14603 – Corporal John Henry Fitzsimons
14th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (Young Citizen Volunteers)
Killed in action 1 July 1916
Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval, France
John Henry Fitzsimons was born in Coagh, Co Tyrone, on 10 November 1894. His father was Charles Edward Fitzsimons, a constable in the Royal Irish Constabulary, and a native of Co Donegal. His mother was the former Jeanie Harrison who was born in America. The 1901 census shows the family living in Union Street, Cookstown, while the 1911 census reveals that the family is living in Moore Street, Aughnacloy. The same census, however, shows that 16-year old John Henry is a draper’s apprentice, and living in lodgings in Agnes Street, Belfast.
Following the outbreak of war John Henry enlisted in Belfast, joining the 14th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. This battalion had been raised in Belfast from the Belfast Volunteers in September 1914, and training took place in Randalstown and Ballyshannon. During training John Henry was promoted to corporal. The battalion landed at Boulogne, France, in October 1915. Corporal Fitzsimons was killed in his first engagement when he went over the top on the first of July 1916. His body was recovered and later he was buried in Plot 1, Row A, Grave 8, near the Ulster Tower, in Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval, France.
Main information courtesy Cookstown’s War Dead