McDowell, John Taggart

McDowell, John Taggart (John)


No. 18272, ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Died of disease on Sunday 18 April 1915 (aged 19)


Not known


Ballywalter and District War Memorial

Ballywalter Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity)


John Taggart McDowell was born on 3 January 1896 in Ballywalter and he was a son of William and Eliza McDowell (formerly Harkness, nee Taggart) who were married on 9 November 1894 in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.  William McDowell from Whitechurch, Ballywalter was a son of Francis Beggs, a labourer.  Eliza Taggart, a widow from Greyabbey, was a daughter of John Taggart, a labourer.

The McDowell family lived in Ballywalter.

William McDowell worked as an agricultural labourer and byreman and he and Eliza had three children, all of whom were baptised in Ballywalter Parish Church of Ireland Church:

John Taggart (born 3 January 1896 in Ballywalter)

James (born 7 November 1898 in Ballywalter)

William Henry (born 3 January 1900 in Ballywalter)

Their mother, Eliza McDowell (formerly Harkness, nee Taggart) died of tuberculosis on 22 April 1904 in Ballywalter.  Her mother, Sarah Taggart, was with her when she died.

Prior to the outbreak of the Great War John McDowell worked as a labourer.  He enlisted in Belfast on 24 September 1914 and stated that his age was 19 years 2 months (he was in fact 18 years 9 months old).

Rifleman John Taggart McDowell served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and on 2 February 1915 he was discharged from the Army because he was deemed to be medically unfit for active service due to pulmonary tuberculosis.

Ex-Rifleman John McDowell (No. 18272) was 19 when he died of pulmonary tuberculosis in Ballywalter on 18 April 1915 and his half-sister, Rachel Brennan, was with him when he died.  On 20 October 1905, in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s), Rachel Harkness from Newtownards, a daughter of Robert Harkness, married Henry Brennan from Ballywalter, a son of James Brennan, a fisherman.

Ex-Rifleman John McDowell (No. 18272) is commemorated on Ballywalter and District War Memorial and in Ballywalter Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity).