Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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Date Name Information
24/05/2018 Pte. Patrick Corey Private Robert Taylor, of Coagh Street, Cookstown, a reservist of the Inniskilling Fusiliers with twelve years’ service, arrived home invalided on Saturday morning. He gives a very lucid account of his campaigning since he left home. First he was in camp in County Donegal till the third draft went out, leaving on 10th September. He travelled via Southampton to France, arriving at St Lazarie on 14th September. At this time the attack on Paris had been made by the Germans, who were now retreating. Taylor went on to Rheims, the destruction of whose cathedral is one of the outstanding crimes of the German invasion of France. The Inniskillings marched on to St Margarette, and came in touch with the enemy. It was here that Taylor had his narrowest escape. All the company were in shelter and he had to go to the foot of the village to a barn. The enemy’s guns were shelling the village, and just as he got inside the barn a shell exploded outside the door, so that he escaped by a few moments. The Inniskillings were here from 24th September till 6th October, neither advancing nor retiring, but holding on until the French troops were ready to get into position. The trenches were, at one place, only 150 yards from the enemy, and the troops simply lived in them, ready to repel an attack, and continually on the lookout. Two lookout men beside him were shot by the German snipers, and a comrade on his left was wounded, and all the time the shells were bursting around. They left this position to join the British army on the left, marching a day and a night, travelling by motor lorry for six hours and then by train (forty men to a cattle truck) for a day and a night. They arrived at Hazebrouck on 12th October and after breakfast fell in and marched six miles to a hill held by the enemy. The Essexs were the firing party, and the Inniskillings were the supports, and the hill had to be taken at any price. The fight commenced at 11am, and before dark the enemy was driven back. The Germans burnt the village before retiring, and A and B Companies of the Inniskillings passed the Essex regiment and got on first. After dark it was the duty of Taylor’s Company to carry in the wounded to the hospital and bury the dead. At this time Taylor was so bad with sciatica that he was sent to hospital and is home for three weeks. Amongst comrades from Cookstown were Jim Speers, Corey and McMenamin, as well as Sergeant Compston (Compton?), who joined the regiment when we went to France. Compston was a reservist and was in Canada when the war began and hurried home. He has since been wounded and is in hospital in England.
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24/05/2018 Pte. Patrick Corey From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 31st October 1914: Return of Cookstown Soldiers
24/05/2018 Lieut Col John Staples Molesworth Lenox-Conyngham Lieutenant Colonel J Lenox- Conyngham, who has been appointed to the command of the new 6th Service Battalion of the Connaught Rangers, now quartered at Fermoy, is the third son of the late Sir W F Lenox- Conyngham, K.C.B., D.L., of Springhill, Moneymore. He entered the army in January 1881, at twenty years of age, and joined the Connaught Rangers, to which regiment his father had belonged. He was in India for nine years, part of which time he spent on the Sikkim Frontier. He was distinguished as a horse man and a polo player, and was most popular with his men. Subsequently he served in Malta and Cyprus, and from 1897 to 1902 he filled the post of Adjutant of the 4th Connaught Rangers Militia, when it was embodied during the Boer War. In 1900 he was promoted Major, and in 1910 Lieutenant Colonel in command of the 2nd Battalion of the Connaught Rangers. In 1911 he retired, and has resided in Dublin till recalled to the flag.
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24/05/2018 Lieut Col John Staples Molesworth Lenox-Conyngham From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 31st October 1914:
24/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele STEELE – Killed in action at the front, Thomas Steele of Cookstown, Private in the Royal Irish Fusiliers.
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24/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 24th October 1914:
24/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele Private Thomas Steele was scarcely twenty-one years of age, and had only been in the service a little over a year. He had been in Shorncliffe Camp for training, and his battalion was ordered to the front a few weeks after hostilities began. His mother, who remarried, is Mrs Robert Martin, of Church Street, Cookstown, and she has another son in the army, Private Robert J Steele, who joined the Inniskillings quite recently.
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24/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 24th October 1914:
23/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele Thomas Steele is commemorated locally on Cookstown Cenotaph and on St. Loran’s Church of Ireland Roll of Honour, Derryloran, Cookstown.
23/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele Private Thomas William Steele has no known grave and is commemorated on La-Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial in France.
23/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele Private Thomas Steele was the only man to be killed on the 16th September, almost certainly by shellfire. He had been in the army for little over a year.
23/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele Private Thomas William Steele was serving with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers when he was killed in action in Belgium on Wednesday 16th September 1914.
23/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele In September 1916, the British Army, having forced the Aisne, had seized the high ground to the north and was clinging on to the southern edges of these heights, whilst the French sixth army pivoted on their left. This was the commencement of a prolonged stalemate in trench warfare, for the British found the enemy strongly entrenched. The position held was precarious. Owing to the wide level plain which lay behind the British lines all movement of reinforcement by day was in full view of the enemy. The 1st Battalion Irish Fusiliers, now in support, suffered more from shellfire than troops actually in the line, protected by trenches and natural caves. This action bounded the southern side of Bucy-le-Long, a village which was almost obliterated during the battle.
23/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele When Thomas enlisted, he joined the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers under number 11376 but subsequently transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers. Much of his early training took place at Shorncliffe Camp on the south coast of England.
23/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele The 1911 census lists Thomas William as 17 living with the family at house 77 in Church Street, Cookstown. Thomas was a general labourer.
23/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele Step-family: Robert Martin, Catherine Martin, William John Martin (born about 1904, County Antrim), Robert Martin (born about 1906, County Antrim), Arthur Martin (born about 1908, County Antrim).
23/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele Thomas mother remarried, to William John Martin. They went on to have at least three children.
23/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele Thomas’s father died on 12th September 1909 in the district of Cookstown. He was 42 years old.
23/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele Family: Thomas Steele, Catherine Steele, Thomas William Steele (born 29th October 1894), Robert John Steele (born 15th September 1897), Joseph Alexander Steele (born 4th June 1900), Edward Steele (born 16th January 1903, died 23rd August 1904, age 1), Margaret Jane Steele (born 28th July 1905), Mary Lizzie Steele (born 1st December 1908)
23/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele The 1901 census lists Thomas as age 6, living with the family at house 5 in Toberlane, Orritor, County Tyrone. His father was a farm labourer.
23/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele Thomas William Steele was born 29th October 1894 in the Cookstown area. He was the eldest of six children, five surviving
23/05/2018 Pte. Thomas William Steele Thomas Steele was the eldest son of Thomas and Catherine Steele. Thomas Steele and Catherine Coleman were married on 11th November 1893 in the district of Cookstown.
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22/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon ‘We, the members of Strifehill L.O.L., desire to place on record our sincerest sorrow on the death of our noble and worthy brother, Private W Nixon, on the battlefield of France. His death brings to remembrance the true principles which animated our forefathers, when they too sacrificed their lives on behalf of King and country. Though we deeply mourn his death, we honour him among the heroes of the past, and from the history of our lodge his memory will never fade. To his dear wife and brother, and other relatives, we extend our heartfelt sympathy on their sad bereavement.’
22/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon At a specially summoned meeting of Strifehill L.O.L. on Monday night the following resolution was passed in silence:-
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22/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 24th October 1914:
22/05/2018 Pte. Robert Falls Private Robert Falls was well known in Cookstown and had made himself celebrated in sports circles by securing the championship of the Marathon Race at Malta some few years ago, when he defeated several French runners, and in three hours covered twenty-six miles. The prize was a silver casket, value for almost £10, which is widowed mother and brothers who live at The Finger Boards, Cookstown, greatly prize. Private Falls, who was a native of Cookstown, was a life-long chum of Private William Nixon, whose death at the front we recorded last week. Falls and Nixon were almost the same age, and the two families lived next door to each other. Both enlisted in the Inniskillings in 1903, and probably met their deaths in the same engagement. Falls served in China with the British Legation Guard, and in 1910 won a medal in a cross country foot race, promoted by the army and navy Y.M.C.A. in Peking. After completing his term of service he was employed for some time in Scotland, and before being called up on the declaration of war, worked in the farmyard of the Department’s Ulster Dairy School at Loughry. He was just thirty years of age., and leaves a widowed mother and several brothers and sisters. He belonged to the Irish Church, and was a member of Strifehill L.O.L. and the Cookstown Company of U.V.F. His brother Sam, who was working in Scotland, recently joined the Scots Guards.
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22/05/2018 Pte. Robert Falls From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 24th October 1914: Private Robert Falls
22/05/2018 Pte. Robert Falls FALLS – Killed in action (date and place unknown), Robert Falls, of Cookstown, Private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
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22/05/2018 Pte. Robert Falls From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 24th October 1914:
22/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon This week official confirmation has been received of the death of Private William Nixon, of the Inniskillings, who was killed in action on 26th August. The intelligence of Private Nixon’s death was first received over a week ago, in a letter from a comrade, and it is believed that he was one of the victims of the battles near Mons. Private Nixon, who was just 30 years of age, was a reservist, having enlisted in the Inniskillings when 18 years of age. He was for the last nine years employed at Greenvale Mills, and rejoined the colours with the first batch who left Cookstown when war was declared. He was an enthusiastic member of Cookstown Company of the Ulster Volunteers and rendered good service as a section leader. In football circles he was well known and was one of the popular players in the Cookstown Club, and while with the Volunteers at Baronscourt was a leading spirit in promoting sports at the camp during recreational hours. When leaving for the front he seemed to have a presentiment that he would not be spared to return, but said to his friends, when bidding goodbye, that if it was decreed that he should die it would be in a glorious cause. A letter to his wife, written on Sunday 23rd August, and received by her on the date of his death, said that he had taken God as his guide, and that if they did not meet on earth, his trust was that they would meet in a brighter and better world. He referred to his favourite hymn – the Ulster Covenant song:- ‘Our God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home.’ And urged that the people at home should pray for Britain’s victory. Much sympathy is felt with the young widow, who is in delicate health, and the two orphan children, a boy aged four and a half years, and a girl three years, along with his brother and his mother and sisters, who reside at Dunmurry. The deceased was a member of the Church of Ireland and if the Orange Institution.
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22/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 17th October 1914: Death of a Cookstown Soldier - Private William Nixon, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
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21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon Private Nixon shares a headstone with Private Robert McShane, who was born in Dungannon and served with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers and died on 27th August 1914.
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21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon NIXON – 26th August, killed in action, place unknown (probably near Mons), William Nixon, Louisville, Cookstown. No 7871 Private 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
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21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 17th October 1914: Deaths
21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon Private William Nixon is commemorated locally on Cookstown Cenotaph and on St. Luran’s Church of Ireland Roll of Honour, Derryloran, Cookstown.
21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon Tragically, his great friend Private Robert Falls was killed on the same day. He is commemorated on the La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial in France.
21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon Private William Nixon is buried in Esnes Communal Cemetery, France.
21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon His last letter to his wife was written on the 23rd August and was received by her on the day he was killed. In it he said he had taken God as his guide and if they did not meet on earth his trust was that they would meet in a brighter and better world.
21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon Private William Nixon was serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action near Mons in Belgium on Wednesday 26th August 1914.
21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon On 26th August 1914, the opening day of Battle of Le Cateau, his battalion were at first driven back but then recovered most of the lost ground and it was during this recovery that William was killed.
21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon William had been on the Reserve Army prior to the outbreak of the First World War and was called up when war was declared and sent to France with the first British Expeditionary Force.
21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon Family: William Nixon, Emma Nixon, William Nixon (born 15th January 1910), Jane Jean Nixon (born 18th August 1911).
21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon The 1911 census lists William as age 26, living with his wife and child at house 25 in Gortalowry, Cookstown Rural. William was a mill worker and Emma was a linen weaver.
21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon William Nixon and Emma Davidson were married on 10th July 1909 in the district of Cookstown. They went on to have two children.
21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon From about 1905, William had been employed in Adair’s Mill at Greenvale.
21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon The 1901 census lists William as age 11, living with the family at house 12 in Killymoon Demesne, Cookstown. William had left school and was working as a post boy. His mother is recorded as a widow.
21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon William’s father, Joseph Nixon, died on 18th October 1900 in the district of Cookstown. He was 48 years old. William’s younger brother John had died just six days earlier, age 12.
21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon Known family: Joseph Nixon, Jane Nixon, William Nixon (born about 1885), John Nixon (born 8th June 1888, died 12th October 1900, aged 12), Margaret Nixon (born 26th May 1891), Mary Nixon (born 19th July 1893), Annie Nixon (born about 1897).
21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon William Nixon was born about 1885 in Derryloran area of Cookstown.
21/05/2018 Pte. William Nixon William Nixon was the son of Joseph and Jane Nixon. Joseph Nixon and Jane Purvis were married on 20th October 1882 in the district of Cookstown.
19/05/2018 Pte. James Sterling Lavery Mr John Perry Lavery, second son of Mr W J Lavery, has received a commission in the Royal Garrison Artillery. He was educated at Cookstown Academy, and had a brilliant intermediate career, taking Exhibitions in all three grades, and so high a place that he was awarded the Nutting Exhibition of £100. He entered Trinity College and obtained a mathematical scholarship in 1912 and graduated with Moderatorship last Christmas. Since then he has been mathematical master in Banbridge Academical Institution. When the call for men was made he determined to offer his services, and his father. (who has another son in the fighting line) did not see his way to object. He applied, in the first place, for a commission in any branch of the service, and the War Office, having regard for his mathematical career, and the fact that he had been a cadet of the Officer Training Corps, allocated him to the Royal Artillery as a second lieutenant.
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19/05/2018 Pte. James Sterling Lavery From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 10th October 1914:
13/05/2018 2nd Lieut Albert Victor Morrison Albert Victor Morrison – Medical scholarship in Queens University, Belfast, Value £15.
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13/05/2018 2nd Lieut Albert Victor Morrison From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 26th September 1914: Cookstown Academy
13/05/2018 Pte. John Harvey A further contingent of Ulster Volunteers has left Cookstown to join Lord Kitchener’s Army. Lance Corporal Farr and Private Harvey, who were home on leave, recovering from wounds received at the front, have rejoined their regimental depot at Omagh.
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13/05/2018 Pte. John Harvey From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 26th September 1914:
13/05/2018 Corp Henry McDonald Glasgow Intermediate Examinations, Senior Grade - Henry McDonald Glasgow – Exhibition in Mathematical Group, value £20. Also £3 prize in Science Group.
13/05/2018 Corp Henry McDonald Glasgow Royal College of Science, Dublin: Henry McDonald Glasgow – Scholarship, with the highest marks in Mathematics, value £280.
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13/05/2018 Corp Henry McDonald Glasgow From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 26th September 1914: Cookstown Academy
13/05/2018 Pte. John Harvey CORPORAL FARR’S STORY: Lance Corporal Farr is from Stewartstown district. He enlisted at nineteen in the Inniskillings, and joined the battalion at Cairo in 1904. He was two and a half years in Egypt, and returned in 1908 to Dublin, where the regiment was stationed for two and a half years more, and subsequently went to Aldershot, where he was when he was discharged, and became a B reserve man. When he came home, he was taken on the Postal Service in July 1912, and in September he married and settled down, his wife being a cousin of Mrs Harvey. Farr is not one of the U.V.F., as the Postal Service is rather strict on such matters, but his sympathies are shown by the fact that in the only photo available, he wears the regalia of the Royal Black Preceptory over his regimentals. When the mobilisation order reached Cookstown he arranged to leave at once, and went to Omagh on the evening train. Next day he was in the first draft which left Greenore for England, and went to Dover and Cromer to the base at Norwich. After a week in England at field work, they went to Harrow, and thence to Southampton and Harve. They landed on Sunday morning and went by rail up towards the Belgian frontier. Everywhere they got a great reception from the French, who were very kind. They got off somewhere near the frontier and marched seven or eight miles. They were told that the Germans were in a village , but when they got there the enemy was away. The rest of the brigade was further on, and when they returned, the Inniskillings followed them. They were at breakfast when the Germans opened fire. The country round was all full of corn and beet. He took his position in the line, with 170 rounds, and kept firing away at the enemy, who were quite close, and he saw thousands of them. After two and a half hours he was hit in the fleshy part below the right collar blade, between the neck and shoulder, the bullet passing right through. He did not feel it much at the time and was able to keep firing till he had only ten cartridges left. Then the order came to retire, and he retired with the others and lay down for a while. He then went back to the road and fell in with stretcher bearers and got bandaged, and a motor bus took a load to St Quentin, about eight miles off. He did not know Harvey was wounded at all till he spoke out of the same carriage. They were hurried on board a vessel for Southampton and went to Netley Hospital. The wound was nearly all right again, but they got a fortnight’s sick furlough before re-joining, and got an unexpected reception when they arrived in Cookstown.
13/05/2018 Pte. John Harvey This was Harvey’s experience of the Battle of Mons, of which Sir John French writes in the first long despatch on the British operations, published on Thursday morning. The British were outnumbered five or six to one, and Harvey sums up the position more tersely than Sir John – ‘When they could not wipe out a handful of us taken by surprise, the Germans need not talk about what they can do.’
13/05/2018 Pte. John Harvey He met a Sandy Row man named Harbison, who was also wounded, and they went into the village, where a corporal of the ambulance put them into a house used as a hospital, and giving Harvey a pipe and tobacco, told him to stay there till the ambulance came. But there were a lot of men in a bad way there, and the two decided to go on, and shortly after the temporary hospital was blown up. The same corporal met them and told them to wait for the ambulance, and soon motor buses came up and a doctor put them in and sent them back to another temporary hospital. It was a large building, which he took to be a Roman Catholic Church, from the statues of saints and crucifixes, and it was litter with straw for the wounded. The villagers brought them in coffee, but he and his chum decided to shift, and when the orderly said that anyone who was fit to remove could leave, they went. A few motors came and took them to St Quentin, and they were not long away till they were told that the church was blown to pieces by German shells. At the base hospital their wounds were dressed, and they went to the station, where there was a train of cattle wagons and horse boxes fitted up with three tiers of stretchers. He was put into an upper ore, and looking down he saw Farr, who was wounded and in the same wagon. They left at 8 o’clock, and heard that very soon afterwards the station was blown up. They went down to a junction and waited while train after train of French troops passed up the line they had come down going to the front. On the following morning they arrived at a seaport, and he was carried into a very fine hospital. They got out and had their wounds dressed, and got washed and got clean shirts, but they were hardly in bed when word came that they were to remove and leave room for others. He was carried out and got on board a vessel, and the next thing was that he arrived at Southampton, and was in Netley Hospital. The wounds healed well, and he has got a fortnight’s furlough, when he hoped to go back and pay the Germans for what they had done.
13/05/2018 Pte. John Harvey The Inniskillings were the rear-guard, and when they marched back, they marched through the soldiers sleeping on the roadside, and took up a position on the left flank with the Dublin regiment and some other regiment. The men were starting, in the early morning, to dig trenches as Harvey’s company, hungry and fatigued, went to a farmhouse to make some tea. It was about 3am and the fires had to be lit. As they were waiting, the sound of machine guns was heard, and the alarm was raised that the enemy were attacking the men working at the trenches. They thought the Germans were miles away, but it looked as if they had quietly advanced with their maxims and waited till daybreak under cover. They had far more maxims than the British, and simply mowed down our men when they got the range. Harvey’s company rushed out to the road, which had high banks on each side, and took up an extended position along the whole skyline, and lying flat on the ground without any cover, opened fire. The Germans were not three hundred yards away, and seemed to have hundreds of maxims. Their rifle fire was harmless; many of their men simply discharging their weapons from the hip without taking aim at all, but the maxims were deadly. The Inniskillings were simply told that the enemy was in front and to fire away till the French troops, which were expected in an hour, would arrive. Harvey, however, never saw the French, and so far as they know, they have not arrived yet. The Inniskillings, thus taken by surprise, fired away, and in a few minutes the field guns were got on the enemy. They retired to a better position, and more machine guns got into action, and the duel was kept up. Shortly after that, as he lay among the beet, he was struck on the leg. The pain was slight at the time, and he kept on firing, but when the men retired again, he had to crawl and the wound got worse. His chums said ‘Are you hit Jack?’ and he said he was. He fell in with one of the band boys, who were not armed, and acted as stretcher bearers. He cut away the bottom of Harvey’s trousers and put a dressing on the wound just over the shin, but it soon got washed off by the wet leaves of the beet. Another then dressed the wound and discovered a second wound over the calf of the leg. The bullet had entered at the top and struck the bone and came out at a slant. He went back to a house but the maxims began to play all around. He went to the road where the soldiers had got rid of their great coats, which were lying about the bank, and was about to rest on them when shells burst overhead. The enemy had evidently been informed of the coats, and took them for reinforcements, and were shelling them.
13/05/2018 Pte. John Harvey After a week at field work, they sailed from Southampton on 23rd August, and arrived in France at 8pm. Though there had been heavy rain the weather was oppressively hot, and the march, with full equipment, to the rest camp was his worst experience. The French were effusive in their welcome, and gave the British soldiers cigarettes and fruit as they passed through. Next morning they got three days’ rations, and on the following day they started up country by train, travelling all day and all night. The country in which they found themselves was level and well cultivated. The corn was in stalks in the fields and the other principal crop was mangels or sugar beet. There were no hedges, only narrow trenches between the fields to which the German gunners paid special attention. The Inniskillings formed up, and the Company Commanders received their instructions. They were marched through a village, and it was not long till a sound like distant thunder told them that the German artillery was at work. As they marched along the paved roadway the first sign of conflict was a dead horse on the roadside. At this time there was only one battalion of the Inniskillings and a few field guns at this place, under Colonel Hancock and Adjutant Lloyd. The men were halted and made some tea, and each company was allotted its position. Harvey’s company went back to the railway line. They did not see the enemy, but the guns were being fired on the right front. The next sign he saw was a German aeroplane flying overhead to observe the British position. Soon the orders can to march to the next village. The rain came down in torrents, and in a couple of minutes they were drenched, but as the soldiers passed, the country people carried out beer and fruit, and even raw eggs, and were shouting for the English. It was a pretty big village they found themselves in that evening, and took up quarters in a school. Soon word reached them at the Uhlans had arrived, and they rushed out with fixed bayonets along the street. Major Wilding was in charge, and warned them to be prepared for attack out of the side streets. The women were running about crying with children in their arms. It appeared that the Germans had set fire to a small village close by, and some large institution, the flames of which could be seen all night. The expected attack, however, did not take place, and the Inniskillings patrolled the streets all night in pairs, who kept touch with each other, to avoid surprise. By this time they had the streets to themselves, as all the people had disappeared into the houses. It appeared that the main British force was retiring to a new position.
13/05/2018 Pte. John Harvey Harvey’s Story: John Harvey, the elder of the two men, is a native of Cookstown, being born at Tullygare, just outside the town. He was partly reared by Mr John Shaw, one of whose daughters he married as soon as he left the army. He enlisted at eighteen in the Inniskillings during the Boer war, and went out to South Africa in December 1900. He served there under Colonel Allenbury, first in Cape Colony, and then trekked up the country to the Kronstrat – Lindley blockhouse, and assisted in keeping the lines till peace was declared in 1902. He was transferred to the 2nd Battalion, which remained in South Africa until the end of 1903, when he went to Egypt. He was in Cairo until the troubles in Crete in 1906, when he was sent there with 375 men, till relieved by an English regiment. The Inniskillings were sent back to Cairo with the expectation of war with Turkey, but one night after midnight word came that it was peace. The battalion left Alexandria in 1908, and his time being expired, he came home and went to Belfast with his bride. A job was offered him the Great Northern Railway jack shop, which he took, and eighteen months after, when a vacancy occurred in Cookstown, he returned home and worked as examiner here. But he still remained connected with the regiment, first on the B reserves for four years, and then on the D reserves. When war was declared, as soon as the mobilisation order was posted up on Tuesday evening, 4th August, he decided to join without waiting for orders from Omagh. Next day he and four others, Nixon Speers, Falls and Taylor, were escorted to the mid-day train by the Ulster Volunteers, of which all were members, Harvey being section leader of No 1 section of A Company of the Fifth Battalion of the Tyrone Regiment, while Nixon and Speers are also section leaders. He reported having left them all well on the firing line at Mons. Several Nationalist reservists left by the same train, and at Dungannon there were rows in the streets, but Harvey’s party kept together at the station, and reported that night at the depot. Next day the first draught of about 400 left Omagh for Greenore, and arrived very early at Holyhead and went by train to Dover. They were told off in companies, and all the Cookstown men were together. From Dover they were sent to the East Coast, and spent Sunday in the beautiful watering place, Cromer, leaving on Monday for Norwich, which was the base. The men, he explained, are all provided with two sets of Kharki, a great coat, two shirts, three pairs of socks, and a full equipment. But the extra supplies are in their kit bags, which are left at the base, and so far as the men in the field are concerned, they are never likely to see them again. He was told off to take charge of the stores at Norwich, but he said he came to fight and not to watch clothes, and the result was that he got out with the men and ordered to the front.
13/05/2018 Pte. John Harvey The best recruiting sergeant is said to be the old pensioner who recounts his experiences. In the same way the chilling effect of the present policy of keeping war correspondents out of the fighting line and giving out noting but closely censored rumours, is offset by the recital of their personal experiences by men who have returned from the front. Two Cookstown men on the Inniskilling Fusiliers, who were wounded in the first brush with the enemy at Mons, returned home on Wednesday night, and the reception they got is calculated to influence enlistment more than most elegant speeches. As the train steamed into the station the explosion of fog signals announced the arrival to the waiting crowd outside. A rush was made to the carriage , and almost before the train stopped, the first of the soldiers, Private John Harvey, who was shot through the leg, was carried shoulder high through the cheering crowd to a motor, which had been thoughtfully provided by Messrs S McKinney, U.D.C., and W J Lavery, and was under the personal supervision of the owner, Mr McGuckin. The cheering was renewed as Harvey’s two little boys, aged 5 and 4 years, were passed in over the heads of the crowd. The other man, Lance Corporal Robert Farr was welcomed by his young wife and year old baby girl, who were waiting for him, and who were accompanied with seats on the motor, which was accompanied by a crowd of several hundred singing ‘Rule Britannia’ and other patriotic songs, concluding with the National Anthem. Farr lives in one of the council houses in Chapel Street, and Harvey lives with his wife and five children (the oldest being 5 ½ years of age) in Inion Street, and both were visited till a late hour by leading citizens, who welcomed them home on their fortnight’s sick furlough.
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13/05/2018 Pte. John Harvey From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 12th September 1914: Return of Cookstown Men from the Front
13/05/2018 Corp Henry McDonald Glasgow Henry attended Cookstown Academy. He won a scholarship to the Royal College of Science in Dublin, valued at £280.
13/05/2018 Corp Henry McDonald Glasgow Henry went on to be a scholar of the Royal College of Science in Dublin.
11/05/2018 Pte. John Harvey During the week there have been numerous rumours regarding intelligence of casualties among local officers at the front. So far as we can ascertain, authentic news has only reached Cookstown of two men having been wounded, and fortunately in neither case are the injuries serious. Private John Harvey, a reservist on the Inniskilling Fusiliers, who was examiner on the Great Northern Railway, has written to his wife in Union Street from Netley Hospital, stating that in the Great Four Days’ Battle, he was wounded during the first hour of the engagement on the right leg and ankle, but he hopes to be soon at the front again to pay back what he has got! Lance Corporal Robert Farr, also of the Inniskilling Reserves, who was acting as a rural postman on the Orritor walk when called up, is also at Netley suffering from a wound on the left shoulder. Both are married men with young families and are married to cousins, Mrs Harvey being a daughter of Mr John E Shaw, James Street, and Mrs Farr is a daughter of Mr James Shaw, New Buildings.
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11/05/2018 Pte. John Harvey From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 5th September 1914:
11/05/2018 Gman Charles Montgomery Mr R J Montgomery, Killymoon Street, has received a post card from his son Charles, who is a Private in the Scots Guards. The post card bears the postmark ‘British Army Base’ and contains several printed sentences, with instructions, that whatever is inappropriate is to be struck out, and nothing written. Private Montgomery deleted allt he sentences, except the one reading – ‘I am well.’
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11/05/2018 Gman Charles Montgomery From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 29th August 1914:
11/05/2018 Pte. John Harvey It was while serving at the front that Private Harvey received a shot to one of his legs during the retreat from Mons.
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