Mears, John Tooley (John)
Company Sergeant Major (CSM)
No. 15/12476, 15th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Died of disease on Wednesday 4 July 1917 (aged 38, death certificate; aged 39 CWGC)
Belfast City Cemetery, Glenalina Extension (Grave C. 245)
In the CWGC Debt of Honour website it is recorded that CSM John Mears was born at Woolwich London; he was a son of Samuel and Mary Mears; he was the husband of Katherine Mears of 36 Fairbairn Street, Glasgow, and he had served in the South African Campaign.
John Mears was awarded both the Queen’s and King’s Medals in the South African Campaign.
John Tooley Mears was born at Woolwich, London and in his attestation papers it is recorded that he was working as a caretaker when he joined up in Belfast on 4 September 1914 for the duration of the war. He joined from the Army Reserve having served with the Rifle Brigade from 1897 until 1907. He was 5 feet 5¾ inches tall with brown hair and brown eyes. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on 21 September 1914 and went to France with the Expeditionary Force on 2 October 1915. He was promoted to the rank of Company Sergeant Major on 9 December 1915. He returned to Depot from France on 10 December 1916 and was discharged from the Army in Dublin on 23 January 1917 when he was found to be no longer physically fit for war service. CSM John Mears was suffering from ‘valvular disease of the heart contracted on active service’ and it was noted that it had been caused by ‘strain, hardship and exposure’.
At the time of his discharge his wife’s address was 14 Sheridan Street, Belfast and it was noted that her date of birth was 26 October 1883. He was awarded Silver Badge No. 117125.
Corporal John Mears was stationed at Palace Barracks, Holywood when he and Catherine (sometimes Katherine) Morris were married on 11 April 1908 in Holywood Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Philip and St James). John Mears, aged 29, was a son of Samuel Mears, a shoemaker. Catherine Morris, aged 29, from Hibernia Street, Holywood was a daughter of Francis Morris, a labourer.
John and Catherine Mears (nee Morris) had five children:
James Christian (born 12 February 1909 at 12 Thistle Street, Belfast when his father was working as a labourer)
John Francis (born 3 September 1910 at 14 Sheridan Street, Belfast when his father was working as a labourer)
Samuel Owen Frisby (born 15 May 1912 at 14 Sheridan Street, Belfast when his father was working as a warehouseman)
Mary Catherine (born 4 January 1914 at 14 Sheridan Street, Belfast when her father was working as a warehouseman)
Elizabeth Margaret (born 5 November 1916 at 14 Sheridan Street, Belfast when her father was serving as a soldier)
CSM John Mears died in Victoria Barracks, Belfast and was buried in Belfast City Cemetery, Glenalina Extension (Grave C. 245).
There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:
A SILENT THOUGHT
A SECRET TEAR
KEEPS HIS MEMORY