Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
ff
   Sergeant James Donnelly
Save as PDF
Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 30/12/2015
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 42 Field Coy, 165th Infantry Regiment (United States Army)
Date Of Birth: 22/11/1894
Died: 15/11/1918 (Killed in Action)
Age: 23
Summary      
James was the son of Michael and Catherine Donnelly (nee Mooney). James was born James Donnelly was born on 22 November 1894 in County Tyrone. For a few years the family ran a public house and grocery shop in Drumullan (known today as the Sit & Sip) but by 1911 they had returned to the family farm in Drumaney. In 1914, he sailed from Derry on 14 April 1914, bound for Newark, New Jersey. When the United States entered the war in April 1917, James Donnelly was eligible for conscription, and when the 42nd (Rainbow) Division was activated in August 1917, he was drafted to Company B of the 165th Infantry Regiment (better known as the 69th New York. Sergeant James Donnelly was killed in action a week shy of his 24th birthday on 15th Octboer 1918. He is buried Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in France.
Further Information
James was the son of Michael and Catherine Donnelly (nee Mooney). James Donnelly was born on 22 November 1894 in County Tyrone.
For a few years the family ran a public house and grocery shop in Drummullan (known today as the Sit & Sip) but by 1911 they had returned to the family farm in Drumaney.
The Donnelly public house and grocery shop at Drummullan around 1902. From left – Catherine Donnelly née Mooney, Paddy Donnelly, Lizzie Martin, Mick Donnelly, Mickey John Donnelly, James Donnelly and the farm helper John Reilly.
The 1911 census lists James as 17 years old. He was working as a labourer. He was still living with the family at house 1 in Drumenny Stewart (Munterevlin, Tyrone. His father was working as a farm labourer.
James, the second-born of three boys and a girl, worked on the farm for a time but in 1914, when he was 19 years old, he made up his mind to emigrate to America. He sailed from Derry on 14 April 1914, bound for Newark, New Jersey.
Family : Michael Donnelly, Catherine Donnelly, Michael John Donnelly (born 22 July 1892), James Donnelly (born 22 November 1894), Brigid Donnelly (born 4th December 1897), Patrick Donnelly 12 (born September 1900, died 4th May 1912).
When the United States entered the war in April 1917, James Donnelly was eligible for conscription, and when the 42nd (Rainbow) Division was activated in August 1917, he was drafted to Company B of the 165th Infantry Regiment (better known as the 69th New York), and his name appears on the original roster as Private James Donnelly of Harriman, New Jersey. The regiment reached France in November 1917.
There is a disparity in regard to the date of James Donnelly’s death. His headstone at Meuse-Argonne, Verdun, bears the date: OCT. 13, 1918, but the family headstone in Mullinahoe graveyard, Ardboe, bears the date: 15-10-1918. The family’s date may be more accurate, because the battalion’s big drive on the Argonne Forest did not commence until 9.00am on the morning of 14 October.
Sergeant James Donnelly was killed in action a week shy of his 24th birthday on 15th Octboer 1918. He is buried Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in France.
James Donnelly grave
A fellow soldier of that morning’s fighting wrote
“Our men fell everywhere along the line. They would break out before a thicket, and far ahead the rat-a-tat would sing and a man would lie clawing frenziedly at stones and tangled roots. They would straighten up and run forward toward a suspicious thicket, when, Crack! Crack! Crack! And the doughboys would move forward, leaving some of their number in death convulsions on the ground and others sorely wounded. But sooner or later they got the man in the tree for full payment, and sooner or later they got the hidden machine gun men. They kept on until they got their price for the comrades they lost; and then they kept on.”
James Donnelly on family headstone
James Donnelly is also commemorated on the family headstone in Mullinahoe, Ardboe, County Tyrone
Read more
Relevant Cookstown Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Drumullan Coagh Lived in Drumullan 54.644172 -6.660550
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1911 Census lists Donnelly family Lists James as age 17 living with the family at house 1 in Drumenny Stewart, Munterevlin, Tyrone
2 American Battle Death Details of Sergeant James Donnelly
3 American Battle Monuments Commission Person's military / burial details can be searched for
4 Ardboe Heritage List detailed information of James including photos
5 Dungannon War Dead Also listed on Dungannon War Dead
6 FindAGrave.com Photo of James Donnelly's gravestone
Cookstown District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2010-2021