2 June 1917 : L/Cpl James McCoubrey

Born in Ballymoney, Co.Antrim in 1888.

Protestant parents James and Margaret McCoubrey

Main Street, Ballymoney, in the early 1900s (National Library of Ireland)

At the 1901 Census James was at home with his parents and younger brother William. Ten years later he was still at home, 35 Main Street, Ballymoney and working as a painter.  Age 20 he was at home with 12 year old brother William his parents and two boarders. 

Ballymoney Main Street today (Google Street View 2019) (c) 2021

James married Fanny and had four children, James, John, Isabella and Mary Jane. 

James initially enlisted in April 1915 (in Belfast), into the 18th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles.

After training in Ireland, he was sent to France in mid-1916 to join the 12th Battalion of the same regiment in Belgium. James stayed in the Ypres - Armentieres area throughout his front-line service (mainly involved in routine trench holding duties).

Men of the 16th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (Pioneers of the 36th Ulster Division) moving forward along the Ribecourt road, 20 November 1917.© IWM Q 6291

James was killed in action on 2 June 1917 when his position was hit by about fifty 150mm shells in the vicinity of Regent St. Dugouts, near Wijtshaete/Kemmel.

Map showing the location of Hooge directly east of Ypres, as well as the frontline of the Ypres Salient as it was in June 1916.

It was the day he and his comrades were due to be relieved. Friends Rifleman Hanna and Rifleman Wade were killed by the same shell.

James left a widow Fanny and four children (James, John, Isabella and Mary Jane) who at the time of their father’s death would have been 10, 6, 4 and 2.

18/903 L/Cpl James McCoubrey, 12th Bn Royal Irish Rifles

2 June 1917

 

Research by David O'Mara

 

Sources: Census Returns 1891, 1901, 1911. The Western Front Association Pension Cards & Ledgers archive on Fold3 by Ancestry; The National Archives of Ireland.