RIFLEMAN THOMAS MCDOWELL
ROYAL IRISH RIFLES
22ND OCTOBER 1918 AGE 24
BURIED: COLOGNE SOUTHERN CEMETERY, GERMANY
There's a memorial in the North Road Cemetery, Carrickfergus, County Antrim to William John Anderson Johnston, "only and beloved son of William and Jane Johnston", who died of yellow fever at Rio de Janeiro on the 30 January 1873 aged 18. The verse on the stone reads:
Oh sad was his fate,
He, the youthful and brave,
Had crossed the wild billows,
And found but a grave;
Yes, with strangers a grave
On a far foreign shore,
And the land of his heart's hope
He never saw more
Thomas McDowell came from Carrickfergus; his family lived at McKeen's Row, which if it's anywhere near McKeen's Avenue is today was a short walk from the cemetery. The headstone must have been familiar to someone in the family.
McDowell enlisted in the 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles on the outbreak of war. Many of those who joined came from the Down Volunteers and were fiercely pro the Union with Great Britain. The battalion arrived in France on 6 October 1915. A very full website gives its history, including an account of the 1 July 1916 when McDowell was taken prisoner during the opening day of the Battle of the Somme. He was held in Dulmen prisoner-of-war camp where he died on 22 October 1918. The cause of death is unrecorded.