Remarkable find reveals the stark truth about war

**Additional material onsite

By Des Blackadder
Ballymena Times
30 June 2008

“The account of his final days is very touching and I thought this link might be of interest to someone ”
Sue Light

The traumatic effect of the opening day of the Battle of the Somme on July1, 1916 is a well documented tale.

Movements of the so-called ‘big battalions’ have been exhaustively written about in a plethora of publications but every now and again, a little snippet of information surfaces which brings the awful tragedy of that bloodiest day into local perspective.

[‘The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, fought from July to November 1916, was among the largest battles of the First World War. With more than 1.5 million casualties, it is also one of the bloodiest military operations recorded.’ —Wikipedia]

Over the past few years, Great War researcher, Sue Light, who concentrates on the role played by nurses during the conflict, has been examining the wartime diary of Edith Appleton, a QAIMNS Nursing Sister, which has recently been put online.

And, amazingly, she was able to trace one of the soldiers mentioned in the historic document to the Ballymena area.

Rifleman James Lennox, from Edward Street, in the Harryville area of the town, was severely wounded on July 1, 1916. His wounds were mortal and he passed away, after weeks of stoic suffering on August 22.

Sue says: “Few men are named in the diary, but there are occasions where the man can be identified.

“During July and August 1916, she (Nurse Appleton) nurses a young man who everyone knew was without hope, but somehow clung to life for weeks.

“Although not identified at first, he is later named as ‘Lennox’ and by his date of death, I could eventually pin him down as:-

LENNOX
Initials: J
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Rifleman
Regiment/Service: Royal Irish Rifles
Unit Text: 12th Bn.
Age: 24
Date of Death: 22/08/1916
Service No: 1925
Additional information: Son of James and Sarah Lennox, of Edward St., Harryville, Ballymena.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: II. C. 17.
Cemetery: ETRETAT CHURCHYARD.

Sue added:”The account of his final days is very touching and I thought this link might be of interest to someone in your town – it is so rare to have this sort of descriptive writing of an ordinary soldier.”

The link to the site is below – the entries regarding James Lennox begin on July 13th 1916. The diary entry for August 23, 1916 makes particularly emotional reading:

Diaries of Edith Appleton

For the part on Lennox’s death, click on the links covering July and August.

If you want to find out more about Ballymena’s role in the Great War then go to our sub-site:

Ballymena 1914-1918 Carved in Stone, But Not Forgotten.

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