Blythe, John Harold (known as Jack, sometimes as Norris)
No. 7019887, 1st (Airborne) Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles
Died of wounds on Monday 10 July 1944 (aged 23)
Ranville War Cemetery, Calvados, France (Grave IVA. B. 19)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
John Harold Blythe was born at 11.30 am on 3 November 1920 in Saltcoats, Ardrossan, Ayrshire and he was a son of Ellen Blythe (nee Bennett) who was the widow of Sergeant Alfred Blythe (No. 16197) who was killed in action on 1 July 1916. Alfred Blythe worked as a labourer and in 1911 he was living at 24 Thomas Street, Newtownards with his widowed mother, Agnes Blythe. Later he lived at 54 Mark Street, Newtownards. Alfred Blythe and Ellen Bennett were married on 13 July 1911 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Mark’s) and they had three children:
Henry Murray Blythe (born 28 January 1912 in Mark Street, Newtownards; served with No. 5 Field Ambulance during the Second World War)
Winifred Blythe (born 30 November 1913 in West Street, Newtownards)
Alfred Blythe (born 16 March 1915 in West Street, Newtownards)
John Harold (Jack) Blythe married Mary Josephine Bridget Young who was born on 15 October 1923 in County Antrim and, after Jack was killed, his widow, Mary, married Jack Donat Landry. Mary Landry (formerly Blythe, nee Young) died on 9 March 2008 in Longueuil, Quebec, Canada.
Jack Blythe was a keen footballer and he was goalkeeper for the East End team in the Newtownards Summer League. After he enlisted in 1940, Jack was the goalkeeper for his Battalion team. He went to France soon after the Normandy invasion and was home on leave in January 1944. Six months later he died on 10 July 1944 as a result of wounds sustained in a mortar attack at Le Mesnil.
There was one Killed in Action notice in the 29 July edition of the Newtownards Chronicle. It was inserted by his friends, Mr and Mrs Cairns of 9 Zion Place, Newtownards and it contained the verse:
Although we’re in a far-off land,
And your grave we cannot see,
As long as life and memory last
We shall remember thee.
Rifleman John Harold Blythe (No. 7019887) was 23 when he died, and he is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial.