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Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:05 pm
Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:16 pm
Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:22 pm
Posted 03 March 2012 - 09:15 am
There is a James Henry Duncan, West Derby, Lancashire on the 1901 census. 5 years old and son of Samuel and Sarah Jane. Born in Ireland. Also this James Duncan in Armagh on 1911 census could be the same person -
Posted 09 September 2014 - 11:37 pm
I don't know if you are still looking at this thread about JH Duncan of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, but I am his grandson. What is it you need to know? He died before I was born, but I can probably help you with your enquiry.
Posted 10 September 2014 - 09:09 pm
Posted 04 October 2014 - 06:15 pm
I have a lot of information on James Henry Duncan now, having obtained his war record. He certainly was an Armagh man for a period of his life, although he was born in Gorey, County Wexford. He moved from Armagh in about 1914 I think.
The reference to him being wounded that you are referring to was when he was wounded for the second time, on 20th November 1917 on the first day of the Battle of Cambrai. The first time was on 29 August 1916 when he was officially with the 1/8th King's Liverpool Regiment, but was attached to the 21st Manchester Regiment. He was wounded at Delville Wood on the Somme - he was shot in the hand and was out of action for three months. Then in November 1916 he was sent off for officer training at Bath, Somerset, from where he was attached initially to the 10th Royal Irish Fusiliers and then sent back to France. After he had recovered from being wounded while with the 7/8th RIF in 1917, he was sent back to France again in 1918, and then was demobbed in 1919. He settled back in Liverpool where he had been living when war broke out, and ended up as a Director of the watch and jewellery firm Thomas Russell and Sons. My mother told me that during the 2nd war he was in the ARP. One night during the Liverpool Blitz when he was at home with the family and in the Anderson shelter at the bottom of the garden, a bomb dropped in their garden (released from a German aircraft as it was flying back after dropping most of them on the docks) and they were all buried in the shelter and had to be dug out. Now that I know what a bad time he had in the trenches, I realise it must have been a huge shock for him to be witnessing the sound of shells at close quarters again in his own garden! He died quite young, in 1946 aged 49.
In his service file were two letters from another person in 7/8th Battalion RIF - Joseph McCorry, who tried to contact him first in 1938 and again in 1942, unfortunately without success as there was no current forwarding address. In the letter, Joseph McCorry who seems to have hit on hard times, is trying to track down Lt James Duncan, because he was the person who carried him to the dressing station after he was wounded. In the file, it is recorded that my grandfather was concussed after being buried by a shell, and Joseph McCorry provides more detail as follows:
" The 16th Division made an attack at Bullecourt with success. We took cover in the German tunnel and Capt. Waters asked for a volunteer in the German under-tunnel which was captured. I went forward to the captain of 'C' company - I told him I would volunteer. Could you take a British officer who was buried by shellfire and find the British First Aid post from here? I said 'yes'. This officer's name was Lieut. Duncan. I took the wounded officer to the British First Aid station. I had a tough job, I had to find my way through the German line into the British line, then came back for a counter-attack the next morning which we had. It was beaten back." I would like to track down Joseph McCorry's relatives to pass on a copy of these handwritten letters, so if you have any details on him I would be grateful if you could please let me know; he was obviously a very brave man.
I have been able to investigate a bit further, as with the date of 20th November 1916 to go by, and the reference to 'the German tunnel' I am now convinced that the action was around the capturing of Tunnel Trench, which was an underground section of the Hindenburg Line. The Germans had built a tunnel section into part of the Hindenburg Line trench midway between Bullecourt and Croisilles. The tunnel was 30 or 40 feet below ground along its whole length, with staircase access from the upper level every 25 yards. The entire tunnel had electric lighting, and side chambers provided storage space for bunks, food, and ammunition. Demolition charges had been set that could be triggered from the German rear in order to prevent the defences from falling into British hands.
Posted 12 October 2014 - 09:20 am