Arnold McCann was born in April 1919 in Lostock Hall. His father was William McCann (b. 1889 in Preston), a grocer. His mother was Mary Ellen Maymon (b. 1889 in Preston). William and Mary were married in 1911. I think Arnoldmay have had two siblings but I don’t know the details. By 1939, the McCann’s had moved to 113 Todd Lane Northwhere they had a small grocer’s shop. (I remember the shop. When I was a child in the 1950s and 60s we used to play in the fields between the bottom of Doodstone Nook and the railway line – the ‘Junction Hollows’. On the other side of the railway line there was (and still is) a ginnel that runs up to Todd Lane North, and the shop was at the end of the ginnel on the right. To me at the time it was the edge of the known universe.)
Arnold was 20 when War was declared and he must have joined up immediately. He joined the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and was assigned service number 7617262. The Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) was both a supply and repair corps. In the supply area it had responsibility for weapons, armoured vehicles and other military equipment, ammunition and clothing and certain minor functions such as laundry, mobile baths and photography. The RAOC was also responsible for a major element of the repair of Army equipment.
The evacuation of Boulogne, 23 May 1940
Britain and France declared War on Germany in September 1939, after the Germans had occupied Poland. There then followed a period of relative inactivity, known as the “Phoney War”, until on 10 May 1940, Germany invaded Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and the Battle of France began. By the end of May, the Germans had captured Boulogne, which would remain in German hands until September 1944. Arnold McCann was killed at Boulogne on 23 May 1940. He was 21 years old.
Service Number: 7617262
Unit/Regiment: Royal Army Ordnance Corps
Date of death: 23/05/1940
Buried at: BOULOGNEEASTERN CEMETERY
Grave Reference: Plot 13. Row A. Grave 2.
Additional Information: Son of William and Mary Ellen McCann, of Lostock Hall, Preston, Lancashire.
Arnold’s father, William, was one of nine children. Two of his brothers emigrated to the USAand settled in Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts. William’s brother Robert had twin sons, Arthur and Robert (b.1926) (so, Arnold’s cousins). They were back in Europe serving in the US Army in 1945. They both survived and returned to the US after the War.
Arnold’s mother, Mary Ellen, had a half brother, Thomas Maymon, who served with 2/4 Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was killed at Passchendaele on 26 October 1917.