01 July 2016: On this day 100 years ago, the following men of Armagh Methodist Church lost their lives on the first day of the Battle of the Somme:
Sergeant Adam D. Moore of the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers
“For a considerable time Sergeant Moore had charge of the tailoring and ready-made department in Mr W.J. Lennox’s Market Street, Armagh and was very highly esteemed both by his employer, his fellow assistants and the customers of the firm. He was in pre-war days a member of the Armagh Company of Ulster Volunteers Force and joined the colours in September 1914. His promotion was rapid and he went to France with the Ulster Division at the beginning of October 1915. Having been sent back to this country for a slight operation, which was successful, he was for a short time in charge of drafts at Newtownards and was then sent back to France. His death is keenly regretted by a wide circle of friends.” (Armagh Gazette, 23 June 1917)
Lance Corporal Robert Wilson of the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers
“L/Cpl Robert Wilson 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers, who has been officially reported killed, was a son of the late Mr Edward Wilson, Callan Street, Armagh. Previous to joining the army in September 1914, he was employed as a painter by Mr James Maxwell, Lower English Street, Armagh.
He was one of the best signallers in the Battalion. His abilities being favourably often commented on by the commanding officer, Col S.W. Blacker. Writing to his sister, Miss Mary Wilson, Callan St, Amargh, the Rev W.J. Robinson writes: It is with very real sorrow that I write to assure you of my deep sympathy with you in the loss of your brother Lance Corporal Robert Wilson. He was a very fine young fellow and a good soldier. He and his brother Edward (who is missing) were very loyal friends of mine and were very regular in attending services. Your sorrow will be very great and I pray that God may comfort and uphold you. I trust that some good news may be forthcoming of Edward. The Division has done nobly and has lost many gallant lives. They have been given in a righteous cause, but alas for the dear ones at home.” (Armagh Gazette, 29 July 1916)
Sergeant Edward Wilson of the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers
“Rev F.J. Halahan, chaplain of the 9th Battalion writing to Miss M. Wilson, Callan Street, sister to Sergeant E. Wilson states: I received a telegram from Mr Irwin this morning in reference to your brother, Sergeant E. Wilson and have just written to him. I am very sorry to say that his name is amongst those who are missing and wounded. One of the men who passed through the dressing station told me that he had seen him in ‘no man’s land’ and that he was wounded in the legs. There is the possibility of his being taken prisoner as he was not far from the German trenches. I cannot tell you what sense of loss one feels now that so many of our gallant comrades have fallen. They acted nobly and in accordance with the best tradition of the regiments. I need not say that if we receive any further news of him I shall write and let you know. The most painful thing was to know of some of our gallant men being wounded and left out on the ground and we not able to help them.” (Armagh Gazette, 29 July 1916)
From the 9th Battalion files: “14815 Sergeant Edward Wilson Born Armagh. A Company. Killed in action at Hamel, 1 July 1916.”
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Thank you to Mr Joe Center of the Armagh War Memorial Project for his research: www.armaghwarmemorial.com