Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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M/12142   Engine Room Artificer 4th Class James Donnelly
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Dated added: 12/11/2019   Last updated: 17/06/2020
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: HMS Pembroke, Royal Navy (British Navy)
Date Of Birth: 25/07/1887
Died: 19/05/1915 (Died of Illness)
Age: 27
Summary      
James Donnelly was the son of Owen and Mary Donnelly. He was born about 1888. The family lived in Altaglushan, Clonavaddy, Pomeroy. James emigrated to Canada. James Donnelly went on to become the chief engineer of the Hudson`s Bay Store in Calgary, Alberta. On a visit home to Tyrone in December 1914, James Donnelly enlisted as an Engine Room Artificer with the Navy. He was sent to one of the battleships of the fleet in the Irish Sea. Whilst serving, James Donnelly contracted spinal meningitis. Engine Room Artificer James Donnelly died of cerebro-spinal meningitis on 19th May 1915 in the Royal Navy Hospital at Chatham, England.
Engine Room Artificer 4th Class James Donnelly
Further Information
James Donnelly was the son of Owen and Mary Donnelly. James was one of three children, two surviving.
Naval records suggest James Donnelly was born on 25th July 1887 in Alverton, Westmoreland, America.
Royal Navy record
Known family: Owen Donnelly, Mary Donnelly. James Donnelly (born 25 July 1887, USA), Patrick Donnelly (born about 1892, USA)
The 1901 census lists James as age 13, living with the family at house 17 in Altaglushan, Clonavaddy, County Tyrone. He was still at school. His father was a farmer.
The 1911 census does not list James as living with the family at house 27 in Altaglushan, Clonavaddy, Pomeroy.
James emigrated to Canada.
James was employed in the engineering business in the Crowsnestpass district, south of Calgary.
James Donnelly went on to become the chief engineer of the Hudson`s Bay Store in Calgary, Alberta.
James Donnelly returned home and enlisted on 3rd July 1915 in the Royal Navy.
Royal Navy record
As an Engine Room Artificer, he was sent to one of the battleships of the fleet in the Irish Sea.
Whilst serving, Engine Room Artificer James Donnelly contracted spinal meningitis.
Engine Room Artificer (4th Class) James Donnelly was serving with HMS Pembroke, with the Royal Navy when he died of cerebro-spinal meningitis on 19th May 1915 in the Royal Navy Hospital at Chatham, England.
From an unknown Canadian newspaper in May 1915(?): James Donnelly Dies in English Hospital Ė a Former Well-known Local Man Succumbs to Spinal Meningitis.
Word has been received in Calgary that James Donnelly, who was well-known and popular in local engineering circles, has died at the Royal Navy Hospital at Chatham, England. He was chief engineer at the Hudsonís Bay store in Calgary for some considerable time. While on a visit to his old home in County Tyrone, Ireland, last December, he became so enthusiastic over the efforts that were being made for recruits, that he offered his services as Engine Room Artificer and was sent to one of the battleships of the fleet in the Irish Sea. News was received in Calgary yesterday that he was seized with spinal meningitis and although everything was done for him at Chatham, he succumbed to this complaint. The deceased was also well-known in the Crows Nest Pass district, where he had been employed in the engineering business.
From the Calgary Herald dated 23rd June 1915: Artificer James Donnelly
Late Chief Engineer at the Hudsonís Bay Store in Calgary, who died of spinal meningitis at the Royal Navy hospital, Chatham, England.
Engine Room Artificer (4th Class) James Donnelly is buried in Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham in Kent.
The CWGC record Engine Room Artificer (4th Class) James Donnelly as the son of Owen and Mary Donnelly, of Altaglushan, Cappagh, Pomeroy, County Tyrone.
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References and Links
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1 1901 Census lists Donnelly family Lists James as age 13 living at house 17 in Altaglushan, Clonavaddy, Tyrone
2 1911 Census lists Donnelly family Does not list James as living at house 27 in Altaglushan, Clonavaddy, Tyrone
3 Canadian Virtual War Memorial Details of Artificer James Donnelly including photo
4 FindAGrave.com Photo of Artificer James Donnelly's headstone
5 National Archives UK Naval Medal Card can be purchased here
6 War Graves Photographic Project Photo of Artificer James Donnelly's headstone can be purchased here
Dungannon District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2015-2023