The Roll today is dominated by the records of over thirty who fell in the retreat from St Quentin in the German ‘Kaiserschlacht’ Spring Offensive on Thursday 21st March 1918. 966 men died in 10 days, 5000 were taken pow, the VC was awarded to Edward De Wind. Photo – Men of the 11th Battalion (Donegal & Fermanagh) Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 36th (Ulster) Division in a captured German communications trench near Havrincourt during the Battle of Cambrai.
Representing their comrades who died on this day
+DUGGAN, Frederick John
Royal Field Artillery. Captain. MiD. Died 21/03/1916. Killed in action in France by a sniper while carrying out reconnaissance. Son of Elizabeth and Creighton Duggan. Frederick was born in 1883 in the Clones district, County Monaghan. His mother died when Fred was just six years old. Fred was educated at the Royal School Dungannon from 1896 to 1899. From school, Fred enlisted as an army cadet with the Royal Field Artillery at Woolwich in London. On 31/07/1902 he obtained a commission with the 103rd Battalion of the Royal Field Artillery. In 1905 he married Edith Emily Cogan. They had two sons, Terence and Michael. He was appointed Staff Captain in 1915. He was mentioned in dispatches. Erquinghem-Lys Churchyard Extension, Armentieres, Nord, France. Royal School Dungannon Book
Royal Irish Rifles, 12th Btn. C Coy. (Central Antrim Volunteers). Lance Corporal. 19049. Died 21/03/1916 of wounds at Southwark Military Hospital. Aged 24. Born in Kells, the son of Nat and Maggie Jane Kirkwood. Nunhead, All Saints Cemeter. Connor Presbyterian Church RH.
Royal Irish Rifles, 12th Btn. (Central Antrim Volunteers). Lance Corporal. 12/17998. 12th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (Central Antrim Volunteers). Died 21/03/1917. Aged 20. He served in France and Belgium. Son of Mr. James and Mrs. Mary Ann Kane, Carnalridge Cottages, Portrush. Loker Churchyard, Belgium. Portstewart WM, Agherton Parish Church RH. IMR. Loker Churchyard (Belgium),
For further names and information on Thursday 21st March 1918, copy the heading below into the search facility on the home page –
March 21 – Kaiserschlacht 1918 impacts harshly on Ulster Division
Royal Irish Rifles, 10th Btn. attd. Machine Gun Corps, 36th Btn. Father of Ruby Adams, of 20, Glendermott Rd., Waterside, Londonderry. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 2nd Btn. Private. 11701. Died 21/03/1918. Patrick was born in Broxburn, Linlithgow, and enlisted in Coatbridge, Scotland. The family lived in Lisburn and Cookstown. Patrick Barton was reported missing, killed in action. He was most likely a wounded prisoner of the Germans, dying later of his wounds. His remains were interred in Essigny-le-Grand German Cemetery Grand Seracourt British Cemetery, Aisne, France. Cookstown WM
Royal Irish Rifles, 12th Btn. Rifleman. Died 21/03/1918. Born 10/02/1896 at Ballygallagh, Ballylinney, Ballyclare. Son of James and Margaret Brown, nee McAuley, from Kells, Ballymena. Alexander lived in Glasgow and enlisted in Ballyclare. Pozieres Memorial, Somme.
Royal Irish Rifles, 2nd Btn. Lance Corporal. 5568. Died 21/03/1916 in action at Grugies, France. Born at Wellington Street, Ballymena on 22/03/1893. He had enlisted in Motherwell, Scotland. Son of watchmaker Andrew Buchanan and his wife Ellen, nee Stewart, ‘Ralphena’, Broughshane Road, Ballymena. Pozeieres Memorial, Somme.
+BURNSIDE, Edward Edmond
Royal Irish Rifles, 16th Btn. Second Lieutenant. Died 21/03/1918. Aged 20. After RBAI, Edward Burnside attended Queen’s University, Belfast where he was a member of the Officers’ Training Corps. He enlisted in Belfast on 24/10/1916 and received his commission with the Royal Irish Rifles on 16/01/1917, being posted to the frontline in December 1917. He was killed in action, two months before he turned 20, during the Battle of St Quentin.
The battalion war diary reports: “The entire No 1 Company consisting of nine officers and 150 other ranks failed to appear at rendezvous west of Somme Dugouts, having apparently been cut off at Jeanne-D’Arc, and were subsequently posted as missing.”
Edward was born on 10/05/1898, the eldest of four children born to Ingram Burnside, a Tea Merchant, and Minnie Elizabeth Burnside at 1 Lawrence Street and, in 1915, the family moved to “Norham” on Bladon Drive in the Malone area. They later lived at “Budore” in Greenisland.
Grand – Seraucourt British Cemetery, Aisne, France. RBAI WM, QUB WM, QUB OTC RH.
+CARTMILL, Thomas Rowland
Royal Irish Fusiliers, 9th (North Irish Horse) Btn. Private. 41523. Died 21/03/1918. Born on 25/11/1892 at Killeavy, Newry, son of furniture dealer Richard Cartmill and his wife Margaret Ann (nee Rowland). A plumber by trade, he lived at Lisdrumgullion, Newry, Co. Down. He was survived by his wife Ella (nee Dodds) and their three children, Ruth, John and Thomas.
On 30/12/1914 Thomas enlisted in the North Irish Horse (No.1387) at Antrim, arriving in France with F Squadron on 17/11/1915. In June 1916 F Squadron joined C Squadron and the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons (Service Squadron) to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment. On 20 /09/1917 Thomas was transferred to the 9th (NIH) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, when the 2nd Regiment was dismounted and absorbed into that battalion. He was posted to A Company. On 25 October he was charged with “inducing others to misbehave” while on parade, for which he received 14 days Field Punishment No.1.
Private Cartmill was killed in action between 21 and 28/03/1918 during the retreat from St Quentin in the German ‘Kaiserschlacht’ offensive. He is commemorated at Pozeieres Memorial, Somme, panel 77. It is possible that his body is one of two unidentified North Irish Horse who lie in the Grand Seraucourt British Cemetery.
Royal Irish Rifles, 8th/9th Btn. Rifleman. 1351. M M. Died 21/03/1918. Aged 21. Grandson of James and Sarah Robinson, of 29, Lee St., Belfast. Ham British Cemetery, Muille-Villette, Somme, France
+CROCKETT, William Vance
Royal Irish Rifles, 1st Btn. Rifleman. 9759. Died 21/03/1918. Aged 21. Son of Mrs. Annie Crockett, of 29, Glasgow Terrace, Londonderry. Pozeieres Memorial, Somme, France
Second Lieutenant Edmund De Wind, 15th Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles. Died 34 years old, 21/03/1918, Second Battle of the Somme. Memorial column, Belfast Cathedral west door. Memorial Comber Square.
Royal Irish Rifles, 15th Btn, D Coy. Lance Corporal. M M. 2831. Died 21/03/1918. Aged 26. Son of the late John and Mary Ellen Graham, of Mountdarby, Corranny, Co. Fermanagh. Pozeieres Memorial, Somme, France
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 7th Btn. Private. 20321. Died 21/03/1918. Born at Tamlachtmore, County Tyrone. Hugh Hagan worked at Adair’s Mill at Greenvale, Cookstown. Hugh enlisted in Omagh with the 7th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Pozeieres Memorial, Somme, France. Cookstown WM
+HARRIS, Alfred John
Royal Irish Rifles,15th Btn. Rifleman. 104. Died 21/03/1918. Aged 22. Son of William and Ellen Harris, of 24, Prospect St., Belfast. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France
Connaught Rangers, 6th. Btn. Private. 2727. MM. Died 21/03/1918. Son of the late Michael Hughes and Mary Rock (sometimes recorded as Rocks). Michael, a clerk, of 1, Crumlin Street, Belfast had married Mary Rock, 5, Craig Street, Belfast in St Peter’s RC Church on the 26/08/ 1891. The couple had at least five children together and in 1911 they were Ellen (Nellie – born 5 June 1892 at Cypress Street, Belfast), James (born 13 November 1893 at 35, Conliffe Street, Dublin), Bridget (born 16 October 1895 at Ballymoney Street, Belfast), Mary (born 21 May 1899 at Dungloe, Donegal) and Mary Theresa (born 4 May 1901 at Dungloe, Donegal). Mary Hughes died and widower Michael Hughes married Bridget O’Donnell in St Peter’s RC Church, Dungloe on 20/09/1905. The couple was living at 7, Suffolk Street, Ballymena, Co. Antrim by 1911, and all Michael’s children lived with them. Ste. Emilie Valley Cemetery, Villers Faucon, France.
Royal Irish Rifles, 3rd Btn attd 1st Btn. Lieutenant. Died 21/03/1918. Member of QUB Training Corps 1915. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France
Royal Irish Rifles, 15th Btn. 13011 Company Sergeant Major. Died 21/03/1918. Born on 01/02/1886 at Clonavon Street, Ballymena, and he was the son of William Latimer and Eliza Gracey. The family later moved to Isabella Street, Belfast. James enlisted in Belfast. Serjeant James Latimer, 15th Royal Irish Rifles, Ballykinlar Camp, Co Down, married Agnes Hayes of 11 New North Queen Street, Belfast in Lynn Memorial Methodist Church, Oldpark Road, Belfast on the 19/05/1915. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 9th Btn attached 109th T.M. Battery. Lieutenant. MiD. Died 21/03/1918. Age 22. Member of the QUB Training Corps 1915 – 16. Son of Mr. and Mrs. James Lowden, Easton Avenue, Belfast. Savy British Cemetery, Aisle, France
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 8th Btn. Private. 29851. Died 21/03/1918. Born at Ardtrea, Stewartstown and at the outbreak of the war his family was living in Moneymore. He enlisted at Omagh, with the 8th Btn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France
+McELNEY, Robert Gerald
RAMC. Captain. 77th. Field Ambulance. MC. Died 21/03/1918. Age 25. Campbell College. Entered QUB, with an entrance scholarship, and obtained fifth place in a year of keen competition at the Science Scholarship Examination. He became a prominent member of the OTC. In February 1912, he obtained the Royal Humane Society, for a deed of gallantry near Downpatrick. He was a competent swimmer, and held the bronze medal of the Royal Life Saving Society. He was also a keen horseman. In April 1913, he obtained a commission in the RAMC (SR), taking his training at Aldershot that year. Lieutenant RAMC April 1913, Captain Feb 1916. He graduated in medicine in July 1915, and was sent to France, joining the BEF on 28th September, he was attached to the 77th Field Ambulance.
He was awarded the Military Cross during the Battle of the Somme, “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He led stretcher parties and worked in the open under heavy fire continuously for thirty-four hours. He set a splendid example of courage and determination.” (London Gazette 11/12/1916). One of his superior officers wrote: “The feat that won him the Military Cross was a remarkably fine achievement. He had no fear. His courage and devotion to duty made him very popular, both with officers and men”. He was killed on the opening day of the great German offensive, near Bapaume. Letters from his superior officers spoke of his courage and the high order of his professional skill. One closely associated with him for 11 months in the unit wrote: “He had a record of steady and devoted service second to none, and his personal qualities were of such sterling value as to win the love and admiring regard of all.” Robert was the eldest son of the Rev. Robert McElney, M.A., and Mary Elizabeth McElney, The Manse, Downpatrick, Co. Down. He was born in the Manse, Saintfield on 20/09/1892. Grevillers British Cemetery, France. QUB WM
+McILROY, Thomas George
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 2nd Btn previously 10th Btn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (The Derrys). Lance-Corporal. 19878. MM. Died as a result of gas poisoning on 21/03/1918. Aged 23. Son of Elizabeth McIlroy nee McFarland and the late Thomas McIlroy, of Maghera, County Londonderry. He was born George McIlroy 31/01/1895, he added his father’s forename Thomas sometime after his father’s death of heart failure in August 1899 of heart failure.
“Lance Corporal Thomas McIlroy, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, of Upperlands, has been awarded the Military Medal for good work in the recent fighting. It appears that, with a number of others, he was on patrol when they walked into a German stronghold. A fierce struggle, lasting over two hours ensued, and through the good work and devotion to duty of Lance Corporal McIlroy and two other members of the party, the Germans were held up and the patrol saved from capture. Corporal McIlroy was amongst the first batch of volunteers from Upperlands to join the Ulster Division at its formation. He has been at the front ever since the 36th Division went out. Before joining the colours he was a member of Upperlands Company of the U.V.F., and was connected with Upperlands Loyal Orange Lodge. He is a respected member of Maghera Presbyterian Church, and was employed on the clerical staff of Messrs. W Clark and Sons Ltd.” 23/10/1918 Belfast Newsletter. St. Souplet British Cemetery, France.
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 7th/8th Bn. Lance Corporal. 24715. Died 21/03/1918. Son of Laurence and Bridget McKenna. He was born on 7th November 1888 in Kildress, Cookstown. He was the third of four sons. The family farmed and lived in Killucan, Killeenan. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France. Cookstown War Dead Book
Royal Irish Regiment, 7th (South Irish Horse) Btn. Private. Distinguished Conduct Medal. 4155. Died 21/03/1918. Aged 33. Born on 25/09/1888. Son of Alexander and Catherine McMaster, of Corlecky, Maghera. His father died when he was just three years old. Husband of Mary McMaster, of Hall St., Maghera, Co. Londonderry. They had at least one child. Templeux-Le-Guerard British Cemetery, Somme, France. Cookstown War Dead book
Royal Irish Rifles, 12th Btn. Lance Corporal. 19118. Italian Bronze Medal for gallantry. Died 21/03/1918. Born 02/06/1890 at Brocklamont, Ballymena. Son of Hugh McMullan and Margaret nee Gore. Brother of 19119 Lance Corporal George McMullan. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France.
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 8th Btn. Private. 27774. Died 21/03/1918. Aged 32. Son of William G. and Catherine Moore, of Drumey, Newmills, Dungannon. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France.
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 7th/8th Btn. Private. 20325. Died 21/03/1918. Aged 26. Born 04/08/1892, Eldest son of William and Mary O’Neill, of Ballyrogley, Loup Moneymore. By 1911 Charles and his brother Thomas were working for William John Scott, a farmer. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France. Cookstown War Dead Book
+POOTS, William John
Royal Irish Rifles, 15th Btn.”C” Coy. Rifleman. 798. Died 21/03/1918. Aged 23. Son of the late William John and Eliza Ann Poots. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France. Banbridge WM
Royal Irish Rifles, 1st Btn. Rifleman.12425. Died 21/03/1918. 1882, Ballykiegle. Grand-Serancourt British Cemetery, Aisne, France
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 1st Btn. Private. 20439. Died 22/03/1918. Aged 20. John enlisted in Omagh with Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in his late teens. Born in Fintona on 09/05/1898. He was one of four children, all of whom were twins. Son of James and Elizabeth Slevin, of Killymoon St., Cookstown. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France. Cookstown WM
+SMYTH, William John
Royal Irish Rifles,1st. Btn. Rifleman. 9441. Died 21/03/1918. Aged 26. Son of David and Margaret Smyth, of 3, Eastland St., Belfast. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France
Royal Irish Rifles, 12th Btn.Service. formerly Army Service Corps (T4/039455). Rifleman. 45548. Died 21/03/1918. Fortingale St, Shankill Road, Belfast. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 7th/8th Btn. Private. 9958. Died 21/03/1918. Aged 24. Son of Mrs. Annie Mabin; husband of Lillie Stewart, of Church St., Cookstown. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France. Cookstown WM, St Luran’s C of I WM, Cookstown
Royal Irish Rifles. 15th Btn. Rifleman. 491. Died 21/03/1918. Aged 21. Son of Elizabeth Stewart, of 165, Park Avenue, Sydenham, Belfast, and the late Thomas Stewart. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France
Royal Irish Rifles, 21st Entrenching Btn., late 10th Bn. Lance Corporal. 532. Died 21/03/1918. Aged 21. Son of William and Martha Veighey, of 28, Hutchinson St., Belfast. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France
Royal Irish Rifles,12th. Btn. Rifleman.1425. Died 21/03/1918. Aged 19. Brother of Mrs. Agnes Black, of 11, Hemp St., Belfast. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France
+HERRON, William Arthur
Royal Canadian Regiment. Lieutenant. Died 21/03/1919. Aged 25. Son of William and Sarah Herron; husband to Sarah J. Herron, of Hill St., Banbridge. Banbridge Town Cemetery
Reserve Cavalry Regiment. Private. L/17002. Died 21/03/2019. Aged 22. Son of John and Alice May, Clintycracken, Mountjoy, Tyrone. Mountjoy Roman Catholic Churchyard, Stewartstown, County Tyrone,
Royal Irish Rifles, 10th Bth, D Coy. attd to 36th Btn Machine Gun Corps. Sergeant. 1146. Died 21/03/1918. Enlisted Belfast. Eldest son of Rebecca and Robert Adams, 3, Fountain Place, Londonderry. Brother of Robert Adams, 286, Bishop Street, Londonderry. Father of Ruby Adams, 20, Glendermott Road, Waterside, and William Adams, 2, Victoria Street, Londonderry. Sergeant Adams was possibly a member of Royal Black Preceptory 113. Robert, Andrew, and Robert Adams, 3, Fountain Place, signed the Ulster Solemn League and Covenant (September 1912) pledging resistance to Home Rule for Ireland. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France. Diamond WM, Londonderry. St Columb’s Cathedral (Church of Ireland) WM, to the men connected to that cathedral who died during WW1.
+MILLAR, William Alexander
RAFVR. Sergeant (Pilot). 748196. Died 21/03/1941. Aged 21. 83 Sqdn. Son of David and Mary J. Millar, of Belfast. Bayeux War Cemetery, Calvados, France. 502 (Ulster) Squadron WM, St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast
+SLACK, Gordon Henry
RAFVR. Sergeant (Air Gunner). 754693. Died 21/03/1941. Aged 21. 240 Sqdn. Son of Philip Arthur and Mabel Browne Slack. Irvinestown C of I Churchyard, Co. Fermanagh.502 (Ulster) Squadron WM, St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast
Royal Artillery. 9 H.A.A. Regt. Gunner. 1466764. Died 21/03/1943. Aged 29. Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya. Derry Cathedral WM
+WATTERSON, Thomas William
Royal Engineers. 102 Army Field Coy. Sapper. 2114030. Died 21/03/1944. Aged 23. Son of Thomas William and Mary Watterson, Coagh; husband of May Watterson, of Old Easwick, Yorkshire. Naples War Cemetery, Miano, Naples, Italy. Coagh WM
+DARRAGH, Joseph John
Royal Ulster Rifles. Lance Corporal. 7009604. Died 21/03/1945. Aged 41. Husband to Susan Darragh of Belfast. Belfast City Cemetery, Glenalina Extension
RAFVR. 61 Sqdn. Sergeant. 1799465. Died 21/03/1945. Aged 19. Son of George and Isabella Torney, Donaghadee. Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany
SHEPPARD, John E
Rifleman. 17/2395, D Coy, 12th R Irish Rifles, from Geoffrey Street, Belfast. Was captured and became a POW on this day 21/03/1918.
Second Lieutenant Edmund De Wind, 15th Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles. Died 34 years old, March 21st, 1918, Second Battle of the Somme. See entryabove and link to feature on this site.
“The record of the Thirty-Sixth Division will ever be the pride of Ulster. At Thiepval in the battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916; at Wytschaete on 17 June 1917, in the storming of the Messines Ridge; on the Canal du Nord, in the attack on the Hindenburg Line of 20 November the same year; on 21 March 1918, near Fontaine-les-Clercs, defending their positions long after they were isolated and surrounded by the enemy; and later in the month at Andechy in the days of ‘backs to the wall’, they acquired a reputation for conduct and devotion deathless in military history of the United Kingdom, and repeatedly signalised in the despatches of the Commander-in-Chief.” – Winston Churchill
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