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ARMAGH

Lt McCormack Royal Field Artillery

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ARMAGH

Whilst researching the Ulster Gazette for military information I came across this article from Field Marshel Sir Douglas Haig an immediate award of an Military Cross to Lt J.V. McCormack Royal Field Artillery for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at Le Chateau.From 1st to 10 Nov 1918.Lt McCormack had already won distinction by being commissioned in 1917 for service in the field.and is one of 5 brothers who have all seen considerable service during the Great war in their fathers regiment,the Royal Artillery.

The McCormack family came from Armagh,where? We are trying to find out.

Any suggestings?

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kildaremark

A search of www.census.nationalarchives.ie gives a few McCormack families in Armagh.

One family at Barrack Hill, Armagh has the father listed as Joseph McCormack, Army Service Corps. No JV at home but the family had ten children. Always worth checking McCormick also.

Incidentally, 1901 will be in line on the same website by early June.

Mark

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rflory

Brigadier John Victor McCormack, OBE, MC, RA

Born on 28 Aug 1892 at the Isle of Wight

Enlisted in the Royal Horse Artillery as a Trumpeter at Woolwich in 1908

Went to France with the BEF as a No. 1 in 1914

Commissioned 'for service in the field' in 1916

While serving with B Battery, 150th Brigade, he received the Military Cross in the London Gazette of 2 Apr 1919 with the following citation published in the London Gazette of 10 Dec 1919: "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on the 4th November, 1918, when the situation about Landrecies was obscure, and the second barrage had to be postponed, he volunteered to go forward and obtain information. He made a most daring reconnaissance, returning with information of the highest value, which resulted in the cancelling of the barrage. From 4th to 10th November he acted as battalion liaison officer to the advanced guard, during which period he showed the greatest energy and courage, the accurate messages he sent back being often the only information obtainable from the front."

Retired in 1929 as a Captain and became Secretary of he Officers Christian Union

Rejoined the Royal Artillery in 1938

Promoted Major

Joined the Staff of Lord Gort with the BEF in France in 1939

In May 1940 he was in Calais surrounded by Germans but stole a car and drove through the German positions, rescuing three British soldiers who had been taken prisoner. They all made it to Dunkirk where they were evacuated a few days later. (Mentioned in Despatches).

At Cherbourg he was promoted to Colonel and given a new command.

In 1941 posted to General Wilson's staff in the Middle East and

Promoted to Brigadier and appointed as Director of Public Relations, Middle East

Appointed to General Eisenhower's staff where directed public relations for the North African, Sicilian and Italian campaigns (awarded OBE and US Legion of Merit.

At the end of the war he returned in the position of Director of Public Relations, Middle East until retiring in 1947

Then became chief correspondent for the United Press in Cairo

Retired to the Isle of Wight

Died at age 84 in July 1976

His son was Captain J. McCormack, Retired

Sources: Journal of the Royal Artillery; Gunner, November 1946; various Army Lists.

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ARMAGH

Many Thanks Gents,

have check out Barrack Hill Armagh" McCormack"

Also many thanks for the other information,it may be that the family only stayed in Armagh for a short period of time!!!

Joe

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ARMAGH

From The Somme To Afghanistan

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Source: Soldier Magazine

A little black Book of Common Prayer that was presented to a young Irish soldier in 1915 and cherished throughout his life, has arrived with its new custodian in Camp Bastion 95 years later.

The Lord Wharton Book of Common Prayer was presented to William Joseph McCormack at St Bartholomew’s Church in Sheffield, on 22 December 1915, by the vicar there.

Will (as he was known) joined the Royal Horse Artillery and went to Woolwich at the age of 15. He was the smallest soldier in the regiment; so small in fact, he could stand underneath his horse Molly.

One of six Armagh-born brothers who all joined the RHA, Will, a Regimental Sergeant Major, carried the Book of Common Prayer with him as he fought in the Great War at Mons, Ypres and the Somme.

The small black leather hardback Bible with the gold wording 'By the will of Philip Lord Wharton' on the front, was probably a great source of comfort to Will as he spent many desperate months in the trenches of Northern France.

Sadly, of the 280 young men who joined the regiment and left Ireland together, only three survived and Will was one of them.

He only ever made one reference to the Great War and that was at the funeral of his wife Florrie. The presiding vicar said “She is in God’s keeping now and he will look after her,” and Will responded “I doubt that. God is still counting them from the Somme".

When Will died aged 90, the Book of Common Prayer was passed on to his granddaughter Alex Cullingworth.

It was Alex who thought the little black book should continue its useful life with the British Army and moreover, that it should be in a place where it can bring comfort to those who are fighting in a war.

What better place for the book than with the British Army's Senior Chaplain for Task Force Helmand, Padre Mark Christian, who is responsible for the chaplains of 11 Light Brigade, currently in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan.

Alex said: “My grandfather came from a family of professional soldiers who gave over 250 years of service to the British Army. As well as his five brothers who served he had two children who both served.

“My mother was a Captain in the Royal Signals and was the first woman officer to serve at the War Office in the underground bunker. Her brother, my uncle, was a Lt Col in the Royal Engineers.

Padre Mark Christian who received the book understands its sentimental value. He said: “When I was browsing through the book, a loose piece of paper fell out with the following Soldier’s Prayer:

Stay with me God. The night is dark,

The night is cold. My little spark

Of courage dies. The night is long.

Be with me God, and make me strong

I love a game, I love a fight.

I hate the dark, I love the light,

I love my child, I love my wife,

I am no coward. I love life.

“I was struck how the words of this simple prayer from the First world War resonate with the verse from the book of Joshua that I chose to go on the 11 Brigade dog tags: I will be strong and courageous. I will not be terrified, or discouraged, for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go.

“Although this prayer book would not be recognisable to the young solders of today, the need to look towards God for help is something that many of them would recognise.

“The current operational prayer book has its roots in the church of the past and connects the soldiers of today with those who fought before.”

Sacrifice and comfort have great meaning at this time of year and are all the more poignant for troops spending Easter in Afghanistan, who have sacrificed much to bring security to Helmand province.

*Lord Wharton founded his Bible Charity in 1696. The purpose was to present Bibles to children across the UK.

Gents it looks like that wrong information has been given out,1)To the Armagh Gazette 2) The Soldier Magazine. Still a good story.

I think there must have been a mixup of families,There could be a large family in Armagh called McCormack who all seved in the Great War.

Joe

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Mac58

Fascinated to read this, as John Victor McCormack was my grandfather. The confusion stems from an error in the biography posted above:

Brigadier John Victor McCormack, OBE, MC, RA

Born on 28 Aug 1892 at the Isle of Wight

He was actually born in Armagh, and his father was indeed the Joseph McCormack, Army Service Corps, of Barrack Hill listed in the 1911 Census. By 1911 Jack was already at Woolwich which is why he is not shown, though he is recorded as a child of 8 in the 1901 Census.

His older brothers Albert and Sydney are shown in the 1901 Census as having been born in England like their parents, Joseph and Kate. I assume this is because they were an army family going back over several generations: certainly my grandfather always thought of himself as having roots in Northern Ireland, though his adult life was spent in England when not serving overseas.

The RSM William Joseph McCormack of the Prayer Book is not shown in either Census - presumably because he'd already joined up - but he was in fact the oldest brother. So no, no mixup of families - they are all the children of Joseph. (And according to Jack, once he joined the RHA his brother Will was no longer the shortest man in the regiment.)

Incidentally, of my seven great uncles the one I knew best was Edward Victor, who was born in 1901 and thus (confusingly) shared a second name with my grandfather as a mark of respect for the late Queen. He too retired with the rank of Brigadier, having served in the Far East during the Second War, but with the Royal Signals, not the Royal Artillery.

I don't know where the idea that Jack was born on the Isle of Wight comes from - he certainly lived there for the last few years of his life, and did die there at the age of 83. (Not 84, he died a few weeks before his birthday.) He was always a great teller of tales - though like his older brother Will he rarely spoke of the First War - and it would not greatly surprise me to discover the error stems from something he himself said!

Hope this is of interest,

Patrick McCormack

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ARMAGH

Hello Patrick

Thank you for replying to my post of 22 May 2010,so the local paper was correct, John McCormack was born in Armagh and lived on Barrack Hill,very interesting.

I have sent you a PM

Yours Aye

Joe

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ARMAGH

Hello Patrick

Thank you for replying to my post of 22 May 2010,so the local paper was correct, John McCormack was born in Armagh and lived on Barrack Hill,very interesting.

I have sent you a PM

Yours Aye

Joe

Sorry Patrick I cannot send a PM to you at the moment,not enough posts.

I am a researcher in armagh on local history in particular WW1&WW2 www.armaghwarmemorial.com

The names of those who served and died in the great Wars should be preserved. I am also researching those members of St Marks which was the garrison church for Armagh Barracks,maybe your family attended this church?

Many thanksJoe

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Mac58

Joe,

Wondered why I couldn't open the PM! I can't say for sure that the family attended St Marks, but it would seem very probable. As you can see from the info on Will and Jack above, the family were very religious - by today's standards at least - and Joseph is listed as Barrack Warden in the 1901 and 1911 Census records, so I imagine that would have been their church.

As I can't PM, you can contact me on Info@patrickmccormack.com if I can be of any further help. (Of course, I wish now I'd paid more attention to the old boys when they were reminiscing about their youth!)

All the best with the project,

Patrick

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daggers

Very interesting thread.

In post #1 I saw "Le Chateau". Should that be the better-known Le Cateau?

D

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ARMAGH

Joe,

Wondered why I couldn't open the PM! I can't say for sure that the family attended St Marks, but it would seem very probable. As you can see from the info on Will and Jack above, the family were very religious - by today's standards at least - and Joseph is listed as Barrack Warden in the 1901 and 1911 Census records, so I imagine that would have been their church.

As I can't PM, you can contact me on Info@patrickmccormack.com if I can be of any further help. (Of course, I wish now I'd paid more attention to the old boys when they were reminiscing about their youth!)

All the best with the project,

Patrick

Hello Patrick

Last week I was checking the Armagh Gazette for Armagh names and I came across Mr WJ McCormack barrack warden,Royal Irish Fusiliers has 5 sons in the Army.

Then this week you replied to my GWF post,amazing.

wILL PM you.

Joe

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ARMAGH

Hello Patrick

Last week I was checking the Armagh Gazette for Armagh names and I came across Mr WJ McCormack barrack warden,Royal Irish Fusiliers has 5 sons in the Army.

Then this week you replied to my GWF post,amazing.

wILL PM you.

Joe

Patrick tried emailling you, keeps coming back,can you send a message to

www.armaghwarmemorial.com

Joe

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Mac58

Hi Joe,

The problem with my email address should be fixed soon; meanwhile I've sent a message to info@armagh etc.

Still don't have enough posts to PM!

regards

Patrick

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ARMAGH

Hi Joe,

The problem with my email address should be fixed soon; meanwhile I've sent a message to info@armagh etc.

Still don't have enough posts to PM!

regards

Patrick

Hello Patrick

I am away for a few days but will be in touch when I return,

Joe

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ARMAGH

Hello Patrick

I am back after a week in the sun and ready to do a bit of research.

Joe

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Mac58

Hello Patrick

I am back after a week in the sun and ready to do a bit of research.

Joe

Joe,

The email address is now working again!

Patrick

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ARMAGH

Joe,

The email address is now working again!

Patrick

Hello Patrick

Have sent a email,was speaking to a exnavy WW2 man tonight and he remembers your family in Armagh and says there are members buried in St Marks cemetery.

He had been in the RBL for a couple hours,but will be seeing him this week some time.

Joe

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Reed

My Brother inherited Joseph McCormacks walking stick, him being my great grandfather. I am Grandson of Sydney who had two daughters. I never met Sydney, my grandfather but I did meet Ted. It was quite a memorable experience. Waxed Moustache, the lot, my sister and I had to be seen and not heard, he was quite a story teller. His wife used a cigarette holder, the real deal. It seems you met him as well so you would know what I am talking about.

Johns bravery and military honours was unknown to myself. Mum recounts a house full of laughter when the men arrived, they were a modest crowd.

The black book of prayer, that it survives and is in Camp Bastion is a staggering story. There is a little wind up music box in the family, I'll have to clarify its history but I understand it was from the same period, I recall listening to it as a child.

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Reed

Patrick / Joe,

Your grandfather John(Jack) was my grandfathers brother. Apparently Mum just told me Bert was excused from carrying a sword on parade as it dragged, he was so short... My sisters went to Armagh, to the church and know a few more stories. Sydney was a “Old Contemptible” and a 'driver' (horses).

As to the origins of the McCormacks, seem to remember Mum saying its Northern Irish as well, that Joseph thought there was a direct line to a ancient king Brian Boru, sounds cool however he had several wives. Interesting Irish tale but wouldn't know where to start on that. That may give 'Joe' a intriguing twist, I've never got further back than Joseph.

But thankyou Joe for creating this forum its been a eye opener...! J. Reed

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rflory

Mac58 wrote: "The confusion stems from an error in the biography posted above:
Brigadier John Victor McCormack, OBE, MC, RA
Born on 28 Aug 1892 at the Isle of Wight


He was actually born in Armagh,"

Interesting! The information on his being born on the Isle of Wight came from his "Appreciation" in Gunner (the monthly journal of the Royal Regiment of Artillery).

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Reed

I stand corrected, one of the brothers was William, I thought you had confused first and middle names. A Joseph William McCormack is the brothers father, my Great grandfather and Jack is my Great Uncle (never met), brother of Ted and Sydney my grandfather whom I never met. It was late in the evening when I found this lead and this website. Agnes who survived till '92 is known by the church warden in Armagh.

1911 Census records, Joe and Kate had been married 27 years and that Kate had had 10 children born alive but in 1911 only 9 children living.

In short I think there is a strong probability I am related to Alex Cullingworth and Patrick McCormack through extended family...well in fact we are...

http://www.army.mod.uk/news/19874.aspx

We have a photo of the men in the same photographic studio, trying to ascertain currently through my mother who all the children are, just discovered (poor resolution)Sydney far right, Bert shortest ?, behind kate ? far left ? Agnes and Kathleen, (seeing Mum next week).

It would be great to contact Padre Mark Christian, this side of the family would be most moved to see or hear of the little black book of prayers. My mother Sally Reed(84, maiden name K.McCormack) is in Winchester where I believe the Padre is assisting training the Greenjackets. If Alex, Patrick or the Padre have a moment it would interesting to piece together more. jamesreed_uk@yahoo.com.

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ARMAGH

John Reed I tried your email address no go ?? I started this thread and have photos of McCormack graves in St Marks Armagh it would make a good Article in the parish news.

Joe

PS can you PM me?

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Guest Walker1

Hi, My name is Andrew Reed, and John Victor McCormack was my Great Uncle, my Grandfather being Sydney, and Great Grandfather Joseph William.

John Victor aka Jack was born in Woolwich in 1892 to Joseph and his wife Katherine or Kate.

They married in the 1874 at Plumstead, and at the time Joseph held the rank of Sergeant Major RHA, and I believe that he served in South Africa, against the Boers.

Kate's father was shown as a store keeper, and she came from Shornecliffe Kent.

Josephs father John is shown as a Boot Maker, and his wife was Mary. Joseph was born in 1855 in Heston Middx.

John and Mary had immigrated from Wexford I believe in Southern Ireland, they certainly returned there at some point, with their eldest son John and his wife as they are shown in the Ireland census of 1901, and it would appear that Joseph must have returned to the UK, either with the Army or under his own steam, I have yet to find out.

Joseph and Kate did move to Barrack Hill Armagh where Joseph is shown as a Barrack Warden in the Census, where they had several more children Ted being one, later to receive his OBE for his contribution at Koheema in the second world war. My Mother Kathleen remembers visiting the family home with her father Sydney.

I have seen the marriage cert of Sydney and Margret my grandparents in 1924, and Joseph gave his occupation as a Police Officer. It was thought to be a joke by him , but at his funeral again reported in the Armagh Times? his funeral was attended by members of the RUC, if that was the Police Force at the time, so it would stand to reason that he was at some point a serving members of the RUC or Northern Irish Police Force.

I have seen excerpts from I think the Armagh Times? where Joseph was introduced to a dignitary from England, as he and his family had served the British Army 250yrs at the time.

The above is a précis of the family, and I would very interested to hear from any other member of the McCormack Family, who can fill in more of the history.

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ARMAGH

Hello Andrew Thanks for posting a lot of details there, I would like to put an article together for the St Marks Parish church Armagh of which the McCormack's family belonged to. Any suggesting's ?

I have e mailed your post to James Reed.

Yours Aye

Joe

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