Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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27220   Private Samuel Donnelly
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 01/05/2020
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 15th Battalion, Royal Scots (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 11/06/1891
Died: 01/07/1916 (Killed in Action)
Age: 25
Summary      
Samuel Donnelly was a son of Joseph and Sarah Jane Donnelly of Stewartstown. They were married about 1885. Samuel was born about 1892 in County Tyrone. By the time of the 1911 census the family’s address had changed to Linnyglass, Ballyclog. Joseph was now a farmer. Samuel was now 19 and working as an Agricultural Labourer. Private Samuel Donnelly was killed in action at the Somme on the 1st July 1916. Sam was struck with a bullet just before the German lines and he died immediately.
Private Samuel Donnelly
Further Information
Samuel Donnelly was a son of Joseph and Sarah Jane Donnelly. Joseph Donnelly and Sarah Jane Ross were married about on 29th April 1886 in the district of Cookstown.
Samuel Donnelly was born in Stewartstown on 11th June 1891. He was one of seven children, six surviving. All the children were born in Stewartstown.
The 1901 census records Samuel as nine years old. The family were living in Brigh, Ballyclog, Tyrone. Joseph was an agricultural labourer.
Family: Joseph Donnelly, Sarah Jane Donnelly, William John Donnelly (born 17th February 1887), Maude Donnelly (born 18th April 1889), Samuel Donnelly (born 11th June 1891), Albert Donnelly (born 11th May 1894, died 24th March 1895), Beatrice Donnelly (born 14th May 1896), Caroline Donnelly (born 23rd March 1899), Joseph Donnelly (born 25th July 1901).
By the time of the 1911 census the family’s address had changed to Linnyglass, Ballyclog. Joseph was now a farmer. Samuel was now 19 and working as an agricultural labourer.
Sam Donnelly was a member of Stewartstown Shooting Club.
Medal card
Samuel Donnely photo
Private Samuel Donnelly was killed in action at the Somme on the 1st July 1916. Sam was struck with a bullet just before the German lines and he died immediately. The attack took place in a big open bit of country between Albert and La Boisselle, and the Germans were firing very heavily. Samuel Donnelly was aged 24.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 5th August 1916: Private Sam Donnelly, Brigh
Newspaper Report
Mr Thomas Ferguson, secretary of Stewartstown Shooting Club, has received the following letter from Sergeant Urquhart, with reference to cigarettes sent to Private Samuel Donnelly, son of Mr Joseph Donnelly, Brigh, who belonged to the Royal Scots, and has been killed.
‘Dear Mr Ferguson, Today their arrived a parcel of cigarettes (Gold Flake) from your shooting club to Private Sam Donnelly. You will probably know by this that he was killed in action. So we carried out a rule made by the lads themselves, viz., that all parcels arriving for them if they were killed or away to be divided amongst their chums. I did this today and the cigarettes were very much appreciated. We get all kinds and quantities here, from Rule Britannia to Three Witches, and other unheard of brands, but Gold Flake never, unless at some Y.M.C.A. hut or canteen, and they are as plentiful as snakes in Ireland. Will you please accept the thanks of the lads who received them, but they would have preferred to have Sam give them out. If your club had many more members of his stamp, it would indeed be a fine one. As a quiet unassuming worker, he was of great service in his platoon. I regret his loss very much. At present I have not got his next-of-kin address, but the Chaplain will probably have it. If they are near you, will you please convey to them the sympathy of all Sam’s surviving chums (and they are now very few).’
Golden Flake Cigarettes
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 30th September 1916: Private Samuel Donnelly
Private Samuel Donnelly, son of Mr Joseph Donnelly, Brigh, Stewartstown, who was in the Royal Scots, and fell in action on 1st July. A Scottish chum, Private Donald Garden, writing from Aberdeen where he was recovering from wounds, in a letter to the deceased’s parents says:-
‘I was his chum in the Royal Scots. I feel I should write a few lines. We went into action on Saturday 1st July. I am sorry to say Sam was struck with a bullet just before the German lines and he died immediately. It may be some consolation to you to know that he suffered no pain. I was with him at the time and he never spoke. He was a great friend of mine and well liked in the company, and I greatly feel the loss of such a friend. I offer my deepest sympathy. I was wounded the same day.’
Replying to a request for further particulars Private Garden again writes:-
‘We were in a big open bit of country between the British and German lines when Sam was hit. It was between Albert and La Boisselle, and the Germans were firing very heavily. I was along with Sam all the way across and our men were falling around us. I spoke to him and the sergeant also, but he was dead, we had no doubt about it. That sergeant was also badly wounded and so was I soon afterwards, so we had no opportunity of seeing him again. I had a number of shrapnel wounds, but am about alright again now. I am sorry I cannot tell you where he is buried. Owing to our platoon being in a charge, it was different from what it would have been had we been in the trenches.’
Sergeant Urquhart in a letter to Mr Thomas Ferguson, secretary of Stewartstown Shooting Club says:-
‘If your club had many more members of his stamp it would indeed be a fine one. As a quiet unassuming worker he was of great service to his platoon. I regret his loss very much.’
Private Donnelly was a very popular lad and all who knew him regret his death and sympathise with his sorrowing parents.
Last Will and Testament of Private Samuel Donnelly dated 5th February 1916:
Samuel Donnelly : Form filled Will
Samuel Donnelly : Will Information
WILL : After payment of debts and funeral expenses, I give my sister Miss Caroline Donnelly of Linny Glass, Stewartstown, County Tyrone absolutely for her sole and separate use, her receipt alone being a sufficient discharge the whole of my Estate and effects and everything I can by law give or dispose of, and I appoint Robert Stevenson, North Street, Stewartstown, Co Tyrone as Executor of this my Will. 5th February 1916. Samuel Donnelly.
Samuel Donnelly has no known grave and is commemorated on panels 6D-7D on Thiepval Memorial, France.
From the Tyrone Courier and Dungannon News dated Thursday 20 July 1922:
Newspaper Report
Miss Caroline Donnelly, Linnyglass, Stewartstown, has just received the British War Medal and Victory Medal which would have been conferred on her brother, Private Samuel Donnelly, Royal Scots, had he lived, in memory of his services with the British Forces during the Great War. Private Donnelly was killed in action on 1st July 1916.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 25th November 1939: Remembrance Day - Stewartstown
In loving memory of my dear brother, Samuel Donnelly, from his sister, Mrs G Stewart and family.
Private S Donnelly is also commemorated on Stewartstown Cenotaph.
The CWGC record Private Samuel Donnelly as the son of Mr and Mrs Joseph Donnelly, of Linnyglass, Stewartstown, County Tyrone.
Read more
Relevant Cookstown Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Brigh and Linnyglass Stewartstown Census listing in Brigh 54.594842 -6.645036
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists Donnelly family 1901 census lists Samuel as age 9 at house 4 in Brigh, Ballyclog, Tyrone
2 1911 Census lists Donnelly family 1911 census lists Samuel as age 19 at house 1 in Linnyglass, Ballyclog
3 National Archives of Ireland Last Will and Testament of Samuel Donnelly
4 National Archives UK Medal card can be purchased here (No 272120)
Cookstown District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2010-2020