Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
Date Information
01/05/2020 02099
27/11/2018 Official intimation has been received by Mrs Espey, Church Street, Cookstown, that her husband, Private James Espey, First Inniskillings, was killed in action on 28th June at the Dardanelles. Private Espey, who had previous service in a militia battalion, volunteered for active service at the outbreak of the war, and has been in the fighting line for the past eight months. He was reported wounded some weeks ago, but had returned to the fighting line.
27/11/2018 From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 31th July 1915: Private James Espey
25/11/2018 Mrs Espey, Church Street, has received two letters from her brother in law, Sergeant Joseph Burns, First Inniskillings, one dated 5th July, the other 10th July, in which he informs her that he has been wounded at the Dardanelles, and is in a hospital ship and is progressing fairly well. He received his wounds in an engagement on 1st July. In both letters he mentions Mrs Espey’s husband, Private James Espey, First Inniskillings, whom he says, he has heard on good authority, was killed on 28th June. He saw him a couple of days previously, when he had recently come out of hospital recovering from a wound. Mrs Espey has had no official information as to her husband.
25/11/2018 From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 24h July 1915: Cookstown Casualties
20/08/2018 From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 29th May 1915: Cookstown Casualties
20/08/2018 Mrs Espie, Church Street, Cookstown, has received a post card from her husband, Private James Espey, who has been at the Dardanelles since February, dated 1st May, in which he says he is wounded and in hospital and hopes to be on duty soon again. On Thursday last she received intimation from the War Office dated 14th May, stating that he is posted ‘Missing’. It seems hard to reconcile the two messages. The post card is in his own handwriting, and it would appear he was not in a serious condition, That between the 1st and the 14th he had returned to the firing line and was taken prisoner seems the only possible explanation.
28/08/2017 James Espey and Mary Burns were married on 2nd February 1907 in the district of Cookstown.
28/08/2017 Private James Espey is commemorated at Special Memorial C 244 at Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery, Turkey.
28/08/2017 James Espey was born about 1886.
28/08/2017 Military records suggest that he was born in Derryloran, Cookstown. However, the 1901 census record him as being born in Scotland. No record of a James Espey being born around that time can be found on GRONI.
28/08/2017 Last Will and Testament of Private James Espey dated 20th March 1915:
28/08/2017 The CWGC record Private James Espey as the husband of Mary Espey of Chapel Street, Cookstown, County Tyrone.
30/12/2015 The 1901 census records James as 15 years old. He was boarding with the Burns family in Killymoon Street.
30/12/2015 Soon after the outbreak of the First World War, James enlisted in Cookstown with the 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
30/12/2015 James Espey was working as a Doffer in the local mill. A doffer was someone who cleared full bobbins, pirns or spindles holding spun fiber such as linen from a spinning frame and replaced them with empty ones. From the early days of the industrial revolution, this work, which requires speed and dexterity rather than strength, was often done by children.
30/12/2015 The 1911 census records that James and his wife lived in Church Street, Cookstown. James was a labourer.
30/12/2015 Private James Espey was posted to Gallipoli, a strange and hostile environment for men unaccustomed to the hot climate. Clean drinking water was constantly in short supply and men fought to secure a tenuous foothold.
30/12/2015 The 1st Battalion lost 10 men on the 28th June 1915, among them, James Espey and James McGhee, also from Cookstown. Both were killed in action in the assault on the Turkish trench J11 during the Battle of Gully Ravine. He was aged 29.
30/12/2015 James’ body was recovered and buried at the time, but when the Commonwealth War Graves Commission came to build the cemeteries his grave could not be found.
30/12/2015 In the event of my death, I give the whole of my property and effects to Mrs Mary Espey, Church Street, Cookstown. 11113. 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. C Company. 20 March 1915. At sea.
30/12/2015 Private James Espey is also commemorated on Cookstown Cenotaph and at St. Luran’s Church of Ireland Roll of Honour, Derryloran, Cookstown.
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