John Mallon

Co. Longford

John Mallon (1895-1916)

Early Life & Family Background.

 John Mallon was born on the 11th of August 1895 to James and Annie Mallon. 

He was the eldest sibling in his family with three younger brothers, James, Nicholas and Francis and two younger sisters, Lizzie and Mary. 

 He was born in Kilcourcey, Edgeworthstown, County Longford. 

 His father James Mallon owned a small farm in Kilcourcey.

 John's father was also a District Councillor, meaning that he was a member of the Rural District Council of Granard. 

John’s mother Annie Mallon pictured with her daughter in law Margeret and her grandchildren Anne, Kathleen, John and Francis.

Military Experience

 John Mallon was a member of the Royal Field Artillery. 

 His regiment number was 101166. 

 He was a gunner in the 86th Brigade, Ammunition Column.

The Brigade was placed under command of the 19th (Western) Division.

 It then remained with the division until late January 1917. 

This Division was established by the Western Command in September 1914, as part of the Army Orders authorising Kitchener's Second New Army, K2. 

 Advanced parties left for France on 11 July and the main body crossed the English Channel 16-21 July. 

 The Division served on the Western Front for the remainder of the war, taking part in many significant battles such as ‘The Capture of La Boissille’ by the division in 1916 and the in famous, ‘Attacks on the High Wood.’  

 The memorial to the 19th (Western) Division which stands at the crossroads on the Messines ridge, France. The scene of the Divisions actions during battles here in 1917 and 1918. 

Death and Burial.

John Mallon died at the age of 20 in the Battle of the Somme on the 25th of July 1916. 

 He is buried in Quarry Cemetary, Montauban, France. 

John's headstone in Quarry Cemetary, Montauban, France.

An obituary was released on the 11th of August 1916 in the Longford newspaper to commiserate his family.

 The transcript reads: We regret very much to record the death of Gunner John Mallon, R.F.A , eldest son of Mr. James Mallon, D.C, Cranleybeg, Edgeworthstown, who was killed in action in France, on the 25th of July last. Gunner Mallon enlisted with his brother last year and has been on active service in France for the past two or three months. He has not yet reached his 21st birthday, and was a fine handsome young Irishman. The greatest possible sympathy is felt for his father and mother in their very sad bereavement, and the only consolation they have is the thought that their son died gallantly, with his face to the foe, and was prepared to make the great sacrifice. 

Records of John Mallon.

After he died John was awarded a Victory Medal for his efforts in the war. 

 John's medal record’s card.

The Tale of Two Brothers..

John enlisted into the British Army along with his brother James on the 15th of October 1915 in the Athlone barracks.

 James’ daughter Josephine recalled her father saying, “ We were a pair of young devils, wherever Johnny went I had to go too.” 

 James went with his elder brother to war.

 However when his father discovered this he is said to have gone “Ballistic” as James was only 15 years old at the time. 

 From my research I have discovered that the boys had another cousin, also named James Mallon who lived down the road, an ex-army officer who had returned from the Boer War.

 It is probable that they were inspired by their relative and his tales of war and therefore sought to discover their own military adventures.

 John’s younger brother James also served with him in the war and survived.

  James was discharged on the 1st of February 1916 due to, “ Mis-statement upon enlistment.”  

This clarifies what his granddaughter Margaret has told me, that James had lied about his age in order to go with his brother to war, having only really been 15 years old upon enlistment.  

When his father discovered what he had done he wrote to the army and had his son released. 

During his time in the military James was gassed and consequently suffered with bad lungs for the rest of his life, leading to his death at an early age. 

He returned to live with his family in Cranleybeg and later married Margaret Grathney. 

 They had five children, Anne, John (named after his brother), Peggy, Kitty and Josephine. His daughter Josephine described him as, “ A good father who always worked hard.”  

John’s parents James and Annie are buried in Aughafin cemetery, Edgeworthstown along with their son James, his wife Margaret, and their grandson John. The headstone was erected by their granddaughter Josephine.

James Mallon pictured in his soldier’s uniform.

Going Back to the Roots.

 The niece of John Mallon, Marie Whelan and her family, still live in John’s hometown in Edgeworthstown,Longford.

about me

My name is Niamh O' Meara. I'm a seventeen year old secondary student attending Mean Scoil Mhuire convent, county Longford. I live in Ardagh with my family of six. I love reading,writing and music. I hope to study music in college when I finish my leaving cert. 

about the project

 I applied to partake in this project because I have always had a great interest in history and in particular the world wars. From a young age I was addicted to the reading of war novels, my favourites, the likes of 'Goodnight Mr.Tom' by Michelle Magorian and 'The Book Thief'' by Markus Zusak. I was always so fascinated by the wars I suppose because of their immensity and the tremendous impact they inflicted on an international level.Predominantly my interests lie in war and people, not the leaders by which they were spearheaded, the dictatorships, communists or any of the like but the every day working people how war affected them within the struggles of daily life, whether it was an average working man or women in a city or a soldier in the trenches, each individual was affected dramatically by the violence and intensity that war wreaked. I've always thought it important that those ordinary people are recognised and that is why I was so drawn to this project. Through it I've got to learn about and get to know John Mallon. A boy who was only a year older than I am now when he first enlisted in the army and who's hometown of Edgworthstown is only five minutes down the road from where I live in Ardagh. I also got to know his niece Marie Whelan and was truly honoured to be able to inform her and her family all about their relation John who,prior to this, they had heard little about. It was a truly impacting and poignant experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it

Returning from france

Following my return from the trip I wrote an article reflecting on my experience in France click on this link to view it.

Brief Note

This project would not have been possible without the help of a few people and for that reason I would like to give my sincerest thanks to my mother Emer O' Meara, who was a constant motivation when I thought I had reached a dead end. To the local archivist, Martin Morris who helped me find so many significant ties and documents associated with John. To John's gran-niece Margeret Brown and his niece Marie Whelan, who gave me so much information and assistance throughout and of course, my history teacher Ms.Ross who informed about the project in the first place. Thank you all so much for helping me tell John's story.