Ham British Cemetery contains 485 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. Amongst the graves are those of two men who served with the North Irish Horse including one who accompanied the regiment’s horses to Egypt when it was dismounted.
218 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 14 soldiers, believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of 39 casualties known to have been buried in other cemeteries whose graves were not found.
Representing their comrades who died on this day
Cameronians, 2nd Btn, Scottish Rifles. Private. 7678. Died 30/03/1915. Aged 18. James was born in Moneymore. The family moved to Scotland. James Devlin enlisted in Glasgow. Son of Henry and Mary Devlin, of 15, Union Place, Anderston, Glasgow. Bois-Grenier Communal Cemetery, Nord, France. Moneymore WM
N.Z.E.F. Auckland Regiment, 2nd Btn. Private. 13/2027. Died 30/03/1918. Aged 33. Eldest son of Bernard and Sarah Corrigan, of Dirnan Lissan, Cookstown. They were a farming family who lived in Dirnan, Lissan. As a young man he emigrated to New Zealand. Michael lived in Utiku. Utiku is situated in the middle of the North Island. At the outbreak of the First World War, Michael enlisted with the 2nd Btn Auckland Regiment, New Zealand Rifle Brigade. Grevillers (New Zealand) Memorial, Pas de Calais, France. Cookstown WM
+DOAKE, Samuel Henry
Royal Artillery. Major. DSO. Died 30/03/1918. Age 25. Educated St. Paul’s School, passing second into RMA Woolwich. Commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1912, he landed in France in August 1914 and served continuously at the front for three and a half years. He was serving in 52 Army Brigade, RFA when he was KIA near Arras. He was the son of the late Richard Baxter Doake of “Redmeade,” 9 Granville Road, Eastbourne, and the late Mary Elizabeth Doake. A plaque in First Dromara Presbyterian church was erected to “commemorate the generous gift of £1500 given by Richard Baxter Doake of Kinallen and London and Mary Elizabeth Doake in gratitude to God that their three children Violette, Vere and Henry have been spared and given strength to serve their country so long and bravely through the Great War 1914-18”. However, it goes on to record that, “Since the above was written Major Henry Doake RFA DSO was killed in action near Arras 30 March 1918”. La Targette British Cemetery, Neuville St. Vaast, Pas De Calais, France
+HANNA, Francis James.
11/13 RIR. Rifleman.628. Born and living in Lisburn, he enlisted at Belfast. He may have embarked with 11 RIR for France from Bordon in October 1915. Died 30/03/1918. Rosieres Communal Cemetery Extension, France
3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade, 3rd Btn. Rifleman. 47043 Died 30/03/1918. Age 27. Born 29/05/1890 Glenshesk, County Antrim. Son of Michael and Ann Jane Laverty, Ballyveridagh South, Glenshesk aka Coolaveeley. Lived in Invercargill, New Zealand. Husband to Martha Jack, Ellis Road. Grevillers (New Zealand) Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.
RNR. 4163/ES. HM Drifter Expectation. Died 30/03/1918. Aged 46. Born Coleraine. Son of Thomas & Julia McClean; husband of Agnes, Cheviot Ave., Belfast. (CWGC records Turin Street, Grosvenor Road, Belfast). Carnmoney Cemetery.
2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen’s Bays). Corporal. D/21116. Died 30/03/1918. Age: 28. Born on 17/04/1889 in Castle Street, Bangor. Son of John McClure, a sailor, and Elizabeth (Bessie) McClure (nee McAlorum). They returned to Belfast shortly after. When the war broke out James enlisted and joined the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen’s Bays) entering France with them in August 1914. The regiment, which had been was stationed at Aldershot at the start of the war, landed in France as part of the 1st Cavalry Brigade in the 1st Cavalry Division, part of the Expeditionary Force, in August 1914 for service on the Western Front. The regiment took part in the Great Retreat in August 1914, the Battle of Le Cateau in August 1914, the First Battle of the Marne in September 1914, the Battle of Messines in October 1914, the First Battle of Ypres in October 1914, the Battle of the Somme in Autumn 1916, the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917, the Battle of the Scarpe in August 1918 and in the final advance of Autumn 1918. On the 27th March, the regiment crossed the Somme in support of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade and took up position filling in gaps in the line. At 10.30 on the morning of the 30th, the Germans commenced a bombardment of the front and at 12.30pm began an infantry assault. James was killed in action in this assault, the War Diary recording that the regiment suffered 25 wounded, 2 missing and 7 killed on that day. Interred in Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Bangor Parish WM in St. Comgall’s Church, Family memorial in Bangor Cemetery
Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 1st Btn. Private. 21890. formerly (29639) Royal Garrison Artillery. M M. Died 30/03/1918. Robert enlisted in Cookstown. He served for a time with the Royal Garrison Artillery, before transferring to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Robert McNicol was invalided from Gallipoli after being recommended for gallantry. He won the Military Medal. Robert McNicol was the son of Daniel and Brigid McNicol. He was born on 19/05/1887 in the Cookstown area. The family lived in the Killycurragh area. Robert was husband to Elizabeth McNichol. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France. Cookstown WM, St Luran’s Church, DerryLoran Parish
+MURPHY, Joseph P
Irish Guards, 1st Btn. Lance Serjeant. 6430. Died 30/03/1918. Joseph P Murphy was born in Clogher, County Tyrone. He was living in Liverpool when he enlisted. Douchy-Les-Ayette British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
+STUART, William Patrick
Royal Irish Fusiliers/North Irish Horse. Private. 41598. Died 30/03/1918. Age 29. See note below.
+McCLOSKEY, David John
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 1st Btn. Fusilier. 6978777. Died 30/03/1942. Aged 22. Son of David McCloskey, and of Isobela McCloskey, of Killure, Co. Londonderry. His brothers also served. Rangoon Memorial, Myanmar. Anglican Church in Rangoon RH. Macosquin Parish Church RH.
RAFVR. Sergeant (Flight Engineer).1567503. Died 31/03/1944. Aged 26. 78 Sqdn. At 2223 hours on 30/03/1944, Sergeant Hillis was on board Handley-Page Halifax III, HX241, EY-P along with six other crew members when their aircraft took off from R.A.F. Breighton in Yorkshire on a mission to Nuremberg in Germany. Prior to the last turning point on their way to the target HX241 was attacked by a Night Fighter and shot from stern to front.The aircraft was on fire and then broke into two before falling to the ground. Only one of the Crew was able to escape the aircraft and parachute to the ground where he was taken prisoner. Son of John Scott Hillis, and of Margaret Jane Hillis, of Inver, Co. Antrim. Hanover War Cemetery, Neidersachen, Germany
+McWILLIAMS, Robert Bowers
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 6th Bn. Serjeant. 7013179. Died 30/03/1944. Husband to R. McWilliams, Ballymena. Cassino War Cemetery, Italy
Royal Ulster Rifles Service, 2nd Btn. Rifleman. 7046400. Died 30/03/1945. Son of Benjamin and Anna Perkins, of Erdington, Birmingham. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
ADAMS, Cecil Thompson Buchanan
RAFVR. Squadron Leader (M). MB, DPH 1937. “Former physician Coleraine and Londonderry (Born, Londonderry 1914; Graduate of Queen’s University Belfast 1937; DPH). During WW2 he served in posts as squadron leader in India and Africa. After the war Dr. Adams worked with the newly formed Northern Ireland Tuberculosis Authority and was responsible for the service in several towns. At the time there were over 14 000 people with tuberculosis out of a population of about 1.3 million. The authority’s report was published in 1959 when it was clear that the task to control the disease had been accomplished. Dr. Adams then transferred to the Northern Ireland Hospitals Authority and continued working in chest medicine. He had a special interest in farmer’s lung. He was described as shy and unassuming but was caring and competent.” Husband to Maud. Died 30/03/1999.(BMJ 23/10/1999). QUB RH
Remembering trooper who escorted North Irish horses to Egypt after dismounting of regiment
William Patrick Stuart enlisted in the NIH and when the regiment was dismounted he was one of seventy men who escorted the horses to Egypt. He was to die in the spring offensive of 1918.
William Patrick Stuart – Royal Irish Fusiliers/North Irish Horse. Private. 41598. Died 30/03/1918. Age 29. Born on 23/12/1888 at 3 St Pancras Street, Ballymacarrett, Belfast, the youngest of seven children of upholsterer Andrew Stuart and his wife, Dumbarton-born Mary Stuart (nee O’Rorke).
By 1911 he was living with his family at 6 New Bond Street, Belfast, and working as a house decorator.Soon after this Stuart moved to England. By the end of 1915 he was working as a house painter and decorator and living at 188 Blake Street, Barrow, Cumbria. On 12/12/1915 he was attested into the army and placed in the reserve. He was mobilised on 20 November the following year and posted to the North Irish Horse, joining the regiment at Antrim two days later. He was issued regimental number 2312.
Stuart embarked for France on 24/04/1917, where he was posted to the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment. He joined his unit in the field at Boeschepe on 12 June.
Just weeks later orders came that the regiment would be dismounted and the men transferred to the infantry. Stuart was one of 70 men given the job of conducting the regiment’s horses to Egypt. They embarked from Marseilles onboard HMT Bohemian on 25 August. After a month at Alexandria they returned to France, through Italy. On 5 October they arrived at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur for infantry training.
After just a few days they were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion, joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt on 12 October. Stuart was issued regimental number 41598 and posted to D Company. He probably saw action with the battalion during the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.
Stuart was one of the many of the 9th Battalion listed as missing following the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918, during the German spring offensive – the Kaiserschalcht (See earlier daily entries on this site). In fact, he had been captured, suffering from a serious head wound. He died in a German field hospital at Villers St Christophe on 30 March and was buried in the village churchyard.
Stuart’s family did not learn of his fate until November 1918, when they received a letter from the Red Cross with information from Germany about his death.
After the war, when burial places were being consolidated, Stuart’s grave could not be found. He is commemorated on a ‘Kipling’ Special Memorial at Ham British Cemetery, Muille- Villette, Somme, France.
The memorial inscription reads: To the memory of these 5 British soldiers, who died as Prisoners of War in 1918, and were buried at the time in Villiers St. Christophe Churchyard, but whose graves are now lost. Their Glory shall not be blotted out.
Ham British Cemetery, Muille-Villette, Somme, France
In January, February and March 1918, the 61st (South Midland) Casualty Clearing Station was posted at Ham, but on 23 March the Germans, in their advance towards Amiens, crossed the Somme at Ham, and the town remained in German hands until the French First Army re-entered it on the following 6 September.
Ham British Cemetery was begun in January-March 1918 as an extension of Muille-Villette German Cemetery, made by the Casualty Clearing Station. In 1919 these graves were regrouped and others were added from the German cemetery.
Ham British Cemetery contains 485 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. Some 218 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 14 soldiers, believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of 39 casualties known to have been buried in other cemeteries whose graves were not found.
Another man of the North Irish Horse, Private J Magill, is buried here.
30/03/1914 – Mrs. Dingby Brown presented colours to the Glasgow contingent of the Ulster Volunteers. Among those present at the ceremony were the Marquis of Graham and Professor Cooper D.D. – Daily Mirror
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