Boulogne Cemetery where the gravestones are laid flat due to the sandy soil. Men from three different battalions of the Royal Irish Rifles died this day in 1916, a chaplain from Glenavy died in 1917, and a veteran’s story tells how the FAA pilot from Fermanagh eventually trained as a doctor and served in the Veterans’ hospital in Boston USA.
Representing their comrades who died on this day
Royal Irish Rifles, 9th Btn. Rifleman.15304. Died 10/02/1915. Son of the late William and Elizabeth McKinstry; husband to Agnes McKinstry, of 53, Snugville St., Belfast. Belfast (Dundonald) Cemetery.
Royal Irish Rifles, 9th Btn. Rifleman.13163. Died 10/02/1916. Sucrerie Military Cemetery, Colincamps, Somme, France
Royal Irish Rifles, 8th Btn. Rifleman.17/1344. Died 10/02/1916. Aged 19. Born Ahoghill, enlisted Belfast. Son of Ellen McWilliams, 9 Abingdon Street, Belfast. Auchonvillers Military Cemetery, Somme.
Royal Irish Rifles, 12th. Btn. Corporal. 19751. Died 10/02/1916. Aged 29. Born in Ballymena, the son of Hugh and Isabella Sempey. He lived Ballyclare. His former wife, Sarah McNeill (f. Sempey), lived at Main Street, Ballyclare. Mesnil Ridge Cemetery Somme.
Army Chaplains’ Department. Chaplain 4th Class. Died 10/02/1917. Aged 44. Born in Glenavy, Co. Antrim, he was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and was ordained in 1895. Officiating curate of St. Crispin’s, Bermondsey from then until 1897 when he moved to St. Thomas’s in Birmingham. The following year he went to India as the Church Missionary Society’s missionary at Multan and in 1908 was transferred to Srinigar, Kashmir in the Diocese of Lahore. Appointed as an acting army chaplain on the 08/08/1916, he was posted to France. Husband to Mrs. M. S. Johnson-Smyth of “Pawa Domus”, Cherry Garden Road, Canterbury, and only son of Maud and the late Thomas Johnson-Smyth, J.P. of Goremount, Glenavy, Co. Antrim. St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen,
RN. Able Seaman. P/SSX 14491. Died 10/02/1940. Aged 25. HMS Suffolk. Son of John and Mary Larmour, Lodge View Terrace, Warrenpoint. Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 39.
+CUNNINGHAM, John A
Royal Army Service Corps. Driver. T/6982041. Died 10/02/1944. Aged 42. Husband to Ida Caroline Cunningham, of Rail View, Fivemiletown. Fivemiletown C of I Churchyard. Fivemiletown WM
+ANDERSON, John Percy
172th Infantry Regiment, US Army. Private. 32923639. Died 10/02/1945. Born in 1919, he was the son of David Anderson, Stewartstown, Co. Tyrone. After his mother’s death, John emigrated to the United States alone when he was 11 years old and settled with his aunt. He enlisted in the US Army on 22/05/1943 in Newark, New Jersey. John was part of the US invasion force whose objective was the taking of Lingayen Gulf on the island of Luzon, Philippines. During the taking of the island John Percy Anderson was killed in action. Manila American Cemetery, Manila. Stewartsown WM, Stewartstown C of I RH.
RN. FAA. Bob left the family farm in Fermanagh to join the Royal Navy in 1943. As soon as he was old enough he applied to join the Fleet Air Arm as a pilot. He trained in Canada and spent the last few months of the war flying fighter aircraft from carriers in the Pacific.
After the war he took a degree in geology at Trinity College, Dublin and worked for several years on the copper mines of Northern Rhodesia.
He became interested in a career in medicine and saved enough money to put himself through medical school. After graduating from Queen’s University, Belfast, he worked at Belfast City Hospital and at the South Tyrone Hospital in Dungannon. He then moved to Boston, USA, where he served on the staff of the Veterans Administration Hospital and later the Northeastern University Student Health Service. He died 10/02/2010 at Wellesley, Massachusetts. USA, survived by his wife Betty.
RN, WW2. After war service, he was employed by the Electricity Board. A part-time leading fireman in Coookstown Fire Station, he was an active member of the town’s Baptist Church. Windsor Crescent, Monrushe, Cookstown. Died 10/02/2010. Cookstown cemetery.
THOMPSON, Horace Seymour
North Irish Horse. Sergeant. WW1. Horace Seymour Thompson was born on 3 November 1880 at 28 Market Street, Newry, County Down, third of nine children of farmer, merchant and land agent James Thompson and his wife Elizabeth (nee Sloan). The family later farmed at nearby Crieve, Horace’s two older brothers having moved to South Africa.
On 2 August 1913 Thompson married Sarah Jane Preston of Canal Street, Newry. Thompson enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 16 January and 23 February 1909 (No.282 – later Corps of Hussars No.71011). He was also active in the Ulster Volunteer Force, a report from April 1914 showing him as a sub-commander of E Company (Crieve), 2nd South Down Regiment.
Thompson embarked for France with A Squadron of the North Irish Horse on 17/08/1914, seeing action in the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.
On 02/03/1915 he faced a field general court-martial at St Omer charged with being drunk while on active service. Found guilty, he was awarded 9 months imprisonment with hard labour and was reduced to the ranks.
After serving his time, Thompson returned to the regiment, serving throughout the war. On 10/02/1919 he was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.
10/02/1906, Great Britain launches the battleship HMS Dreadnought, thereby upping the ante in its naval arms race with Imperial Germany. The bulk of the two countries’ expanding fleets will meet 10 years later at Jutland. Dreadnought’s entry into service in 1906 represented such an advance in naval technology that her name came to be associated with an entire generation of battleships, the dreadnoughts, as well as the class of ships named after her.
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