In memoriam

Second Lieutenant Matthew Sloan Darragh

 

 

 

Matthew Darragh was born at Ballycraigey, Ballymena, on 25 July 1892, son of farmer Samuel Darragh and Jane Darrah (nee Starrah).

He enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron at Belfast on 10 November 1914 (No.129), together with his older brother, John McClelland Cromie Darragh (No.128).

Another brother, James Robinson Darragh, would also serve, being commissioned on 5 October 1915 and posted to the 6th Battalion, West Riding Regiment.

Matthew Darragh applied for a commission at the end of 1915 and was posted to No.4 Officer Cadet Battalion at Oxford on 24 February 1916. He was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 14 July 1916 and, like his brother, posted to the 6th Battalion West Riding Regiment. He was later attached to the regiment's 5th Battalion.

On 20 March 1917 he was killed in action near Richebourg l'Avoue, just south of Neuve Chapelle. According to the battalion diary:

A patrol consisting of 2/Lt. Darragh and 6 other ranks of No.3 Company went out from S. 16.a.2.5. to reconnoitre the German Wire on the Northern side of the Boars Head. S. 16.a.6.7. at 7.pm. They apparently lost their direction in the maze of shell holes and old trenches and stumbled into a German Post held by 6 or 8 men. They were fired on by rifles and bombs. 2/Lt Darragh was killed and 2 other ranks were Missing believed killed. The bodies were not recovered although two search patrols were sent out during the night.

His brother John had died in France on 24 December 1916. James died of wounds on 5 July 1917.

Matthew Darragh's body was not recovered, and he is commemorated at the Loos Memorial, Panel 68.

 

 

He is also 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

...

 

 

Gravestone and memorial images kindly provided by Steve Rogers, Project Co-ordinator of the The War Graves Photographic Project, www.twgpp.org. Newspaper clippings, from the Ballymena Weekly Telegraph, March 1917, kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (www.greatwarbelfastclippings.com).