punishment camp, and I am not clear how these men had been selected to be taken there. This was their home. They slept on damp mud and the walls of the hut were damp. They worked from dawn to dusk, reinforcing the banks of the river. All they ever had for meals were hot drinks, no food. Two months later 5 of these men returned (these must have been Fulford, McMahon, McCabe, Patrick Keogh, Thomas McGrath, P Carr). Their appearance had changed, they were now bearded and pale, their eyes full of fear, their bodies bloated from hot drinks but no food. They were bullied by the guards, butted with rifles. Later that evening of their return Rahilly found that one had cut his own throat with a rusty razor. He made a recovery, but not a full recovery, and died later in 1918 "during the armistice". This man has to be Gunner Carr as he is the only man whose death fits - 15 Sep 1918

1918 Nov O'Toole says that McCabe left Danzig Camp soon after the Armistice, insisting on going to a POW camp in order to be transported home

1919 Jan 15 Returned to England

1919 Apr 28 Discharged, and later got a 30% disability pension for deafness. Transferred to class Z Reserve

1920 Mar 21 Discharged from Reserves

1929 his death could well be the man who died Manchester North (Apr/Jun 8d, 704) aged 35

Keogh says he emigrated to USA and died 1939. However I cannot find him in 1930 US census

Recruits to Irish Brigade