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Remembered Today:

John Tooley Mears


Buttercup

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In Memory of

Company Serjeant Major JOHN MEARS

15/12476, 15th Bn., Royal Irish Rifles

who died age 39

on 04 July 1917

Son of Samuel and Mary Mears; husband of Katherine Mears, of 36, Fairbairn St., Glasgow. Served in the South African Campaign. Born at Woolwich, London.

Remembered with honour

BELFAST CITY CEMETERY

Belfast%20City%20Cem.JPG

This is my Grandfather and I wondered whether someone might take a photo of his headstone for me please. I am convinced

when I went there nearly forty years ago with my Dad (his father) that the headstone said coloured sargeant major. We kids used to laugh about it and ask what colour? Apart from seeing if I was seeing things then, I would love a beter photo, the one I have is really poor, no digital then, just Gratispool if anyone remembers them?

Thank you

Frances :rolleyes:

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Frances

I expect there is more of a story here ! He lived in Glasgow and was buried in Belfast. He served in the 15 RIR,which was a Battalion from 107 Brigade of 36th (Ulster) Division,which,in June 1917 was engaged in the Battle of Messines,when 17 mines were blown under the German lines and initiated a large attack. There was also,according to the Long Long Trail,the largest concentration of Artillery assembled since the start of the War.

Do you know why he was in Belfast ? Was he wounded at Messines (or elsewhere) and brought to a UK Hospital for treatment ? There happened to be the Belfast War Hospital at that time.

He is commemorated on the CWGC website so must have been a serving soldier from 1914-1918, as well as you saying that he was in the South African War.

I remember Gratispool too,I couldn't afford the camera though,just traded a used film for a free new one !

Sotonmate

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Frances

I expect there is more of a story here ! He lived in Glasgow and was buried in Belfast. He served in the 15 RIR,which was a Battalion from 107 Brigade of 36th (Ulster) Division,which,in June 1917 was engaged in the Battle of Messines,when 17 mines were blown under the German lines and initiated a large attack. There was also,according to the Long Long Trail,the largest concentration of Artillery assembled since the start of the War.

Do you know why he was in Belfast ? Was he wounded at Messines (or elsewhere) and brought to a UK Hospital for treatment ? There happened to be the Belfast War Hospital at that time.

He is commemorated on the CWGC website so must have been a serving soldier from 1914-1918, as well as you saying that he was in the South African War.

I remember Gratispool too,I couldn't afford the camera though,just traded a used film for a free new one !

Sotonmate

I never had the camera either, just got the free film. As far as I know he never lived in Glasgow. He was born in Woolwich (Kent at the time) in 1879 and joined the Rifle Brigade in 1897 and was posted to South Africa. He joined the Irish Rifles in Dublin and I think must have been based in Belfast where he met Katherine Morris (from Monaghan), married and they had five children by the time he was disabled out (I believe gassed at the Somme) and died at the Victoria Barracks Hospital on 4th July 1917. His wife moved to Glasgow to get away from the problems in Belfast at the time. My dad took me back there in '68 or '69 and showed me bullets in the wall of the house he lived in and just before it all kicked off again! I would love more info about the 15th Bn. actual movements, there's lots about the 36th and others that make up the whole brigade but I would love more about what actually happened to him. Apparantely he was a really good football player and I have a few photo's of him in uniform and in football gear. The Ancestry pages show that he was in quite a bad way by the time he was discharged home in January 1917. My dad was seven. Thanks for responding.

Frances :rolleyes:

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Was his Belfast address in Sheridan Street by any chance?

I ask because there is a John Mears on the Ulster Covenant website.

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Frances

I wonder if you have seen the 36 Division page from the Long Long Trail ?

http://www.1914-1918.net/36div.htm

It gives a bit of detail of the deployments.

I will find the War Diary reference and pass it on. You might get to read it and see life in the Army in daily detail.

Sotonmate

Edit: 15 RIR War Diary is at Kew under WO95/2503. It runs from Oct 1915 to May 1919.

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Follow the fortunes of 15th Royal Irish from start to finish at link below - lots of detail on their engagements and movements. Try and tie in this history with any other documentation you may come across.

http://www.freewebs.com/denbob/

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Was his Belfast address in Sheridan Street by any chance?

I ask because there is a John Mears on the Ulster Covenant website.

Yes Desmond, I will check that site out, thank you.

:mellow:

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Frances

I wonder if you have seen the 36 Division page from the Long Long Trail ?

http://www.1914-1918.net/36div.htm

It gives a bit of detail of the deployments.

I will find the War Diary reference and pass it on. You might get to read it and see life in the Army in daily detail.

Sotonmate

Edit: 15 RIR War Diary is at Kew under WO95/2503. It runs from Oct 1915 to May 1919.

Thank you I will look at this - I think I checked it before but will look again, many thanks for your response

;)

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Hi BUttercup, I'll try and nip over there in the middle of this coming week and get that for you.

I can't thank you enough - I see you have a person in the 15th too, are you related?

Frances

:D

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Was his Belfast address in Sheridan Street by any chance?

I ask because there is a John Mears on the Ulster Covenant website.

Hi Desmond

I must be thick but I can't find anything apart from a promise of a will which produces nothing - can you tell me what you found please. Thank you

:D

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Was his Belfast address in Sheridan Street by any chance?

I ask because there is a John Mears on the Ulster Covenant website.

I found it afterall - thanks again - interesting!

:D

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Too much coffee for breakfast...cant get a sleep after nightshift so took a run up 10 minutes ago.

Hope this will save ulsterlad2 a run up.

also took pics of more vandalism will post elsewhere.if you need it full size send me a pm

mears.jpg

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Too much coffee for breakfast...cant get a sleep after nightshift so took a run up 10 minutes ago.

Hope this will save ulsterlad2 a run up.

also took pics of more vandalism will post elsewhere.if you need it full size send me a pm

mears.jpg

Thank you thank you, it looks wonderful and I had forgotton the poem at the bottom. I just hate all this vandalism, its so useless and mean! Hope the caffine's gone through and you get some rest. :D:D:D

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Hi BUttercup, I'll try and nip over there in the middle of this coming week and get that for you.

Hi Ulsterlad2 looks like Markinbelfast has saved you a trip, have a good week

:D:rolleyes:

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Frances

You say he never lived in Glasgow ! The CWGC entry for his death says "son of Samuel and Mary Mears,husband of Katherine Mears,of 36 Fairbairn Street,Glasgow !

What a lot of info you got !

Sotonmate

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i'll call and see who the grave owner is.

Oooh thanks Mark - I was about to ask you if they did update the headstones? I hadn't thought about who owns it, I assume then that it's the Army? This looks very well kept and almost new compared to my picture nearly 40 years ago! I was so keen to put your nice new picture in my write up that I deleted the other and now can't find it, I have it somewhere though and I'm sure it's a new headstone. You are a treasure!

:rolleyes::D

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Frances

You say he never lived in Glasgow ! The CWGC entry for his death says "son of Samuel and Mary Mears,husband of Katherine Mears,of 36 Fairbairn Street,Glasgow !

What a lot of info you got !

Sotonmate

I think that must be because the CWGC knew that she had moved there but I can't remember how old my dad was when they moved - he was seven when he died and I'm absolutely sure Jack as he was known, never lived in Glasgow, he died in Belfast. She never went there until after he died although a brother and a sister were also there eventually and I believe she followed the brother shortly after Jack died and because of all the problems in Belfast with five very young children, the youngest was under one - though it seems the same problems were also in Glasgow. Samuel and Mary are correct and they lived in Woolwich, he was a Gunner in the Royal Artillery from Wales, she was from Plymouth, daughter of a shipwright

Thanks again - every bit of info. is building a picture of this family and in particular a Granddad I would have loved to know. His sons (3) all went into the Army and two were wounded (that I know of) but all survived.

Frances :rolleyes:

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  • 2 weeks later...
Oooh thanks Mark - I was about to ask you if they did update the headstones? I hadn't thought about who owns it, I assume then that it's the Army? This looks very well kept and almost new compared to my picture nearly 40 years ago! I was so keen to put your nice new picture in my write up that I deleted the other and now can't find it, I have it somewhere though and I'm sure it's a new headstone. You are a treasure!

:rolleyes:

Hi Mark, just thought I'd let you know that I emailed the CWGC and this is what they said;

'For your information, the Commission is responsible for the upkeep and repair of Commission headstones such as the one marking your Grandfather's grave. We are also responsible for the maintenance of the grave itself, and Belfast City Council maintain it on our behalf. Our aim is to ensure that each casualty is commemorated in perpetuity. You can rest assured that we will not allow the name of your Grandfather, Company Serjeant Major John Tooley Mears to be forgotten.'

I wondered also if it had been replaced because it was vandalised? I may email Belfast City Council to thank them for taking care of it and thank you again for your help.

:D:D

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