There is no doubt that by the time William Henry Douglas Flack died on 10 March 1936 in Burnley, Lancashire, he had achieved a great deal more that might have been expected of the son of an immigrant Irish soldier in late Victorian England.
Perhaps the best evidence of his rapid rise in Burnley society can be gained from the obituaries that appeared in the Burnley newspapers.
William HD Flack had spent all of his working life working in the bank, rising to the rank of Branch Manager of the Manchester & County Bank before his retirement in 1922. The letter from the Bank granting him his pension is reproduced below.
Following an enquiry with the Hospital authorities In 1980, the senior administrator of Victoria Hospital wrote, proving a summary of the service given by WHD to the hospital between 1909 and 1933. The letter particularly mentions Mr Flack “being responsible for raising and managing voluntary contributions for the hospital”. The letter is reproduced below.
William Henry Douglas Flack JP also served on the Magistrates bench from 1913 to the date of his death and a formal resolution of thanks for his service dated 11th March 1936 was presented to the family. A copy appears below.
A life not without sadness and estrangement.
From all the evidence presented so far, it could be concluded that William HD Flack had a successful and prosperous life, but the full story may be somewhat different.
A search of the Burnley Cemetery Records (located at Rossendale Road, Burnley) reveal that in 1889 William Flack (Quarter Master) of Rose Terrace Accrington Rd Burnley, (William HD Flack’s father) purchased burial plot 9267 for the internment of his son Frederick William Flack, (William HD Flack’s brother) who was buried on 21 February 1889, aged 30 years.
Just a few years later, on 23 May 1900, William HD Flack (Bank Manger) purchased a nearby double plot grave 9233 and 9234 to bury his wife Eliza Alice Flack (nee Parker) who was buried the same day aged 46 years.
The year 1900 was a sad year for the Flack family. On 17 March 1900, John Moore, the husband of William HD Flack’s sister, Mary Anne Moore (nee Flack) was buried in grave 9267, aged 57 years.
But his sadness was to compounded in the years that followed by the loss of his son Bertram, who, having survived active service as a Naval surgeon in the First World War, was struck down by the Flu Epidemic in 1919 at the age of just 37.
The 1911 Census shows William HD Flack, Bank Manager, living alone with his daughter, Lucy and a live-in cook, at Brookside Burnley, Burnley, Lancashire, England.