This booklet remembers the admirable service of the honourable men and women of Waringstown during the Great War, both on and off the battlefield. The centre piece for us, the authors, is the banner which was unfurled in the village on Friday 9th July 1920 by Mrs Waring, for Waringstown LOL [Loyal Orange Lodge] No 83. This banner is unique in two ways; while many lodges had an image of one fallen member portrayed on their banner, this banner has the images of nine fallen brethren on it. Secondly, the nine brethren were from three different lodges, although the lodges all sat in the same Orange Hall.
The banner is designed to perpetuate the memory of nine officers and men from the village who fell in the Great War and it bears, on one side, their portraits and on the other, a representation of King William crossing the Boyne. The names of the heroic soldiers referred to are: Major Holt Waring DL; Lieut. R H Waring RN; Sergeant R Irwin, Privates J Collins, R Douglas, R Hampton, S. Hand, T Hanna and J Magee. The ceremony to unfurl the banner took place in the beautiful grounds of Waringstown House.
At the unfurling ceremony, Bro. Rev J R McDonald, MA presided and referred to the glorious deeds of the men who had fought and died for the Empire and for civil and religious liberty - the great bulwarks of Orangeism. Bro Rev McDonald stated that the men whose memory they honoured that evening had done their share for those objectives and it was for those left behind to say whether they would follow their great example.
The Chairman of the proceedings then called upon Bro. George Hylands, Worshipful Master, who presented Mrs Waring with a pair of scissors, suitably inscribed, with which to perform the ceremony.
Mrs Waring, in a touching and impressive speech, said she was honoured indeed to be asked to unfurl that banner to the memory of the men from the village who had died for their country. She liked to think that wherever the lodge went, its members would always have before them the ideal of duty permanently inscribed on their banner and that they could look back with pride to the way in which those men had done their duty, while they at home had still their duty to do. Mrs Waring continued that they must show the whole world.
Information supplied by B Anderson, member of NIH Regt Assoc
Major Holt Waring did not serve with the NIH during the Boer War 1899-1902 as the regt did not exist at that time!
In Feb. 1903 the first squadrons of the North of Ireland Imp Yeomanry were formed. By 1908 when the "Territorial Force" was created the regt changed its status from Imp. Yeomanry to Special Reserve and in so doing changed its title to The North Irish Horse, alongside its southern sister regt the South Irish Horse. "Special Reserve" regts were automatically committed to an Expeditionary Force in the event of war.
Mr Holt Waring was indeed a part time officer as were all in the regt part time (apart from permanent staff such as Adjutant and PSI's etc) as it was never Regular Army, still isn't to this day. Regards B Anderson P'down, member of NIH Regt Assoc
Lieutenant Colonel Holt Waring JP DL
North Irish Horse and 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles
As a young man, Holt Waring served in the ranks as a trooper with the North Irish Horse in the Boer War of 1899 to 1902. After the war, he was awarded Queen Victoria’s medal for the war in South Africa, with clasps for the actions he fought in at Cape Colony, Orange Free State and Transvaal. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant on 17th July 1903 in the North Irish Horse and immediately promoted to Captain. He probably continued to serve in the North Irish Horse as a part-time officer, as shortly after the First World War began, he was promoted to Major on 12th September 1914. In December of that year, Major Waring was given command of the newly formed E Squadron of the North Irish Horse and left Antrim for Ripon, to join the 34th Division in June 1915. They completed their training on Salisbury Plain, before landing in France in January 1916. By this stage of the war, cavalry units did not have a fighting role and the men of E Squadron were employed in guarding bridges and other strategic points and in providing working parties to bury the dead. In May 1916, E Squadron became part of 1st North Irish Horse, but still did not take an active role in the fighting. Many officers transferred out of the Regiment to the fighting units and on 17th November 1916, Major Waring transferred to command a company in the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.
Major Waring led his men when the 36th Ulster Division and the 16th Irish Division attacked at the Battle of Messines in June 1917. Two months later, after promotion to Lt Colonel, Holt Waring took over command of the 13th Rifles, when Colonel Maxwell was wounded at the Battle of Passchendaele. In November 1917, losses across the entire 36th Division, combined with few reinforcements, necessitated reorganisation within the Division. As a result, the 11th and 13th Royal Irish Rifles were amalgamated to form the 11th/13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. When it was disbanded in February 1918 owing to continuing losses, Lt Col Waring took command of 12th Royal Irish Rifles.
On 21st March 1918, the Germans launched a massive offensive that cost the British army dear, both in terms of ground lost and casualties. In the ten days after the offensive began, the 36th Division took 7,252 casualties. Of these, 5,844 were reported missing and of these approximately 80% were prisoners of war. The entire 108th Brigade, normally of almost 4,000 men, now had a fighting strength of just over 300. Thus, after only four days rest, it was a much depleted 36th Division that was sent into action again, this time in the Ypres Salient.
By mid April, the Germans were still trying to push the British line further back and the 36th Division were trying to hold them back in the area around Kemmel Hill. Every man counted and the commanding officers led from the front to fend off the German attacks night and day. On the night of 12th/13th April, Lt Col Waring gallantly led a company of 12th Rifles in a counterattack, along with a company of the 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers led by their CO., Lt Col Philip Kelly. Their position restored, dawn brought more determined attacks by the Germans on the trenches held by the 12th Rifles. That attack, and subsequent attacks during the day, were repulsed by the effective machine gun and rifle fire.
At dawn on 15th April 1918, the Germans launched an artillery and infantry attack and broke through where the left flank of the 12th Rifles joined the next British unit. Lt Col Waring led a combined force of the remnants of the 12th Rifles and 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, and though they failed to win back the ground lost, they stopped the German’s advance. Lt Col Holt Waring, a gallant officer and born leader of men was killed in action and buried close to where he fell; he was only 41 years old.
After the Armistice, many small groups of graves around Kemmel were concentrated into Wulverghem Dressing Station Cemetery. Increased from one plot to five, this cemetery was renamed Wulvergham-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery and Lt Col Holt Waring now lies in plot two.
Lieutenant Commander Ruric Henry Waring,
Ruric Waring was the second son of Thomas and Fanny Waring. Ruric’s father had been a Colonel in the army, before serving as a Member of Parliament for West Down for a number of years. Ruric’s brother, Holt, served in the North Irish Horse in the Great War and was killed in action on 15th April 1918. He held the rank of Major and was attached to the 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. Ruric’s brother-in-law Lieutenant Samuel B. Combe (North Irish Horse) was also killed in action on 1st October 1914.
Ruric was born on 16th August 1879 and was educated at Stubbington House. He joined the Royal Navy in 1893 and became a midshipman in 1895, drafted to H.M.S. Britannia. He was raised to a sub-lieutenancy in 1899 and was promoted lieutenant after eighteen months' service for meritorious examinations.
In 1910, after seventeen years service, he retired on half-pay owing to ill-health, with the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was placed on the naval reserve list. In 1914, on the recommendation of the Admiralty, Ruric was about to accept an appointment in the Chinese Navy when war was declared. In the intervening years, he helped in the military drilling of the local men of the Ulster Volunteer Force and was a Company commander in the 2nd Battalion West Down Regiment. He was also Vice-President of Waringstown Cricket Club.
In August 1914, with the outbreak of war, Ruric regained his former rank of Lieutenant Commander and joined H.M.S. Hawke at Queenstown, where he awaited further orders to set sail. The ‘Hawke’, on 20th September 1911, had collided with the White Star Liner ‘Olympic’, the sister ship of the Titanic. In the Admiralty trial which followed, H.M.S. Hawke and its crew were declared free from blame, owing to the theory proposed that the large water displacement caused by the Olympic had drawn H.M.S. Hawke from her course.
By August 1914, the Hawke was ready for action and was to take part in various British naval operations in the North Sea, patrolling the coast against the attrition of the German navy. On 15th October 1914, the British cruiser H.M.S. Hawke was torpedoed by the German submarine U-9 in the northern waters of the North Sea and sank in a few minutes. H.M.S. Theseus, accompanying the Hawke, was not harmed in the attack. Captain Hugh P.E.T. Williams, commanding the Hawke, twenty six officers and five hundred men were lost with the ship. Only four officers and around sixty men were saved.
It was hoped for a time that, owing to his previous malady, Ruric had gone on sick leave, but this proved totally groundless when the official telegram expressing sympathy arrived from the King. Further intimation from the Admiralty announced that it was feared Lt Waring was amongst those who had lost their lives; this was received by his brother Holt in October 1914.
Ruric Waring is commemorated on Panel 1 of the Chatham Naval Memorial. It is one of three naval memorials alongside the naval ports of Plymouth and Portsmouth, to commemorate those members of the Royal Navy who have no known grave. Chatham Naval memorial commemorates 8,515 sailors who lost their lives in the Great War and 10,098 sailors of the Second World War. Ruric Waring died, aged just 37.
Sergeant Richard Irwin
North Irish Horse & 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers
Richard (Dick) Irwin was born in Donaghcloney in May 1885 and was living in Lurgan when he enlisted into the North Irish Horse, in Waringstown, shortly after the First World War began. His number in the North Irish Horse was 398. He was married to Margaret Irwin of Clogher, who was living in Magherlin during the war, with their daughter Sadie. He had two brothers, Samuel and William, and a sister, Annie Jane; Dick was a weaver by trade.
Before the war Richard Irwin was a drill Sergeant in the Waringstown Company of the Ulster Volunteers and he was also the lodge secretary of LOL 477.
Richard Irwin was a well known sportsman, playing in goals for Glenavon Reserves for many years, as well as turning out regularly for the first team, as required. He was an all round cricketer, playing for Waringstown second team regularly and assisted the first team in the 1911 cup final against North Down.
Richard Irwin served as a Lance Sergeant with the North Irish Horse, which he joined in 1908, entering the Great War on 20th August 1914. He then served with the second regiment of the North Irish Horse, which was raised in May 1916 and joined the fighting in France in late summer of that year. It was two squadrons from this regiment that supported the 36th Ulster Division. By that time in the War, the cavalry no longer had a role in the fighting, so the duties of the North Irish Horse were to guard supply dumps, escort prisoners and provide men for patrols and also to provide stretcher bearers and burying parties.
At the end of August 1917, the 2nd North Irish Horse was “dismounted” or converted from cavalry to infantry and Sgt Irwin was among 300 men from the North Irish Horse that were transferred into the 9th Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers.
He was given a new number in this battalion, 41268. By the end of the war, of those 300, one in six lost their lives, fighting as infantrymen. From the time of the amalgamation until mid November 1917, the newly named 9th (NIH) Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers were in trenches in Havrincourt Wood, in the south east sector of the Somme battlefield, about 10km south west of Cambrai. This was a reasonably quiet sector, with occasional night patrols to acquire enemy intelligence.
On 1st November 1917, the 9th (NIH) Battalion were relieved by the 12th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles and went to rest billets in nearby Ruyaulcourt. The next day was spent cleaning the mud off their kit and equipment, before a game of football in the afternoon. On 3rd November, A and B companies from the 9th (NIH) Battalion were sent, as working parties, to bring rations, supplies and water to the front line trenches and C company prepared for a raid on the enemy trenches that night.
They marched from Ruyaulcourt at 4.30pm and it was fully dark by the time they crept out into no-man’s-land. Their objectives were the German trenches near Havrincourt Wood, where they crossed the North Agache Canal. They jumped into the enemy trenches undetected, but recovering from the surprise, the Germans fought determinedly and refused to surrender. C Company stayed in the trenches for 20 minutes and bayoneted and shot at least 40 Germans. The company suffered 20 casualties from German hand grenades; only one NCO was killed and that was Sgt Richard Irwin. He was aged 32 when he was killed in action.
Richard Irwin had a number of letters published in the Lurgan Mail during the War. The following was sent to Mr James Pennington, “I see by the “Lurgan Mail” that you are still taking the same hearty interest in the Ulster Volunteers in Waringstown. Keep it up. I see some of the volunteers have joined Lord Kitchener’s army. Bravo Waringstown! When all is over and Germany well beaten, it will be said that Waringstown has done its duty to King and Country. All the boys here are doing well and in good health and spirits. We get plenty to eat and an odd smoke; so we are not badly off. We thought it a bit rough here at first, but have got used to it now. I am very sorry to say that Lieut Combe has been captured. Of course he will be all right, but we miss him, for he was loved by every one of us. He was a gentleman and every inch a soldier. You might give my best wishes to the company and tell them I am always glad to hear from them.”
Another, which he sent to his brother Samuel, contains the following description of the Germans as “...a great pack of cowards, one man could chase a dozen of them; in fact I have seen one Lancer capture ten Germans without firing a shot, so you see they are a poor lot when out from cover.” Richard Irwin is buried in Neuville-Bourjonval British Cemetery, Grave Ref. E.17. The inscription at the bottom reads “Not dead to those that loved him”
The action that led to his death is recorded in the following manner, “At 4.30pm C Company left Ruyaulcourt and marched up to the line to carry out a raid. The enemy’s front line was successfully penetrated from the Canal to about 150 yards east of it. The fighting was very severe as the enemy refused to surrender. Our men stayed in the trenches for twenty minutes and bayoneted and shot at least forty Germans, had the men, for the most part newly transferred troopers of the North Irish Horse, not been more eager to kill than to capture, a considerable number of prisoners might have been taken. We suffered some casualties, mostly from bombs; one Officer severely wounded, one Officer slightly wounded, one NCO killed, three Other Ranks missing, believed killed, thirteen Other Ranks wounded, one Royal Engineer NCO severely wounded.”
The officer severely wounded was Lt W.H. Hutchinson.
The following letters were received by his wife Maggie early in December 1917:
Dear Mrs Irwin
I would have written to you very much sooner only I was dangerously hit myself the night your husband was killed and when able to write had to get your address from the battalion. On account of recent movements it has taken till today for me to receive it. I do not want to stir up your sorrow afresh, but I simply must write and tell you how much I thought of him. I have been in charge of his troop since August 1916 and when we joined the Fusiliers lately, we were in the same company and on the night of the raid he was with me at the head of our party and I always felt that when he was with me I had a good pal as well as a good Serjeant, God himself only knows why I should have lived and he taken, ever since I was out of danger I have felt the loss of a good friend. Please if there is anything I can do let me know. I am still in bed and will not be up for a couple of weeks yet, I got six wounds but the dangerous one was a piece of shell that ripped up my lung.
Please write if there is any information I can give you and believe me
Yours very sincerely W.H. Hutchinson Lt.
A second letter followed a week later:
Dear Mrs Irwin
I was very glad to hear from you and to know that you had received my letter. You asked me about your husband's last moments. As far as I know he was unconscious when the stretcher bearers went to bring him in and I understand that he died before he was actually brought to our lines. If you know any of the Boys out there I am sure they could tell you more details, but you see I was hit practically at the same time, but being able to walk a little I got on a bit before I collapsed and was taken back by some of the men returning from the enemy lines.
I hope you will not be angry at the enclosed, which I want you to accept as a little xmas box for the little ones. It will be a sad time for you and if this little token of my sympathy will help to give pleasure to the children and through them to yourself, believe me it will be a very great pleasure in-deed.
Rifleman James Collins
13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles
James Collins was the son of James and Jane Collins of Donaghcloney and was married to Mary Ann Collins, residing in Waringstown. On the outbreak of the war, he enlisted in the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles at Banbridge and was given the number 93.
The 13th (Service) Battalion (County Down) was formed in County Down in September 1914, from the Down Volunteers. It became part of 108th Brigade, 36th (Ulster) Division. The Battalion fought at the Battle of Albert, 1st to 13th July 1916, which included the capture of Montauban, Mametz, Fricourt, Contalmaison and La Boisselle.
The Battalion went in December 1914 to Clandeboye as part of 108th Brigade (36th Division), then in July 1915 to Seaford, before landing at Boulogne in October 1915.
Dying at the age of 31, James Collins was one of many brave Ulstermen who gave their lives at the Battle of the Somme. This consisted of many different engagements and raged for many weeks, commencing on 1st July 1916 and continuing to 18th November 1916. On the opening day of the Somme alone, 19,240 British troops lost their lives, whilst British casualties on the first day were 57,470. The Ulster Division, which assailed the heavily fortified German right, lost 5,600 men that day, most before noon.
The following appeared in the Lurgan Mail on 15th July 1916, in the section headed Waringstown Notes:
“Mrs Mary Ann Collins has received unofficial intimation that her husband Rifleman Jimmie Collins was killed in action on 1st inst. Rifleman Collins enlisted in the 13th Royal Irish Rifles on 19th September 1914, was an active member of the local unit UVF and previous to enlistment was in the employment of Mr Joseph McCabe, car-owner. Deceased was held in the highest esteem in the district.”
The Battle of the Somme was fought over a very wide front, and consisted of many more localised battles, one of which was the Battle of Albert. This was a reasonably successful part of the overall battle. During the opening of the Somme offensive, it must be remembered that nearly a quarter of a million shells were fired at the Germans in just over an hour, an average of 3,500 per minute, on a front line which was over 14 miles wide.
James Collins has no known grave, but is commemorated on Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 10 B11 B and 12 B.
Pte Robert Douglas
47th Battalion Australian Infantry
Robert was the son of James and Katherine Douglas of Waringstown, who, as a young man, had emigrated to Australia to seek his fortune. His father, James, served with the Royal Irish Rifles. Robert, a tailor, by trade, listed his next of kin as Miss Minny Douglas, his sister. After the First World War started, he heard the call to fight for his country and enlisted at Brisbane, Queensland, into the locally recruited 47th Battalion of the Australia Infantry and was given the number 1892. After his training, he embarked at Brisbane on the HMAT “Clan McGillvray” on 1st May 1916, as the third draft of reinforcements needed by the 47th Battalion, then fighting on the Western Front.
The 47th Battalion arrived in France on 9th June 1916 and, after a brief period of training, Private Robert Douglas entered the trenches for the first time on 3rd July 1916, with his first taste of battle at Pozieres on the Somme. Initially, the 47th Battalion provided working parties to bring up supplies to support the attack by the Australian 2nd Division on 4th August 1916, but a couple of days later it was their turn to defend the ground around Pozieres, which had been captured at such a high cost. Robert Douglas was able to avail of some leave and visited his relatives in Donaghcloney during September 1916.
The 47th Battalion endured two stints in the heavily contested trenches of Pozieres, as well as a period in reserve. After that, the 47th Battalion followed the usual pattern of four days in the Front Line trenches and four days out in rest billets, cleaning kit and equipment, training and sleeping.
Private Robert Douglas was admitted to hospital on 21st January 1917, returning to his Battalion on 12th April 1917, but when his battalion took part in the Battle of Messines on 7th June 1917 he was killed in action, aged 23. He has no known grave, but is buried 750 yards from Messines and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.
Rifleman Robert Hampton
1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles
Robert, the son of Thomas Hampton, was born in Donaghcloney and was one of five brothers. He was known affectionately as Bobby and was a fine cricketer. It is likely that he was one of the first men from Waringstown to enlist, once War commenced. With the number 5257, he was sent with a draft of reinforcements to the regular 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. Three of his brothers, James, John and Andrew also served with the Royal Irish Rifles. His youngest brother Thomas served with the 1st Canadians, being severely wounded in September 1916.
The 1st Battalion had been serving in India since 1902 and had been guarding the port of Aden on the Red Sea from 1913. Although mobilised for war in August 1914, they remained in Aden until relieved in late September 1914. Reservists and volunteers, including Rifleman Robert Hampton, swelled their ranks at the camp in Winchester and by 5th November, they were ready for action.
On 15th November 1914, they moved into the Front Line trenches for the first time near the German held Aubers Ridge. The winter of 1914/15 was terrible and the men suffered badly from frost bite, trench foot and trench fever in the muddy and flooded trenches. The 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles remained in that area throughout the winter and took part in their first major battle at Neuve Chappelle on 10th March 1915. The attack was a part of the overall strategy to capture Aubers Ridge and, thanks to intense and accurate artillery support, the village was captured and held. After three days heavy fighting, with 409 casualties (45% of the battalion), the cost in human terms was high.
The Rifles were held in reserve while they were being reinforced and, on 1st April 1915, back at full fighting strength, they returned to the Aubers Ridge sector to trenches near Fromelles. In another attempt to take the Ridge, the German held village of Rouge Bancs, was attacked by the Rifles on 9th May 1915. Although achieving the Battalions objectives, they could not hold and the order was given to retire to their old trenches. Once again casualties were very heavy, with 477 officers and men out of a total of 600 involved in the attack killed, wounded or missing.
After only a weeks rest, the Rifles were back in the same sector, in trenches near Fleurbaix. Regular enemy fire included rifle grenades, trench mortars and shrapnel shells, which caused daily casualties. It is highly likely that Rifleman Robert Hampton was killed when the Battalion was moving out of the trenches for four days rest. Other than for an attack, moving in and out of the trenches was the most dangerous activity. Any movements drew machine gun or heavy artillery fire from the enemy, which usually resulted in casualties.
Rifleman Hampton was killed in action on 11th June 1915, aged 22 and today is buried in Aubers Ridge British Cemetery Grave Ref V111 .A.1. This cemetery was created after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from smaller cemeteries and from the many battlefields around Aubers. Aubers is a village about 8 kilometres north of La Bassee and 3 kilometres north-west of the main road from La Bassee to Lille.
Rifleman Samuel Hand
16th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Samuel Hand was the son of William and Elizabeth Hand of Mill Hill, Waringstown. He had four brothers called Richard, James, Thomas and William and a sister, Annie. He enlisted into the 2nd Battalion County Down Volunteers, later renamed the 16th (Pioneer) Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, upon the formation of the 36th (Ulster) Division. This was a unit trained both in field engineering and musketry.
The 16th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles was based in Brownlow House, Lurgan and most of its training included route marches around the neighbouring towns and villages. In spring 1915, the men visited Dromore to lay sections of railway track as part of their training, which would prove invaluable in France (in Picardy they would build a railway system, over which much material was transported to the Somme Front). A few months later, the 16th Royal Irish Rifles took part, with the rest of the Ulster Division troops, in a formal march past Belfast City Hall on Saturday 8th May 1915.
In June 1915, the 16th Battalion went to England to finish their training on the south coast, before embarkation for France in early October 1915 with the rest of the Ulster Division. By early 1916, the battalion was employed in building twenty miles of a railway system from Candas to Acheux, whilst under occasional artillery fire. By 31st May, the railway was finished and the battalion moved to Aveluy Wood, south west of the Somme front-line.
The 16th Royal Irish Rifles played their part on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme. They were ordered to dig a communications trench in no-man's-land under fire, but, owing to the casualties sustained, the order was given to pull back. The trench tramway constructed by the Pioneers had helped evacuate many of the wounded and at one stage, necessitated men of its ranks to stand out under fire and repair the rails that had received a direct hit. The 16th Royal Irish Rifles would, however, remain in the line for a further six days on the Somme front, when the rest of the 36th Ulster Division was relieved. The work of the 16th Royal Irish Rifles continued unabated into August, constructing field defences and trench emplacements.
In September, the 16th Royal Irish Rifles moved to Dranoutre as the weather turned to rain, although, it did not stop the Regimental Masonic Lodge No. 420 meeting three times. By November, the weather worsened to torrential rain and snow. Mufflers and woollen gloves from home became very welcome. The work of digging and draining trenches, erecting and repairing huts went on into December. Enemy artillery continued throughout the period, shelling the Pioneers at work and in their billets.
From January to March the 16th Royal Irish Rifles were involved in the build up to the Battle of Messines in June 1917, They helped construct railway lines necessary for the transportation of ammunitions and stores to the Front. They continued to construct communication trenches for the men and materials to move through for the assault. Thus, the battalion was dispersed over the Kemmel area, near Ypres, putting all in place. Snow and rain in April slowed the work and made the job of digging and drainage more difficult. In May, the Pioneers worked on building dugouts for the infantry and trench tracks, to facilitate artillery movement. Throughout this period, the different companies working on the front lines were sniped at and shelled with poisonous gas.
The next major offensive, as mentioned, was planned for Messines ridge that summer. The German army held the heights overlooking the salient and the plans of the British General Plumer were put in place to capture the heights on 7th June. Despite the success of the battle, yielding 7,000 prisoners and resulting in 10,000 German dead, the advantage was not exploited and the British army would soon flounder in the mud of the Passchendaele campaign.
As August commenced, the 16th Battalion prepared for the Ypres salient and the Battle of Langemark on 16th August. The 16th Battalion was billeted around Vlamertinghe to carry out infantry training and prepare the roads, over which the heavy artillery would move up to the next assault. In these opening days of August, while the men continued to labour at constructing the road, they were subjected to heavy rain and shelling.
As the Passchendaele offensive dragged on throughout September and October 1917, the Pioneers were once again employed in further wiring and field defences in the Hermies sector, next the Canal du Nord. Separate parties were also dispersed for other tasks, such as drainage and making winter huts.
It is possible that Samuel belonged to No.3 Company, for on 11th October they moved to Ruyaulcourt to prepare such winter quarters. Four days later, however, they were given the job, one mile away, of erecting a ‘double apron fence’ near Havrincourt. The main purpose of the apron was to shield those moving along the road from the view of enemy artillery or machine gun fire. It is likely that in carrying out this task, Samuel was subjected to such enemy action.
Samuel was killed in action on 17th October 1917 and was buried in Ruyaulcourt Military Cemetery. The cemetery is situated 6 miles east of Bapaume and lies north of the village of Ruyaulcourt. The graveyard was begun in April 1917 and was used mostly by fighting units and Field Ambulances. There are 338 Great War burials commemorated on the site.
Private Thomas Hanna
13th Battalion, ‘D’ Company, Royal Irish Rifles
Thomas Hanna enlisted into the First County Down Volunteers, later renamed the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, upon formation of the 36th (Ulster) Division. Thomas was given the number 229 and was part of ‘D’ Company of the 13th Battalion and served alongside James Collins (also recorded on Waringstown banner) in the same Company; both were to fall together on the opening day of the Somme.
The 13th Royal Irish Rifles were stationed at Clandeboye Camp in North Down. The camps at Clandeboye and Newtownards trained the majority of the 108th Brigade of the 36th Ulster Division. After eight months of parade drill, route marches and bayonet practice, Thomas, with the rest of the Ulster Division, left for England in June 1915. They were quartered at Seaford, on the Sussex Downs and then at Aldershot for final musketry training, before leaving for France. By late October, the 13th Battalion became used to trench life and spent periods attached to the 4th and 48th Divisions in line. In late November 1915, the Ulster Division had moved on to Abbeville and was given the job of clearing much of the debris wrought by the German army. They also helped construct billets for the stationing of Allied troops. In December 1915, the Ulster Division spent their first Christmas at the Front.
By 7th February 1916, Thomas’ battalion, as part of the 108th Brigade, took over part of the divisional boundary which ran from the Ancre to Mailley-Maillet - Serre Road. In May 1916, plans for the summer offensive intensified around the Somme salient, with tramways put in place to bring up ammunition and relieve casualties. Gun-pits were also dug for artillery pieces, communication trenches constructed and dug-outs created. Two causeways over the River Ancre had employed the manpower of the 16th Royal Irish Rifles. The 13th Battalion was stationed not far from this on the left in the neighbourhood of Martinsart. On 28th June 1916, a tragedy befell the 13th Battalion, when a stray shell landed amongst the ranks of ‘C’ Company, killing fourteen instantly, with ten dying later from wounds received.
On 1st July 1916, at 7.30am, the Battleof the Somme commenced; it had been daylight for four hours. Thomas, with the rest of the 13th Battalion, was on the left flank of the central attack. They suffered long-range enemy fire from Beaucourt Redoubt across the River Ancre to their left. The 13th Battalion was ordered to go to the third of four target lines and consolidate and clear them. The 11th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and 14th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, on the right flank, suffered the murderous patter of the German guns as they left Thiepval Wood, with bullets flying from the German gun emplacements in Thiepval fortress. The 13th Battalion would suffer the loss of many officers and men before they ever reached the German trenches. The handful of 13th Battalion men, which pressed onwards to St. Pierre Divion, fought alongside men of the 8th and 15th Battalions, fending off German bombers by that afternoon. Despite valiant attempts to hold onto the third and fourth lines, the combination of further German reserves (who arrived by tram train behind the German lines to the North)and the few Ulster men left holding the line with little water and ammunition, proved almost impossible. By the night of 2nd July, the 36th Ulster Division was relieved by 49th Division.
Thomas was killed in action on 1st July 1916 and has no known grave, being commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing at Pier and Face 15A & 15B. The monument stands as a remembrance to the missing of the Somme and bears the names of over 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces, who died in the Somme sector prior to 20th March 1918 and have no known grave. Over ninety percent of the recorded names died between the months July to November 1916.
Private John Magee
2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles
John Magee was the son of Edward and Mary Magee of Waringstown. John was a professional soldier and was married to Margaret. Their son James served with the 5th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, as part of the Salonika Force in the First World War.
With the German advance through Belgium in August 1914, many men of the British Expeditionary Force, including the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, to which Private John Magee, No. 5393, belonged, would be lost in action at Mons, Le Cateau and at the First Battle of Ypres. By November 1914, the 2nd Battalion was fighting around the Ypres salient at Nonne Boschen (Nun’s Wood). By 3rd December 1914, the 2nd Battalion was located at Westoutre. Three days later, they moved to Locre and on to Kemmel on 9th December. Throughout December, they rotated between these trenches. During the first three months of 1915, the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles were holding trenches in the Wytschaete sector, part of the 7th Brigade of the 3rd Division. The 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles would be on the move again, passing through the towns of Locre, Westoutre and Dranoutre. The cyclical tours of duty in the trenches in these villages continued until the 12th March.
On the 12th March at 2.30 am, the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles marched to Lindenhoek and were held in support for the attack by the Wiltshire and Worcester Regiments on Spanbroek Farm, as part of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. Whilst the English regiments successfully reached the German lines, they could not be consolidated and had to retire. The 2nd Royal Irish Rifles were returned to billets that night without going into action. The following day, the 2nd Battalion was stationed at Dranoutre. On the 14th, they returned to Westoutre and remained there until the evening of 16th March, when they marched to huts in the village of Locre, before going back to the trenches of Kemmel on 17th March for a week and a further few days at La Clytte. On 29th March, the battalion began tours of the trenches between Voormezeele and St. Eloi, resting at La Clytte and Canada Huts in the town of Dickebusch.
On 16th April, they returned to Canada Huts at Dickebusch; four days later they were back in the line. On the 25th April, the men returned once again to Dickebusch. By the end of the month, the 2nd Battalion relieved the 3rd Battalion Worcester Regiment in the front-line. The area then became subject to constant shelling. At this time, the 2nd Battalion received a further reinforcement of 239 men. On 6th May 1915, the orders were received by mid afternoon for 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles to temporarily join the 13th Brigade in the trenches north of the infamous Hill 60. They arrived there at 2.20am on the 7th morning. The journey was a hazardous one, being subjected to shells as they passed the side of Zillebeeke Lake, next to a railway embankment. All around was the evidence of shell and rifle fire.
Shortly they would reach Battalion Headquarters (Dormey House); the front-line trenches were merely a mile away. An attack had been planned for 2.30am, but as the 2nd Battalion arrived 10 minutes before zero hour (owing to the delays), only ‘D’ Company joined the attack on the German ‘Trench 46’ at 2.50am. The German position of the main attack was better held than expected and the onrushing South Lancashire Regiment was met with machine gun fire. Meanwhile, ‘D’ Company, attacking on the right, was unable to blow up the barricade and was met with heavy fire. The attack consequently failed and shelling lasted for the remainder of the day. On the 8th May, the British line was mortar-bombed by Germans and an officer and four men were killed and nine wounded. On 9th May, further mortar bombs and rifle fire was received from a section of ‘Trench 46’, still held by the enemy. Three men were killed and twenty-one wounded. Further casualties ensued, before they were finally relieved on 12th May and sent to billets at La Clytte.
Another move was made to the Kemmel-Wytschaete area and by the end of May, they were located in the Vierstraat sector. By 3rd June, they were relieved to bivouac tents, south of Popehnghe-Vlamertinghe road. Six days later, the 2nd Battalion was back in the line between the Menin Road and Sanctuary Wood. They returned once again to bivouac on the 11th June. By 15th June 1915, the 2nd Battalion was in trenches around the Ypres-Roulers Railway and on 16th June, attacked towards the Bellewaarde Lake area. ‘C’ and ‘D’ Companies went forward, with many of the men having been 30 hours without sleep and shelled all day by heavy artillery. Fire from the railway line to the left and front swept away the advance and the survivors fell back to the German front trench they had passed earlier in the day. Three Officers were killed and ten wounded, with 300 Other Ranks killed, wounded or missing.
They were relieved to billets near Brandhoek and a further draft of 15 officers and 160 men joined. On 1st July 1915, the 2nd Battalion R.I.R. returned to trenches near Hooge, which were almost unrecognisable, owing to the heavy shelling. The following day, the Germans shelled ‘C’ Company’s trench, killing one man and wounding a further eight. On 5th July, 1st Battalion Wiltshires relieved the Battalion and they marched back to bivouac. The 2nd Battalion's next tour of duty lasted from 8th to the 12th July and resulted in two killed and six wounded. On 21st July, the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles marched to the trenches near St. Eloi and by 26th, were holding another part of this line. A further draft of 4 officers and 326 men arrived, owing to the attrition in the ranks.
The 14th August 1915 edition of ‘The Lurgan Mail’ records the following details: “Mrs Maggie Magee of Waringstown has received official intimation that her husband Rifleman John Magee (R.I.R) was wounded in action near St. Eloi on 1st August 1915. Mrs. Magee has also a son (L/Cpl Thomas Magee) serving with the Royal Irish Fusiliers since the start of the war."
Five weeks later in the 18th September 1915 edition of ‘The Lurgan Mail’ we read the sad news: “The wife of Rifleman John Magee 2nd Battalion R.I.R. who resides in Waringstown, has received official notification that her husband has died from wounds in action at Hooge on 29th August [aged 46]. The Deceased, who had previously served on the Rifles, at the outbreak of hostilities enlisted for the duration of the war. A son of his, Lance-Corporal Thomas Magee, R.I.F., was home last week on leave and has since returned to the Front.”
John is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, seven miles west of Ypres at Plot 3, Row C, Grave 37A. The cemetery was first used by the French and in June 1915, it began to be used by casualty clearing stations of the Commonwealth forces. The cemetery contains 9,901 Commonwealth burials of the First World War.
One further point of interest is mentioned in 2nd October 1915 edition of ‘The Lurgan Mail’: “During the week there has been on view, in one of Messers Gilchrist & Sons establishment, a handsome wood carving cut by Rifleman John Magee (2nd Battalion R.I.R.) of Waringstown whose death in action was reported a fortnight ago. The carving was brought home to the deceased relatives by a comrade - Sgt John Reavey.”
The following men of Waringstown also laid down their lives during the Great War, and are named on the war memorial in Waringstown:
Private Frank Andrews, 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, 24735.
A brother of David Andrews of Magherana, Waringstown; he enlisted in Armagh. Killed in action on 16th August 1917, aged 40. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 140 to 141.
Sergeant John Brown, 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, 14033.
He was born in Lurgan and resided in Waringstown; he enlisted in Belfast. Another who died on 1st July 1916 and is buried in Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel. His grave reference is V111 .A.71
Rifleman Samuel Carson, 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, 110.
He was born at Annaghanoon, resided in Waringstown and enlisted in Banbridge. He was killed in action on 1st July 1916. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 15A and 15B.
Lieutenant Samuel Barbour Combe, North Irish Horse.
He was the husband of Mary Theresa Combe and lived in Donaghcloney. He was the third son of Abram and Emilie Caroline and was the master of the County Down Staghounds for the seven years prior to his death. He was killed in action on 30th September 1914, aged 35. In 1902, he married Mary Teresa Waring, making him the brother-in-law of Holt and Ruric Waring. He is commemorated at Le Touret Memorial Panel 1.
Rifleman James Douglas, 19th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, 498.
He was the husband of A.E. Douglas of Magherana, Waringstown. He was born in Donaghcloney, enlisted in Lurgan, and was killed in action on 26th July 1917. He is buried in Dickebusch New Military Cemetery Extension, grave reference I.B 7
Private John George Green, Yorkshire Hussars Yeomanry, 331397.
He was born in Donaghcloney and lived in Bargeddie and enlisted in Dunkeld. He died on 2nd July 1918 and is buried in Old Monkland Cemetery, grave reference 60.34.
Rifleman Thomas John Gregson, 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, 564.
He was the son of Thomas and Eleanor Gregson of Edenballycoghill, Waringstown. He lived in Waringstown and enlisted in Lurgan. He was killed in action on 1st July 1916, aged 21. He has no known grave, but is commemorated on Pier and Face 15A and 15B of the Thiepval Memorial.
Private Thomas James Irwin, 4th Battalion Australian Pioneers, 2396. Son of James and Anna Bella Irwin of Corcreeny, he was born in Waringstown, and enlisted on 28th March 1916 at Brisbane, Australia. He was killed in action on 6th August 1917, aged 24, and is commemorated on Panel 31 of the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial.
Rifleman William J King, 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, 3104. He was born in Magherlin, enlisted at Dunbarton, Gilford and resided at Lurgan. He was killed in action on 9th July 1916. He is commemorated on Pier and Face 15A and 15B of the Thiepval Memorial.
Rifleman William Lutton, 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, 300. He was the son of Mrs Jane Lutton of The Clare, Waringstown. He was killed in action on 1st July 1916, aged 22. He is buried in Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, his grave reference is VIII.K.7
Private Samuel McCleery, 108th Company Machine Gun Corps, 17692.
He was born and resided at Corcreeny, enlisting at Clandeboye. He transferred to the Machine Gun Corps from the Royal Irish Rifles, where his number was 6457. He died on 19th July 1916 and is buried in Longuenesse (St Omer) Cemetery, where his grave reference is IV.A.2
Rifleman James McCollum, 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.
He was the son of John and Catherine McCollum of Gilford Road, Lurgan. He lived at home with his parents and enlisted in Waringstown. He died of wounds on 7th May 1915, aged 34 and is buried at Etretat Churchyard, where his grave reference is I.B.8
Private Robert James Moore, 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, 8403, enlisted in Lurgan.
He was married to Lucy Lilian Moore and was living in Aldershot. He was killed in action on 29th November 1914, aged 28. He is commemorated on Panel 9 of the Ploegsteert Memorial.
Corporal Norman Hugh Reid, 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, 14657. He was the son of Samuel Wilson Reid B.A. and Mary Reid of Corcreeny, Waringstown. He enlisted in Belfast and died of wounds on 17th August 1917. He is buried at Brandhoek New Military Cemetery No 3, grave reference II.F. 28
Acting Sergeant Thomas Robert Richardson, Corps of Royal Engineers, 23166, formerly, 9015, Royal Irish Rifles, 4th Signals Company RE. He was the son of Robert and Sarah Jane Richardson, who had been born in Norgraffin, County Tipperary. He was residing in Waringstown and enlisted in Belfast. He died of wounds on 10th July 1916 and is buried in Etretat Churchyard, grave reference II.D.14
Private Francis Taylor, 9th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 23720.
He was born in Lurgan and enlisted in Belfast. He was killed in action on 21st March 1918. He is commemorated on Panel 38 to 40 of Pozieres Memorial.
Private William Henry Uprichard, 108th Company Machine Gun Corps, 17806, formerly 14738, Royal Irish Fusiliers.
He was the son of William Henry and Mary Jane Uprichard and the husband of Margaret Uprichard, residing at 171 Hill Street, Lurgan. He was killed in action on 14th July 1916, aged 35. He is commemorated on Panel 56 of the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial.
Private Fredrick Watson, 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, 14771, was born in Lurgan and enlisted there. He was the son of William and Margaret Watson of Hill Street, Lurgan. He was killed in action on 1st July 1916 and is commemorated on Pier and Face 15A of the Thiepval Memorial
Lance Corporal Henry Watson, 1st Battalion Prince of Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment), 8214, was born in Donaghcloney. He enlisted in Armagh, although he resided in Waringstown. He died on 12th August 1916 in Mesopotamia.
Private James Watson, 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, 14770. A Lurgan man who resided in Waringstown for a short period, he was the son of Mrs Elizabeth Watson of Brownlow Terrace, Lurgan. He was killed in action on 1st July 1916 and is buried in Hamel Military Cemetery Beaumont-Hamel, grave reference I.D. 6
Acting Corporal William Whaley, 15293. He enlisted in the 7th Royal Irish Fusiliers in Armagh, was killed in action 5th September 1916 at the Battle of Ginchy. William Whalley was born in Waringstown in 1874, son of James and Susan Whalley. He attended Lurgan College in the late 1880s and had left by 1891. Another victim of the Somme campaign, at the time of his death he was a Corporal in E Company, 7th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. There is no known grave, but he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.
Harold Wright- to date, no record has been found for any local person with this name.
It is interesting to note that when the war memorial was being unveiled, thirty-two names were read out by Mrs Waring, but the war memorial today bears a total of thirty four names; the two names which were not read out by Mrs Waring were Francis Taylor and Harold Wright.
It was reported by the Rector of Waringstown (Archdeacon Atkinson) that some 150 men of Waringstown served during the Great War. The total male population of Waringstown at the start of the war was 1,723. Of the total who served, 107 were members of The Ulster Volunteer Force.
Men from the area were also awarded the following decorations:
Two Military Crosses
Four Military Medals
One distinguished conduct medal
Two Crois de Guerre - Belgian
One Crois de Guerre - French
One Mention in Dispatches