Burns, Joseph

Burns, Joseph


No. 4606, 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Died of disease on Friday 19 March 1920 (aged 25)


Donaghadee Parish Church Graveyard, Donaghadee, Co Down


Newtownards and District War Memorial


Joseph Burns was born on 8 March 1895 in Newtownards Workhouse and he was a son of Mary Jane Burns.

Mary Jane Burns had three sons:

Robert (born 22 January 1890 in Herdstown)

Joseph (unnamed in civil records, born 8 March 1895 in Newtownards Workhouse)

John (born 8 June 1897 in East Street, Newtownards)

In 1901 Mary Jane Burns was working as a smoother in a stitching works and she, Joseph and John were boarding at 19 John Street, Newtownards with John and Sophia Johnston.  Robert Burns was living in Hogstown with his grandparents, Robert and Jane Burns.

In 1911 Mary Jane Burns was working as an embroidery sewer, Joseph was working as a flax roller in a mill and they and John, a scholar, were living at 66 South Street, Newtownards.

Joseph Burns enlisted on 26 August 1914, served with the 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and went to France on 28 December 1914.

Private Joseph Burns (No. 4606) was gassed at Albert in France on 16 February 1916 and on 16 June 1916 was discharged from the Army as Medically Unfit.  His Silver War Badge is recorded on List B/393 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Joseph Burns and Charlotte McKenna were married on 29 April 1918 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).  Joseph Burns (aged 23), a pensioner from the war from 17 Greenwell Street, Newtownards was a son of Robert Burns, a labourer.  Charlotte McKenna (aged 24) from Newtownards was a daughter of John McKenna, a tailor.

Ex-Private Joseph Burns was 25 when he died of influenza and bronchitis on 19 March 1920 at 54 Movilla Street, Newtownards and his mother, Mary Jane, was with him when he died. Ex-Private Joseph Burns was buried in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Graveyard on Sunday 21 March 1920.

Joseph’s mother, Agnes Jane and his brother John placed a death notice in the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:

God took him to His home above,

Out of this world of pain;

Tis only but a little while,

And we shall meet again

The name Joseph Burns is listed on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in the booklet produced for the Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony held on Saturday 26 May 1934 he is described as a Private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.  The organising committee of the day decided to include the names of ex-servicemen who died up to that date from what they considered to be war related causes, whether as a result of wounds or disease.