Private Thomas George McKinney - died 19/7/1916

20th Royal Fusiliers D Company - service number 5265

 

Thomas (fourth from left above) was the son of John Thoburn McKinney, Carnmoney, Belfast, and grandson of William Fee McKinney, of Sentry Hill, Glengormley.

After attending Inst, Tom studied at the Agricultural College at Ballyhaise, County Cavan. He returned to Sentry Hill, and introduced new farming methods.

He enlisted in Belfast and went to train in Epsom.  He joined the 20th Royal Fusiliers (3rd Public School's Battalion) and in a series of letters home, he described the life of the camp. As the war progressed his letters grew darker, describing the damage he had seen done by Zeppelins in London.

I
n November 1915, Tom departed for France, describing the primitive living conditions, including sleeping in a byre, traveling in a cattle truck and contending with the biggest rats he had ever seen. He received a head wound, but played down the seriousness to prevent his family from worrying about him.

Tom was hit by shrapnel at Bazentin-le-Petit on 3rd July 1916. Early reports suggested that the wound was not serious: however a letter dated 6th July informed his family that he was dangerously wounded. In his last letters he described how he would get better, if he could return to Carnmoney.

He was evacuated to base hospital as gangrene set in, and died of his wounds 9 days later, at the age of 23, on 19th July 1916. The hospital chaplain described Tom as a "good soldier, a brave lad and true Christian".

Tom is buried in Longuenesse (St Omer) Souvenir Cemetery (ref. IV A 6), Pas de Calais, France.

Second Lieutenant James McNeill McKinstry - died 2/12/1916

2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

James was born on 9th May 1895 in Cookstown, the son of Robert and A.R. McKinstry of 16 Rugby Road, Belfast. After Inst, he attended Queen's University Belfast, where he was joined the Officer Training Corps, on 29th September 1914. 

James wrote this letter to his mother on 19th June 1916:


Dear Mother

I am going up to the trenches and what happens to me is in God's hands. If I am knocked out, do not mourn for me for this is the fire through
which we must pass to a happier world. May God comfort and keep you from all harm and give you length of days to see your children's children. I want everything to go on as usual no matter what happens and I would rather nobody should go in black for me. I commit you to God who is a safe rock in time of storm and who guards and watches over us all.  With deepest love and affection to yourself and the rest of the family.

I remain, sweet Mother, your affectionate son, James.


PS Do not have any regrets about me as you gave me everything a Mother can give and you were the one person I admired and loved most in this world.


--

James' battalion were in the front line near Beaumont Hamel from 18th Nov 1916. On 23rd November, a party of 80 men of the battalion, in conjunction with three companies of the 16th Lancashire Fusiliers took part in an attack on Munich Trench. Their objective was to rescue a party of the 97th Infantry Brigade located in dugouts and to return them to their own lines.

The attack commenced at 3.30pm and they succeeded in entering Munich Trench but were unable to rescue the missing men, and returned.

One officer of the battalion was killed, three wounded, including James, and over 60 other ranks were also casualties.

James subsequently died of his wounds, at the age of 21, in Warloy Special Hospital on 2nd December 1916. He is buried in 
Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension (ref. VIII C 16), Somme, France.

Corporal E H McMullen - died 15/12/1915

Royal Engineers - 1st Division Signal Company - service number 73125

Corporal McMullen, the son of McKenzie and Margaret McMullen, 62 Eglantine Avenue, Belfast, died at the age of 20, while in service as a despatch rider for the Royal Engineers.

He is buried in Noeux-Les-Mines Communal Cemetery (ref I F 19), Pas de Calais, France.

Lieutenant Howard Todd Miller - died between 21 and 26/3/1918

18th London Regiment (London Irish Rifles)

Howard was the son of John Henry Donaldson Miller of 16 Easton Cresent, Cliftonville Road, Belfast. His younger brother, Laurence John Miller, also served with the London Regiment.

He obtained his commission in December 1916, when he was aged 17. As well as Inst, he was educated at Skegoniel National School and Queen's University Belfast, where he was a member of the Officer Training Corps. Two years in succession, he was a schoolboy international footballer in matches against England. He also played cricket for Ulster, and was senior boxing champion of Inst.

Howard was killed in action between the 21st and 26th March 1918, the opening days of the final German offensive of the war, the Kaiserschlacht.

He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial (bay 10), Pas de Calais, France.

Second Lieutenant James Milliken - died 31/12/1918

11th Royal Irish Rifles attached RAF

James was born on 24th July 1892, the son of Samuel and Hessie G Millikin of Ballyclare, County Antrim, later of "Scouthush", Carrickfergus,  was employed as a motor mechanic when he enlisted, serving under the name Milligan. He had previously been a member of the Queen's University Officer Training Corps and at the time of enlistment, was living at "Oatlands", Carnmoney. James initially served with the Royal Engineers (Inland Water Transport) and the 1st Royal Irish Rifles. He embarked for France on 29th September 1916 and was appointed to a temporary commission with the 20th Royal Irish Rifles on 15th October 1917.

A medical report dated 23rd June 1918 stated that James had been "blown up twice between March 21st and 31st 1918. He was 9 days in No. 2 Stationary Hospital. He has been through the most heavy fighting."

He was killed in an aeroplane crash at Turnberry, Scotland at the age of 26 on 31st December 1918 and is buried in Ballylinney Old Graveyard (ref 280), Northern Ireland.

Second Lieutenant Arthur Gorman Mitchell - died 13/5/1916

5th Royal Irish Rifles attached 2nd Battalion

Arthur was born on 28th August 1896, the son of Lt Col Arthur Brownlow Mitchell (Royal Army Medical Corps), and Agnes Crawford Mitchell (nee Gorman, who died in childbirth) of 18 University Square, Belfast. As well as Inst, he was educated at Campbell College, Belfast, and Queen's University Belfast, where he was a member of the Officer Training Corps. 

He was gazetted a Second Lieutenant in the 5th Royal Irish Rifles on 8th May 1915, and joined the 2nd Battalion on 14th April 1916.

The battalion were in Brigade Reserve on 13th May 1916, at Cabaret Rouge, north of Arras. Two platoons of the battalion were sent to reinforce a garrison of 13th Cheshire Regiment men who were occupying the lip of a recently blown crater.  On their way, they came under intense fire, with only a portion of them getting through with great difficulty. 4 men were killed in the operation, with Arthur being killed by a sniper's bullet. He was 19 years old.

Arthur is buried in Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Mont St Eloi (ref I K 18), Pas de Calais, France.