Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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Date Name Information
28/06/2018 Sgt. James Lynn M.M. ‘I was glad to have the Mid Ulster Mail, and was very glad to see some of my previous letters appearing therein. I enclose you now a special contribution, which I hope will also be published as it will show up the slackers. As the time goes on, one can realise more the seriousness of this struggle. It is an awful sight to see the refugees day after day as we see them pass by, some with little children looking for shelter, generally a barn or outhouse, until they can safely return to their homes, then perhaps only to find them looted or levelled to the ground. It is a good job this is not happening at home. Just fancy being shelled out of house and home, perhaps wounded, and looking back at your home in flames. One’s thoughts are then - Where shall I go; which way shall I turn, or where shall I get my next meal? We see thousands of people in this predicament every day, trudging along in rain and snow, with the odds of the world against them on all sides. Yet there are many able-bodied men at home standing back while these poor wretches are suffering such hardships. Should this not make them ashamed of themselves, and say ‘I’m going to enlist and keep the old flag flying, and die fighting on the battlefield for its glory and honour, sooner than remain at home and die with friends around my bedside’. Let us hope these eligible young men who are holding back will adopt this course before too late. Although we are not fighting much at present, we shall soon be in the thick of it again. I heard from a very good source that the war will finish up early in summer, as German supplies will then be exhausted, and she finds it difficult to fill the ranks afresh of the countless numbers she has lost. She lost the best of her men in the retreat from Mons and in the battle for Calais. ‘French’s contemptible little army’ wastes too much for the Germans, and no praises are good enough for our lads when you think of all we have been through, to give them their due, they are very game.’
28/06/2018 Sgt. James Lynn M.M. Writing on 5th December, Bombardier Lynn says:-
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28/06/2018 Sgt. James Lynn M.M. From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 26th December 1914: Bombardier James Lynn
28/06/2018 Sgt. James Lynn M.M. ‘The weather is most unpleasant; the snow has cleared away, and we have wind and rain instead, which is most monotonous. We are living in underground trenches, which we have covered with a layer of thick branches, thin straw, and earth on top of all this. We have made fire places in them and have fires during the day, though it is very cold at night. We are doing very little firing at present, and with the exception of a little bit of sniping, the Germans are also quiet. I hope you are not worrying about your two sons being away at the war, as lots of other parents have given a number of boys to the Empire, and thousands of brothers are fighting side by side at this very moment, and a good many of them have died, while, thank God, Bob and I are still spare. I must say I am ashamed of the country I belong to. I saw in the paper that some young men from Rock went off as fast as they could to America when mention was made of compulsory service. I would like to see some of them in the trenches. Remember me to all at home.’
28/06/2018 Sgt. James Lynn M.M. Bombardier James Lynn, Royal Field Artillery, in a letter dated 30th November to his parents says:-
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28/06/2018 Sgt. James Lynn M.M. From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 26th December 1914: Bombardier James Lynn
25/06/2018 Pte. Robert J Averall Holdfast L.O.L. 1620 met in Dungannon Orange Hall on 7th December, when Bro. James Nixon, W.M., presided, and Bro. William Kerr, occupied the vice-chair. On the motion of the W.M. a resolution was adopted, expressing deep sympathy with the parents of Bro. Robert Averall, a member of the lodge who had been killed at Ypres.
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25/06/2018 Pte. Robert J Averall From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 12th December 1914:
24/06/2018 Sgt. James Lynn M.M. In a further letter, dated 23rd November he says:- ‘It is awfully cold here now. There is snow on the ground, and it has been snowing for the last four or five days. I am not in the trenches now, as we have taken shelter in a French restaurant, which has been fairly well riddled with shot and shell. The infantry in the trenches have provided themselves with all kinds of things that might serve as cover. They even have umbrellas, and the sight they present in their dug outs is very funny. I am well provided with clothes for the winter.
24/06/2018 Sgt. James Lynn M.M. In a letter to his parents in Coalisland on 13th November, Bombardier James Lynn, Royal Field Artillery, says he is still attached to the field telephone party. It is, he writes, a most dangerous job, for when the wires are cut by shell fire, they have to go out in the open and make the necessary repairs, and they are thus an easy target for German snipers. There is, in his opinion, a great slackening down on the part of the Germans.
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24/06/2018 Sgt. James Lynn M.M. From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 5th December 1914: Bombardier James Lynn
19/06/2018 Pte. James Devlin DEVLIN – 29th October, died of wounds received in action at the Battle of Ypres, Private James Devlin, 2nd Battalion Inniskilling Fusiliers, son of Mrs E Devlin, Railway View, Dungannon.
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19/06/2018 Pte. James Devlin From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 28th November 1914:
17/06/2018 Pte. James O'Neill O’NEILL – 31st October, killed in action at the Battle of Ypres, Private James O’Neill, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, of Wilson’s Lane, Dungannon.
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17/06/2018 Pte. James O'Neill From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 28th November 1914:
17/06/2018 Pte. James O'Neill Intimation has been received in Dungannon on Tuesday from the War Office that Private James O’Neill, Wilson’s Lane, Dungannon, a reservist of the 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, has been killed in action on the 31st October, during the severe struggle which waged in front of Ypres, in which the London Scottish greatly distinguished themselves. Private O’Neill leaves a wife and two little children, aged four years and sixteen months respectively. He is the first soldier from Dungannon district to be killed in the war. He rejoined the colours on 12th August, and left for the front on 16th September.
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17/06/2018 Pte. James O'Neill From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 28th November 1914: Private James O’Neill
14/06/2018 Driver Robert Lynn Driver Robert Lynn, of the Royal Field Artillery, in a letter to his mother dated 24th October says:- ‘This week has seen the hardest fighting we have been in yet. One morning it was like open hell with shell fire on our battery. Near night the Germans were almost on top of us, and they fell in heaps before our guns and infantry. Poor fellows! It was the last handful of a regiment, 1,300 or 1,400 strong. Our guns were almost captured only for the bravery of an officer. One of my horses was shot and it put the fear of God into me when I saw horses and men falling around me and I was waiting every second for my turn. It was awful. As I write this the shells are flying around. The country people around here are fleeing for their lives in all directions. I saw one house hit, and a woman and a few children were fleeing from it, and the poor woman with a baby in her arms dropped exhausted at our feet. The South African War was not a pin scratch to one of these engagements. I never had better health or better appetite. I have never caught a cold. We get lots of tobacco and cigarettes, and we are getting more comfortable clothing, but we are fighting fifty to one and need more men. Tell father if I am spared to return I shall take him a souvenir in the shape of a German’s lancer’s belt or helmet. Please send me a weekly paper giving the home news.’
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14/06/2018 Driver Robert Lynn From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 28th November 1914: Driver Robert Lynn
13/06/2018 Sgt. James Lynn M.M. Writing on 8th November to his brother, he says:- ‘I have been through the mill since I last saw you, but I am getting quite used to it now, though I have seen some sights I should not like to see again. No one knows it only the boys in the trenches and our boys behind the guns. The Royal Field Artillery have covered themselves in glory in this war, for it has been nearly all artillery work. The infantry have a hat time of it with ‘coal boxes’ and ‘Black Marias’, as we call the German shells. The noise of the explosion is something awful, and even when they do not take effect, the noise knocks one stupid. Our Indian soldiers, especially the Ghurkhas, made the enemy quake, and fairly back them with bayonets and knives. The weather is getting cold, and today is misty, and frost is threatening. We dig holes behind the guns and get straw and live like rabbits. You would laugh if you saw some of us boys with beards. I hear Bob Patterson is a prisoner of war.’
13/06/2018 Sgt. James Lynn M.M. Bombardier James Lynn, RFA, writing to his parents at Coalisland says ‘We are having it hot and heavy, but thank God I am safe yet, though I have had several narrow escapes. On Monday the corporal and I were laying out some field telephone wire over ground in view of the German trenches, not knowing how dangerous it was. When we got to the end of the wire, we knelt to attach the telephone, when the Germans opened up on us with a battery, machine guns and rifles. I shall never forget it. The Corporal was killed at my side, and a lance corporal of the Engineers about thirty yards away was wounded in the thigh. It was so decreed that I was not to fall. Humanly speaking, nothing could have lived through that hail of lead. Our trenches were about eighty yards off, and I did a sprint and fell into the first trench on top of two men, who were crushed, so I had to go to another trench fifty yards further on, which I reached, thank God, without a scratch. I have been recommended for gallantry on the field for obeying orders, and carrying them out under fire.’
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13/06/2018 Sgt. James Lynn M.M. From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 28th November 1914: Bombardier James Lynn, R.F.A.
11/06/2018 Capt Hugh Hogg Beatty ‘We had our longest route march last Wednesday, the distance being altogether about 27 miles – some say more. We marched from Seaford, Sussex, through Alfriston, Polegate, and on to Hailsham, where we had half an hour’s rest, and returned via Upper Dicker, in which village there is the residence of ‘John Bull’ (Mr Horatio Bottomley). Mr Bottomley invited the battalion into his grounds and dispensed biscuits, beer and tobacco to every man. We arrived back at camp at 7pm very tired. I felt very fit next morning, but nearly 100men had to see the doctor suffering from sore feet, etc. They are almost all right today. We are having a night march 4:30 to 8pm tonight, and half-holiday on Saturday.’
11/06/2018 Capt Hugh Hogg Beatty Sergeant H H Beatty, a well-known Dungannon rugby man, writing from the headquarters of the Cardiff Commercial Battalion of the 11th Welsh Regiment, at Seaford, Sussex, says:-
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11/06/2018 Capt Hugh Hogg Beatty From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 28th November 1914: Severe Marching on the South Coast – John Bulls Hospitality
11/06/2018 Pte. Robert J Averall Mr James Averill, Brook Street, Dungannon has received intimation from the War Office that his son Robert, who belonged to the 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in action on 12th November at the battle of Ypres. He was called up with the Reservists on 7th August and went to the front on the 5th September. The deceased was a member of A Company, Dungannon U.V.F.
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11/06/2018 Pte. Robert J Averall From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 28th November 1914: Private Robert Averill
11/06/2018 Pte. Robert J Averall AVERILL – 12th November, killed in action at the Battle of Ypres, Private Robert Averill, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, sons of James Averill, Brooke Street, Dungannon.
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11/06/2018 Pte. Robert J Averall From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 28th November 1914:
04/06/2018 Driver Robert Lynn Driver Robert Lynn, of the 87th Battery Royal Field Artillery, writing under date of 31st October to friends at Coalisland, says that he was sure they had seen by the papers the accounts of the various battles. The people at home know more how the war is progressing than the boys at the front. We are having a bit of a rough time here with plenty of scrapping. I am still dodging German bullets, though about a week ago we were in none position, and I thought it was all up with us. It started about three o’clock in the morning, and a terrible fire lasted all day, in fact a proper artillery duel. We had twelve casualties in our troop. My two horses got hit just as I was giving them a bit of spur to get out of their range, but I dragged them on. I was never so glad to see a day over in my life. We had a few more severe days at the Battle of Aisne, but we never came as near the enemy as today. We were sure the guns were gone as we had to leave them, but we went back with a rush and got them out again. You should have heard the Germans shout as they advanced. We had a regiment of infantry with us about fifteen hundred strong, but after that terrible night they numbered scarcely two hundred. It was an awful sight to see them; they were running up into the firing line, some without rifles, and we had to give ours. The Germans are very cruel, and sometimes it is all up with our chaps when they get into their heads. They have this country ruined, and it is sad to see every town you come to looted and destroyed , and some of the finest buildings you ever saw tumbled to the ground by shell fire, but their own country will suffer by and by. You would laugh at them coming into action. They come in millions, no skirmishing order, just in lumps, and they make fine targets. They fall in heaps in front of our chaps. They must be losing an awful lot of men, and you would think that after one good hard day’s fighting that they were nearly wiped out, but still they come in droves. Our chaps are all expecting to be home for Christmas, but I think it won’t be over so soon as that. We are all about fed up listening to shell fire day and night; it never stops. I saw R McNally when I was coming through the base. His battery caught it very hard, and he is resting there at present. I have never yet seen Patterson (Robert Patterson officially reported as a prisoner of war). McNally will not forget the Battle of Mons in a hurry. He was nearly in tears when I was talking to him, as most of his chums in the battery had been killed.
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04/06/2018 Driver Robert Lynn From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 21st November 1914: Driver Robert Lynn
03/06/2018 Pte. John Cullen The CWGC record Private John Cullen as the son of John Cullen, of Fair View, Ann Street, Dungannon, County Tyrone
03/06/2018 Pte. John Cullen John Cullen was the son of John Cullen. He was born in Drumglass, County Tyrone about 1865.
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