No. 16359, ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Died of wounds on Saturday 4 August 1917 (aged 24)
Mendinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium (Grave IV. A. 3)
Ballywalter and District War Memorial
Ballywalter Presbyterian Church
David Cromie was born on 31 March 1893 in the townland of Ballyboghillbow and he was baptised in Ballywalter Presbyterian Church.
David Cromie was a son of David and Ann Jane (Annie) Cromie (nee Harkness) who were married on 22 November 1892 in Ballywalter Presbyterian Church. David Cromie from Blackabbey was a son of Robert Cromie, a labourer. Ann Jane Harkness from Ballyboghillbow was a daughter of James Harkness, a labourer.
David Cromie Senior worked as an agricultural labourer and he and Annie (who worked as an embroiderer) had four children:
Thomas (born 18 December 1887)
David (born 31 March 1893 in Ballyboghillbow)
Robert James (born 16 May 1897 in Blackabbey)
Albert (born 16 January 1904 in Ballywalter)
Prior to the Great War, David Cromie Junior worked as agricultural labourer for Lord Dunleath in Ballywalter Park.
In September 1914 David Cromie enlisted in Belfast and he served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. He was sent to Clandeboye Camp for training and went to the Front in September 1915 with 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division. On 26 May 1916 Rifleman David Cromie (No. 16359) was wounded in the left leg when he was struck by fragments of a shell while he was in his billet. He was transferred to hospital in Bristol for treatment. At that time two of David’s brothers were also on active service – Thomas with the 13th Royal Irish Rifles (No. 16315) and Robert James with the Cyclist Corps.
On 14 November 1916 Rifleman David Cromie (No. 16315) and Annie Reid were married in Ballywalter Parish Church of Ireland Church. Annie Reid (aged 20) from Ballywalter was a daughter of Robert James Reid, a labourer.
Rifleman David Cromie returned to the Front and he was mortally wounded by shellfire on 4 August 1917 during the Third Battle of Ypres. He was 24 and had been married for less than nine months when he died in a Casualty Clearing Station.
After she received the official news that David had died of wounds, his wife Annie placed a For King and Country notice in the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:
Somewhere in France my husband fell,
Amidst the roar of shot and shell;
When days are dark, and friends are few,
Oh David, how I long for you.
I prayed that God would keep you,
And shield you in the fray;
But, alas, my hopes were blighted
When the sad news came that day.
As dawn crept o’er the trenches
He fell ‘midst shot and shell;
My only grief, I was not there
To bid him a last farewell.
He fought his battle, for his country he fell,
Defending his home he was struck by a shell.
Rifleman David Cromie (No. 16315) was buried in Mendinghem Military Cemetery in Belgium and he is commemorated on Ballywalter and District War Memorial and in Ballywalter Presbyterian Church.