No. 18392, 7th/8th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers
Killed in action on Wednesday 1 August 1917 (aged 40)
No known grave
Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium (Panel 22)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Newtownards Masonic Lodge No. 198
Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour
James Irvine was born on 7 November 1878 in South Street, Newtownards and he was a son of James and Grace Irvine (nee McKimm) who were married on 31 October 1868.
James Irvine worked as a weaver and he and Grace had at least six children:
Robert (born 26 September 1869)
Henry (born 20 September 1876)
James (born 7 November 1878)
Lizzie (born 29 August 1882)
Unnamed female (born 25 March 1885)
Margaret (born 12 September 1888)
James Irvine and Margaret Milligan (sometimes Milliken) were married on 7 August 1901 in St Anne’s Church of Ireland Church Belfast. James Irvine (aged 23) of 34 Bootle Street, Belfast was a son of James Irvine, a weaver. Margaret Milligan (aged 21) of 39 Miller Street, Belfast was a servant and she was a daughter of James Milligan, a labourer.
Prior to the outbreak of the Great War James and Margaret Irvine lived in Victoria Avenue, Newtownards and they had at least seven children:
Grace (born 16 June 1902 at 30 Howe Street, Belfast)
Robert (born 1 June 1904 at 34 Mossvale Street, Belfast)
James (born 5 April 1906 at 137 Snugville Street, Belfast)
Agnes (born 5 December 1907 in Balfour Street, Newtownards)
Frederick Harold (born 1 July 1909 in Balfour Street, Newtownards)
Margaretta (born 13 August 1911 in Victoria Avenue, Newtownards)
Alfred (born 20 December 1913 in Bangor Road, Newtownards)
James Irvine worked as a linen weaver and he was a member of the Newtownards Miniature Rifle Club where he won many prizes for rifle shooting. A letter to a friend back home was published in the 4 December 1915 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and in it he described the part of the trenches where he was stationed as ‘a very bad spot’. It was the place where he had previously sustained head injuries but he said ‘they were not bad enough for me to be sent home’. He went on, ‘But I got my own back, as I got shelter and I just thought I was on the ‘Rec’ shooting for the ‘Bell’ medal. And I have not forgotten what I learnt in the Newtownards Miniature Rifle Club. The enemy were thick and I helped to thin them out a bit’.
When Lance Corporal James Irvine was killed in action his Platoon Officer, Second Lieutenant E.M.S. Houston wrote to James’s widow to express his sympathy. He told her that her husband had been hit by a sniper’s bullet during the afternoon of 1 August 1917 and that his death had been instantaneous. At the time of James’s death his wife and family were living at 191 Leopold Street, Belfast.
Lance Corporal James Irvine is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial; in Newtownards Masonic Lodge No. 198 and in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 288).