9th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
Date Of Birth:
08/09/1916 (Killed in Action)
Hugh was the youngest son of Mrs Jane Currie of Drapersfield, Cookstown. He was described as a quiet, good natured lad and before joining the army he was a member of the local Ulster Volunteers and a member of Knockinroe L.O.L. 194. He enlisted in Cookstown on 5th September 1914, and trained at Finner Camp, Ballyshannon, County Donegal and Shane’s Park Camp, Randalstown, County Antrim. He was wounded in action on the 1st July 1916, and was posted back to his Battalion after he recovered. In September, The enemy started shelling their front line. He had been struck by shrapnel from a shell which exploded nearby.
Hugh Curry was the youngest son of Robert and Jane Curry (nee Walker). Hugh was born on 3rd December 1895 in Ardtrea, County Tyrone.
The 1901 census lists Hugh as age 5 living with the family at house 3 in Tullyweery, Red Row, Coagh. Robert Curry was a labourer.
The 1911 census lists Hugh as age 15 at house 23 living with the family in Cloghog, Moneyhaw. Hugh had left school and, like his father, worked as a labourer.
Family: Robert Curry, Jane Curry, Lizzie Curry (born about 1878, Scotland), Samuel Curry (born 16th December 1879), Willie Curry (born 30th November 1882), Maggie Curry (born 12th February 1886), Robert Curry (born 5th February 1889), Lydia Curry (born 10th April 1893), Hugh Curry (born 3rd December 1895).
Hugh was described as a quiet, good natured lad and before joining the army he was a member of the local Ulster Volunteers and a member of Knockinroe L.O.L. 194.
Hugh Curry enlisted in Cookstown on 5th September 1914, and trained at Finner Camp, Ballyshannon, County Donegal and Shane’s Park Camp, Randalstown, County Antrim.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 29th May 1915: Private William Currie (brother of Hugh Currie)
Mrs Jane Curry, Drapersfield, has received a letter from her son, Private William Curry, attached to the Special Reserve, 3rd Battalion Inniskilling Fusiliers, who has been at the front for a considerable time, that he has been wounded and is in a military hospital in Essex, England. His injury was received in the fighting on Sunday 16th May. He makes kind enquiries about others from the neighbourhood whom he knows have been in the firing line.
Private Curry was wounded in action on the 1st July 1916, and was posted back to his Battalion after he recovered.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 8th July 1916: Cookstown Soldiers Wounded in Big Push
Private Hugh Curry, son of Mrs Curry, Drapersfield, Cookstown, wounded on 1st July 1916.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 15th July 1916:
Private Hugh Curry, son of Mrs Curry, Drapersfield, Cookstown, wounded.
Hugh had been on sentry duty in the trenches on 8th September 1916 when the enemy started shelling their front line. He had been struck by shrapnel from a shell which exploded nearby.
In a letter to Mrs Jane Curry from Private Joseph Crooks, he expresses his deepest sympathy, stating that he and Hugh Currie were chums and that he had been beside him when he was struck by shrapnel and removed to the Dressing Station.
Private Hugh Curry was serving with the 9th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed on Friday 8th September 1916. He was 20 years old.
On hearing of Hugh’s death, his cousin Private Joseph Currie wrote to Mrs. Jane Currie from the Front saying:
‘When I heard of Hugh’s death I got leave and went to see if it were true. I trust that God may comfort you.’
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 23rd September 1916:
CURRIE – Killed in action on 8th September, Private Hugh Currie, royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, youngest son of Mrs Jane Currie, Drapersfield, aged 20 years.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 23rd September 1916: Private Hugh Currie
Private Hugh Currie, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (Ulster Division), who was killed in action on 8th September. He is a native of Drapersfield, and joined the Army on 5th September 1915, when only 18 years of age. He was of a quiet, good natured disposition, and popular with his many chums. Prior to joining he was an enthusiastic member of the local U.V.F., and a member of L.O.L. 194 Knockinroe. His mother (who is a widow) received the following letter from his commanding officer, Colonel Ricardo, dated 11th September:-
‘Dear Madam, I am sorry I have very bad news to tell you. Your son, Private H Currie, of my Battalion, was unfortunately killed on 8th September. He had been on sentry duty in the trenches on the date in question when the enemy began to shell our lines rather heavily. One shell dropped a short distance from your poor boy, and a piece of it caught him, killing him instantly. He was a good soldier and a loyal comrade, and his loss is deplored by all ranks in the battalion. Please accept my sincere sympathies in your great loss.’
Private Joe Currie, from Coagh, a cousin, wrote on the 10th that when he heard of Hugh’s death, he got leave and went to see if it could be true. Continuing he says:-
‘I trust that God may comfort you. It is sad and sore for his mother, but he is happy today. W Mitchell was killed yesterday. It is a great pity, but we cannot help these things in a place like these. I trust we all meet in heaven.’
Rev R F M Clifford, chaplain, wrote to Rev Percy Marks, asking him to break the news to the boy’s mother, and added that a letter was a poor way of informing a mother of her son’s death. On Saturday afternoon he conducted the funeral service. His body was laid to rest in a little military ceremony about ¼ mile south east of the battalion headquarters. Three of his comrades lie in graves close to his. An officer and a party of men from his company attended the funeral.
Private Joseph Crooks, in a letter dated 16th September, expresses regret and sympathy, and says that he and the deceased had been chums since they enlisted. They were standing close together when a piece of shrapnel struck Currie, who died shortly afterwards. Crooks took charge of a parcel of eatables, which arrived the day following, and divided the contents as he knew his chum would have wished. The greatest sympathy is felt for his mother and the other relatives in their sad loss. Another brother, William, is serving in Salonika.
Hugh's brother, Private William Curry, was serving in Salonika when Hugh died. It is believed he went on to win a Military Medal in 1918 whilst serving with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. No. 2/2494. William survived the war.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 2nd March 1918: Drapersfield Man Wins Military Medal - Private William Currie (brother of Hugh Currie)
Private William Currie, A Company, 8th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (son of Mrs Robert Currie, Drapersfield, Cookstown), has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in Palestine whilst serving with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, commanded by General Allenby. When a soldier who was bringing up sorely needed ammunition was shot, Private Currie volunteered to take his place and succeeded in his effort, though fiercely fired upon at the time. ‘You are a brave man, Currie’ said the General when awarding the Military Medal to him. Private Currie was a reserve man and was called up when war was declared. He served in Gallipoli, France and in Palestine, and despite the fact that he received seventeen wounds (some through the centre of his body) at Festubert in May 1915, he volunteered for the front when his wounds were barely healed. We congratulate Mrs Robert Currie, Sandy Row, Drapersfield, upon her son’s gallant record in arms for King and country, and upon this distinction conferred for his bravery. His brother Hugh was in the Ulster Division, and was killed in September 1916 at the age of twenty.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 8th April 1918: The Military Medal – Private William Currie (brother of Hugh Currie)
Last night’s London Gazette announced that his Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to award the Military Medal for bravery in the field to the undermentioned non-commissioned officers and men:- 2/2494 Private W Curry, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Drapersfield, County Tyrone.
Hugh is interred in Pond Farm Cemetery. The Dressing Station was close to where Pond Farm Cemetery now stands.
The CWGC record Private Hugh Curry as the son of Jane Curry, of Drapersfield, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, and the late Robert Curry.