No. 7264, 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Thursday 16 August 1917 (aged 20)
Hooge Crater Cemetery, Belgium (Grave XVI. D. 5)
In the Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1919 database it is recorded that Rifleman John Kennedy (No. 7264) was born in Comber, lived in Dundonald and enlisted in Newtownards.
On the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Debt of Honour Website it is recorded that he was 20 years old when he died on 16 August 1917 and from that it may be concluded that he was around 14 years of age at the time of the 1911 Census.
Census information provides unsubstantiated evidence about his family circumstances.
In 1911 there was a 14-year old John Kennedy living in the townland of Ballyrogan, Newtownards. This John Kennedy boarded with, and worked as an agricultural labourer for, Isabella McMurry, a 69-year old widowed farmer.
A John Kennedy was born on 16 October 1895 in the townland of Ballyoran, in the district of Comber and he was a son of John and Maggie Kennedy (nee Smith).
Rifleman John Kennedy (No. 7264) was killed in action on 16 August 1917 at Langemarck during the Third Battle of Ypres and initially he was posted as missing in action.
Under the headline Comber Rifleman Reported Killed, the 2 March 1918 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle carried a report which indicated that Rifleman J. Kennedy (No. 7246; note the sequence of digits) Royal Irish Rifles Comber ‘who was previously posted as missing is now officially reported killed’.
Rifleman John Kennedy (No. 7264) was buried in Hooge Crater Cemetery, Belgium and in CWGC records his next-of-kin details are Mr John Kennedy, Dundonald, Co Down.
There are two John Kennedys with Newtownards connections who were Riflemen in the Royal Irish Rifles and only one of them is listed on Newtownards and District War Memorial – either Rifleman John Kennedy (No. 7264) or Rifleman John Kennedy (No. 17/1773).