On 11th April 1921, Patrick Larkin, formerly a Private with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, died of tuberculosis at 6 Back 60, Bordesley Street, Birmingham. He was 25 years old and, according to his death certificate, had had TB for 12 months before his death. The local connection with Solihull is that he is buried at Olton Franciscan Friary.
Patrick Larkin was born in Birmingham in 1895 and was the fifth of the seven known children of parents, Thomas (a bricklayer’s labourer) and Margaret (née Cassidy). The couple also had another child who apparently died as an infant. Thomas and Margaret had married at Birmingham Register Office in 1879.
By the age of 15, Patrick was working as a stamper in a bedstead works, and was living in Birmingham with his two younger siblings and their widowed mother, who was working as a charwoman. Patrick’s father, Thomas, died in 1909.
The family were Catholic, which is why Patrick was buried at Olton Friary. His father, Thomas, was baptised at St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham in 1859. Thomas’s father, Patrick (senior), was born in Freshford, County Kilkenny, Ireland in 1834 and died in Birmingham Workhouse in 1880.
Patrick (junior) joined the Army on 22nd March 1917, indicating that he was conscripted into the Armed Forces rather than volunteering. He served overseas but was discharged on 9th December 1919 owing to sickness . He was awarded a Silver War Badge, which was given to those who had served but been discharged as a result of illness or disability.
It’s not known whether the sickness that led to his discharge from the Army was the TB that caused his death, but his grave at Olton Friary is marked by a military pattern headstone, and he is recorded on the Commonwealth War Graves records as a war casualty. This indicates that his military service contributed towards the ill-health that resulted in his death.
Some military records give his regiment as the Royal Army Service Corps but this is an error – the Medal Index Card and Silver War Badge roll give his regiment as the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission have also confirmed that this is correct and have updated their Debt of Honour Register accordingly.
If you have any further information on the family, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
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