Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch
Coagh - Those That Served
Updates for Private James Devlin
Date Information
02/03/2019 Both Private James Devlin and his brother Private John Devlin survived the war.
02/03/2019 Private James Devlin, at present a prisoner of war in Limburg, Germany, writes that he is quite well and received the parcels sent to him all right. His brother, John, also of the Inniskillings, has returned to his home at Ballinahone, Coagh, after having completed his term. Both brothers fought sided by side in some desperate engagements in the early days of the war and were both in the great struggle for Mons, when James was taken prisoner by the Germans. John afterwards took part in the battles of Messines, La Bassee, Pluggst Wood, etc. but he says the biggest fight was at Richburg, where he was wounded on 16th May in both hands very badly, one hand being almost blown off. He was two months in hospital in Rouen, from whence he was removed to Cardiff, and has now returned home. He still looks in the pink of condition after what he has come through. James’ brother-in-law, Private Peter O’Neill, who enlisted at the outbreak of war and fought with James at Mons, was afterwards shot at the Dardanelles, while his brother Joe has just been killed in action in France, making the third of the O’Neill family who has laid down his life for his country.
02/03/2019 From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 5th December 1914: Ballygillen Man Captured
02/03/2019 Private James Devlin of the 2nd Battalion Inniskilling Fusiliers, who is a native of Ballygillen, is at present a prisoner in Germany. He went to the front with the first draft, and wrote to his daughter (who is a servant in Rev E Ritchie’s Magherafelt) to send some notepaper and envelopes to him. Those were despatched, but were subsequently returned with a note that he could not be traced. Prior to receipt of this intimation, she received a post card from her father stating he was a prisoner in Gothugen, Province of Hanover.
02/03/2019 From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 12th December 1914:
02/03/2019 Our report last week “Ballygillen Man Captured” should have stated that the news of Private James Devlin being a prisoner of war in Germany was received by his niece who resides in Magherafelt and not by his daughter.
02/03/2019 James Devlin was a native of Ballygillen, which lies half way between Coagh and Ballyronan.
02/03/2019 James was the brother of Private Joseph Devlin. Both served with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
02/03/2019 Private James Devlin went to the front with the first draft.
02/03/2019 Both brothers had fought sided by side in some desperate engagements in the early days of the war and were both in the great struggle for Mons.
02/03/2019 From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 29th January 1916:
02/03/2019 In a subsequent letter to James’ niece, he stated that he was a prisoner in Gottingen, Province of Hanover.
02/03/2019 It is not known when Private Devlin was repatriated.
02/03/2019 From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 16th January 1915:
02/03/2019 Mrs James Devlin, of Ballygillen, Ballinderry Bridge, Coagh, has just received a letter from her husband, Private James Devlin, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, at present a prisoner in Germany, in which he says:-
02/03/2019 ‘Many thanks for present and money which I received all right. I am in the best of health at present. You will be glad to know I was lucky enough to fall in with a cousin of mine called Quinn, from Stewartstown, who also a prisoner of war like myself, and we are both sharing the one apartments, and also all delicacies that happen to come. We could do with some little clothing at present, but otherwise we are alright. Best wishes to yourself and the children for a happy Christmas and a bright New Year.’
02/03/2019 The letter, which was dated 23rd December, was posted from Gottingen, Germany, and in no place does Private Devlin complain of any ill-treatment by the Germans.
02/03/2019 From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 23rd January 1915:
02/03/2019 Since the beginning of the war, the women of Coagh and district have worked energetically to provide small comforts’ for soldiers and sailors. At their committee meeting held on Tuesday, it was decided to forward five pounds to Lady Murray for the men of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers to be spent on chocolates and Swiss milk, as Lady Murray says these things are more required by the men than anything else just at present. The committee hopes this week to send a quantity of shirts and socks to Lady Kennedy, Cultra, for the wounded soldiers arriving in Southampton. Two large boxes of eggs have been forwarded to the National Egg Fund during the past two weeks. The eggs were contributed by Mrs Wilson, Ballygoney Manse, Coagh, and some friends. In response to Lady French’s appeal for mufflers, a large parcel of these have been sent to her. The committee also posted a parcel of warm clothing to Private James Devlin, of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who formerly belonged to Coagh district and is now a prisoner of war in Germany, as he said he required some in a letter to his wife.
02/03/2019 Private Devlin was given the prisoner Ref No - PA 1764
02/03/2019 Private James Devlin was serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was taken prisoner at the Battle of Mons at the start of the war in August 1914.
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Coagh & District in WW1