65594 Private James Brown of the 2nd Bn, Otago Regiment, NZEF was killed in action on 2nd September 1918. He was the 2nd son of James Brown, Corkermain(e), Cairncastle, and his wife Margaret (Maggie). The 1901 Irish census shows the family there. James Brown, 60 and a farmer, and his wife Margaret (51) listed William (22), James (21), Aggie Jane (19), John (18 and a coachbuilder), Hugh (15), Maggie (14) and Thomas (11) as present on census day.
In 1911 James (70) and his wife Maggie (62) said they had been married for 35 years, and that they had had nine children. Eight were still alive in 1911 and the couple listed William M (31), Agnes Jane (27), Maggie (24) and Robert (18) as present on census day.
James Brown, who said he was born on the 20 February 1879, had been farming in New Zealand for seven/eight years and had his own farm at Otangiwai, Taumarunui, North Island. He enlisted on the 28 July 1917 and his records show that he was 5’ 6 ¼ “ tall with hazel eyes and black hair. He trained in New Zealand until the 30 December 1917.
He went overseas aboard HMNZT 99, Athenic, on the 31 December 1917 from Wellington, disembarked in Glasgow, and marched into No 4 Camp, Larkhall, Salisbury Plain on the 26 February 1918. He moved to Sling Camp on the 6 April and went to France in May 1918. He served for a time with the 2nd Entrenching Battalion but moved to the 4th Company, 2nd Otago Battalion on the 28 August 1918. His military career was very short and he was killed in action on the 2 September 1918.
His grave is II. C. 19 in Bancourt British Cemetery. It is located 4 Km east of Bapaume, and it is likely that he died in the 2nd battle of Bapaume, 21 August-3 September. This was the second phase of the battle of Amiens, the British offensive often taken to be the turning point of the First World War on the Western Front.
The town of Bapaume actually fell into the hands of 'the superb New Zealand Division’, as stated in 1918 Year of Victory, The end of the Great War and the shaping of history, edited by Ashley Ekins, on 29 August 1918, and as also stated, The Times pointed out that capturing Bapaume was 'an honour'. . . that the New Zealand Division ‘had well-earned’. However, there were to be four additional days of hard fighting to wrestle the area around the town from the Germans, and this was when Brown was killed.
The New Zealanders had to capture the villages of Bancourt and Fremicourt and then drive the Germans from the the Bancourt Ridge that lay about 700 metres east of both villages. The Germans fought furiously to keep every inch of the ground they still held and twice counter-attacked. One of these counter-attacks was led by tanks, another crushed only when artillery batteries kept up a relentless fire on the advancing ranks. Only on the evening of 2 September did the resistance finally come to an end and thereafter the exhausted and dispirited Germans began to surrender. 'Bloody Bapaume', as it is sometimes called, was finally over.
The New Zealand front line was then over 20 miles east of Hebuterne from where it had been ten days earlier. Historians now think over 800 New Zealanders were killed in this action and 2300 + were wounded. The battle of Bapaume was, therefore, a very significant action for New Zealand troops, one of their bloodiest engagements on the Western Front.
visit home had been early in May 1918. He was survived by two brothers
in New Zealand and two on active service with the New Zealand Force.
11090 Private John Crawford Moore, son of Mary Moore, of 123, Dumbarton Rd., Glasgow, and the late William Moore, was born at Cairncastle, Co. Antrim, and died aged 30 while serving with the 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment.
2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment were in Mhow, India when war broke out in August 1914 but were immediately sent to England. They were training for service in France and Flanders when orders changed and they were hurried to Gallipoli. They left from Avonmouth on the 29th of March 1915, the whole division reviewed by the King, before W and X Companies sailed aboard the HMT Aragon, Y and Z Companies aboard the HMT Manitou. They went via Malta to Alexandria, reached Mudros in April. They subsequently transferred to the steamer River Clyde and landed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli on the 25 April 1915. They were involved in heavy fighting until the evacuation on the nights of the 7th and 8th of January 1916 when they returned to Egypt. John Crawford Moore died early in their struggle on the 8 May 1915 and he is commemorated in Cairo War Memorial Cemetery.
Private Robert James Stewart, Canterbury Infantry Regiment (NZEF), Ballyhacket Cairncastle Antrim
Photograph from Larne Times and by courtesy of Nigel Henderson.
Positive ID - from the military record of 6303 James Crawford
354 Trooper Joseph Steele, 11th Light Horse Regiment was the brother of Andrew and Hugh Steele and he had enlisted on the 3 March 1915. He said he was then 22 years and 4 months of age (born 2nd October 1892, the second child of Thomas and Margaret Ann Steele, nee Wray or Rea, Sallagh, Cairncastle), single and working as a farm labourer. He was recorded as being 5’ 9” tall and as having grey eyes and dark brown hair.
He was deployed to the Gallipoli Peninsula and while there with the 5th Light Horse Regiment was taken ill with colitis. He was moved from Mudros to England aboard HS Grampian after the 26 September 1915 and admitted to 2nd Southern General Hospital (Southmead Section), Bristol on the 11 October. He received medical treatment until discharged to the Weymouth Depot on the 10 January 1916. He then became one of the 21st Reinforcement Draft and was sent by Ivernia to Alexandria. He was at Heliopolis on the 1 March 1916 and was posted to ‘B’ Squadron, 11 Light Horse Regiment.
He was wounded in action at El Ferdan, a ‘slight’ shrapnel wound to his shoulder, and was treated for short periods in 1 Australian Stationary Hospital, 3 Australian General Hospital and at 14 General Hospital, Cairo before being released to the British Red Cross Hospital at Montazah for further convalescence. He was discharged to Moascar Camp and the 3rd Light Horse Training Battalion on the 11 October 1916. He undertook machine gun training at Zeitoun before returning to the 11th Light Horse Regiment via the 4 Light Horse Regiment on the 7 March 1917.
He was wounded again on the 5 July 1917, this time being shot in the palm of his left hand. It was self-inflicted and caused by him discharging his rifle while cleaning it. Such incidents were always suspicious – such wounds were often inflicted for the purpose of avoiding duty – and a Court of Enquiry was set up. Its verdict is set out below.
40408 Corporal James Montgomery Todd, 2nd Royal Irish Rifles, Cairncastle, Co. Antrim, Prisoner of War
Photograph from the Larne Times, June 1918 and by courtesy of Nigel Henderson
40408 Corporal James Montgomery Todd, 2nd Royal Irish Rifles, Cairncastle, Co. Antrim, Prisoner of War Record