No. 19353, ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Thursday 16 August 1917 (aged 21)
No known grave
Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium (Panel 138 to 140 & 162 to 162A & 163A)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919 for
Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards
James Wright was born on 8 January 1896 in the Workhouse, Newtownards and he was a son of Catherine Wright who lived in Half Acre Lane, Newtownards.
James Wright and Margaret (Maggie) McAvoy were married on 7 February 1916 in First Donaghadee Presbyterian Church. James Wright (aged 20) was a Rifleman and his address was The Camp, Clandeboye. Margaret McAvoy (aged 18) from Newtownards was a daughter of Hugh McAvoy, a weaver.
After their marriage, Maggie lived at 37 Wallace’s Street in Newtownards and their son James was born on 26 July 1917 – less than a month before his father was killed. Baby James Wright was baptised in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.
James Wright enlisted in Newtownards and joined the 1st County Down Volunteers. He served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division.
Rifleman James Wright was 21 when he was killed in action on 16 August 1917 at the Battle of Langemarck and the Rev Robert Kelso, Chaplain to the Forces, wrote to James’s widow. The Chaplain expressed his sincere sympathy and told her that when the Ulster Division went over the top that morning her husband fell in the advance. James Wright’s wife and mother both placed For King and Country notices in the Newtownards Chronicle and the one from his wife contained the verse:
A loving husband, true and kind,
Missed by those he left behind;
Forget him, no, we never will,
As years roll on we love him still.
He never shunned his country’s call,
But gladly gave his life – his all;
He died the helpless to defend,
An Ulster soldier’s noble end.
The one from his mother, sister and cousin (on active service) contained the verse:
He was the first to answer the sacrifice supreme,
We cannot yet realise his death, it seems a hateful dream;
Though we understand God’s mercy in taking him to rest,
The parting gave great anguish to those who loved him best.
We never will forget you, James, nor your happy smiling face,
You died for your King and country, and the honour of your race.
In August 1918 James’s wife and son were living at 74 Upper Movilla Street, Newtownards and Maggie placed an In Memoriam notice in the Newtownards Chronicle. It contained the verse:
Greater love hath no man,
That he lay down his life,
With all its promises,
That other men might live.
An In Memoriam notice placed by his mother and sister contained the verse:
Taken away in his early youth;
Taken from those he loved;
From serving his King on earth below,
To serve his great King above.
Rifleman James Wright has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium; on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in the PCI Roll of Honour for Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.