McBratney, John Henry
No. 2907, 14th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Saturday 6 May 1916 (aged 26)
Authuile Military Cemetery, France (Grave D. 52)
Comber and District War Memorial
Second Comber Presbyterian Church
Nephew of Private James Healy (No. 5154)
John Henry McBratney was born on 9 March 1890 in the townland of Tullyveery and he was a son of Samuel William and Annabel (Anna Bella) McBratney (nee Healy, sometimes Healey) who were married on 2 April 1888 in Killinchy Presbyterian Church. Samuel William McBratney from Shrigley was a son of John McBratney, a labourer. Annabella Healey from Tullymacnous was a daughter of Henry Healey, a mechanic.
The McBratney family lived in the towland of Magheralone, Rossconnor, Inch, Co Down; at 28 Brownlow Street Comber and in the townland of Toye between Killinchy and Killyleagh.
Samuel William McBratney worked as a flax dresser and he and Annabel had at least eight children:
Samuel (born 8 January 1889 in Tullyveery; died of pneumonia 14 September 1891 in Tullymacnous)
John Henry (born 9 March 1890 in Tullyveery)
Mary Jane (born 7 November 1891 in Tullymacnous)
Samuel (born 27 April 1893 in Corporation)
James (born 3 June 1895 in Tullymacnous)
Annabella (born 12 March 1897 in Tullymacnous; died of anaemia 30 July 1898)
Annabella (born 21 March 1900 in Magheralone; died of bronchitis 5 December 1900)
Elizabeth (born 28 November 1901 in Magheralone)
During the Great War, Rifleman John Henry McBratney (No. 2907) served with the 14th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 109th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and he was 26 when he was killed in action on 6 May 1916 whilst defending the Allied line against a German attack. In a letter to the bereaved parents Captain Mulholland wrote ‘Your boy fell during a heavy bombardment of the trenches. The platoon he belonged to suffered severely, losing their officer and many men. Their names will go down in the history of this regiment for their pluck and courage. They stuck to their trenches and carried out their dead officer’s orders which he had given to them before he was hit.’
Lieutenant Monard, officer commanding ‘D’ Company wrote, ‘Despite the fact that men were falling all around him your son stuck nobly to his post……he would not desert his post though certain death awaited him.’
Rifleman John Henry McBratney (No. 2907) was buried in Authuile Military Cemetery, France and he is commemorated on Comber and District War Memorial and in Second Comber Presbyterian Church.
One of John Henry McBratney’s brothers was serving in France with the Royal Engineers.
Private James Healy (No. 5154), who was John Henry McBratney’s uncle (his mother Annabel’s brother), was killed in action on 27 April 1916 just nine days before his nephew was killed in action.