Quail, James Henry (No. 18/1791)

Quail, James Henry (Henry)

Lance Corporal

No. 18/1791, 12th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action on Monday 15 April 1918 (aged 19)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium (Panel 138 to 140 & 162 to 162 A & 163 A)

Newtownards and District War Memorial


Lance Corporal James Henry Quail was reported missing in action in the 18 May 1918 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle under the headline Newtownards Bank Agent’s Son Missing.

James Henry Quail was born on 21 December 1898 in Mullnamoy, Co Monaghan and he was a son of Hugh Alexander and Josephine Quail (nee Ormsby) who were married on 17 September 1891 in Ballina Roman Catholic Church.  Hugh Alexander Quail (born in County Down) was a son of James Quail, a farmer.  Josephine Ormsby (born in Coolcran, County Mayo) was a daughter of William H. Ormsby, a gentleman.

Hugh Alexander Quail worked as a bank official (Bank of Ireland, stationed for a time in Newtownards) and he and Josephine had at least five children including:

David Pierce John (born 20 July 1894 in Arthur Street, Ballina, County Mayo)

Hugh Herbert Ormsby (born 3 March 1897 in Arthur Street, Ballina, County Mayo)

James Henry (born 21 December 1898 in Mullnamoy, Co Monaghan)

The Quail family lived in Arthur Street, Ballina; in Mullnamoy, Co Monaghan; in Clontivrin, Newtownbutler; in Portadown and at 2 Regent Street, Newtownards.

James Henry Quail enlisted at Clandeboye in July 1917 and he trained with the 18th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.  He went to France on 29 March 1918 where he served with the 12th Battalion in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division.  Less than three weeks later he was killed in action on 15 April 1918 at Messines while holding the line during the German Spring Offensive.  Initially he was reported as missing in action; he was last seen ‘in a shell-hole near Messines, where he held out to the last moment, firing on the enemy who had practically surrounded the position.’

In January 1919, the Quail family appealed for information about him from any returning soldiers who had survived the battle.  Later it was officially confirmed that Henry must be presumed to have been killed in action.  He was 19 when he died and he has no known grave.

At the time that Henry Quail was killed, both of his brothers were recovering from severe wounds.  Private David Quail served with the Canadians and Second Lieutenant Hugh Herbert Quail served with the Tank Corps.

Lance Corporal James Henry Quail (No. 18/1791) is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial.