The Story of Liverpool-born John Joseph Traynor is a remarkable one, the source of much controversy, but considered by many to be a clear example of a miracle cure arising from a visit to Lourdes.
He was born in Liverpool in 1883, the son of Irish immigrants, and was educated at St Patrick’s primary school in Toxteth. Immediately after leaving school he joined the merchant marine, making many voyages from the city as stoker/fireman. During the early 1900’s ships’ records showed him living at 119 and later 148 Mann Street L8. Having married, by 1911, he was living at 21 Robertson Street L8, with his Liverpool-born wife Mary Ellen and daughter Mary Elizabeth. (All the aforementioned homes have since been demolished).
‘Jack’ Traynor, having already joined the Royal Naval Reserve, entered the Royal Navy at the outbreak of the First World War. Having already been injured early in the war, on 8 May 1915 he was injured by machine gun fire while participating in a bayonet charge in Gallipoli. Hit in the head and chest, with a bullet hitting his arm and lodging by his collar-bone, he was taken to Alexandria, Egypt for treatment. He lost the use of his right arm and began to suffer from epilepsy, resulting his discharge with an 80% war disability pension, later increased to 100%. A succession of operations brought no improvement, his legs now becoming partially disabled. Eventually returning to Liverpool, he lived with his family in poor circumstances in Grafton Street, confined to a wheelchair.
In 1923, against the protestations of family, friends and priest, Jack Traynor insisted on going to Lourdes as part of a Liverpool pilgrimage. (An aside, one of the doctors who accompanied the pilgrimage was the father of BBC Radio Merseyside presenter Bob Azurdia). After bathing at Lourdes it appears that he made a remarkable recovery, could walk, had regained the use of his arm, and would never again have an epileptic fit.
Naturally his case gained much attention and large crowds greeted his return to Liverpool. He subsequently started a coal merchant’s business and progressed from a wheelchair-bound invalid to a man who could “hump 200lb bags of coal with the best of them”. He became a volunteer stretcher-bearer for Lourdes pilgrimages and made many trips there. He moved to a comfortable house in Aigburth at 67 Woodlands Road L17 where he lived with his family until his death in 1943.
As a one-time Chief Executive of the War Pensions Agency I am pleased to report that notwithstanding his cure, his 100% War Disability Pension remained in payment to his dying day.
The Traynor family home from the mid 1920's until his death in 1943.
A picture showing Jack Traynor (centre) onone of his trips to Lourdes as a volunteer.
Extract from Liverpool Evening Express [8.12.1943] announcing Jack Traynor's death.
There are many references on the internet for Jack Traynor. A fairly full account of his life and cure, with his personal recollections, can be found at the website of faithandfamily.org website. A BBC Radio Merseyside short video on him can be viewed on their Facebook page.
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