9th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
24/03/1915 (Died of Illness)
James Nelson was born at Lismoney, Cookstown, County Tyrone. He was a member of Tamlaghtmore Flute Band and a member of Lissan Company of Ulster Volunteers.
He enlisted in Cookstown, joining the 9th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. James Nelson was at Randalstown with his bothers, Thomas and William, training with their battalion when he fell ill with a severe throat infection. He died form sceptic poisoning on 24th March 1915.
James Nelson was the son of William and Sara Ann Nelson (nee Gourley). He was born at Lismoney, Cookstown, County Tyrone about 1897.
The 1901 census lists James as age 4 living with the family at house 4 in Lismoney, Moneyhaw, Londonderry. His father was a farm labourer.
Known family: William Nelson, Sarah Nelson, William Nelson (born 2nd July 1880), Henry Nelson (born 24th June 1881), John Nelson (born 28th January 1886), Hannah Nelson (born 1st January 1888), Robert Nelson (born 8th July 1890), Elizabeth Nelson (born 28th November 1892), Samuel Nelson (born 5th August 1896), James Nelson (born about 1897).
He was a member of Tamlaghtmore Flute Band and a member of Lissan Company of Ulster Volunteers.
He enlisted in Cookstown, joining the 9th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. James Nelson was at Randalstown with his brothers, Thomas and William.
Private Nelson was training with the battalion when he fell ill with a severe throat infection. He died from sceptic poisoning on 24th March 1915. He was 18 years old.
Privates Alexander McLernon and William Riddle both received special permission to leave the Randalstown Camp to escort their friendís remains to his last resting place.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 27th March 1915: Death of Cookstown Volunteer
The death took place in Belfast on Wednesday of Private James Nelson, aged 19 years. The deceased was a member of Lissan Company U.V.F., and of Tamlaghtmore Flute Band, and was very popular. He, with two brothers, Thomas and William, volunteered for Lord Kitchenerís Army, and was at training at Randalstown. Suffering from throat trouble, he was removed to hospital in Belfast where an operation was performed. Septic poisoning however set in and he passed away, to the intense grief of his father and other relatives, and also of his comrades. His remains were conveyed to Cookstown on Thursday evening, and were met at the railway station by almost all the Cookstown Volunteers and many others. They were taken to his fatherís residence at Lismoney, whence they were removed yesterday for interment in Ballygoney. The cortege included a large representation of the general public, in addition to many members of the local Volunteers as well as a number of soldiers of the 9th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, all of whom were either relatives or neighbours. Wreaths were sent by the deceasedís platoon, by Tamlaghtmore L.O.L. 469 and band, by No. 9 Section U.V.F., and by two little nephews of the deceased.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 27th March 1915: Death of a Local Volunteer
The death took place in Belfast early on Wednesday morning, under sad circumstances, at a hospital in Belfast, of Private James Nelson (popularly known as Jim), of the 9th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, at present stationed at Randalstown. The deceased, who was a member of Lissan Company U.V.F., and of Tamlaghtmore Flute Band, and was very popular with all who knew him. He, volunteered for Kitchenerís Army, as well as his two brothers, Thomas and William, and was in training at Randalstown. For some time he suffered from throat trouble and was removed to hospital where an operation was performed. Septic poisoning however supervened and he passed away, to the intense grief of his father and other relatives, but also of his comrades and many friends. His remains were forwarded, at the expense of the military authorities, to his fatherís residence at Lismoney, arriving in Cookstown at 7.45 on Thursday night. The train was met by almost all the Cookstown Volunteers and others, and were followed by a huge concourse. The melancholy procession along the country road under the pale moonlight being most impressive. Close behind the hearse in company with the deceasedís brothers, William and George, were Privates William Riddell and Alex McLernon, brothers-in-law, who had obtained special leave in order to be present. Rev John Entrican, B.A., was in attendance, and on the coffin being taken to the fatherís home, conducted a touching and impressive service on supplication. On Friday afternoon the remains were removed for internment at Ballygoney, the funeral being largely attended. His comrades in the battalion forwarded a wreath. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr Steenson.
His remains were brought back to Cookstown and met by members of the local Ulster Volunteers who escorted the remains from Cookstown train station at 7.45pm on Thursday 25th March to his home at Lismoney. James was buried the next day and his funeral was escorted by a party of local Volunteers along with his brothers Thomas and William.
The service was taken by the Reverend John Entrican B.A. and funeral arrangements were undertaken by Mr. Robert Steenson. James Nelson was interred in Ballygoney Presbyterian Church Graveyard.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 17th June 1916: Private Thomas Nelson (brother of James Nelson)
Private Thomas Nelson (Lismoney), 9th Inniskillings (Ulster Division), who was wounded in action in France on 10th April 1916, has been home on ten days leave. He has quite recovered and returned to join his battalion at the front on Saturday, in the best of health and spirits.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 12th July 1916:
Private Tom Nelson, Lismoney, Lissan, has bullet wound in the neck.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 19th August 1916: Private Thomas Nelson (brother of James Nelson)
Private Tom Nelson, Lismoney, has been home for a few days furlough. He received a bullet in the neck on 1st July, but is now almost fit again
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 19th January 1918: Thomas Nelson (brother of James Nelson)
In the official list of casualties issued a few days ago appears the following Cookstown names, all of the Royal Inniskillings:- H Leonard, who belongs to Ardtrea; T Maguire, Millburn Street, Cookstown; T Nelson, Cookstown; F S Telford, Cookstown. Nelson is in hospital in Dublin and he and all the others are reported to be making favourable progress towards recovery.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 23rd March 1918:
NELSON Ė In loving memory of our dear brother, Private James Nelson, 9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who died on 24th March 1915 in the Military Hospital, Belfast.
ĎNow in the dark, cold grave he slumbers,
There our hearts do ever stray,
Till the Commanderís voice shall call us,
To repose beside his clay.
Home at Last, thy labour done,
Safe and blessed, the victory won;
Jordan passed, from pain set free,
Jesus now hath welcomed thee.
But the sunshine of our life
Must ever clouded be,
But Thou O Lord, hath sent this cross,
Weíll hear it all for thee.í
Inserted by his sorrowing father, sisters and brothers.
From Mid Ulster Mail dated 23rd March 1918: Sarah Nelson (mother of James Nelson)
NELSON Ė In loving remembrance of our dear mother, Sarah Nelson, wife of William Nelson, Ballyforlea, who died on 24th March 1912.
ĎPeaceful be thy rest, dear mother, itís sweet to breathe your name,
In life we loved you very dear, in death we do the same.
When days are dark and friends are few,
Dear mother how we long for you.
This day brings back to memory our dear one who has gone to rest,
And those who think of her tonight are those who loved her best.
Inserted by her sorrowing husband, daughters and sons.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 23rd November 1918: Mr William Nelson, Dunman (father of James Nelson)
The death of Mr Nelson took place after a very brief illness on Sunday night at his residence, Dunman. He had been in Cookstown on Tuesday, taking part in the rejoicings at the end of the war in which he was much interested, seeing he had two sons there, and one who died at the beginning of the war. On his return home he complained of having the influenza, and after a brief illness, he passed way to the regret of his many friends. He was well-known and high respected. On Tuesday his remains were removed for internment in the family burying ground, Ballygoney, and was very largely attended. Rev R Hyndman (in the absence of Rev J Entrican) conducted the service in the home and at the grave side. The hazel wood coffin, with brass mountings, bore the inscription:- William Nelson, died 17th November 1918.
The chief mourners were Henry Nelson, Robert Nelson (sons), Thomas Nelson (brother), Cecil Nelson, Lowry Nelson, Bobbie Nelson, Norman Nelson, Francis Crooks, Samuel Crooks, Thomas Crooks, Bob Crooks (grandsons), Tom Anderson, Harry Anderson, Joseph Anderson (nephews), William Gourlay, R Gourlay, John Gourlay, Samuel Gourlay, James Gourlay (relatives).
His son Willie, and his son-in-law, John Crooks, both soldiers, arrived too late to attend the funeral. Mr R Steenson had charge of the arrangements.
Private James Nelson is commemorated on the Roll of Honour in Molesworth Presbyterian Church, Cookstown and Cookstown Cenotaph.