The death of Rifleman James Lennox
Update 23 August 2016
Today is the centenary of the death, in Edie’s care, of James Lennox. Click here for a new post about Edie’s poignant account.
In September 2008 I came across this mention of Edie’s diaries.
“made a link between Edie’s account of the dying days of Rifleman James Lennox, from Edward Street, in the Harryville area of Ballymena, who was severely wounded on July 1, 1916. His wounds were mortal and he passed away, after weeks of stoic suffering on August 22.”
“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:-
Nationality: United Kingdom
Regiment/Service: Royal Irish Rifles
Unit Text: 12th Bn.
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.
“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 entries regarding James Lennox begin on July 13th 1916. The diary entry for August 23, 1916 makes particularly emotional reading.”
Here is the diary entry for 23 August 1916:
August 23rd. Lennox died soon after 8 o’c last night. Never have I seen such a slow painful death. It was as if the boy was chained to Earth for punishment. Towards the end it was agony for him to draw the little gasp breaths – & I felt I must clap my hand over nose & mouth – & quench the flickering flame. I am very glad for the boy to be away.
Here is a picture of Rifleman Lennox which I found on a website here. [The photo is no longer on that page]
I have read Edie’s account of the painful and lingering death of this young man many times and, of course, had formed my own hazy picture of him. To then come across the photograph above was a bittersweet shock. Thank you, Edie, for taking such good care of him.
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