Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
Date Name Information
08/08/2018 Sgt. Thomas James Gildea Robert and Hessie Gildea.
08/08/2018 Sgt. Thomas James Gildea Relieved her pain and gave her rest.’
08/08/2018 Sgt. Thomas James Gildea But God alone who thought it best,
08/08/2018 Sgt. Thomas James Gildea To wait for cure, twas all in vain;
08/08/2018 Sgt. Thomas James Gildea ‘Long days and nights she bore in pain,
08/08/2018 Sgt. Thomas James Gildea GILDEA – 10th April, at her father’s residence, Oldtown Street, Cookstown, little Annie, beloved daughter of Robert and Hessie Gildea.
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08/08/2018 Sgt. Thomas James Gildea From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 17th April 1915: Deaths
08/08/2018 Fusilier Robert Gildea Robert and Hessie Gildea.
08/08/2018 Fusilier Robert Gildea Relieved her pain and gave her rest.’
08/08/2018 Fusilier Robert Gildea But God alone who thought it best,
08/08/2018 Fusilier Robert Gildea To wait for cure, twas all in vain;
08/08/2018 Fusilier Robert Gildea ‘Long days and nights she bore in pain,
08/08/2018 Fusilier Robert Gildea GILDEA – 10th April, at her father’s residence, Oldtown Street, Cookstown, little Annie, beloved daughter of Robert and Hessie Gildea.
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08/08/2018 Fusilier Robert Gildea From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 17th April 1915: Deaths
08/08/2018 Corp Robert Forde Lance Corporal Forde is at present on a visit home from the Randalstown camp. Before volunteering for Kitchener’s Army he was a section leader of the local companies of Pomeroy U.V.F, and one of the best in the force, and his success, and the honoured promotion he has gained, is hailed with delight by all his comrades in Pomeroy.
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08/08/2018 Corp Robert Forde From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 17th April 1915:
07/08/2018 Pte. Francis O'Neill Stretcher Bearer Corporal Ernest Devine survived the war
07/08/2018 Pte. Francis O'Neill ‘Dear Sir, I thought it my duty, being the stretcher bearer of your brother’s company, to let you know your brother was killed on the 28th March 1915. He was a very nice man in my opinion, never caused any trouble in the company, and died very quietly. I hope this news will not be too much for you to bear – if you can let me know if this letter reaches you, including some letters I got off him when he was dying. So cheer up, and try to bear up; the sacrifice is great, but here will I hope be reward somewhere. I remain, your friend in need, 7991 Bandsman Devine, Stretcher Bearer.’
07/08/2018 Pte. Francis O'Neill ‘Dear Sir, I much regret to have to report that your brother, No 3035, Private Francis O’Neill, was killed in action on 29th March 1915, and has been buried near the village of Festubert. His little personal belongings have been forwarded to you today under separate cover. Yours faithfully, Captain J R Stewart, for Lieutenant Colonel commanding 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 30th March 1915.’
07/08/2018 Pte. Francis O'Neill Mr Patrick O’Neill, Carmean, Magherafelt, has received intimation that his brother, No 3085, Private Francis O’Neill, was killed in action on the 29th March. Private O’Neill, who belonged to Moneymore, where he had been working for many years, was on the Special Reserve, and was called up at the commencement of the war, and was wounded some time ago. He had only just recovered from his wounds and had written to his relatives before going back to the trenches that he was better again; but he had just got back when he was killed. The following are letters received by his brother:-
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07/08/2018 Pte. Francis O'Neill From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 10th April 1915: Moneymore Soldier Killed
07/08/2018 St Surg Thomas Dickson Liddle Arrangements were made by his brother, Mr Robert Liddle, solicitor of Kilrea, to have him interred in Co0kstown, but the Admiralty decided to inter his body at Sheerness.
07/08/2018 St Surg Thomas Dickson Liddle The many friends of the family of the late Mr Edward Liddle of Cookstown were shocked tom, learn of the death of his youngest son, Dr T D Liddle, which took place on Friday. Being staff surgeon on one of the vessels of the Mediterranean Fleet, it was assumed that he had been killed or wounded in the operations at the Dardanelles, but this was not the case. For some time he was indisposed, but his illness was not regarded as sufficiently serious to acquaint his brothers, the first intimation they received being of his death, which took place on board the vessel at Sheerness. Dr Liddle was educated at the Academy and took his medical course at in Queens College, Belfast, graduating in the Royal University with the triple degrees of M.B., B.Ch. and B.A.O. in 1904. He decided to join the Royal Navy and in the entrance examination he took second place, and was appointed to the Mediterranean Fleet. For a couple of years he was cruising about and had an opportunity of visiting all the important cities along the Mediterranean, including Constantinople where, with the other officers of the Fleet, he was entertained by the Sultan of Turkey. Returning to England, he spent a number of years at the Royal Navy Hospital at Haslar. He was then sent to the Australian station, where he saw a good deal of the Antipodes. Accompanying an expedition to the Pacific Islands with Sir H May, the Governor of Fiji, he nearly lost his life, as the party was attacked by the natives on one of the islands and a bullet passed close to his head. On his return to England he was promoted to the rank of Staff-Surgeon, and was appointed to H.M.S. New Zealand. In 1913 he was transferred to H.M.S. Thames, the depot ship of the Submarine Fleet stationed at Sheerness, where he was when he died.
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07/08/2018 St Surg Thomas Dickson Liddle From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 10th April 1915:
07/08/2018 St Surg Thomas Dickson Liddle LIDDLE – 2nd April, on board H.M.S. Thames (suddenly), Staff Surgeon Thomas Dickson Liddle, Royal Navy, youngest son of the late Edward Liddle, of Cookstown.
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07/08/2018 St Surg Thomas Dickson Liddle From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 10th April 1915:
07/08/2018 Maj Hubert Maxwell Lenox-Conyngham D.S.O. Major H M Lenox-Conyngham, Army Veterinary Corps, son of the late Sir William Lenox-Conyngham, K.C.B., of Springhill, Moneymore, and brother of Major W A Lenox-Conyngham, D.L., has been recommended for ‘gallant and distinguished service in the field’, by Sir John French. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and has been serving at the front as assistant director of veterinary services.
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07/08/2018 Maj Hubert Maxwell Lenox-Conyngham D.S.O. From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 10th April 1915: Moneymore Officer Honoured
07/08/2018 Sgt. William Thomas Mitchell The local Ulster Volunteers held a route march on Easter Monday to Springhill. The men, who wore side arms and carried rifles, were in charge of Corporal W T Mitchell, who was on furlough from Randalstown Camp, and Mr Hugh Duff, company commander. They returned home early, and in the evening they held a reception in the Orange Hall in honour of the soldiers in their ranks who had joined Kitchener’s Army and at present were at home in Coagh for their Easter holidays. Dancing was begun about 8 o’clock, the music being supplied by Messrs McCullagh and Hamilton, Tamlaghtmore. Mr Joseph Mitchell kindly acted as M.C. At eleven o’clock tea was served by Miss Violet Ashcroft, Miss Selina McKnight and the Misses Hagan, Coagh, assisted by Mr A Ashcroft and Mr H Shuter. The following contributed largely to the musical programme – Corporal William Mitchell, William Charleton, Joseph Mitchell, Thompson Marks, George Hagan, Thomas McKnight and William Rankin. A vote of thanks to the tea makers and all those who helped make the night a success, was proposed by Mr Thomas Young, seconded by Private James Hudson, and passed. The proceedings concluded by the singing of God Save the King.
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07/08/2018 Sgt. William Thomas Mitchell From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 10th April 1915: Coagh
07/08/2018 Pte. Robert Blair The 1911 census lists Francis and Anne Blair living in Glasmullagh, Castlecaulfield, Tyrone.
07/08/2018 Pte. Robert Blair The 1901 census lists Francis and Anne Blair living at house 13 in Glasmullagh, Castlecaulfield, Tyrone. Robert was not living with the family.
07/08/2018 Pte. Robert Blair Francis Blair married Anne Forbes on 9th June 1891 in the district of Dungannon. This may have been one his parents’ second marriage.
07/08/2018 Pte. Robert Blair It is believed Robert was born on 4th August 1887, although there is some doubt to this, as GRONI has his mother’s maiden name as Holmes.
07/08/2018 Pte. Robert Blair Robert Blair was, according the list of mourners at his funeral, the son of Francis and Anne Forbes.
07/08/2018 Pte. Robert Blair We regret to announce the death of Mr Robert Blair, which took place at the residence of Mrs Campton, Toberlane, on Thursday 8th April after a short illness. He was a special reserve man of the 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, and was called up early in August last and was doing his duty on Omagh, and was just home on furlough for Easter. He was attended by Dr Elliott, Cookstown, up to the time of his death. Much sympathy is felt for his sorrowing widow and child in their bereavement. The funeral took place on Saturday afternoon, the place of internment being Cookstown Cemetery. There was a very large attendance of the people of the town and district. The polished hazelwood coffin, with brass mountings bore the following inscription:- ‘Robert Blair, died 8th April 1915’. The chief mourners were Mrs Sarah Blair (wife), Francis Blair (father), Mrs Annie Blair (mother), Mrs Minnie Grimes (sister), James Blair (uncle), J Campton, W Reynolds, A Reynolds (relatives).
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07/08/2018 Pte. Robert Blair From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 17th April 1915: Mr Robert Blair, Toberlane
07/08/2018 Pte. Robert Blair The death took place in Toberlane, Cookstown, under sad circumstances, on Thursday morning, of Private Robert Blair of the Royal Inniskillings. the deceased, who was a native of Castlecaulfield, had served some seven years with the colours having been in service in Egypt, and was on the Reserve. He was employed at Orritor Quarry where he lost an eye in an accident to a traction engine. At the commencement of the present war he was called up, but owing to the defect to his sight he was not sent to the front, but was employed as a cook at the depot in Omagh. Nearing Easter holidays he came to Toberlane where his wife resided, on leave, but was then in poor health, apparently suffering from a bad cold. Later influenza developed and also cardiac trouble, which was the immediate cause of his death. He was a member of R.B.P. No. 598, Montober, and being of a quite inoffensive nature, was respected by all who knew him. He was married about a year ago to Miss Sarah Jane Kempton, and much sympathy is felt for the young widow in her sad bereavement.
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07/08/2018 Pte. Robert Blair From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 3rd April 1915: Sad Death of a Soldier
07/08/2018 Pte. Robert Blair Robert Blair married Sarah Jane Campton on the 14th April 1914. Sarah Jane’s father was a teacher, presumably at Toberlane School.
06/08/2018 Pte. Francis O'Neill Private Frank O’Neill, of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, whose father resides at Ruskey, Coagh, has been wounded in action at the front, and was some time in hospital on the continent. Private O’Neill, who is a reserve man, was called out soon after the war started, and has had some narrow escapes. The first intimation of his being wounded was sent home by the War Office., but in a later letter from himself, he said he was all right again, and expected soon to be back in the theatre of war again.
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06/08/2018 Pte. Francis O'Neill From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 3rd April 1915: Coagh
06/08/2018 Corp Henry McDonald Glasgow Amongst the Colonials home for Easter is Mr Allan Glasgow, eldest son of Mr W J Glasgow and Mrs Glasgow, of the Post Office. When he left the Academy, Mr Glasgow entered the board of Commerce in Canada. At the outbreak of the war he was at a little town of 700 inhabitants in Saskatchewan. He volunteered with another man – the only volunteers out of the town – and was assigned to the 81st Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, which is now in Shorncliffe camp as reinforcement to the first contingent, and he is looking forward to taking his place very soon in the ranks at the front.
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06/08/2018 Corp Henry McDonald Glasgow From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 3rd April 1915: (Private Allan Glasgow, Brother of Henry Glasgow)
06/08/2018 Sgt. John Suffern Scott ‘I have just received your most welcome present. We have just come back from the trenches after some days firing at the Germans, arriving at our billet about one o’clock last night, and just as I awoke, mail came in for our company, and I never enjoyed anything so much as I did the pastries you sent me., as we can get none to buy where we are. My cousin John also received a cake from home at the same time as well as some cigarettes. I was glad to receive the brown tobacco, but you need not send me any more tobacco as we are getting more now than we can use. When I sent to you for some, we thought we could only get French tobacco and we do not like it. I will be very pleased if you can send me more cake any time you can. John and I are sleeping together and are together in the trenches. Our trenches are only about 200 yards from the Germans, so as soon as night comes we start shouting at each other. The Germans sing a song and then they shout over to us that it is our turn next, so we give them one. We keep shouting to each other all night. John and I are both well.’
06/08/2018 Sgt. John Suffern Scott Mr William Scott, Ballygrooby, Moneymore, received the following letter from his son, John Scott, who belongs to the Winnipeg 90th Rifles and has been with the Canadian Expeditionary Force at the front for some time:-
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06/08/2018 Sgt. John Suffern Scott From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 20th March 1915: Ballygrooby Soldier’s Letter
06/08/2018 Sgt. John Suffern Scott Private John S Scott, of the Canadian contingent at present in the trenches, writing to his old teacher, Mr James Keatley, Ballyronan National School, tells of a narrow escape when in a tight corner where his chum was shot at his side. Private Scott is a son of Mr James Scott of Woods parish.
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06/08/2018 Sgt. John Suffern Scott From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 27th March 1915:
02/08/2018 Pte. James Nelson 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 Kitchener’s 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 father’s 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 deceased’s 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 father’s 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.
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02/08/2018 Pte. James Nelson From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 27th March 1915: Death of a Local Volunteer
02/08/2018 Lieut James Greer McKay You would love a holiday in this part of the world, but when you come don’t be enticed into climbing the Great Pyramid, as it is a form of lunacy; so we thought last Sunday afternoon, when three of us out for a holiday (?), arrived at the top in a perfect lather of perspiration. The blocks of stone in it are about here feet deep, and climbing these in all sorts of tortuous positions is a trifle harder than even the steps of St Mary’s Whitby. One slip, and you would crash down into eternity (of, course eternity for the likes of you would be upwards); no matter how long you keep on at this gymnastic, the top ever seems to be towering away. It’s like chasing the ‘Blue Bird’. However you are amply repaid bt the wonderful view from the top. On the one side of the Nile can be seen for scores of miles, and all its fertile valleys crowded with hamlets. On the other, everywhere is absolute desert. But if you ever have to choose between climbing the outside or exploring the interior, don’t hesitate, climb. We got guides, and leaving our boots and leggings at the entrance, crawled, nearly double, after the guides, up and down slippery tunnels, running first through the rocks into the bowels of the earth, and then up to the Pyramid. There was hardly a foothold on the slippery stones and the atmosphere was stifling, but we saw the King’s Chamber and the Queen’s ditto, and the way to the daughter’s ditto, then much more painful toiling, and then out we came into the glorious day having had quite enough of the tombs of the Ancients for that day.
02/08/2018 Lieut James Greer McKay The ideal winter climate has been misbehaving itself very much of late. For the past two days a sandstorm has striven to blow us out of the camp. It was horrible drilling into it; riding against it was like being in a blizzard, and our eyes have ached – sand everywhere. All our kit was full, and every bite gritty, but it’s a sin to growl about anything here thinking about the hardships endured in the trenches in France and Flanders.
02/08/2018 Lieut James Greer McKay Animal life here seems to be as precious as human. Every cow seems to have a native, told to watch her and lead her to pasture. A flock of two or three queer looking sheep will have four or five natives hovering around. As we went into Cairo on Sunday last we laughed at the sight of two tall Arabs with dignified mien and long poles driving four scraggy turkeys. On the same trip we also saw the most wonderful funeral I ever witnessed. It must have been that of a very great man. Eight beautiful whips decked out with the greatest magnificence, great handsome trappings hanging down to the ground and white plumes sticking up from the horses’ heads two or three feet – it was just like the most extravagant picture of Cinderella’s rags. The hearse was for all the world like a huge very gaudy bride’s cake, all white and round with the different tiers and ribbons and imitation flowers, and hardly a trace of the coffin at all. It was most cheerful.
02/08/2018 Lieut James Greer McKay It was a bitter disappointment at Port Said to learn that Egypt was to be our destination, but now we are here the fascination of this country has got hold of me, and I am thoroughly enjoying the novelty of the people and everything about us. All the Australian boat is gathered in this great camp, and the place is teaming with life from long before sunrise till bed time. Right in the shadow of the Pyramids, you almost believe yourself back in the days of Exodus, with the swarm of Egyptians clad in quaint robes of every colour and design, who do the labouring for the camp; they carry the fodder, etc., on beasts of burden of every kind and primitive vehicles that certainly must have belonged to the Ancients. You see a great string of asses and mules passing along with loads which you would think would break their backs and a big long-legged Arab on top of the load. On another track, a line of big dignified camels will be moving along silently like ghosts also with huge loads of stores, nearly frightening the horses they pass out of their wits. The more the horses see of the brutes, the less they love them. The patient ox is also much in evidence, and it is funny to see the natives riding them to work. You would almost think the natives working here were the slaves of old; they are treated like such; any amongst themselves who has authority uses a cane over their backs to enforce it, and the native police use their whips with terrible force over the almost naked backs. But the Egyptian ‘fallah’ is not what my imagination had called up; he is a bright humorous ruffian, tall and well-built; he is the most persistent wretch imaginable after piastres (local coin) and every time we make a deal with him, he tries to cheat us in the most unblushing manner, and if we find him out he immediately loses his understanding of our language. He has turned us all into the greatest hagglers outside Regent Street. If he offers a water melon for three piastres, we immediately offer one piastre, and most likely after telling him two or three times to clear out we get it for two and a half – they always get the better of us as the melon would probably would only be worth half a piastre. We have good fun over the local money, milliemes and piastres. Every time we exchange our English coin they cheat us. If you see a little crowd having a heated argument, you may be sure on going closer to hear ‘piastres’.
02/08/2018 Lieut James Greer McKay Mr Greer McKay, fourth son of the late Mr W C McKay, formerly of Cookstown, is at present with the Australian Expeditionary Forces in Egypt. Mr McKay left England for Australia about three years ago, and travelled with Rev Thomas Glass, B.A., and Mrs Glass on their first voyage to the Antipodes. He joined the Expeditionary forces on the declaration of war, having has some experience in the Territorial forces in Yorkshire while residing there. Writing recently to his mother, who has resided in Leeds since she and her husband left Cookstown, he says:-
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02/08/2018 Lieut James Greer McKay From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 27th March 1915: The Australian Forces in Egypt
01/08/2018 L/Corp Charles George Lord Constable Charles George Lord, the only surviving son of ex-Sergeant Lord, Cookstown, has obtained a commission in the 7th Leinster Regiment. Lieutenant Lord is about 29 years of age, and joined the Royal Irish Constabulary while under twenty. He was first stationed in County Kilkenny, but about eight years ago, at his own request, he was transferred to Belfast, where in the Antrim Road barracks he was very popular with is comrades, and had the confidence and frequent commendations of his superiors. About two years ago, for heroic conduct, in attempting to save life at a fire in Castleton Gardens, he was awarded the medal of the Royal Humane Society and £2. He volunteered three times for the Irish Guards, but was unsuccessful in the ballot, so, not to be denied, he made application for a commission and received favourable consideration. He has gone for military training to the Kenworth Camp, County Cork. On St Patrick’s night, his comrades and friends in the Antrim Road district, Belfast, entertained him at a dance, where he received, in addition to many good wishes for his future success, a suitable memento of his stay in the city.
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01/08/2018 L/Corp Charles George Lord From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 27th March 1915:
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