H. R. Dooley
Service no. 701393
Private, London Regiment, 1st/23rd Battalion
Died age 22 on 16 September 1916
Son of Richard and Mary Dooley, of 4 Smedley Street, Larkhall Lane, Clapham, London.
Remembered at Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France
British Army WWI Service Records 1914-1920
Henry Richard Dooley joined the Territorial Force on 25 May 1915 at Clapham Junction. He described himself as a plumber’s mate. The Army described him as 20 years old, 6 feet and a half-inch tall, weighing 164 pounds (11½ stone) with a 36 inch chest, which he could expand by 2½ inches. His physical development was judged to be “good”. The Army must have been very happy to receive into its ranks such a strapping young man.
The Army perhaps was not so pleased when Dooley started to go sick and then to challenge the authority of his superior officers. After a period at Home (in England) that ended on 26 October, he was shipped to France. On the 5 February 1916 he reported with “pyrexia” (this means that he was running a fever) and lumbago (pain of the lower back). Just 2 days later he was complaining of something “N.Y.D.” (not yet diagnosed), and on 24 February he had myalgia (muscle pain), after which he was sent back to his unit. The record states that on 27 February he was sent to “join the Base Depot (T.B.)”. It is unclear whether this means that Dooley was suffering from tuberculosis. Whatever, the situation, he rejoined his unit on 15 April and by 25 June he was in trouble for using “improper language to an N.C.O. [non-commissioned officer]”. The punishment is recorded but is difficult to read (the record has suffered water damage).
Not long afterwards, on 2 August Dooley was again in trouble, this time more seriously. He was tried by F.G.C.M. (Field General Court Martial) on 2 counts: using insubordinate language to his superior officer and disobeying an order given by his superior officer. He was found guilty and sentenced to a year’s hard labour which was almost immediately commuted to 3 months. The Army, after all, needed all available men at the front. He did not complete his sentence. On 16 September he was missing , “death being presumed”. He had served a total of 1 year and 115 days.
Information from the 1911 census
Henry Richard Dooley’s parents were from Ireland. Richard Dooley, 64, was a pensioner; Mary Dooley, 57, was probably a charwoman (her occupation has been scrubbed out, possibly because wives’ occupations were not counted). Joe Dooley, 19, a grocer’s boy, was born in England, as was Henry Dooley, then 17 and working as a plumber’s assistant. The family lived in 3 rooms at 153 Larkhall Lane, SW4. Richard Dooley signed his name with a cross (mark), indicating that he was probably illiterate.