Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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40651   Private Alexander Martin
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Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 10th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 15/10/1890
Died: 20/11/1917 (Killed in Action)
Age: 27
Summary      
Alexander Martin was the son of James and Sarah Martin. Alexander was born in Stewartstown area on 15th October 1890. He was one of at least six sons. It seems his mother died when he was very young and he was brought up in Belfast by his aunt and uncle. Alexander worked as a warehouse assistant before enlisting. He originally enlisted in the North Irish Horse in May 1915 He later transferred to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Private Alexander Martin was serving with the 10th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action on Tuesday 20th November 1917.
Private Alexander Martin
Further Information
Alexander Martin was the son of James and Sarah Martin. James Martin married Elizabeth Sarah Ruddell on 29th December 1881 in the district of Cookstown.
Alexander Martin was born in Stewartstown area on 15th October 1890. He was one of at least six sons.
Known family: James Martin, Sarah Elizabeth Martin, George Martin (born 24th October 1882), Samuel Martin (born 20th October 1884), James Martin (born 8th September 1886), Edward Martin (born 3rd November 1888), Alexander Martin (born 15th October 1890), Robert Martin (born 8th March 1893).
It seems his mother died shortly after the birth of Robert, on 29th March 1893 in Stewartstown, age 38. (GRONI ref. D/1893/101/1009/8/218). Alexander would have been just two years old.
The 1901 census lists Alexander as age 13, living with his aunt and uncle at house 21 in India Street, Belfast. Both Alex and George were living with Joseph and Annie Straghan. Joseph Straghan was an Acting Sergeant in the Royal Irish Constabulary.
The 1911 census lists Alexander as age 20 living at house 14 in Cromwell Road, Belfast. His uncle had died. Alexander was working as a warehouse assistant.
Alexander was Worshipful Master of Magdalene Church Defendersí Temperance L.O.L. No. 615 and a member of R.B.P. No. 12.
He was also a member of the South Belfast Regiment of the Ulster Volunteer Force.
Prior to enlisting, Alexander was working Messrs Renwick, Robinson & Co, Belfast.
Alexander originally enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 25th May 1915 in Antrim with the Service No. 1610.
He later transferred to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
Private Alexander Martin went overseas in a draft to bring the 10th Battalion up to strength on 9th January 1917.
One of his brothers was wounded in action on 16th August 1917 at the Third Battle of Ypres, but recovered.
On 20th November 1917, three hundred and eighty one tanks, followed closely by infantry, attacked along a six mile front and at 6.20am 1,000 guns opened up with an intense bombardment on the German lines. The 10th Inniskillings went into attack at the Battle of Cambrai with 27 officers and 430 other ranks. Their objective was to bombard the German machine gun posts on a slag heap near the Canal-du-Nord. This slag heap was the by product of the Canal that the French had been building before the start of the war. This advance took on a different style to that used at the Somme. The infantry didnít advance across open country. Instead they fought their way through the German communication trenches rather than straight through the German lines, this effort gave better cover from small arm and artillery fire. No tanks were assigned in the sector held by the 10th Inniskillings and the hurricane bombardment by heavy artillery on the slag heap commenced instantaneously at 8.30am. The Trench Mortar Battery pounded the front German trenches and machine gun posts and after a few minutes, switched back and forth to other targets as the infantry fought their way through. After a short but fierce fight the 10th Inniskillings had seized their objective by 9.30am in the middle of a blizzard, clearing over 1.5 miles of the front line trenches of the Hindenburg Line. The allied artillery started its programme of hitting prearranged targets as the infantry advanced through the German lines. The 10th Inniskillingís gains were considerable and casualties were light. 1 officer and 45 other ranks were wounded in the advance. Only one man, Private Alexander Martin was killed.
Private Alexander Martin was serving with the 10th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action on Tuesday 20th November 1917.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 19th December 1917:
Private Alex Martin, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, (formerly North Irish Horse), was killed in action on 20th November 1917. The deceased was the fifth son of Mr James Martin, Killycolpy, Stewartstown and a nephew of Mrs Straghan, 14 Cromwell Road, Belfast. Private Martin enlisted on 25th May 1915, prior to which he was in the employment of Messrs Renwick, Robinson & Co, Belfast. He was Worshipful Master of Magdalene Church Defendersí Temperance L.O.L. 615, a member of R.B.P. 12, and South Belfast Regiment, U.V.F.
Private A Martin has no known grave and is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial at Louverval in Nord, France.
The Cambria Memorial photo above has been kindly donated by Bob Pike, courtesy of Carrie Pike, via the Great War Forum.
Alexander Martin is also commemorated on Albany Presbyterian Roll of Honour.
Another brother served with the Royal Navy. Both of Alexanderís brothers survived the war.
The CWGC record Private Alexander Martin as the son of James and Sarah Martin of Killycolpy, Stewartstown, County Tyrone.
Read more
Relevant Cookstown Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Killycolpy area Killycolpy CWGC lists parents Killycolpy area 54.600421 -6.579066
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists Alexander Martin 1901 census lists Alexander as age 13 at house 21 in India Street, Cromac, Antrim
2 1911 Census lists Alexander Martin 1911 census lists Alexander as age 20 at house 14 in Cromwell Road, Cromac, Antrim
3 National Archives UK Medal card can be purchased here
4 North Irish Horse website Information on Alexander Martin