Mourne Men and the Great War 2

The following information is courtesy of Wesley Newell:

Private Robert Newell

Robert Newell from Ballymartin served with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. When war was declared Robert walked to the recruitment office in Newry and enlisted. He didn’t tell anyone he was doing this, not even his mother and father. He was only 16 when he signed up but lied and stated he was 18.

Postcard from Robert Newell. It read 'Best Love to Mother. From Bob' It was dated March 22, 1917 Pin of Robert Newell-b

Left: Robert Newell. Right: Robert’s pin.

This was very common and many ‘boy soldiers’ were sent off to the Front. During his time in France Robert was gassed twice and lost his little finger.

Robert Newell (2nd from left) in hosptial with other soldiers, 1917 Postcard from Robert Newell in Abbeyville, France 1917

Top: Photo of Robert in hospital, 2nd from left in 1917. Bottom: Robert’s postcard from France in 1917, Abbeyville.

Years and years later a black mark on Robert’s face went septic. They operated on him and found that it was a bit of shrapnel which had been lodged there since the battle of the Somme. He relived his war days with his grandchildren telling them the stories of the good and the bad times at the Front; the great sense of comradeship along with the tough times in the trenches, surrounded by mud and death.

Another postcard from hospital dated 1917. Robert is 2nd from right.

Another postcard from France dated 1917. Robert 2nd from right.

The following information is from Matt Maginnis:

Doctor Ferguson Floyd

On the 25 Oct 1916 Dr. Floyd, Medical Officer of the Workhouse requested leave to offer his services as a doctor in the war. This was after his son’s death (Hayden Floyd). He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps for 6 months. During his service he was torpedoed on a hospital ship in the English Channel.

The Gloucester Castle, a hosptial ship which was torpedoed in 1917. This is most likely the ship Dr Floyd was on

Dr. Floyd served the people of Kilkeel for 53 years and he made his visits by pony and trap, motor-bike and then motor-car. He died 17 Sept 1968 at the age of 98.

Private Andrew Mulholland

Private  Mulholland enlisted in the Royal Irish Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion in 1914. He saw action at the famous Battle of Eloi but was killed soon after, near the Ypres-Menin Road during trench warfare on 14 May 1915. Andrew Mulholland was buried where he fell and is remembered on the Menin Gate.

The Menin Gate in Ypres where Andrew Mullholland is remembered, as one of over 54,000 Commonwealth soldiers with no known graveThe Battle of Eloi, showing the Royal Irish Fusiliers in action

Top: The Menin Gate. Bottom: painting of the Royal Irish Fusiliers fighting in the Battle of Eloi

Private James H. Ross

Private Ross lived in The Square, Kilkeel with his mother before moving to Canada around 1900. He was a member of the 10th Battalion, Canadian Regiment and saw action in France. He suffered gunshot wounds at Ypres on 25 April 1915 but managed to survive the war.

The following information is from research carried out by Lydia Annett:

Margaret Anderson, the ‘Florence Nightingale of Mourne’

Margaret Anderson was born in Ballinran, Kilkeel. In 1916 she joined the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Reserve. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross by King George V in 1919. In 1926 she returned to Ireland as matron of the hospital in the Silent Valley.


During WWI¬† she kept in contact with her family in Ballinran by letter and postcard but rarely gave any indication of where she was or what she was doing. It wasn’t until she received the RRC that her family realised how much of a contribution she had made. During WWII she took part in several sorties across the Channel during the evacuation of Dunkirk.

Nurse Anderson (seated, left) at a Military Hospital  in Bournemouth during the First World War
Above: Margaret Anderson, seated left.