Sergeant Trumpeter Michael Madden



Michael Madden was born on 25 October 1881 in Oldham, Lancashire, one of at least two children of Michael Madden. Nothing more is known about his family background other than that he had an older brother Patrick. At the time of the 1891 Census the nine-year-old Michael was living as a 'committed inmate' in the Boys' Refuge at 62 St Anne's Street, Liverpool.

Madden enlisted in the Scottish Rifles at Liverpool on 25 May 1897 (No.5869) at the age of 15. He gave his occupation as tailor. He was posted to the 2nd Battalion with the rank of 'Boy'. On 10 November 1898 he was posted the the 1st Battalion and embarked for India. On 17 March 1899 he was promoted to bandsman, but reverted to the ranks at his own request on 1 November that year. He was again made bandsman on 1 March 1902, and lance corporal on 1 January 1906. Madden remained in India with the 1st Battalion until 5 November 1908, when he returned to England and was posted to the 2nd Battalion. On 6 May 1909 he transferred to the 1st Life Guards (No.2731), remaining with that regiment until he was discharged on 31 January 1912.

Madden married Helen (or Ellen) Byrne at St Pancras, London, on 14 September 1911, the couple living at 67a Shaftesbury Avenue. Their child Max William Michael was born at Riverside, Antrim, on 21 February 1915. (Madden had another child by adoption, Thelma Margaret, born in October 1910.)

Madden enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 1 November 1914 (No.1340). He gave his occupation as musician and hotel manager. He was immediately given the rank of sergeant trumpeter. On 24 February 1915 at Antrim he was severely reprimanded from being drunk in town. He reverted to the rank of private at his own request two weeks later.

On 30 May 1915 Madden transferred to the Royal Engineers (No. RE/64699) "for the purpose of doing duty as Trumpeter in the Ulster Division." He was posted to the 121st Field Company. On 29 January 1916 Madden deserted from the Royal Engineers Training Depot at Aldershot. What happened in the following months is not clear, but by the middle of the year he was serving as a sergeant bugler in the Training Reserve of the King's Royal Rifle Corps (No.29944). He was discharged on 18 January 1917 and for several years received a pension due to neurasthenia.

Records show that after his discharge Madden lived in Market Street, Wolverhampton, Clarence Street, Leicester, and Rastrick Street, Oldham.


The image of Madden above, taken in late 1914, can be seen in its full context here.