Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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4428   Private James McGhee
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 15/03/2018
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 1st Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 01/07/1894
Died: 28/06/1915 (Killed in Action)
Age: 20
Summary      
James McGhee was a son of John and Elizabeth McGhee. He was born in Desertmartin on 28th July 1896. He was one of eight children, six surviving. His father was a flax scutcher. The family lived in Luney, Desertmartin. James was a general labourer. Private James McGhee was serving with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action in Gallipoli during the Battle of Gully Ravine on Monday 28th June 1915.
Further Information
James McGhee was a son of John and Elizabeth McGhee. John McGhee and Elizabeth Lucas were married on 31st January 1886 in the district of Dungannon.
James and Elizabeth spent a time in America, where their first son was born around 1889.
Their second son was born in Dungannon.
James was born in Desertmartin on 28th July 1896. He was one of eight children, six surviving.
The spelling of the surname changes throughout. In his will, James spells it as McGhee.
The 1901 census records James as 4 years old, living with the family in Luney, Desertmartin. James’ father was a scutcher.
Known family: John McGhee, Elizabeth McGhee, Patrick McGhee (born about 1889, America), Robert McGhee (born 2nd May 1890, Dungannon), John McGhee (born 1st July 1894, Magherafelt), James McGhee (born 28th July 1896, Magherafelt), Sarah McGhee (born 21st June 1899, Magherafelt), Elizabeth McGhee (born 26th December 1902, Magherafelt), William McGhee (born 27th July 1905, Magherafelt).
The 1911 census lists James as age 15, living with the family at house 8 in Luney, Desertmartin. James had left school and was a general labourer. His father was a flax scutcher.
James McGhee enlisted in Cookstown with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
Private James McGhee was serving with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action in Gallipoli during the Battle of Gully Ravine on Monday 28th June 1915. He was just two days short of his 21st birthday.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 24th June 1916:
Newspaper Report
MAGEE – Killed on 28th June 1915 at the Dardanelles, Private James Magee, 1st Battalion royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, son of Mrs Magee, Annagh, Desertmartin.
‘His warfare is over, his battle fought,
His fresh young life could not be saved.
He slumbers now in a soldier’s grave
The trial was great, the loss heavy to bear.
The angels, dear son, will tend you with care.’
Inserted by his sorrowing parents.
In his will, James left all to his mother Lizzie, who was living in Rosgarland, Magherafelt.
Last Will and Testament of Private James McGhee dated 4th February 1915:
James McGhee : Will Information
James McGhee : Handwritten Will
In the event of my death, I give the whole of my property and effects to my mother Mrs Lizzie McGhee Rosgarland Magherafelt, Co Derry Private James McGhee 4428 First Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Rugby February 4/2/1915
Private James McGhee has no known grave and is commemorated on Special Memorial C295 in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery, Turkey.
James McGhee is listed on Cookstown War Memorial as J Magee.
The CWGC record Private James McGhee as the son of John McGhee.
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References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists McGhee family 1901 census lists James as 4 years old at house 8 in Luney, Desertmartin
2 1911 Census lists 'Magee' Family 1911 Census lists James as age 15 at house 8 in Luney, Desertmartin
3 Magherafelt War Dead Also listed on Magherafelt War Dead
4 National Archives of Ireland Last Will and Testament of Private James McGhee
5 National Archives UK Medal card can be purchased here
6 Private James Espey Killed in the same assault
7 War Graves Photographic Project Photo of Private James McGhee's grave can be purchased here
Cookstown District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2010-2018