Angus, John Blair (Blair)
No. 17155, ‘A’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 19)
No known grave
Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B)
Donaghadee and District War Memorial
Bangor and District War Memorial
Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque
Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum
Shore Street Presbyterian Church Donaghadee
Trinity Presbyterian Church Bangor
Angus family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road
John Blair Angus was born on 10 July 1896 in the townland of Cottown, Donaghadee and he was the youngest son of Alexander and Mary Angus (nee Murphy) who were married on 26 February 1885 in Shore Street Presbyterian Church Donaghadee. Alexander Angus from Cottown was a son of Robert Angus, a labourer. Mary Murphy, a servant from Cottown was a daughter of William Murphy, a labourer.
John Blair Angus lived in the townland of Cottown, Donaghadee with his parents and his grandparents, Robert and Ellen Angus, and, after the outbreak of the First World War, the Angus family moved to 20 Albert Street, Bangor.
Alexander Angus worked as an agricultural labourer and he and Mary had nine children, eight of whom were baptised in Shore Street Presbyterian Church Donaghadee:
Mary Ellen (born 18 November 1885 in Cottown)
James (born 16 July 1887 in Cottown)
Agnes Campbell (born 28 July 1889 in Cottown)
Rose (born 22 February 1892 in Cottown)
Robert (born 6 September 1893 in Cottown)
John Blair (born 10 July 1896 in Cottown)
Emily (born 10 August 1900 in Cottown)
Jane Neill Campbell (born 9 August 1903 in Cottown)
Sarah Ann (born 15 May 1905 in Cottown)
Blair Angus enlisted in Bangor and he served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division. His prowess as a rat catcher led to his appointment as Assistant Rat-Killer in his Platoon.
Rifleman Blair Angus (No. 17155) was 19 when he was posted as missing in action after the first day of the Battle of the Somme and in June 1917 it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed in action on 1 July 1916.
By then his family knew that Robert and James were dead and his parents placed a notice in the County Down Spectator. It contained the verse:
God is good, He will give us grace
To bear our heavy cross,
He is the only one who knows
How bitter is our loss.
Blair Angus was the first of the three Angus brothers to be killed in action although his was the last of the three deaths to be confirmed.
James Angus was the third of the three Angus brothers to be killed in action although his was the second of the three deaths to be confirmed.
Robert Angus was the second of the three Angus brothers to be killed in action although his was the first of the three deaths to be confirmed.
The three brothers died within a three-month period and their mother Mary died of pneumonia at 20 Albert Street, Bangor on 31 March 1920 (aged 56).
Rifleman Blair Angus (No. 17155) has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France; on Donaghadee and District War Memorial; on Bangor and District War Memorial; on the Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque; in the Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum; in Shore Street Presbyterian Church Donaghadee; in Trinity Presbyterian Church Bangor and on the Angus family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road.