July 4 – Stories of the Somme – Dunadry men


Three men from Dunadry, a small village in the Six Mile Valley on the road from Belfast to Antrim. One is decorated twice for bravery


Sgt Robert Jackson of the 12th (Service) Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (Central Antrim Volunteers) was awarded a Military Medal for gallantry.

Robert was born at Dunadry, Co. Antrim in 1896 and enlisted in the 12th Rifles at their formation in September 1914. At the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916 the battalion suffered over 400 casualties including 139 killed in action.

Robert was a Lance Corporal at the time and was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry during the battle, being promoted to the rank of Sergeant shortly afterwards. His award was published in the London Gazette of 9 December 1916.

Robert continued to serve with the battalion and was taken prisoner during the German Spring Offensive of March 1918. He was taken to Prisoner of War Camps at Munster and Cassel and was finally repatriated on 14 December 1918.

As he had enlisted for the duration of the war, Robert was demobilised from the Army on 29 March 1919. On demobilisation, Robert initially relocated to Glengormley, but later emigrated to Canada. In January 1920 in the New Year’s Honours List, Robert was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for gallantry throughout the war, the award being published in the London Gazette of 30 January 1920.


Rifleman James Kirkpatrick 11/19588 and his eldest son Rifleman Samuel Kirkpatrick 11/19589, both served in 11th (Service) Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. James and Samuel, from Dunadry, Co. Antrim, enlisted on the same day on the formation of the battalion in September 1914 and first saw action at the Somme.

James was 41 years old when he enlisted and Samuel was then 18. Records indicate that Samuel was wounded in October 1916 and on recovery was posted to the 18th (Service) Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. He never completely recovered from his wounds and was discharged on 23 November 1917.

His father, continued to serve until he was demobilised in April 1919.

Photos courtesy of Great War Ulster Newspaper Archive

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