Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
Date Information
01/05/2020 02052
14/11/2018 ‘I saw Alex (Private Alexander Proctor, 2nd Battalion Irish Fusiliers) and Willie (Sergeant William Lynn, 2nd Irish Fusiliers) the other day, and both of them looked well after having such a rough time of it. They were glad to seem me and I to see them. I have heard that Jack and Hugh Cairns were wounded Their regiment went forward with the same old dash and soon made the Germans hop it – Good old Inniskillings; they did some good work but they have lost heavily. The Germans are very cunning, but they don’t like to meet the British, as they know they always get a good basting. I see by the papers that there will be no Twelfth this year. I think it is a good idea, as it would not look nice on account of all the boys being away. However, I hope with God’s help, the war won’t last much longer and that we will get home safe although I am very afraid of it.
14/11/2018 Bombardier James Lynn, 43rd Battery, Royal Field Artillery, writing from the western front to friends in Coalisland says:-
14/11/2018 From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 26th June 1915: Bombardier Lynn and the Twelfth
03/10/2018 Writing to his friends in Coalisland, Bombardier James Lynn, 43rd Battery, Royal Field Artillery, states that the infantry had a rough time of it for a week or so, but things were now quiet, although further work might soon be expected. Jack’s battalion had captured two lines of trenches from the Germans. His brother and Cairns were together, but he had had no word from them lately, so did not know how they had got on. The gas that the Germans were using was awful, and nothing could live in front of it. Grass, trees and plants withered up the same as if they were burned. He wished to be mentioned to old friends, a number of whom he particularly named.
03/10/2018 From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 5th June 1915: Bombardier James Lynn on the Gas
19/07/2018 ‘This is a great country. I suppose you often hear of cows ploughing. If you were going along, as we are, you would see them here and dogs churning the buttermilk and drawing small carts along the streets. If the summer was once here it would be all right. You would go a long way to see the Indian troops. They are rum looking men. The Germans are very afraid of them. They are the boys that can use the knives.’
19/07/2018 From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 13th February 1915: Coalisland Man’s Sight-Seeing
19/07/2018 Lance Corporal Cairns, of the Machine Gun Detachment, writing to his sister in Coalisland on 1st February says:-
19/07/2018 Writing to other friends he says:-
19/07/2018 ‘We were on the march for four days. The weather is a bit cold and frosty, but it is all right for marching. I saw Lord Northland a few days ago when we were passing through a village. I saw a lot of artillery and kept a look out for James Lynn (Coalisland), but did not see him. We are getting plenty of food and it is the very best. I am in the best of health and spirits and hope to return safe and sound. We all hope to be home for the Twelfth of July.’
05/08/2017 Lance Corporal Hugh John Cairns was serving with the 2nd battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action at the Battle of Festubert on Sunday 16th May 1915.
05/08/2017 The CWGC refer to Hugh as 4354 Lance Corporal Hugh John Kearns.
05/08/2017 Hugh John Cairns was the eldest son of Hugh and Sarah Cairns. Hugh Cairns married Sarah Chambers on 7th December 1883 in the district of Dungannon.
05/08/2017 Hugh Cairns was born on 8th March 1886 in Brackaville, Coalisland. He was the second oldest of twelve children.
05/08/2017 Family: Hugh Cairns, Sarah Cairns, Mary Cairns (born 20th January 1884), Hugh John Cairns (born 8th March 1886), Thomas William Cairns (born 3rd December 1887), Charlotte Jane Cairns (born 20th October 1889), Elizabeth Cairns (born 23rd September 1891), James Cairns (born 27th September 1893), Florence Cairns (born 3rd March 1896) Edith Cairns (born 25th September 1898), Adeline Cairns (born 1st September 1900), Edward James Cairns (born 25th September 1902).
05/08/2017 It is believed Sarah Cairns, Hugh’s mother, died on 10th November 1902, aged 38.
05/08/2017 The 1911 census lists Hugh John as age 25, living with the family at house 108 in Coalisland, Tullyniskane. Hugh was working as a railway porter. His father was a widower and was a clerk.
05/08/2017 Hugh John Cairns enlisted in Cookstown.
05/08/2017 The 1901 census lists Hugh John, as age 15, living with the family at house 54 in Coalisland, Tullyniskane, County Tyrone. Hugh had left school and was a factory worker. His father was a clerk.
05/08/2017 In military documentation the surname is spelt Kearns.
30/12/2015 Lance Corporal Hugh J Cairns has no known grave and is commemorated on panel 16-17 of Le Touret Memorial in France.
30/12/2015 There is a memorial to Hugh John in Brackaville Church of Ireland church on the Dungannon Road, Coalisland.
30/12/2015 The inscription reads:
30/12/2015 “1914-1918. For King and country. In loving memory of L/Cpl Hugh John Cairns R. Innis Fus. who was killed in action at Festubert, France in the Great War and his brother Thomas William who served as a driver with the American army in Flanders, and since died in USA. Also their father and mother Hugh and Sarah Cairns of this parish. I will not leave you comfortless. St John XIV XIII.”
30/12/2015 Hugh John Cairns is also listed on Dungannon War Memorial.
30/12/2015 From the Tyrone Courier dated 15th July 1915:
30/12/2015 Every effort to trace Hugh Henry Cairns (4354), 2nd battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who has been missing since the engagement at Festubert on 16 May has failed. His sister Miss Minnie Cairns, Sandy Row, Coalisland, is very anxious for news of him.
30/12/2015 Coalisland men Hugh John Cairns on the left is pictured with Robert Lynn on the right. Photo courtesy of Robert Butler.
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