Cairnduff, Valentine (No. 4596)

Cairnduff, Valentine (Val)

Lance Corporal

No. 4596, 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Killed in action on Friday 19 November 1915 (aged 20)


Suzanne Communal Cemetery Extension, France (Grave B. 10)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Newtownards and District War Memorial

Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s)


Valentine Cairnduff was born on 14 May 1895 in Newtownards and he was the only son of Jane Cairnduff who worked as a spinner and they lived in John Street Lane with Jane’s parents James and Emily Cairnduff.  James Cairnduff was a horse dealer and he and Emily had at least eleven children including Jane, Lizzie, Sarah, Eleanor, Robert, Bella, Malcolm and William James.

There is some variation in the spelling of the family surname.  In census records it is spelt Carnduff.  On Newtownards and District War Memorial, on the Church War Memorial, in Newspaper notices and in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Debt of Honour it is spelt Cairnduff.  In Ireland’s Memorial Records (IMR) 1914 – 1918 it is spelt Carinduff.

Prior to the outbreak of the Great War Valentine Cairnduff worked as a shoemaker and on 5 December 1914 he and Marion McNurney were married in First Londonderry Presbyterian Church Templemore.  Valentine Cairnduff (aged 19) was a Private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers stationed in Ebrington Barracks, Londonderry and he cited James Cairnduff, a horse dealer, as his father.  Marion McNurney (aged 15) from Ballymagowan, Londonderry was a daughter of James McNurney, a plumber.

Lance Corporal Valentine Cairnduff (No. 4596) made a will and after he died his property and effects were received by his widow who lived at 27 Elmwood Terrace, Londonderry.

Sergeant J. Snodden wrote to Lance Corporal Valentine Cairnduff’s mother to express his sympathy and he told her that Valentine had died on the night of 19 November ‘without suffering of any kind’.

Lance Corporal H. McClurg also wrote to her and he enclosed a blood-stained photo of Valentine’s wife Marion.  He described the photograph as having been ‘enriched by the blood shed by her husband for his God and country’.  The photograph was printed on a postcard and on the back of it Valentine had written his last, and subsequently bloodstained, message of love.

After Lance Corporal Valentine Cairnduff (No. 4596) died, his mother Jane was living at 13 Pound Street, Newtownards.  She placed a Killed in Action notice in the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:

No loved one stood around him

To hear his last farewell;

No parting kisses could he give

To those he loved so well.

In November 1915 Lance Corporal Valentine Cairnduff’s mother, then living in Lower Mary Street, Newtownards placed an Our Heroes – In Memoriam notice in the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:

Engraved on his mother’s loving arms

His image still shall be,

Though lost to sight in memory dear,

Till we meet in eternity

I mourn for thee, my son,

And it’s lonely I will be

Till God in mercy calls me

To rest above with thee.

Lance Corporal Valentine Cairnduff (No. 4596) was 20 when he died, and he was buried in Suzanne Communal Cemetery Extension, France.  He is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).