1st Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
Date Of Birth:
09/08/1916 (Died of Wounds)
John Lynn was the son of James and Elizabeth Lynn, of Coalisland, Co. Tyrone. John was born on 20 October 1887 in Gortgonis in County Tyrone. The 1901 census shows John as 13 years old. The family lived at Derry, Tullyniskane, Tyrone. Charles was a railway porter. Elizabeth was a dress maker. Private John Lynn enlisted in Omagh. Private John Lynn was serving with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he died of wounds near Ypres, Belgium on 9th August 1916. Private John Lynn was one of four brothers who died on service; two are buried in Belgium, one in France and the fourth in Israel.
John Lynn was the son of James and Elizabeth Lynn (nee Abernethy). They were married in the Coalisland area on the 20th February 1883.
John Lynn was born on born 28th October 1887 in the Coalisland area.
The 1901 census shows John as 13 years old. The family lived at Derry, Tullyniskane, Tyrone. Charles was a railway porter. Elizabeth was a dress maker.
Family: James Lynn, Elizabeth Lynn, James Lynn (born 23rd September 1882), Margaret Lynn (born 21st January 1884), Robert Lynn (born 13th November 1885), John Lynn (born 28th October 1887), Mary Lynn (born 27th July 1889), Eliza Lynn (born 5th July 1891), William Edward Lynn (born 3rd July 1895), Charlotte E E Lynn 1 (born 24th January 1900).
The 1911 census shows John as a 23 year old general labourer. The family now lived at Mousetown, Meenagh, Tyrone. John's father James was now a farmer.
John Lynn was a member of Coalisland L.O.L. No 93.
Private John Lynn enlisted in Omagh.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 14th November 1914:
Mrs Lynn, Mousetown, has two sons, Bob and Jimmie, serving their King and country at the front. They are attached to the Royal Field Artillery. She has two others, Willie and Johnnie, preparing for the fray with the North Irish Horse
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 27th March 1915: Letter from the King
Mr James Lynn, Mousetown, Coalisland, whose four sons, Bob, James, Willie and John are now at the front, has received the following letter from Buckingham Palace. 18th March 1915.
‘Sir, I have the honour to inform you that the King has heard with much interest that you have at the present moment four sons in the army. I am commanded to express to you the King’s congratulations, and to assure you that’s His Majesty much appreciates the spirit of patriotism which prompted this example, in one family, of loyalty and devotion to their Sovereign and Empire. I have the honour to be, sir, your obedient servant, T M Ponsonby, Keeper of the Privy Purse.’
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 1st June 1915:
Private John Lynn, 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, has notified his parents at Coalisland that he was wounded in the head and back during the heavy fighting on 16th May.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 5th June 1915: Private Lynn Convalescent
Private John Lynn, 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, writing to his parents in Coalisland, 25th May, says:-
‘I am at present in a convalescent home. I got wounded in the head and back during the heavy fighting on Saturday and Sunday, by a shell bursting on the edge of the trench, partly falling in on me. I had a narrow escape. They sent me to hospital, and they are all filled up, but I hope to be alright again and back with my regiment. I got a parcel from Newmills – shirts, socks, cigarettes and a prayer book. There was no letter to say who it was from. So I wish to thank the ladies of Newmills for their very useful parcel. It is a great thing to know that while we are out fighting here, the people at home are trying to make us comfortable. The fighting is going on very hot, and will for some time until we get the enemy beaten back, and it will take beating to do it, and every man will be needed, but they have to be beaten sooner or later, and the sooner the better.’
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 19th June 1915: The Lynns
The four sons of Mr and Mrs James Lynn, Mousetown, Coalisland, now fighting in France for King and country.
From the Tyrone Courier dated 24th June 1915 – Four Sons at the Front
The four sons of Mr and Mrs James Lynn, Mousetown, Coalisland, are at present at the front; Driver R Lynn, and Bombardier J Lynn being with the 6th Division Royal Field Artillery, Sergeant W Lynn on the 2nd Royal Irish Fusiliers and Private J Lynn with the 2nd Inniskillings.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 26th June 1915: Bombardier Lynn and the Twelfth
Bombardier James Lynn, 43rd Battery, Royal Field Artillery, writing from the western front to friends in Coalisland says:-
‘I saw Alex (Private Alexander Proctor, 2nd Battalion Irish Fusiliers) and Willie (Sergeant William Lynn, 2nd Irish Fusiliers) the other day, and both of them looked well after having such a rough time of it. They were glad to seem me and I to see them. I have heard that Jack and Hugh Cairns were wounded Their regiment went forward with the same old dash and soon made the Germans hop it – Good old Inniskillings; they did some good work but they have lost heavily. The Germans are very cunning, but they don’t like to meet the British, as they know they always get a good basting. I see by the papers that there will be no Twelfth this year. I think it is a good idea, as it would not look nice on account of all the boys being away. However, I hope with God’s help, the war won’t last much longer and that we will get home safe although I am very afraid of it.
From the Tyrone Courier dated 23 September 1915:
Sergeant William Lynn, 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers and his brother Private John Lynn 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers have returned home to Coalisland to recover from wounds received in France. In addition Private Lynn had contracted enteric fever.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 9th October 1915:
The annual meeting of Coalisland LO.L. No 93 (Killyman District) was held on Friday evening, when Br S J Wylie, W.M., presided and Br R J Proctor occupied the vice-chair. The meeting was duly opened. Hugh Montgomery conducted the election of officers for 1916, which resulted as follows:- W.M. Samuel J Wylie (re-elected); D.M. Thomas Neill; Chaplain Rev S Ganden; secretary James Templeton; treasurer Joseph Proctor. The newly elected W.M. thanked the brethren for the cordial support given him during his present term of office and said that there had never been greater need for Orangemen to work together than at the present crisis. He referred with pride to the fact over one half of the lodge members were on active service on behalf of their King and country, and some of them had already sacrificed their lives in the cause of freedom. He hoped the coming year would bring peace and all the brethren on active service would return safe and sound. (Applause). A cordial welcome was given to Brother John Lynn, 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who is home on sick leave from the front and was able to attend the meeting. Hearty congratulations were also extended to the D.M., Brother Thomas Neill on his recent marriage and he replied thanking the brethren for their good wishes. The lodge was then duly closed. Afterwards a social hour was spent, when songs were rendered by A Atkinson, J Proctor, Samuel Butler, Hugh Montgomery, J Archer, Samuel J Wylie, James Templeton, R J Proctor, John Lynn, Thomas Holmes and J Proctor (senior).
Private John Lynn was serving with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he died of wounds received near Ypres, Belgium on 9th August 1916, age 28.
It seems a lot of the newspaper reports about Private John Lynn (in particular) from that time seem to contain major errors.
From the Tyrone Courier – 31 August 1916:
Mr James Lynn, Mousetown House, Coalisland, has received the distressing intimation that his son, Private John Lynn, Irish Fusiliers, died on 23rd August in hospital in England as the result of being 'gassed' at the front on the 11th August. The deceased soldier, who had been a member of Coalisland L.O.L. No 93, had been a time-expired soldier, but had volunteered for active service at the commencement of the present war. He had been severely wounded some time ago, but had completely recovered. Mr Lynn had four sons serving with the colours, and of these three have now made the supreme sacrifice on behalf of King and country. His son Driver Robert Lynn, R.F.A., was killed in action on 4th august 1915, while another son, Sergeant William Lynn, Irish Fusiliers, was killed by a shell on the 16th July 1916 while succouring a wounded comrade.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 2nd September 1916: The Third of the Lynns
Mr James Lynn, Mousetown House, Coalisland, has received the distressing intimation that his son, Private John Lynn, Royal Irish Fusiliers, died on 23rd August in hospital in England as the result of being 'gassed' at the front on the 11th August. The deceased soldier, who was a member of Coalisland L.O.L. No 93, had been a time-expired soldier, but had volunteered for active service at the commencement of the present war. He was severely wounded some time ago, but had completely recovered. Mr Lynn had four sons serving with the colours, and of these three have now made the supreme sacrifice on behalf of King and country. His son Driver Robert Lynn, 87th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, was killed by a shell on the 16th July 1916 while succouring a wounded comrade.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 9th September 1916:
Coalisland L.O.L. No. 93 met in the Orange Hall on Friday evening, when Br. Samuel J Wylie, W.M., presided, and Br. Thomas Neill, D.M., occupied the vice-chair. Br. Charles Compton, a Canadian volunteer who was visiting his native locality while on his way to the front, was present at the meeting and was accorded a hearty welcome, to which he suitably replied. On the motion of Br. Joseph Proctor, seconded by Br. Charles Compton, a resolution of sympathy with Br. James Lynn, Mousetown House, on the death of his son, John Lynn, at the front (and three of whose soldier sons have fallen in action), was passed in silence by a standing vote.
Footnote: Private Charles Compton, Service No. 769482, survived the war.
From the Tyrone Courier dated 12 October 1916: Dungannon Council - Rank and File's Heavy Losses
The Clerk mentioned that Mr James Lynn, of Mousetown, Coalisland, had had three sons killed in action, and Mr William J Cumberland, of Kilnacart, had lost two sons in action. Mr Harkin said he was personally acquainted with the Lynns and he knew no sadder case than theirs. There were four brothers serving and the three young men who had been killed had volunteered since the beginning of the war and two of them at least had received promotion. The War Office, he understood, intended placing the fourth boy on home service. He proposed that letters of sympathy be sent to both families. Mr Irwin, in seconding, said Mr Cumberland had three sons serving and now only one of them was left. Messrs. McMinn and Elliott supported the resolution, which was carried unanimously.
Private John Lynn is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, which lies twelve kilometres west of Ypres town centre in Belgium.
Private John Lynn was one of four brothers who died on service; two are buried in Belgium, one in France and the fourth in Israel.
In 1917, a plaque was unveiled in Coalisland Church of Ireland Parish Church in memorial of the Lynn brothers. The original was a beautiful scroll tablet.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 16th August 1917: Memorial to Three Brothers
A marble tablet has been erected in Coalisland Parish Church to the memory of the three brothers Lynn, son of Mr James Lynn, of Mousetown, killed in action. Driver Robert Lynn, R.F.A., was killed at Ypres on 6th August 1915; Sergeant William E Lynn, Royal Irish Fusiliers, succumbed to wounds received at Mailly-Maillet on 16th June 1916, and Private John Lynn, of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, was killed at Ypres on 9th August 1916.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 23rd March 1918: Dungannon
The presentation of honour certificates on respect to seventy soldiers serving in the present war, fourteen of whom have been killed, was made in Dungannon Courthouse, which was tastefully decorated, and there was a crowded attendance. The band of the 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was present. Amongst the recipients were Mr James Lynn, Mousetown, Coalisland, who received certificates in respect of his four sons, three of whom have been killed in action. Mr J Moore Williamson, Forkhill, Castlecaulfield, and Mr R G Cromie, Moy, also received three certificates each. Mr James Dickson, D.L., Milltown House, presided. The presentation was made by Colonel Stewart, the recipients being warmly applauded. Colonel H Irvine, C.B., Omagh, recruiting officer for Tyrone, said it was sad to think that some three hundred thousand men of military age were still hanging back in Ireland, when their services where most wanted. The greater number of these were not in that part of Ireland, but still at all fairs and markets he could see hundreds of young men walking about who, if he addressed them, either returned surly answers or else walked away. They did not seem to consider that the British soldier was fighting on behalf of civilisation against savagery.
The original Lynn Memorial Tablet was replaced after damage occurred to it during renovations to Brackaville Parish Church. The current memorial states:
‘Erected by sorrowing parents James and Elizabeth Lynn, Mousetown. In Loving Memory of their three sons who fell in action. Driver Robert Lynn R.F.A Killed at Ypres, 6th August 1915. Sergeant William E Lynn, Royal Irish Fusiliers Killed at Mailly-Maillet, 16th July 1916. Private John Lynn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers killed at Ypres, 9th August 1916. Also Sergeant James Lynn A.S.C died on active service at Haifa, Palestine, 6th August 1920. In defence of King Country and Right “God is good, he will give us grace to bear our heavy cross, He is the only one who knows how bitter is our loss.’
The photo below shows the parents of the Lynn brothers, with all four sets of medals.
The CWGC record Private Robert Lynn as the son of James and Elizabeth Lynn, of Mousetown, Coalisland, Co. Tyrone. It also records that he was one of four brothers who died on service during the First World War; two of whom are buried in Belgium, one in France and the fourth in Israel.