Whelan, James (No. 527885)

Whelan, James

Corporal

No. 527885, Royal Air Force

Killed in action on Monday 31 July 1944 (aged 34)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Alamein Memorial, Egypt (Column 281)

BIOGRAPHY

The death of Corporal James Whelan (No. 527885) was reported in the 19 August 1944 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle under the headline Former Ardsman Killed in Action.

James Whelan was born on 31 March 1910 in William Street, Newtownards and he was a son of James and Charlotte Whelan (nee Graham) who were married on 5 October 1905 in St. Anne’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Belfast.  James Whelan (aged 21), a labourer from 50 Wilton Street, Belfast was a son of Charles Thomas Whelan, a labourer.  Charlotte Graham (aged 21) from 12 William Street, Newtownards was a daughter of James Graham, a labourer.  During the Great War, James Whelan served in the Army.

James and Charlotte Whelan (nee Graham) had at least six children:

Christina Eleanor Maggie (born 3 May 1906 in Movilla Street, Newtownards)

Mary Agnes (born 13 March 1908 in Mark Street, Newtownards)

James (born 31 March 1910 in William Street, Newtownards)

Charlotte (born 2 April 1911 in William Street, Newtownards)

John (born 21 September 1913 in William Street, Newtownards)

Martha (born 2 August 1919 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards)

When Corporal James Whelan (No. 527885) died it was reported in the Press that his widowed mother, Charlotte Whelan, was living at 95 Westmoreland Street, Belfast, and that, after demobilisation, her late husband had joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

Constable James Whelan died in Belfast on 3 April 1937 (aged 52).

Prior to the outbreak of the Great War the Whelan family lived in Newtownards at addresses including 5 Glen Road, Wallace Street No. 2 and Red Row, William Street.  James Whelan Senior worked as a fireman for Messrs Webb and Company in Newtownards and during the Great War he served in the Ulster Division with the Royal Engineers.  He was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in France.

James Whelan Junior was educated at Londonderry Public Elementary School, Newtownards and he joined the RAF around 1934.  During the Second World War he served in Egypt and was killed in action on 31 July 1944.  He was 34 when he died, he has no known grave, and he is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial in Egypt.  In the CWGC Debt of Honour his age is recorded as 36.