9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers (British Army)
Date Of Birth:
16/08/1917 (Killed in Action)
James Matthew Stronge was the only son of Sir James Henry Stronge D.L. and Ethel Margaret Stronge. James Matthew was born on 10th January 1891. The family lived at Tynan Abbey, County Armagh. James Matthew Stronge attended Reading University College between 1911-13. Lieutenant James Matthew Stronge was serving with the 9th Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers when he was killed in action at the Battle of Ypres on 16th August 1917. He was 26 years old. He had been married just weeks before his death to Winifred Alexander of Carrickmore.
James Matthew Stronge was the only son of Sir James Henry Stronge D.L. and Ethel Margaret Stronge. James Matthew was born on 10th January 1891.
The family lived at Tynan Abbey, County Armagh.
The 1901 census does not list James as living with the family at house 1.1 in Fairview or Mucklagh, Tynan, Armagh.
Family: James Henry Stronge, Ethel Margaret Stronge, James Matthew Stronge (born 10th January 1891), Joe Edith Stronge (born about 1887), Daphve Helen Stronge (born about 1889), Rose Ethel Stronge (born about 1894), Lepy Stronge (born about 1897).
The 1911 census lists James as age 20 living at house 1 in Fairview or Mucklagh, Tynan, Armagh. He derived an income from the Land.
James Matthew Stronge attended Reading University College between 1911-13.
Lieutenant James Matthew Stronge was serving with the 9th Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers when he was killed in action at the Battle of Ypres on 16th August 1917. He was 26 years old.
He had been married just weeks before his death to Winifred Alexander of Carrickmore, Tyrone
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 23rd August 1917: Royal Irish Fusiliers
Lieutenant James Matthew Stronge, Royal Irish Fusiliers, only son of Sir James H Stronge, Bart., D.L., Tynan Abbey, County Armagh, Imperial Grand Master of the Loyal Orange Institution, was killed in action on 16th August, aged 26 years. The pathos of the bereavement is accentuated by the fact that this gallant officer was married so recently as 10th July last to Winifred, fourth daughter of Lieutenant Colonel H G S Alexander, of Carrickmore House, County Tyrone, the ceremony being performed by the Lord Primate of All Ireland (Most Rev. Dr Crozier) at St Columbkill’s Church, Carrickmore. Lieutenant Stronge was a member of the despatch Riding Corps of the Ulster Volunteer Force, and a Deputy Grand Master if the Loyal Orange Institution of Ireland. He obtained his commission in a battalion of the Faugh-a-Ballaghs raised in his native county on the formation of the Ulster Division., and took part in the opening of the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916, and the victorious advance on the Messines-Wytschaete Ridge on 7th June last. The Lord Primate has written the following appreciation of the young officer:-
‘The whole of Ulster is one today in deep and heartfelt sympathy with Sir James and Lady Stronge and the members of their family, and especially with the young bride, in the overwhelming sorrow which has fallen upon them through the death in action of Lieutenant James Stronge. I have known him for some years, and have seldom or ever met a more gallant, devoted, and thoroughly Christian young Irishman. Greatly beloved at home, and respected by all who knew him, we naturally look forward to a long and useful life amongst us. In France I saw him many times during my visit to the front, with his father Sir James Stronge; and it was easy to see how gallantly he was playing his part in this great world conflict. He is now numbered amongst those gallant sons of Ulster who ‘loved not their lives unto the death’. His life and character and conduct will be long remembered by us all, and will prove an inspiration to us and our children to try and do our duty better in that state of life into which it has pleased God to call us.’
Mr James Reade, secretary of the Belfast County Grand Lodge of the Orange Institution, has sent the following telegram of condolence to Sir James Stronge:- ‘Sir James Stronge, Bart., D.L., Tynan Abbey, Deeply grieved death your gallant son in action. Express behalf Orangemen of Belfast sincere sympathy in your sorrow – Reade, Grand Secretary.’
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 27th August 1917: The Late Lieutenant J M Stronge
Writing to Mr George Lunn, D.D.M., of Lurgan Orange District, acknowledging a telegraph of sympathy on the death of his only son, Sir James Stronge, Bart., D.L., Tynan Abbey, says:-
‘Many thanks to you and the Lurgan District for their sympathy. I believe that some of the Lurgan brethren must have known my son, and I dare say that some Lurgan Orangemen served with him and may have been with him when he died instantaneously among his own transport men of the R.I.F. He would have done anything for them. They knew it, and were ready to do anything for him. I heard that from Colonel Blacker when in France in January 1916. I shall miss his very capable help in many ways during the rest of my life. But, thank God, none of us, not even his dear wife, grudge him to the cause in which he fell. We try to take it in the spirit which my son himself would wish.’
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 29th August 1917: Armagh Guardians Sympathy
At a meeting of the Armagh Poor-law Guardians yesterday, Mr W J Todd moved that the Board pass a vote of sympathy with the friends and relatives of the soldiers who have been recently killed or wounded. Mr John Corkey seconded. The chairman (Mr James Wilkins) thought they should specially sympathise with Sir James Stronge, a former chairman of the Board, whose son, Lieutenant J M Stronge, had, he said, died while fighting like a gallant soldier. The resolution was passed in silence.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 1st September 1917: The Late Lieutenant J M Stronge
An appropriate reference was made by the magistrates at Tynan petty sessions on Saturday to the death in action of Lieutenant J M Stronge, only son of Sir James H Stronge, Bart., Chairman of the Court. The following resolution was passed:-‘Resolved that we desire to express to sir James Stronge, our chairman, our very deep and sincere sympathy with him in his great bereavement in the loss of his gallant son, and that we, as a mark of respect, do adjourn this court, without transacting any but the most urgent business.’ District Inspector Conran, on behalf of the constabulary; Mr Anderson, on behalf of the legal profession; and Mr Costigan, clerk of petty sessions, associated themselves with the resolution.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 4th September 1917: The Late Lieutenant J M Stronge
Major J N Blackwood-Price, D.L., as Grand Master of the Orangemen of County Down, sent on their behalf a letter of sympathy to Sir James Stronge, Bart, D.L., Grandmaster of Ireland, on the death of his son, who was killed in action during recent fighting, and he has receiv3ed an acknowledgement conveying to them the thanks of Sir James.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 11th September 1917: Memorial Service in Tynan
A service in memory of the late Lieutenant James M Stronge and of others who have fallen in the war was held in Tynan Parish Church on Sunday, when the sermon was preached by the Lord Primate (Most Rev Dr Crozier). Amongst those present were Sir James and Lady Stronge; Mrs J M Stronge, the Misses Stronge, the Earl and Countess of Caledon, the Honourable Mrs Alexander, Colonel Alexander, the Misses McClintock, the Archdeacon of Armagh, Mr and Mrs H B Armstrong, Mr H C Irwin, Mrs J C Boyle, Mr A Nelson, J.P. The Royal Irish Fusiliers were represented by Lieutenant Colonel W C Fitzgerald and Captain McIlwaine; and there were also present a number of members of the Orange Order, who marched in procession to the church. The officiating clergy were the Revs Canon Tichborne, N St G Sides, and W H Fitzmaurice.
The Lord Primate, taking for his text the words ‘Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life’, said in two memorable engagements the men of the Ulster Division had won undying fame, not only for their own province, but for the whole of Ireland. Both at Thiepval and Messines, the men of Ulster helped to carry the flag to victory. It was in the Battle of Messines that their beloved comrade, Lieutenant Stronge, fell wounded unto death, after bringing up through shot and shell, the supplies of water food and munitions that the men so sorely needed. He (his Grace) had read the testimony of officers and men alike to Lieutenant Stronge’s patience, resourcefulness, and courage. One who had the right to speak of the deceased officer said he never set his men a task which he would not willingly perform himself. Thank God for the record of such a life! And with Lieutenant Stronge’s name they linked all those Ulstermen who had taught them the story of sacrifice, of service duty and honour – more especially the men whose names were registered on the roll of honour of that parish. At the close of the service, the Last Post was sounded by buglers belonging to the Royal Irish Fusiliers.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 2nd October 1917: The Late Lieutenant Stronge
The following letter has been received by the secretary of the County Armagh Grand Orange Lodge from Sir James H Stronge, Bart, D.L., in reply to a resolution of sympathy passed on the occasion of the death of Lieutenant Stronge:-
‘Please convey to the secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of the County of Armagh my warmest thanks and the thanks of my wife and daughter in law for their kind expression of sympathy. It is a great comfort to us to know how much my son was respected and loved throughout this county. My brethren are able to realise how great the loss is to us. We are, however, thankful for the useful and honoured life which my son spent among us, and for the fact that the soldier’s death which he met was instantaneous and at the head of the men who loved him. He was leading them in the performance of a dangerous duty with skill and courage, which have been highly praised by the General commanding the Ulster Division, and no sacrifice can be too great in this case.’
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 21st December 1917: Will of the Late Lieutenant Stronge
Lieutenant James Matthew Stronge, Royal Irish Fusiliers, Tynan Abbey, Armagh, Ireland who was killed in France on 16th August, only son of Sir James Stronge, Bart., left personal property of the value of £1045 15s 1d. The testator gives his real estate in the counties of Armagh, Tyrone and Londonderry to the use of his father for life, with remainder to his first and other sons in tail male, charged with the payment of £500 per annum to his wife, and of £10,000 for his younger children. The residue of his property goes to his wife.
Lieutenant James Matthew Stronge is buried in Brandhoek Military Cemetery 3, near Ypres in Belgium.
Lieutenant Stronge's name heads the war memorial at the church in Tynan.
Lieutenant James Stronge is also listed in the Tyrone Masonic Lodge Roll of Honour, under Lodge 21, Caledon.
A lodge in Killylea District is named after distinguished soldier Major James Matthew Stronge. Sir Norman's cousin who was killed in action at the battle of Ypres in 1917.
The CWGC record Lieutenant Stronge as the only son of James Henry Stronge, Baronet, and Ethel, his wife, of Tynan Abbey, Tynan, Co. Armagh.
With his death, the baronetcy passed at his father's death to his father's cousin.
Lieutenant James Stronge's only connection with Dungannon district is that he is listed on the Tyrone Masonic Lodge Roll of Honour, in Caledon.