James Welsh was the eldest son of James and Emily Welsh (nee Millar). James was born on 20th February 1894 in County Tyrone. The family were lived in Annagarvey, Cecil, Augher, Tyrone.
Jamesís mother died in 1907. His father was a farmer and a miller. James Welsh emigrated to Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada where he worked as a salesman. James Welsh enlisted on 6th November 1915 at Regina, Saskatchewan. Hereafter he became know as James Walsh. Private James Welsh was serving with the 5th Battalion of the Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan Regiment), when he was killed in action near Vimy Ridge in France on 9th April 1917. James was 23 years old.
James Welsh was the eldest son of James and Emily Welsh. James Welsh and Emily Millrt were married on 24th February 1893 in the district of Dungannon.
James Welsh (junior) was born on 20th February 1894 in Annagarvey, Clogher, County Tyrone. He was one of at least seven children, all born in the Augher area.
The 1901 census records James as 7 years old. The family were living at house 1 in Annagarvey, Cecil, Augher, Tyrone.
Known family: James Welsh, Emily Welsh, James Welsh (born 20th February 1894), Margaret Welsh (born 21st March 1896), Elizabeth Welsh (born 14th April 1898), Emily Welsh (born 18th March 1901), Unnamed son (born 12th May 1903, twin), Robert Welsh (born 12th May 1903, twin), Martha Anna Welsh (born 24th January 1907)
James mother, Emily Walsh, died on 28th April 1907 in the Clogher area. She was 37 years old.
James was a boarder at the Royal School Dungannon from 1910.
By 1911 James no longer lived with the family. His father was a farmer and a miller. The family still lived at house 1 in Annagarvey, Cecil, Tyrone.
His father hoped James would take over the running of the family mill, but he was determined to make his own way in life.
Jim Welsh emigrated to Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada where he worked as a Salesman.
James Welsh enlisted on 6th November 1915 at Regina, Saskatchewan. Hereafter he became know as James Walsh.
The following is a series of letters, which Paul Kerr uncovered during his research for the Royal School Dungannon's Book. Unfortunately he had not sufficient space to list all the letters but they are transcribed here.
A letter from Jim Welsh to his father dated 16th November 1915, from Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada:
Dear father, Received your welcome letter a few days ago. As you will know from Lizzie I am in hospital again, having a toe off, which is necessary to pass the army medical examination. I did not know I would have so much trouble when I started, but since I have started, I'll see it through if it takes my last cent which it pretty nearly will, but I'll not complain. Sorry your convictions on this subject do not coincide, but did you ever think father, if all Belgians, French and Britishers had your convictions Germany would now have you and you would have nothing, because you surely do not think that you would be as well under German rule as British, the greatest, first and finest in the world today. To thoroughly realise this, you want to live in Canada for a year and see the emigrants from other countries. French, German, Russian, Swede and all the others settle here and make good and after two or three years Britain is the only country for them either. Sorry to hear you hurt your arm. How did it happen? I hope it is alright by now and that you are in good health otherwise. Lizzie says Martha's eyes still keep bad, poor little kid, she is sure doing her share of suffering in this life. I hope to be over with the 68th Battalion C.E.F. next Spring. We stay in Canada all winter and go over to England in Spring. I expect to get to the trenches next summer. I sent some photos a few days ago. I hope you get them alright. Hoping to hear from you soon and remain your loving son. Jim.
A letter from Jim Welsh to his father dated 26th December 1916, from 'Somewhere in France':
Dear father, I received yours a few days ago. I was glad to see all are well at home. Was sorry I could not send cons. to Maggie sooner but we were in the front line at the time and as you may guess, writing facilities up there are not of the best. We had quite a good Christmas here. D company had a dinner last night and all had a very fine time, speeches, songs and all the usual, the kind of things which go with such affairs. In your letter you mentioned a parcel. I have never received any. In fact I should have had several from Canada also. I hope you had a very pleasant and Merry Christmas at home. Give my regards to all the kiddies and especially to Martha. I would have liked to send her something for Christmas but funds would not permit. I must close now as the mail closes shortly. Hope to hear from you soon. I remain your loving son. Jim.
A letter from Jim Welsh to his sister Lizzie dated 31st January 1917, from France:
Dear Lizzie, I got your letter a few days ago. I was very sorry to hear of Mr Warnock's and W Lindsey's death. Poor Lindsey, I wrote him some time ago but never heard from him. Give my regards to her sister if you see her and tell her she has my sympathy. Poor Mr Warnock. He went very sudden. Mrs W. will be in quite a ?? now. Have they ever heard from Bob? Give her my regards and sympathy also. We are having quite a fine time here yet very few casualties, and the weather dry of frost, but I guess we will have fast enough some of these days. How are chances for a parcel occasionally? Not much you know, just a cake. We get all the tobacco and socks we want so you may omit them. You might also let Maggie know, so that if she is sending me anything, she may omit these items also. I'm glad you all like George Sleator's wife. Does Aunt E like her also? I hope she does. When I was home she was not pleased with G's marriage at all. About that parcel from England sent by ??, it contained a pair of britches and a tunic, pair of boots, all my own property and some photos and papers I could not carry. Hope it has got home by now. With best love and regards to all. I am your loving brother. Jim.
A letter from Jim Welsh to his father dated 14th February 1917 from France:
Dear father, I received your welcome letter two days ago. I am glad to see by it that all goes well at home. So Emmie is qualifying as a teacher. That surely throws a lot of work on Lizzie. Don't work her so hard or she may want to get away also. With Maggie and Emmie gone you should have some help for her. Glad to hear Martha is doing will at school. I must enclose her a note. I guess you have had a pretty severe winter over there. According to the paper we get here, it is the most severe winter England has had for twenty-two years. The French people here think it is awful but it is just fine for us. Hard and dry. Of course it is rather cold but is far more preferable to rain and anyway it nothing to a Canadian winter. You certainly seem to be having war prices over there £6 per cut for pork, that is sure some inflation. Surely the Irish farmers are making money fast. Is Nan Walsh's husband in France now and what with? More chance of meeting him than meeting any of the ???. When you see William Walsh again, tell him an old friend of his was enquiring of me for him, a chap named Dave Buchanan. I think he was a chum of Albert and Willie's at Dublin and comes from Strabane. He came out with us from Canada. I first knew him there. I guess I will have to close now. Hoping all continues to go well at home. Your loving son. Jim.
A letter from Jim Welsh to his young sister Martha dated 14th February 1917 from France
Dear Martha, many, many thanks for your note in father's letter. Father says you are doing well at school, that is good. Don't forget the piano. When I go back I will want you to play for me and I think that I will not be long now. And you are glad I am not sick, that is also good. But your big brother is not very often sick and when he is, it is no that bad. Tell Bob he is a scamp for not writing to me. But I suppose he is too busy. This is all the time. Hoping to hear from you soon. I am your loving brother, Jim.
Private James Welsh was serving with the 5th Battalion of the Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan Regiment), when he was killed in action near Vimy Ridge in France on 9th April 1917. James was 23 years old.
Private James Welsh is buried in grave 3.A.18 at Nine Elms Military Cemetery, Thelus, France.
Private James Welsh is commemorated locally on Clogher War Memorial. He is listed as being from Annagarvey.
From the Tyrone Courier dated 4th November 2015: Clogher Valley Cllr Mulligan remembers uncle killed in war
Private Welsh was one of four cousins who made the supreme sacrifice during the First World War. The other three were: Corporal James Sleator, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, killed 1st December 1915. Private Robert Oliver Yule, 22nd Battalion Australian Infantry, killed 14th April 1914. Rifleman James McKeown, 4th Battalion, 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade, killed 6th August 1918.
The CWGC record James as the son of James and Emily Welsh (nee Millar), of Annagarvey, Augher, Co. Tyrone, Ireland.