THE once-crowded Irish Roman Catholic quarter of Broomfields in East Bowling has long gone. But some of the families who grew up there live on ­— elsewhere.

One family in particular made a name for itself for its boxers. The Delaney family, 11 boys and four girls, originated in Tipperary and lived in Granby Street. Among the brothers were four who became known as the Fighting Delaneys, one of whom had the potential to be a world champion.

But for the First World War, Jerry Delaney might have lived up to his promise as a lightweight with the kick of a mule in his right hand ­— just like his older brother Fred.

Broomfields was an area wedged between the Great Northern Goods Station and Wakefield Road, populated largely by second- and third-generation Irish immigrants. The toughest part of the neighbourhood was lower Broomfields, where the policemen went round in twos and threes.

Local historian Ronnie Wharton, in The Tragedy Of Jerry Delaney ­— A Broomfields Hero, said the development of professional boxing and the natural pugilistic talent in Broomfields led to a 20-year golden period. Jerry epitomised this.

But his first big fight in Bradford was also his last. On a night of pouring rain in March 1911, at Bradford Sporting Club, young Jerry won a points victory over 20 rounds against London’s Curly Osborne, the winner of 200 fights.

Ronnie wrote: “As the Delaney camp went their happy way back to Broomfields, no-one had an inkling that they had seen Jerry’s last big fight in Bradford.

“The following year, the lads who earned their living from boxing in Bradford suffered a blow when the chief constable announced that no licences to allow professional boxing in Bradford would be given. “The Delaneys, who had at one time been based at the Castle and later moved over to Tom Mather’s Packhorse, were even stopped training at night. The ban was to last until March 1914.”

Though banned from fighting for his living in his hometown, Jerry Delaney was considered suitable to die for his adopted country.

He was within reach of a world-title fight when Britain declared war on Germany in August 1914. He joined up, enlisting in the Sportsmen Battalion. His brothers Jack, Frank, Joe, as well as his father Billy, also joined up.

While waiting to be shipped out to the war, Jerry continued fighting. His last fight took place in Liverpool in May 1915. He was not even 21, yet his record stood at 35 unbeaten fights ­— 31 wins and four draws. And then he was sent to war.

Lance Corporal Jerry Delaney was wounded in the leg after a British attack on entrenched German reserves was routed by intense fire. An article in the 1958 edition of Boxing News described colourfully what happened next on January 9, 1915.

“ he dragged himself along, he came to a groaning man ­— the one who had been next to him before they set out. He could not be left behind.

“Despite his injured leg the lance corporal straightened up, lifted his pal out of the mud and in a blundering run reached the British lines. They gave him a Distinguished Conduct Medal for that.”

He was told that the wound would not curtail his boxing career. However, Ronnie said Jerry declined to wangle his way out of the fighting and accepted a position as a training instructor.

Jerry was sent to the Somme for the big British offensive in July, 1916. He was not among the 60,000 casualties ­— nearly 20,000 dead ­— on the first day.

On July 27, he was one of a number of volunteers sent on a bombing raid to Delville Wood. He did not come back. Later that night a search party found Jerry’s body yards from the German line. He was 22 years old.

Ronnie said: “Although he was buried in France he was not forgotten. Lord Lonsdale headed a subscription, which reached a few hundred pounds, and a memorial was built in Bowling Cemetery.”

Jerry was the great uncle of T&A reader Joseph Delaney, of St Enoch’s Road, Bradford. Also related to Jerry are Anne Beaumont and Sheila Noble, who first drew our attention to the Fighting Delaneys ­— the uncles of their father, the late Harry Townsend Delaney ­— in June.

Another relative, Eileen Curry, who lives in Belfast, is the daughter of fighting Fred Delaney.

She married Charles Curry in Bradford in 1955. He was, at that time, a professional footballer with Bradford Park Avenue.