William Flynn (British Army soldier)
William 'Billy' Flynn
Lancashire or perhaps Ireland
|Died||13 February 1941|
Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Hemsworth, Yorkshire
|Years of service||1914-19 & 1940-41|
|Rank||World War I - 2nd Lieutenant (substantive)|
World War II - Serjeant
|Unit||South Lancashire Regiment|
c.1914 – 15 February 1919
The Pioneer Corps
c.1940 - 13 February 1941
|Battles/wars||World War I, World War II|
|Awards||Distinguished Conduct Medal (5 December 1918)|
Mentioned in Despatches (5)
British War Medal
William 'Billy' Flynn DCM, (DOB unknown – 13 February 1941) was an English recipient of the DCM, the second highest for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Military service[edit | edit source]
William Flynn’s record for the Great War and Victory medals show him to originally have been a Special Reservist and it would appear that he was among the Special Reservists who were transferred from the Lancashire Fusiliers to the South Lancashire's on 6 March 1915. His original enlistment date is unknown - he would have joined at any point after 1 April 1908.
His medal card showing his newly allocated number records that he landed in France on 18 March 1915, serving as Sergeant 3479 of the South Lancashire Regiment. On arrival he was posted to join the regiment’s 2nd Battalion. Since this battalion had been in France since August 1914 he was obviously part of a draft of reinforcements.
It was whilst serving with the 2nd South Lancs that he was nominated for the DCM and made a temporary (or 'substantive') 2nd Lieutenant. Again from the Roll of British War and Victory Medals it shows that whilst overseas he not only served with the regiment’s 2nd Battalion but also had 2 periods with the 9th (Service) Battalion.
Distinguished Conduct Medal[edit | edit source]
The following announcement appeared in June 1918 and since there was usually a gap of about 3 months before a specific event and the announcement of an award it would normally relate to something occurring in early 1918.
LONDON GAZETTE 3 JUNE 1918 DCM ANNOUNCEMENT  
'His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of His Majesty's Birthday, to approve of the undermentioned rewards for distinguished services in connection with Military Operations with the British Forces in Salonika:—
AWARDED THE DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL. 3479 C.S.M. W. Flynn, S. Lancs. R. (Wigan)'
12340 SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 21 OCTOBER, 1918 3479 C.S.M. W. Flynn, S. Lane. R. (Wigan). 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During active operations he invariably displayed the utmost courage and coolness, and by his untiring efforts he has brought the company to which he is attached to a high standard of fighting efficiency.'
SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 10 JUNE 1919. 7499 War Office, 10 June 1919 REGULAR FORCES - INFANTRY. Service -Battalions. . The undermentioned Cadets to be temp. 2nd Lts. under the provisions of the Royal Warrant, dated 30 Dec. 1918, promulgated in Army Order.42 of 1919.:—
17 Mar. 1919 .William Flynn, D.C.M.
Inter-War Period[edit | edit source]
After the war, despite having the opportunity to remain in the Army, he chose to leave, and his medal card records him as being demobbed on 15 February 1919 as Class Z along with thousands of other men. Until he re-enlisted at the outbreak of the Second World War (1939–45) little has been discovered.
World War II Military Service[edit | edit source]
His military story does not end there though, as he signed up again during the Second World War, at some point ending up in Scotland as a Serjeant in the Pioneer Corps. The night Billy died he was supposed to be off duty, but had swapped with a friend who wanted to go out that night. Thus it was whilst he was on guard duty that night (13-Feb-41) a German plane dropped a landmine (3) (or parachute-retarded modified marine mine - the largest air-dropped ordnance in use by the Luftwaffe at that time), and William was killed.
(Note: as his World War II Service record has not been received at this time this last section is taken from an oral account from his cousin.)
References[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- Location of grave and DCM medal Commonwealth War Graves Commission record
-  London Gazette Supplement - DCM Confirmation dated 10 June 1919
- An example of how 'Landmines' were used at this time
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission
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