PRIVATE JAMES DONNELLY
ROYAL DUBLIN FUSILIERS
19TH OCTOBER 1918 AGE 19
BURIED: ROISEL COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, FRANCE
James Donnelly was nineteen when he died of wounds in a Casualty Clearing Station at Roisel on 19 October 1918. His medal index card shows that he was entitled to the 1915 Star having served in a theatre of war, identified as '2b' - Gallipoli and the Aegean Islands - since 28 August 1915. At this point he can have been no more than 16 since he was eleven on the day the Irish census was taken on 2 April 1911.
Donnelly, born in Curragh, Co. Kildare, was the son of James and Ann Donnelly. His father died before he was two and in 1911 his mother had been married for nine years to William Patterson, a bar owner in Newbridge Co. Kildare. There were no living children from this marriage and it would appear that James was her only child.
On the 16 October the 2nd Battalion Dublin Fusiliers took over the front line at Saint Benin just south of Le Cateau. On the morning of the 17th they crossed the River Selle in the face of heavy machine gun fire and two attempted German counter-attacks. They were relieved in the early hours of the 19th having suffered 206 casualties of whom thirty-seven were dead. Donnelly died of wounds later that same day.