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Remembered Today:

Capt. John Joseph McCormack Tyneside Irish 27th Bn d. 28 Apr 1917


Benedine2

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Hello, I am helping a friend to research a family member's details.  

Captain John Joseph McCormack was from Nenagh, Co Tipperary in Ireland and died while in action with the Tyneside Irish, 27th Battalion.  We presume due to the date of his death, he died in the Battle of Arras.   I did have a timeline of casualties from the Battle of Arras and noted there was a gap between 9th April and later in April when John McCormack died, but unfortunately I can't find that timeline now!  I didn't save the link and it's disappeared. 

I have been looking in a few places and we're not getting much detail on Capt. McCormack.  Here is his timeline:  Life story: John Joseph Mccormack | Lives of the First World War (iwm.org.uk)  He is buried in Brown's Copse Cemetery, Roeux, France and he was 27 when he died.  

My friend would like to find any details about his time in service or if he died on the field or if he was injured and died later.  Much of his family in Ireland are now dead.  Capt McCormack would have been a first cousin of my friend's father.   

I have told her about John Sheen's book and also (she now lives in England) about the Newcastle City Library being a resource to try and get some information from.  But I know from searching this forum previously for a family relative, that it is an amazing resource and said that I would ask here for her. 

Thanks in advance.  

 

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Hi @Benedine2 and welcome (back?) to the forum

His Medal Index Card, (literally an index card raised at the relevant records office to allow the clerks to keep track of the paperwork and correspondence relating to his medals), shows that he had been Serjeant 6/1869 in the 6th Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, but saw no overseas service with that Regiment.

According to our parent site, the Long Long Trail, the 6th Battalion, Formed at Fermoy on 6 September 1914 as part of K2 and came under orders of 47th Brigade, 16th (Irish) Division. Moved to Fermoy.
March 1915 : joined by one Company from the Guernsey Militia.
September 1915: relocated to England and moved to Blackdown Camp
.
https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/royal-irish-regiment/

The Medal Index Card tells us he was released from his enlistment on the 20th May 1915 to be commissioned in the 27th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers on the next day.

I was struggling to find confirmation of that in the London Gazette, but the July 1915 British Army Monthly List does show him as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 27th Battalion, but with his seniority date as the 20th May 1915. (For a 2nd Lieutenant the seniority date is almost always going to be his commissioning date). So in this case the clerks at the records order appear to have got it wrong.

The entry is in column 945h. https://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/119508349
The (temp) next to the names is to show they are war service only commissions.

By the time the August 1915 British Army Monthly List was published he’d aready been promoted Lieutenant – with seniority from the 2nd July 1915. (Column 945g). https://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/123033309

The Long, Long Trail has the 27th Battalion (4th Tyneside Irish) as :-
Formed at Newcastle, January 1915, by the Lord Mayor and City.
June 1915 : came under orders of 103rd Brigade, 34th Division.
Landed in France in January 1916.

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/northumberland-fusiliers/

And for the 34th Division:-
The Division was largely comprised of locally raised units often known as “pals”, notably those raised in the north east and known as the Tyneside Scottish and Tyneside Irish. There were also the Manchester Scottish, the Grimsby Chums and others. After in most cases commencing training near home, the units were moved in mid 1915 to concentrate at Ripon in Yorkshire. It was not until late August that the Division moved for final training and firing practice at Salisbury Plain.

On 3 January 1916 embarkation orders arrived; by 15 January the Division had crossed the Channel and was concentrated at La Crosse, east of St Omer. (Note: it follows that no man who was with the original contingent of this Division was awarded the 1914-1915 Star).

The Division then remained on the Western Front for the remainder of the war and took part in the following engagements:

1916
The Battle of Albert* including the capture of Scots and Sausage Redoubts
The Battle of Bazentin Ridge*
The Battle of Pozieres Ridge*
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette* (only 103rd Brigade and the Divisional Pioneers)
* the battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916

1917
The First Battle of the Scarpe**
The Second Battle of the Scarpe**
The Battle of Arleux**
** the battles marked ** are phases of the Arras Offensive

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/34th-division/

The War Diary of the Battalion can currently be downloaded for free from the UK National Archive if you sign in with your account. If you don’t have an account even that can be set up as part of placing your first order – just click on “sign in” on any page of the online catalogue and follow the instructions – no financial details are requested.

The Diary for the 27th Battalion covering January 1916 to July 1917 can be found in the National Archive catalogue here. https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7353922

The Medal Index Card for Captain McCormack however shows him first landing in France in February 1916 – hopefully the war diary will explain whether that is just an approximation and he deployed overseas with the battalion, or whether he joined up with them slightly later.

Soldiers Died in the Great War, an HMSO publication from the 1920’s, records that he was killed in action.

The Battalion took part in the attack on the Chemical Factory at Rouex on the 28th April 1917. The butchers bill in the war diary is 2 Officers killed, 2 wounded, 3 missing, and 157 other ranks wounded and missing. There are no names shown.

The Official Casualty List that appeared in the edition of The Times dated 28th June 1917 records his status as “Previously reported Missing, now reported Killed” – although I couldn’t find his appearing earlier. The same status is given to 2nd Lieutenant W.H. Westhorp of the Northumberland Fusiliers.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission webpage for John Joseph McCormack does not have any indication that he was originally buried elsewhere - https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/567948/john-joseph-mccormack/

However the webpage for the cemetery makes it clear that the original burials in the Browns Copse Cemetery are composed almost entirely of graves cleared from the battlefield in the summer of 1917. https://www.cwgc.org/visit-us/find-cemeteries-memorials/cemetery-details/62800/brown-s-copse-cemetery-roeux/

Second Lieutenant Westhorp of the 27th Battalion is buried in the same cemetery https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/568450/w-h-westhorp/

Hope that gets you started,

Peter

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16 minutes ago, PRC said:

Hi @Benedine2 and welcome (back?) to the forum

 

His Medal Index Card, (literally an index card raised at the relevant records office to allow the clerks to keep track of the paperwork and correspondence relating to his medals), shows that he had been Serjeant 6/1869 in the 6th Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, but saw no overseas service with that Regiment.

 

According to our parent site, the Long Long Trail, the 6th Battalion, Formed at Fermoy on 6 September 1914 as part of K2 and came under orders of 47th Brigade, 16th (Irish) Division. Moved to Fermoy.
March 1915 : joined by one Company from the Guernsey Militia.
September 1915: relocated to England and moved to Blackdown Camp
.
https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/royal-irish-regiment/

 

The Medal Index Card tells us he was released from his enlistment on the 20th May 1915 to be commissioned in the 27th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers on the next day.

 

I was struggling to find confirmation of that in the London Gazette, but the July 1915 British Army Monthly List does show him as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 27th Battalion, but with his seniority date as the 20th May 1915. (For a 2nd Lieutenant the seniority date is almost always going to be his commissioning date). So in this case the clerks at the records order appear to have got it wrong.

 

The entry is in column 945h. https://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/119508349
The (temp) next to the names is to show they are war service only commissions.

 

By the time the August 1915 British Army Monthly List was published he’d aready been promoted Lieutenant – with seniority from the 2nd July 1915. (Column 945g). https://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/123033309

 

The Long, Long Trail has the 27th Battalion (4th Tyneside Irish) as :-
Formed at Newcastle, January 1915, by the Lord Mayor and City.
June 1915 : came under orders of 103rd Brigade, 34th Division.
Landed in France in January 1916.

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/northumberland-fusiliers/

 

And for the 34th Division:-
The Division was largely comprised of locally raised units often known as “pals”, notably those raised in the north east and known as the Tyneside Scottish and Tyneside Irish. There were also the Manchester Scottish, the Grimsby Chums and others. After in most cases commencing training near home, the units were moved in mid 1915 to concentrate at Ripon in Yorkshire. It was not until late August that the Division moved for final training and firing practice at Salisbury Plain.

 

On 3 January 1916 embarkation orders arrived; by 15 January the Division had crossed the Channel and was concentrated at La Crosse, east of St Omer. (Note: it follows that no man who was with the original contingent of this Division was awarded the 1914-1915 Star).

 

The Division then remained on the Western Front for the remainder of the war and took part in the following engagements:

 

1916
The Battle of Albert* including the capture of Scots and Sausage Redoubts
The Battle of Bazentin Ridge*
The Battle of Pozieres Ridge*
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette* (only 103rd Brigade and the Divisional Pioneers)
* the battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916

 

1917
The First Battle of the Scarpe**
The Second Battle of the Scarpe**
The Battle of Arleux**
** the battles marked ** are phases of the Arras Offensive

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/34th-division/

 

The War Diary of the Battalion can currently be downloaded for free from the UK National Archive if you sign in with your account. If you don’t have an account even that can be set up as part of placing your first order – just click on “sign in” on any page of the online catalogue and follow the instructions – no financial details are requested.

 

The Diary for the 27th Battalion covering January 1916 to July 1917 can be found in the National Archive catalogue here. https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7353922

 

The Medal Index Card for Captain McCormack however shows him first landing in France in February 1916 – hopefully the war diary will explain whether that is just an approximation and he deployed overseas with the battalion, or whether he joined up with them slightly later.

 

Soldiers Died in the Great War, an HMSO publication from the 1920’s, records that he was killed in action.

 

The Battalion took part in the attack on the Chemical Factory at Rouex on the 28th April 1917. The butchers bill in the war diary is 2 Officers killed, 2 wounded, 3 missing, and 157 other ranks wounded and missing. There are no names shown.

 

The Official Casualty List that appeared in the edition of The Times dated 28th June 1917 records his status as “Previously reported Missing, now reported Killed” – although I couldn’t find his appearing earlier. The same status is given to 2nd Lieutenant W.H. Westhorp of the Northumberland Fusiliers.

 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission webpage for John Joseph McCormack does not have any indication that he was originally buried elsewhere - https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/567948/john-joseph-mccormack/

 

However the webpage for the cemetery makes it clear that the original burials in the Browns Copse Cemetery are composed almost entirely of graves cleared from the battlefield in the summer of 1917. https://www.cwgc.org/visit-us/find-cemeteries-memorials/cemetery-details/62800/brown-s-copse-cemetery-roeux/

 

Second Lieutenant Westhorp of the 27th Battalion is buried in the same cemetery https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/568450/w-h-westhorp/

 

Hope that gets you started,

 

Peter

 

Wow, thank you so much Peter.  That is a huge amount of information for us to be getting on with.  

One of the things we are most curious about is why he left the Royal Irish Regiment to go to Northumberland Fusiliers... or was this kind of movement common?  He spent his whole life in Ireland as did his family, which is why we were curious how he ended up with Tyneside Irish.  

We have been googling and searching but didn't land on the specifics you have.  If I can find that page again with the chronology of deaths from Tyneside Irish I will share it.  If I remember correctly 2 or 3 Corporals died on the same day as him but it doesn't state how for any of them.  Even the insight on Browns Copse is very helpful.

Thanks again, Pauline

(ps it's welcome back but I don't have access to the email address associated with my previous login anymore and couldn't recover it).  :-) 

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 Unknown Regional Newspaper.Death of Captain J J McCormack.The sad news reached his parents during the week that Captain John J McCormack,Northumberland Fusiliers, who, as reported in our last issue, was recently returned as “missing,” died of wounds received in action on April 28th. The chaplain to the battalion, writing to his father, Mr John McCormack, Castle Street, said that he lived to receive the Last Sacraments. There is no-one in Nenagh who knew Captain McCormack well who will not have the greatest sympathy for his bereaved parents in their great sorrow. He was universally admired and respected when at home, and when he left to join the army a year or so more ago the best wishes of his many friends went with him. A true Catholic and Irishman, Nenagh shares with his parents the loss which they have so sadly sustained.—R.I.P.Nenagh Soldier Mentioned in Despatches. In recent despatches from Sir Douglas Haig, the name of Captain J J McCormack, Northumberland Fusiliers, was mentioned. As has already been announced, Captain McCormack, who was killed in action on the 28th April, was son of Mr J McCormack, merchant, Castle Street, Nenagh, In the early months of the war, he joined the Royal Irish Regiment as a private and speedily worked his way to commissioner rank. It is pleasing to note that in the action which cost him his life he distinguished himself so well and so courageously that notice was taken of it by his superior officers.Limerick Chronicle, June, 1917.Roll of Honour.Captain J J McCormack.On April 28th, Captain J J McCormack, Northumberland Fusiliers, was killed in action. He was educated at Mungret College, Limerick, joined the Army at the beginning of the war, and saw a good deal of active service. He went through the battle of the Somme, and was mentioned in despatches. He was the youngest son of Mr and Mrs John McCormack, of Nenagh.Tipperary Star, July, 1916.Strange Meeting on Battlefield.Captain John McCormack, of the Tyneside Irish, in a letter to his father, Mr J McCormack, Castle Street, Nenagh, says he was coming back from the front line of trenches when he saw an officer of the Medical Corps—a very big man—working energetically among the wounded, and “making the German prisoners work like blazes.” “ I stopped to look at him,” the Captain goes on, “and coming closer I discovered it was Dr Ned Purcell, Bachelor’s Hill, Ballycahill, brother of Mrs James O’Meara, of the hotel, Nenagh. I went up and slapped him on the shoulder, to his great surprise, and in the midst of shot and shell and all the horrors of war, we discussed Ireland, Nenagh, and all we knew, to the astonishment of the Germans.”Tipperary Star, February, May, 1917.Mr John McCormack, Castle Street, Nenagh, has received official intimation that his son, Captain John McCormack, of the Northumberland Fusiliers, who last week was reported as missing since 28th ult., has been killed in action. Captain McCormack, who was a popular young Nenagh man, joined the Royal Irish regiment as a private in the first months of the war and quickly rose to commissioned rank. He had been at the front about 12 months.Tipperary Star, May, 1917.Nenagh Man mentioned in despatches. In recent despatches from General Sir Douglas Haig, the name of Captain J McCormack, Northumberland Fusiliers, is mentioned. Captain McCormack, who was son of Mr John McCormack, Castle Street, Nenagh, was killed in action on the 28th ult. He joined the Royal Irish Regiment as a private shortly after the outbreak of the warIrish Independent; McCormack—In loving memory of John Joseph McCormack, Captain, Northumberland Fusiliers, killed in action near Arras, April 28,1917, youngest son of John McCormack, Nenagh. R.I.P.Irish Times. McCormack-April 28, killed in action, Captain J J McCormack, Northumberlamd Fusiliers, son of Mr and Mrs John McCormack, Nenagh…...Freeman’s Journal, 17/05/1917. Reported Killed. Captain John McCormack, of Nenagh has been reported killed in action in a letter received by his father, Mr John McCormack, Castle Street, Nenagh. He was serving as a Temporary Major with the Northumberland Fusiliers.Irish Times. McCormack-April 28, killed in action, Captain J J McCormack, Northumberlamd Fusiliers, son of Mr and Mrs John McCormack, Nenagh. The Irish Times, April 28, 1922. Roll of Honour. In Memoriam. McCormack-In ever loving memory of Captain John McCormack, 27th Northumberland Fusiliers, killed in action, near Arras, 28th April, 1917, youngest son of John McCormack, Nenagh. R.I.P. The Irish Times, April 28, 1926. Roll of Honour.(1914-1918). In Memoriam. McCormack-In ever loving memory of John Joseph McCormack, captain, Northumberland Fusiliers, who was killed at the battle of Arras, 26th April, 1917, dearly loved youngest son of the late John McCormack and Mrs McCormcack, C------ile, Nenagh. The Weekly Irish Times. Ireland’s Roll of Honour. July 7, 1917. On April 28th, Captain J J McCormack, Northumberland Fusiliers, was killed in action. He was educated at Mungret College, Limerick, joined the Army at the beginning of the war, and saw a good deal of active service. He went through the Battle of the Somme, and was mentioned in despatches. He was the youngest son of Mr and Mrs John McCormack, of Nenagh....03/07/1917. Freeman’s Journal. McCormack.-Killed in action, April 28, 1917, Captain J J McCormack, Northumberland Fusiliers (Tyneside Irish), aged 27, dearly loved youngest son of Mr and Mrs John McCormack, Nenagh. R.I.P.

 

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29 minutes ago, museumtom said:

 Unknown Regional Newspaper.Death of Captain J J McCormack.The sad news reached his parents during the week that Captain John J McCormack,Northumberland Fusiliers, who, as reported in our last issue, was recently returned as “missing,” died of wounds received in action on April 28th. The chaplain to the battalion, writing to his father, Mr John McCormack, Castle Street, said that he lived to receive the Last Sacraments. There is no-one in Nenagh who knew Captain McCormack well who will not have the greatest sympathy for his bereaved parents in their great sorrow. He was universally admired and respected when at home, and when he left to join the army a year or so more ago the best wishes of his many friends went with him. A true Catholic and Irishman, Nenagh shares with his parents the loss which they have so sadly sustained.—R.I.P.Nenagh Soldier Mentioned in Despatches. In recent despatches from Sir Douglas Haig, the name of Captain J J McCormack, Northumberland Fusiliers, was mentioned. As has already been announced, Captain McCormack, who was killed in action on the 28th April, was son of Mr J McCormack, merchant, Castle Street, Nenagh, In the early months of the war, he joined the Royal Irish Regiment as a private and speedily worked his way to commissioner rank. It is pleasing to note that in the action which cost him his life he distinguished himself so well and so courageously that notice was taken of it by his superior officers.Limerick Chronicle, June, 1917.Roll of Honour.Captain J J McCormack.On April 28th, Captain J J McCormack, Northumberland Fusiliers, was killed in action. He was educated at Mungret College, Limerick, joined the Army at the beginning of the war, and saw a good deal of active service. He went through the battle of the Somme, and was mentioned in despatches. He was the youngest son of Mr and Mrs John McCormack, of Nenagh.Tipperary Star, July, 1916.Strange Meeting on Battlefield.Captain John McCormack, of the Tyneside Irish, in a letter to his father, Mr J McCormack, Castle Street, Nenagh, says he was coming back from the front line of trenches when he saw an officer of the Medical Corps—a very big man—working energetically among the wounded, and “making the German prisoners work like blazes.” “ I stopped to look at him,” the Captain goes on, “and coming closer I discovered it was Dr Ned Purcell, Bachelor’s Hill, Ballycahill, brother of Mrs James O’Meara, of the hotel, Nenagh. I went up and slapped him on the shoulder, to his great surprise, and in the midst of shot and shell and all the horrors of war, we discussed Ireland, Nenagh, and all we knew, to the astonishment of the Germans.”Tipperary Star, February, May, 1917.Mr John McCormack, Castle Street, Nenagh, has received official intimation that his son, Captain John McCormack, of the Northumberland Fusiliers, who last week was reported as missing since 28th ult., has been killed in action. Captain McCormack, who was a popular young Nenagh man, joined the Royal Irish regiment as a private in the first months of the war and quickly rose to commissioned rank. He had been at the front about 12 months.Tipperary Star, May, 1917.Nenagh Man mentioned in despatches. In recent despatches from General Sir Douglas Haig, the name of Captain J McCormack, Northumberland Fusiliers, is mentioned. Captain McCormack, who was son of Mr John McCormack, Castle Street, Nenagh, was killed in action on the 28th ult. He joined the Royal Irish Regiment as a private shortly after the outbreak of the warIrish Independent; McCormack—In loving memory of John Joseph McCormack, Captain, Northumberland Fusiliers, killed in action near Arras, April 28,1917, youngest son of John McCormack, Nenagh. R.I.P.Irish Times. McCormack-April 28, killed in action, Captain J J McCormack, Northumberlamd Fusiliers, son of Mr and Mrs John McCormack, Nenagh…...Freeman’s Journal, 17/05/1917. Reported Killed. Captain John McCormack, of Nenagh has been reported killed in action in a letter received by his father, Mr John McCormack, Castle Street, Nenagh. He was serving as a Temporary Major with the Northumberland Fusiliers.Irish Times. McCormack-April 28, killed in action, Captain J J McCormack, Northumberlamd Fusiliers, son of Mr and Mrs John McCormack, Nenagh. The Irish Times, April 28, 1922. Roll of Honour. In Memoriam. McCormack-In ever loving memory of Captain John McCormack, 27th Northumberland Fusiliers, killed in action, near Arras, 28th April, 1917, youngest son of John McCormack, Nenagh. R.I.P. The Irish Times, April 28, 1926. Roll of Honour.(1914-1918). In Memoriam. McCormack-In ever loving memory of John Joseph McCormack, captain, Northumberland Fusiliers, who was killed at the battle of Arras, 26th April, 1917, dearly loved youngest son of the late John McCormack and Mrs McCormcack, C------ile, Nenagh. The Weekly Irish Times. Ireland’s Roll of Honour. July 7, 1917. On April 28th, Captain J J McCormack, Northumberland Fusiliers, was killed in action. He was educated at Mungret College, Limerick, joined the Army at the beginning of the war, and saw a good deal of active service. He went through the Battle of the Somme, and was mentioned in despatches. He was the youngest son of Mr and Mrs John McCormack, of Nenagh....03/07/1917. Freeman’s Journal. McCormack.-Killed in action, April 28, 1917, Captain J J McCormack, Northumberland Fusiliers (Tyneside Irish), aged 27, dearly loved youngest son of Mr and Mrs John McCormack, Nenagh. R.I.P.

 

Oh my goodness.  You are amazing people on here. This is fantastic. That first hand account of meeting Ned Purcell is unbelievable.  
 

Thank you so very much.  We are really grateful.  
Pauline 

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3 hours ago, Benedine2 said:

One of the things we are most curious about is why he left the Royal Irish Regiment to go to Northumberland Fusiliers... or was this kind of movement common? 

Common enough for it not to be unusual.

The pre-war regular battions and special reserves were frequently officered by individual who had no connection to the area that a Regiment nominally came from - and bear in mind the county associations familiar from the names of Regiments going into the Great War had only come about in the 1880's. Before that they had just been Regiments of Foot.
Similarly the other ranks could be drawn from the wider population - and the Irish turn up everywhere!

The Territorials, whose wartime role was seen as defence of the home islands, were peacetime part-timers, (once a week drills and a fortnight annual camp) and so to be effective the other ranks had to live in the relevant county. However still surprises me that it's not unusual for officers to live elsewhere.

And with the massive expansion of the British Army in the Great War, officers would be sent where they were needed. A man commissioned in one regiment could spend the whole of the war attached to another unit entirely.

While in the opening twelve months of the war it was possible still for a man in the ranks to win a battlefield commission for an act of bravery, it was not at all common. More likely John McCormack went through the more standard process of getting a recommendation from his commanding officer and a personal reference, and then applying to the War Office. Practice varied and while some Regiments would welcome a commissioned ranker back into the same Battalion, others, particularly the Regular Army Battalions would draw the line. So a mans application could go in with a note that subject to him being approved for a commission they would take him back. Or if the candidate had connections he might well have such a note from another Regiment. Failing that, if he was accepted for a commission them he would be put on a general list and sent wherever there was a vacancy.

One slight variation is that possibly at this time the Army was proactively starting to hunt down Senior NCO's and asking Commanding Officers if they should be considered for a Commission.

Part of the reason I was so keen to try and track down the London Gazette entry was to see if he was specifically commissioned into the 27th, or was put in the Regiment Special Reserves, or added to a General List.

The answer is likely to lie in his Officers Long Papers. Unfortunately those are not digitized, so you or your friend would either have to visit the National Archive at Kew to see them, or arrange for a copy. Consensus on the forum seems to be to avoid the National Archive copying service - overpriced and low quality. A search of the forum will turn up private researchers who offer a copying service. Unfortunately I've never had to need a copy of an officers' file, so I don't have any personal experience. The reference for his long papers can be found in the National Archive here https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C1084421

Although it would appear from one of those Newspapers articles that a Chaplain found John on the battlefield dieing of his wounds and administered the last rites, as far as officialdom was concerned John was officially missing, I suspect his body was found as part of clearing the battlefield in subsequent months and hence the change of status and interment at Browns Copse Cemetery.

The situation was certainly unclear enough for his sister to write to the International Committee of the Red Cross at Geneva, asking if they had received any information about Captain J.J. "Mac Cormack" of the Northumberland Fusiliers, who had been missing since the 28/04/1917. Sadly she would get a  "negatif envoye", (i.e. nothing heard from the German authorities), dated 9th July 1917. Both her letter and the response no longer exist in the ICRC, but their record card of the interaction does.

JJMacCormackICRCcard.jpg.e0e839fc6c262430065313cb5cb68fda.jpg

Image courtersy The International Committee of the Red Cross. https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/File/Details/448493/3/2/

The 1918 UK Probate Calendar has an entry for him covering his effects in England - which might just be the balance of money owed to his estate by the Army.

JohnJMcCormark1918ProbateCalendarentrysourceprobatesearchservicegovuk.png.fb680ad76a713037d487c8b0b619d835.png

Image courtesy https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk

As an officer his medals needed to be applied for. It looks like an application was received for Johns' Victory Medal and British War Medal in March 1922 from his father, J.McCormack esquire, of 2 Castle Street, Nenagh, County Tipperary. (Details from the Medal Index Card).

Cheers,
Peter

Edited by PRC
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3 minutes ago, PRC said:

Common enough for it not to be unusual.

The pre-war regular battions and special reserves were frequently officered by individual who had no connection to the area that a Regiment nominally came from - and bear in mind the county associations familiar from the names of Regiments going into the Great War had only come about in the 1880's. Before that they had just been Regiments of Foot.
Similarly the other ranks could be drawn from the wider population - and the Irish turn up everywhere!

The Territorials, whose wartime role was seen as defence of the home islands, were peacetime part-timers, (once a week drills and a fortnight annual camp) and so to be effective the other ranks had to live in the relevant county. However still surprises me that it's not unusual for officers to live elsewhere.

And with the massive expansion of the British Army in the Great War, officers would be sent where they were needed. A man commissioned in one regiment could spend the whole of the war attached to another unit entirely.

While in the opening twelve months of the war it was possible still for a man in the ranks to win a battlefield commission for an act of bravery, it was not at all common. More likely John McCormack went through the more standard process of getting a recommendation from his commanding officer and a personal reference, and then applying to the War Office. Practice varied and while some Regiments would welcome a commissioned ranker back into the same Battalion, others, particularly the Regular Army Battalions would draw the line. So a mans application could go in with a note that subject to him being approved for a commission they would take him back. Or if the candidate had connections he might well have such a note from another Regiment. Failing that, if he was accepted for a commission them he would be put on a general list and sent wherever there was a vacancy.

One slight variation is that possibly at this time the Army was proactively starting to hunt down Senior NCO's and asking Commanding Officers if they should be considered for a Commission.

Part of the reason I was so keen to try and track down the London Gazette entry was to see if he was specifically commissioned into the 27th, or was put in the Regiment Special Reserves, or added to a General List.

The answer is likely to lie in his Officers Long Papers. Unfortunately those are not digitized, so you or your friend would either have to visit the National Archive at Kew to see them, or arrange for a copy. Consensus on the forum seems to be to avoid the National Archive copying service - overpriced and low quality. A search of the forum will turn up private researchers who offer a copying service. Unfortunately I've never had to need a copy of an officers' file, so I don't have any personal experience. The reference for his long papers can be found in the National Archive here https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C1084421

Although it would appear from one of those Newspapers articles that a Chaplain found John on the battlefield dieing of his wounds and administered the last rites, as far as officialdom was concerned John was officially missing, I suspect his body was found as part of clearing the battlefield in subsequent months and hence the change of status and interment at Browns Copse Cemetery.

The situation was certainly unclear enough for his sister to write to the International Committee of the Red Cross at Geneva, asking if they had received any information about Captain J.J. "Mac Cormack" of the Northumberland Fusiliers, who had been missing since the 28/04/1917. Sadly she would "negatif envoye", (i.e. nothing heard from the German authorities), dated 9th July 1917. Both her letter and the response no longer exist in the ICRC, but their record card of the interaction does.

JJMacCormackICRCcard.jpg.e0e839fc6c262430065313cb5cb68fda.jpg

Image courtersy The International Committee of the Red Cross. https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/File/Details/448493/3/2/

The 1918 UK Probate Calendar has an entry for him covering his effects in England - which might just be the balance of money owed to his estate by the Army.

JohnJMcCormark1918ProbateCalendarentrysourceprobatesearchservicegovuk.png.fb680ad76a713037d487c8b0b619d835.png

Image courtesy https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk

As an officer his medals needed to be applied for. It looks like an application was received for Johns' Victory Medal and British War Medal in March 1922 from his father, J.McCormack esquire, of 2 Castle Street, Nenagh, County Tipperary. (Details from the Medal Index Card).

Cheers,
Peter

Peter I’m so grateful and touched at the detail you’ve provided.  Doreen (his second cousin - maybe once removed?) and I are organising some info. She actually lives in Yorkshire and may take some trips to Newcastle and Kew to gather the info. We’ll get all our ducks in a row first.  We’d be months hunting for some of the stuff you wonderful people have produced for us.  

We’re really grateful.  All his immediate family are gone and the family residence was sold long ago. Paperwork long destroyed we imagine.  No one has any records.

In my own family we had some records which made it a lot easier to tell the story.  And two of our relatives came back with first hand accounts also.  
 

Thanks so much again Peter. 
Pauline 

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4 hours ago, Benedine2 said:

We have been googling and searching but didn't land on the specifics you have.  If I can find that page again with the chronology of deaths from Tyneside Irish I will share it.  If I remember correctly 2 or 3 Corporals died on the same day as him but it doesn't state how for any of them. 

There use to be a really handy website for analyzing the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database but a few weeks ago the owner decided to close it down - so apologies I'm still struggling to get used to the search facility on the CWGC website.

If I've got it right there are 47 individuals of the 27th Battalion recorded has having died on this day in France. Three potentially may have died of wounds received on the preceding day judging on where they were buried. 5 more are buried at Brown Cope Cemetery, including McCormack and Westhorp.

At least one of the others, Lance Corporal Jack Thompson, was found on the battlefield in 1924. The map reference of where his body was found can be used by whizzy sorts on the forum to show a location on contemporary trench maps.

LanceCorporalJackThompsonConcentrationReportsourcedCWGC.jpg.017f6e5cee9310e463ede4665b1da37c.jpg

Image courtesy the Concentration Report attached to the CWGC webpage for Lance Corporal Thompson https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/249789/jack-thompson/

38 however have no known grave and are remembered on the Arras Memorial.

4 hours ago, Benedine2 said:

(ps it's welcome back but I don't have access to the email address associated with my previous login anymore and couldn't recover it).  :-) 

In the top right box of your opening posts, the options available if you click on those three squares should include "Contact the admins".  You can ask them to merge your old account with your new one.

Cheers,
Peter

Edited by PRC
Typos
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14 hours ago, PRC said:

There use to be a really handy website for analyzing the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database but a few weeks ago the owner decided to close it down - so apologies I'm still struggling to get used to the search facility on the CWGC website.

If I've got it right there are 47 individuals of the 27th Battalion recorded has having died on this day in France. Three potentially may have died of wounds received on the preceding day judging on where they were buried. 5 more are buried at Brown Cope Cemetery, including McCormack and Westhorp.

At least one of the others, Lance Corporal Jack Thompson, was found on the battlefield in 1924. The map reference of where his body was found can be used by whizzy sorts on the forum to show a location on contemporary trench maps.

LanceCorporalJackThompsonConcentrationReportsourcedCWGC.jpg.017f6e5cee9310e463ede4665b1da37c.jpg

Image courtesy the Concentration Report attached to the CWGC webpage for Lance Corporal Thompson https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/249789/jack-thompson/

38 however have no known grave and are remembered on the Arras Memorial.

In the top right box of your opening posts, the options available if you click on those three squares should include "Contact the admins".  You can ask them to merge your old account with your new one.

Cheers,
Peter

Thanks a million Peter.  We are really well equipped now to go do some more research... and perhaps also get John McCormack's details written up in some forums so he can be remembered by others who come along. 

Best, Pauline 

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image.png.7908b20509df75ea1075e45912635dd5.pngFrom Tyneside Irish by John Sheen.

Freeman’s Journal, 17 05 1917.

image.png.39a5babd4e7df1a02e697db0e865b0ff.png

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24 minutes ago, museumtom said:

image.png.7908b20509df75ea1075e45912635dd5.pngFrom Tyneside Irish by John Sheen.

Freeman’s Journal, 17 05 1917.

image.png.39a5babd4e7df1a02e697db0e865b0ff.png

Hi Tom,

Go raibh míle maith agat.  Funny we had seen this photograph on local social media but unsure where it came from.  So this is definitely Capt McCormack.  You don't happen to have the full photograph by chance do you?  Doreen will get a copy of Tyneside Irish but in the meantime it would be great to look at that photo. 

An bhfuil tú ina chonaí i Tiobraid Árann?  

Thank you so much for these.  The piece regarding Ned Purcell was amazing to have.  And what are the odds!

Pauline

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16 hours ago, PRC said:

The map reference of where his body was found can be used by whizzy sorts on the forum to show a location on contemporary trench maps.

 

 

No, no, no, not whizzy at all. TrenchMapper finds the place with a click of the Convert button. Far easier than funding burial returns or war diaries

Howard

whizzy.jpg

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Táim anseo, Mainistir na Croise, Tobraid Arainn. An tSean tAinm-Uachtair Leamhain.

image.png.a03cf8fd76195d3d97ac5afd934b84be.png

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1 hour ago, museumtom said:

image.png.29c8f32db96f59ec08397e5ad6df1a34.png

Ana mhaith.  Táim as an tAonach, ach d'imigh mé i bhfad ó shin go Sasana agus go Meiriceá.  Táim i mo chónaí igCiarraí anois le 5 bliana anuas.  Go raibh míle maith agat arís as d'eolais.  Le meas, Pauline 

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3 hours ago, Howard said:

No, no, no, not whizzy at all. TrenchMapper finds the place with a click of the Convert button. Far easier than funding burial returns or war diaries

Howard

whizzy.jpg

Thanks so much for this Howard.  The detail is amazing.  I will use this to map some of my own family as well.  

So grateful for everyone's assistance.  

Pauline 

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Fuar far....

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1 hour ago, Benedine2 said:

Thanks so much for this Howard.  The detail is amazing.  I will use this to map some of my own family as well.  

So grateful for everyone's assistance.  

Pauline 

There are more maps in the drop down in the left panel and a lot of help on the to use TrenchMapper in the Help menu.

Howard

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