No. 16420, ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 32)
No known grave
Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B)
In some records his surname is spelt Dorian, in others Dorean and in others Adorian..
In some records his service number in 6420.
James Dorrian was born on 23 November 1883 in William Street, Newtownards and he was the eldest son of William John and Ellen Dorrian (nee Crawford, sometimes Craford) who were married on 5 March 1881 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s). William John Dorrian from East Street, Newtownards was a son of William John Dorrian, a labourer. Ellen Crawford (aged 20) from Ballyalton, Newtownards was a daughter of James Crawford, a labourer.
The Dorrian family lived at 4 Talbot Street, Newtownards
William John Dorrian worked as a quarryman and he and Ellen had thirteen children including:
Sarah Elizabeth (born 26 September 1881 in William Street, Newtownards)
James (born 23 November 1883 in William Street, Newtownards)
William John (born 5.00 pm 16 March 1887 in Church Street, Newtownards)
James (born 5.10 pm 16 March 1887 in Church Street, Newtownards)
Jane (born 17 March 1889 in William Street, Newtownards)
Robert (born 30 July 1891 in William Street, Newtownards)
Susanna Agnes (born 14 November 1893 in William Street, Newtownards)
Agnes (born 23 October 1895 in William Street, Newtownards)
Charles Thomas (born 23 January 1898 in William Street, Newtownards)
Mary Ellen (born 8 July 1899 in William Street, Newtownards)
Joseph Robert (born 24 August 1900 in Talbot Street, Newtownards)
James Dorrian and Jane Oliver were married on 15 April 1905 in Newtownards Registrar’s Office. Jane Oliver from East Street, Newtownards was a daughter of George Oliver, a weaver.
James and Jane Dorrian (nee Oliver) had seven children:
Catherine Oliver (born 8 December 1905 in East Street, Newtownards)
William John (born 24 January 1907 in East Street, Newtownards)
James (born 6 February 1909 in William Street, Newtownards)
Robert Joseph (born 21 June 1910 in William Street, Newtownards)
Harry Oliver (born 10.30 am 29 March 1912 in William Street, Newtownards)
Charles (born 10.40 am 29 March 1912 in William Street, Newtownards)
George Oliver (born 21 February 1915 in William Street, Newtownards)
They were baptised in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).
The Dorrian family lived at 76 William Street, Newtownards.
James Dorrian worked as a general labourer and gas stoker and at the outbreak of hostilities he enlisted in Belfast. He served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and he was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. At that time, he had two brothers on active service.
Initially James Dorrian was reported as missing in action and in June 1917 it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed on 1 July 1916. He has no known grave.
Lance Corporal James Dorrian’s parents placed a For King and Country notice in the 9 June 1917 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:
Dear son, it makes our hearts sore
To think in this life we shall meet you no more;
It was thy sad fate to be killed by the Huns
’Midst the splinter of shells and the roar of the guns.
Dear son of my bosom, you sleep ’mong the brave,
Where no tears of a mother can drop on thy grave;
In the red fields of France you are laid far away,
Still our tribute of love to thy memory we pay.
Although we regret that so early in life
It was thy misfortune to fall in the strife,
Yet it may give thy friends consolation to know
That you died in the field with your face to the foe.
But as long as we are allowed to remain here behind,
Dear son, we will always bear thee in mind;
The bugles may sound, and the cannons may roar,
But you will be found in the conflict no more.
Lance Corporal James Dorrian’s parents placed an Our Heroes In Memoriam notice in the 29 June 1918 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:
This day brings to our memory
My dear son, who has gone to rest,
And those who think of him tonight
Are those who loved him best.
But the hardest part is yet to come
When the heroes do return,
And I miss among the cheering crowd
The face of my dear-loved son.
Lance Corporal James Dorrian is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).
Three Newtownards families related by marriage suffered bereavement during the first two weeks of the Battle of the Somme when four men who are being commemorated on this website died:
- James Dorrian (No. 16420)
- His sister Susanna’s husband Robert McCartney (No. 13/343)
- His sister Jane’s husband Edward McAvoy (No. 18125)
- Edward’s brother John McAvoy (No. 18183)
Three women living at 4 Talbot Street in 1916 were widowed – James Dorrian’s wife Jane (nee Oliver), Robert McCartney’s wife Susanna (nee Dorrian) and Edward McAvoy’s wife Jane (nee Dorrian).