March 29 – Roll of Honour

Pozières British Cemetery and, surrounding the graves the Pozières Memorial. Many from NI who died in the 1918 German offensive and whose graves are unknown are named on the Memorial including nine on today’s Roll. Our veteran remembered today is Sgt Robert Jackson from Dunadry who won the Military Medal and was later awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for gallantry throughout the war.

Representing their comrades who died on this day

1915

+DUDDY, Private Michael
Royal Irish Regiment, 2nd Btn. Private. 2413. Died 29/03/1918. Aged 52. Husband to Sarah A. Duddy, of 5, Nelson St., Londonderry. Londonderry City Cemetery

+McNAIR, Richard Isaac McNair
11th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (South Antrim Volunteers). Rifleman. 18167. Died of cerebral spinal fever at the Purdysburn Fever Hospital, Belfast, 29/03/1918.. Age 37. Son of John and Ellen McNair nee Dickson; Husband to Mary McNair nee Parker, Millbrook, Lisburn. Hillhall Presbyterian Churchyard, Lisburn.

+O’NEILL, Francis
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 2nd Btn. Private. Died 29/03/1915 in trenches at Festubert. He enlisted in Omagh. Eldest son of Joseph and Lizzie O’Neill nee Hunter. Born Magherafelt area 20/06/1884. He married Annie Devlin on 26/11/1908. Brother of Corporal Joseph O’Neill, Connaught Rangers, died 06/12/1915 and Private Peter O’Neill, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died 30/05/1915. Brown’a Rd Cemetery, Festubert, Pas de Calais, France. Coagh WM, Coagh Soldiers and Sailors WM 2013, Moneymore WM

1916

+WILLIAMSON, Samuel
Royal Irish Rifles, 9th Btn. Rifleman. 2789. Died 29/03/1916. Aged 16. Son of Samuel and Mary Williamson, of 62, Dee St., Belfast. Sucrerie Military Cemetery, Colincamps, Somme, France

1917

+HOUSTON, David
New Zealand Expeditionary Force. 2nd Canterbury Btn. Private. 28883. Died 29/03/1917 near Messines. He embarked with the 18th Reinforcements aboard Tofua on 11/10/1916 and he gave as his next of kin his brother, William Houston, Rotoorangi, Cambridge, NZ. He was a farmer, the son of farmer Thomas Houston, Carmacmoin, Ahoghill and Sarah Jane nee Nelson, Tully. The couple had married in 1st Ballymena Presbyterian Church on the 29/03/1886. David had worked and lived at Hinds and is commemorated in Cambridge, NZ. Berkshire Cemetery Extension, Ploegsteert, Belgium. 2nd Ahoghill Presbyterian Church RH

1918

+CLARKE, Alfred James
Royal Irish Rifles, 11/13th Btn. Rifleman.17436. Died 29/03/1918. Aged 27. Born in Lisburn where he lived on the Belsize Road. He enlisted in Lisburn and embarked with 11 RIR for France from Bordon Camp in October 1915. Wounded in August 1917, he was treated in hospital in Oxford. Subsequently transferred to 11/13 RIR and attached to 22 Entrenching Battalion. Son of James and Marianne Clarke of Belsize Road, Lisburn. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France, panels 74-76

+CUTHBERT, Robert
Scots Guards, 2nd Btn. Lance Corporal. 14479. Died 29/03/1918. Aged 33 years. He is associated with ‘Cloneytrace Broughshane’, the words engraved on his headstone. St. Hilaire Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

+DOUTHART, John
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 9th Btn. Private. 27685. Died 29/03/1918. Age 24. Born Coleraine. Son of Samuel and Elizabeth Douthart, Fairhill Street, Ballycastle. Noyon New British Cemetery

+ENNIS, John
London Regiment (Prince of Wales’ Own Civil Service Rifles).Private. 531830. Died 29/03/1918 in Palestine. Fifth son of Joseph and Elizabeth Ennis, Carrawbane (Carrabane), Downpatrick. Jerusalem War Cemetery

+FORBES, John
Royal Irish Fusiliers, 9th Btn. Private. 41453. (formerly 1924 North Irish Horse). Died 29/03/1918 on the second day of the battle of St Quentin “while attempting to rescue a wounded comrade from German hands” (Belfast News Letter). Born at Dungall, Clough, on 04/05/1895 Son of farmer George Forbes and his wife Elizabeth nee Knox. The couple had married  in Clough Presbyterian Church on 20/01/1892.  George (35) said he came from Dunminning, Craigs, Cullybackey and 22 year old Elizabeth said she hailed from Kilgad, Connor. The family was living in Ballymena’s Galgorm Street in 1901 and George was a publican. They had six children. The family moved to Moneydollog, Ballyconnelly, Ahoghill, in 1911. John was a clerk in a textile firm. He was an Associate of the Institute of Commerce. He enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 19/11/1915 and sent to France on 27/07/1916 as a reinforcement to the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, but he was later transferred to the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers and was renumbered as 41453. His brother George also served in the North Irish Horse, later in the Corps of Hussars. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France. 1st Ahoghill Presbyterian Church RH

+GRAHAM, R
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 9th Btn. Private. 23648. Died 29/03/1918. Aged 25. Only son of William and Mary Graham, Glendavagh, Aughnacloy, Co. Tyrone. Robert and his father were both labourers. Robert Graham enlisted in Enniskillen. He was living in Crilly at the time. Ham British Cemetery, Muille-Villette, Somme, France. Ballygawley War Dead Book

+LYONS, Thomas
Royal Irish Rifles, 9th Btn. Private. 41325. Formerly 1846, North Irish Horse. Died 29/03/1918. Age 22. Son of Thomas and Eliza Jane Lyons nee Smith, Donegall Avenue, Belfast. Pozières Memorial, France. (13/05/1918, Northern Whig)

+McCABE, William John
RMLI. Private. PLY/15918. HMS Foresight. Died 29/03/1919. Age 25. Enrolled Belfast 15/11/1912. Served in HMS Foresight 20/07/1914 – 29/03/1919. Son of the late James and Lena McCabe, Belfast. Malta (Capuccini) Naval Cemetery. ADM 159/158/15918

+McCORD, WILLIAM
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 9th Btn. Private. 30745. Died 29/03/1918, during the German Spring Offensive. Aged 19. Son of William and Lucinda McCord, of Cairmean, Moneymore, Co. Londonderry. His father was a farmer. William was the oldest of at least thirteen children. Grand-Seracourt British Cemetery, Aisne, France. Moneymore WM, Desertlynn Parish Church RH

+McMULLAN, John Campbell
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 9th Btn.Private (Signaller). 27523. Died 29/03/1918. Aged 19. Son of Mrs. Sarah Jane McMullan, of Ballywatt, Dervock, Co. Antrim. Pozieres Memorial, Panel 38 – 40. Somme, France

+McNEILL, EDWARD JAMES
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 9th Btn. Serjeant.11741. Died 29/03/1918. Youngest son of Dugald and Catherine Jane McNeill (nee Ramsay). He was born in Dungannon about 1900. His father was a pastry baker who hailed from Glasgow. The family lived in Perry Street, Dungannon. Edward James McNeill enlisted in Dungannon. Brother of Hugh McNeill, of 83, Torrens Avenue, Todmorden, Toronto, Canada. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France. Dungannon WM, St Anne’s Church C of I RH

+MITCHELL, JAMES
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 9th Btn. Private.11083. Died 29/03/1918. Aged 28. Born 07/10/1890 in Tamlaght, County Tyrone. Son of John and Nancy Mitchell, Great Georges Street, Coagh, Co. Tyrone. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France. Coagh WM

+MORRISON, Joseph Dickey
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 9th Btn. Lance Corporal. 28599. Died 29/03/1918. Born in Moy, Tyrone on 15/08/1898. Son of John and Anna Bella nee Dickey Morrison. John is the postmaster and clerk of petty sessions. Joseph Dickey Morrison was living in Garvagh before enlisting in Coleraine. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France. Moy WM, Moneydig RH, Family memorial Moy C of I Churchyard.

+RADCLIFFE, Joseph Wilson
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 9th Btn. C Coy. Private. MM. 26664. Died 29/03/1918. Aged 22. Son of Robert and Elizabeth Radcliffe, of Monreagh, Carrigans, Co. Donegal. Brother of John, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers who served in WW1 and WW2. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France

+STEELE, Robert Henry Lewis
Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge), 7th Btn. Serjeant. 291027. Died 29/03/1918 of wounds received in action during the German Spring Offensive. Aged 35. Son of Robert and Caroline Steele; husband of Lucy Emily Steele, of “Raewood,” Baring Rd., Lee, London. Aubingy Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas de Calais, France. Cookstown War Dead Book Private

+WELTON, Samuel
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 9th Btn. Private. G/20837. Died 29/03/1918. Aged 25. Son of Robert and Mary Jane Welton of Kilnaslee, Altmore. Robert was a farmer. Samuel was born in County Tyrone about 1892. He was the youngest of three sons. By 1911 Samuel was working for and living with the Collins family in Market Square, who owned a grocer store. Samuel Welton enlisted in Belfast. Ham British Cemetery, Muille-Villette, Somme, France

+WIGTON, Frederick
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 9th Btn. C Coy. Private. 27312. Died 29/03/1918. Aged 33. Frederick was an agricultural labourer like his father. He enlisted in Dungannon. Eldest son of William and Margaret Wigton, of Cavan Hill, Killyman, Moy, Co. Tyrone; husband to Mary Ann McMinn Wigton, of Culnagrew, Dungannon. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France. Dungannon WM

+WILLIAMSON, George
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 9th Btn. Private. 27499. Died 29/03/1918. Aged 23. George Williamson enlisted in Fivemiletown, County Tyrone. Son of Alexander and Annie Williamson, of Tempo, Co. Fermanagh. Ham British Cemetery, Muille-Villette, Somme, France

+McCURDY, James
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 9th Btn. Private/acting-Lance-Corporal 28182. Died 29/03/1918. Aged 31. Before the War, he was employed as a stonemason. He volunteered for active service in the winter of 1915 and served in France. Son of James and Mary McCurdy who lived at Mullaghacall, Portstewart. Portstewart WM, Portstewart Presbyterian Church WM, PCI RH, IMR. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France

+McMULLAN, John Campbell
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 9th Bn.Private (Signaller). 27523. Died 29/03/1918. Aged 19. Son of Mrs. Sarah Jane McMullan, of Ballywatt, Dervock, Co. Antrim. Pozieres Memorial, Panel 38 – 40. Somme, France

1919

+McCABE, William John
RMLI. Private. PLY/15918. HMS Foresight. Died 29/03/1919. Age 25. Enrolled Belfast 15/11/1912. Served in HMS Foresight 20/07/1914 – 29/03/1919. Son of the late James and Lena McCabe, Belfast. Malta (Capuccini) Naval Cemetery. ADM 159/158/15918

1940


+BOYLES, Alexander
RN. Petty Officer Stoker. C/KX 80080. Died 27/10/1940. Age 29. HM Submarine H.49. 11 years service. Son of Alexander and Mary Ann Boyles Arkwright St., Belfast. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 05/04/1941.). Chatham Naval Memorial, Panel 39

1941

+McKEOWN, J
Royal Artillery. 6 Indep. Lt. A.A. Bty. Gunner.1449216. Died 29/03/1941. Aged 35. Husband to Eliza Jane McKeown, of Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Ismailia War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt

1942

+SMYTH, Maxwell
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 1st Btn. Corporal. 6977646. Died 29/03/1942. Age 27. Son of William Smyth and Agnes Smyth of Laurencetown, Co. Down. His brother Alfred Smyth served in the Irish Guards. An older brother, John Smyth, lived in the USA having served in WW1.Taukkyan War Cemetery, Myanmar (Burma). Gilford WM. All Saints C of I, Tullylish.

1943

+McKINLEY, William Alexander
RAFVR. Sergeant. 1080089. Died 29/03/1943. Aged 20. Son of James and Elizabeth McKinley of Strabane. Strabane Cemetery

1945

+BELL, Albert
RAF. Leading Aircraftman. 644334. Died 29/03/1945. Aged 27. Son of George Thomas and Maria Bell, of Bessbrook, Co. Armagh. Singapore Memorial, Column 452, Kranji War Cemetery. Singapore. Bessbrook WM

+SMYTH, Benjamin Thorpe
RAFVR. Flying Officer 170709. Died 29/03/1945.113 Sqd. Portora RS. Son of William Thorpe Smyth And Mary Edith Smyth, Belfast. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Myanmar (formerly Burma)

NOTES

Pozières British Cemetery – is enclosed within the boundary wall incorporating the Pozières Memorial to the Missing of 1918.

Burials made during 1916, 1917 and 1918 are contained in Plot II and these were made at that time by the fighting units or field ambulances in position near Pozières.

All other graves were brought to this cemetery after the Armistice in November 1918. Most of the graves were brought here from battlefield burials in the vicinity of this cemetery. Most of these casualties were British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the surrounding fields during the autumn battles of the 1916 Battle of the Somme. Some were casualties discovered in isolated burial plots and small cemeteries from the fighting in August 1918.

There are now 2,758 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 1,380 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 23 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. There is also one German soldier buried here.

29/03/1915 – Soldiers’ Narrow Escape from Drowning – Comrade’s timely Rescue
Six men from Ballykinlar Camp had a narrow escape on Saturday evening as they were returning to camp from Dundrum to the camp by ferryboat, which was accidentally overturned a short distance from the Dundrum leading- stage, with the result that the men were precipitated onto the water. Fortunately, the accident was seen by other soldiers and fishermen on the wharf, and Lance-Corporal Armstrong, No. 3 Company 15th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, immediately plunged into the water to render assistance to the struggling men, one of whom was exhausted and unconscious from the effects of the icy-cold water. He was brought ashore by Armstrong, and efforts were at once made to restore consciousness, the police rendering valuable assistance. After the prolonged treatment, the men recovered sufficiently to proceed to the camp. Meanwhile the other men, who had floated by means of oars, were got ashore some the worse for immersion. (Northern Whig 30/03/1915)

29/03/1944 – One of the most famed events of the Second World War occurred – the Great Escape. 50 of the 76 Commonwealth servicemen who escaped would be executed

VETERAN

JACKSON, Robert Jackson
Sgt Robert Jackson DCM MM 12th (Service) Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (Central Antrim Volunteers) was demobilised on this date in 1919.

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 01/07/1916 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 afterward.

His award was published in the London Gazette of 09/12/1916. 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 14/12/1918.

As he had enlisted for the duration of the war, Robert was demobilised from the Army on 29/03/1919. 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 30/01/1920.

Remembered with Honour.

NOTES

29/03/1915 – Soldiers’ Narrow Escape from Drowning Comrade’s timely Rescue
Six men from Ballykinlar Camp had a narrow escape on Saturday evening as they were returning to camp from Dundrum to the camp by ferryboat, which was accidentally overturned a short distance from the Dundrum leading- stage, with the result that the men were precipitated onto the water. Fortunately, the accident was seen by other soldiers and fishermen on the wharf, and Lance-Corporal Armstrong, No. 3 Company 15th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, immediately plunged into the water to render assistance to the struggling men, one of whom was exhausted and unconscious from the effects of the icy-cold water. He was brought ashore by Armstrong, and efforts were at once made to restore consciousness, the police rendering valuable assistance. After the prolonged treatment, the men recovered sufficiently to proceed to the camp. Meanwhile, the other men, who had floated by means of oars, were got ashore some the worse for immersion. (Northern Whig 30/03/1915)

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