No. 2333, 6th & 2nd Battalions, Royal Irish Rifles transferred to
No. 42467, 9th Battalion, Princess Victoria’s (Royal Irish Fusiliers)
Died of disease on Saturday 7 December 1918 (aged 29)
Tourcoing (Pont-Neuville) Communal Cemetery, France (Grave H. 6)
Donaghadee and District War Memorial
James Pollock was born on 1 July 1889 in the townland of Ballygrainey, Donaghadee and he was a son of James and Ellen Pollock (nee Beatty, sometimes Beattie) who were married on 5 December 1882 in Newtownards Registry Office. James Pollock from Ballyfotherley was a son of James Pollock, a labourer. Ellen Beatty from Cottown was a daughter of Charles Beatty, a labourer.
James Pollock worked as an agricultural labourer and he and Ellen had at least thirteen children:
Anna (born 22 December 1882 in Cottown)
Elizabeth Long (Eliza, born 8 April 1884 in Herdstown)
Christina (born 5 March 1886 in Ballycroghan)
Robert (born 13 February 1888 in Ballygrainey)
James (born 1 July 1889 in Ballygrainey)
Richard (born 22 February 1891 in Balloo)
William (born 22 March 1892 in Balloo)
Thomas (born 10 December 1893 in Cronstown)
Hugh (born 2 July 1895 in Cronstown)
Elizabeth Eleanor (Lizzie, born 4 January 1897 in Cronstown)
Charles (born 24 April 1898 in Cronstown)
Maggie Hamilton (born 8 June 1899 in Cronstown)
John Gordon (born 19 June 1901 in Drumhirk)
The seven eldest children were baptised in Shore Street Presbyterian Church Donaghadee and the six youngest in Greenwell Presbyterian Church Newtownards.
The Pollock family lived in the townlands of Cottown, Ballycroghan, Ballygrainey, Balloo, Cronstown, and Drumhirk.
James Pollock worked as an agricultural labourer before he enlisted on 2 December 1914. It was noted in his attestation papers that he was 5 feet 6½ inches tall with grey eyes and light brown hair He was posted to the 6th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles on 21 December 1914 and to the 4th Battalion on 11 March 1915. He was posted to the British Expeditionary Force on 14 December 1915.
He joined the 2nd Battalion on 3 January 1916 and was hospitalised in February 1916 because of ‘a sebaceous cyst’. He re-joined his unit and his family was informed later that he had been killed in action on 17 May 1916. It was in fact his brother, Rifleman Charles Pollock, who had been killed that day and when the mistake was realised James Pollock’s family received a written apology.
James Pollock suffered a gunshot wound to his left hand on 7 July 1916 and had to have his forefinger amputated. James was hospitalised in Lancashire before re-joining the 4th Battalion. He was transferred to the 2nd Battalion and on 14 June 1917 he suffered a gunshot wound to his right foot.
Reflecting this error in communication, the 10 June 1916 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle carried a report under the headline This Week’s Casualty Lists which stated that Rifleman J Pollock (No. 2333) from Donaghadee had been killed.
Then in the 28 July 1917 edition of the same paper it was reported under the headline Donaghadee Rifleman Wounded that Rifleman J Pollock (No. 2333) from Donaghadee ‘is officially reported wounded.’
Private James Pollock was hospitalised for a month after the injury to his right foot and a month after re-joining his unit he was gassed on 6 August 1917. He was posted to the Command Depot at Ballykinlar and then to the 4th Battalion. He spent a short period with the Machine Gun Corps. On 14 September 1918, he was transferred to the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers (No. 42467) and he returned to the Western Front. On 25 November 1918 he was admitted to the 10th Stationary Hospital at Arneke. His family was advised that he was dangerously ill and at 8.35 am on 7 December 1918 Private James Pollock died of influenza ‘probably aggravated by exposure on military duty’.
Private James Pollock was 29 when he died and he was buried in Tourcoing (Pont-Neuville) Communal Cemetery in France.
Private James Pollock is commemorated on Donaghadee and District War Memorial.