No. 32974, 16th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters
(Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment)
Killed in action on Tuesday 10 October 1916 (aged 16)
No known grave
Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A)
Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour
In the CWGC Debt of Honour website it is recorded that Private James Braniff (No. 32974) was a son of Thomas K, Braniff of 63 High Street, Holywood, Co Down.
James Braniff was born on 12 August 1899 at 7 Kendal Street, Belfast and he was a son of Thomas Kennedy Braniff and Mary Ann Braniff (nee Saunders) who were married on 9 October 1890 in Trinity Church of Ireland Church Belfast. Thomas Kennedy Braniff from Belfast was a son of James Braniff, a boat builder. Mary Ann Saunders from Belfast was a daughter of James Saunders, a carpenter.
The Braniff family lived in Belfast in Osborne Street, Great George’s Street and Kendal Street.
Thomas Kennedy Braniff worked as a shipwright and he and Mary Ann (Minnie) had six children:
David (born 14 February 1891 at 44 Osborne Street, Belfast)
Emily (born 29 June 1893 at 13 Little Ship Street, Belfast)
William (born 18 September 1894 at 48 Osborne Street, Belfast)
James (born 23 April 1896 at 39 Eighth Street, Belfast; died of pneumonia 19 July 1897 at 124 Great George’s Street, Belfast)
Thomas (born 1 March 1898 at 124 Great George’s Street, Belfast)
James (born 12 August 1899 at 7 Kendal Street, Belfast)
Their mother Mary Ann died of a cerebral haemorrhage on 19 December 1904 (aged 34) in Belfast Workhouse.
Their father Thomas married Sarah Gillen on 26 December 1906 in Sinclair Seamen’s Presbyterian Church Belfast. Sarah Gillen, a spinster from Belfast, was a daughter of Patrick Gillen.
Thomas Braniff and his surviving five children, from his first marriage, Sarah Braniff (nee Gillen, sometimes Gillin, sometimes Gillan) and her two children, Sarah Gillen and James Gillen, together with Thomas and Sarah’s daughter Maggie all lived together at 113 Snugville Street, Belfast.
Thomas and Sarah Braniff (nee Gillen) had two children:
Margaret (Maggie, born 8 July 1907)
John (born 4 December 1908 at 113 Snugville Street, Belfast; found dead 4 April 1909 – the cause of death was suffocation probably caused by accidental overlying)
James Braniff was underage when he enlisted in Belfast and during the Great War he served with the Sherwood Foresters. Private James Braniff (No. 32974) was 17 when he died on 10 October 1916 (that day the 16th Battalion suffered very heavy casualties during an attack on the Schwaben Redoubt).
Private James Braniff (No. 32974) has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France and in the Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour (Page 60). When he died his father was living at 63 High Street, Holywood.