In memoriam

Private John McClelland Cromie Darragh

 

 

John McClelland Cromie Darragh was born at Ballycraigy, Ballymena, County Antrim, around 1884, son of farmer Samuel Darragh and Jane Darragh (nee Starrat).

On the outbreak of war he returned home from Canada and on 10 November 1914 enlisted at Belfast in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, Service Squadron (No.128). His brother Matthew Sloan Darragh joined the squadron at the same time.

He embarked for France on 3 October 1915, three days in advance of his squadron, one of around thirty men of the squadron attached to the headquarters of the 36th (Ulster) Division.

During 1916 Private Darragh was posted to the regular regiment of the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons. On 24 December that year he died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was aged 32.

Reports home stated that he had been killed in action. The Ballymena Observer of 12 January 1917, for example, reported:

Trooper J. Darragh, Inniskilling Dragoons, who was killed in action on Christmas Eve last, was the third son of the late Samuel Darragh, Ballycraigy, Ballymena and Mrs. Darragh now of Alma Terrace, Portadown. He came home from Canada at the beginning of the war to join this popular Irish Regiment of which he always felt very proud.

Darragh was buried at Fressenville Military Cemetery, Abbeville. After the war his body was exhumed and reburied at St Riquier British Cemetery, Somme, France, grave C.8. The gravestone inscription reads:

128 PRIVATE
J. MC C. DARRAGH
INNISKILLING DRAGOONS
24TH DECEMBER 1916

His brother, Matthew Sloan Darragh, had been killed in action in March 1917. Another brother, James Robinson Darragh, an officer in the West Riding Regiment, died of wounds on 5 July that year. The three brothers are remembered on a family memorial at the Kirkhill Cemetery, Connor, Co. Antrim (below).

 

 

 

The inscription reads in part as follows:

...

THEIR SONS

JOHN, JAMES

AND MATTHEW

KILLED IN ACTION

1914 - 1918 WAR

...


Image1 kindly provided by Simon Godly (see his First World War website at www.webmatters.net). Images 2 and 3 kindly provided by Steve Rogers, Project Co-ordinator of the The War Graves Photographic Project, www.twgpp.org. Newspaper extract from Des Blackadder's Ballymena 1914-1918: Carved in stone...but not forgotten.