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DRUMGOR MEN OF WAR" Thomas Lyness, Drumgor Archie Lyness, Drumgor Bravery Award
THOMAS LYNESS Born Drumgor County Armagh 1893 – 1966 It was on the 7th November 1914 a recruitment poster appeared in the local newspaper “Volunteers Wanted”. The Royal Irish Fusiliers came to Lurgan and Brownlow Castle as part of the recruitment drive to raise troops for the First World War. There were over 2000 men enlisted on that day they came from Lurgan and the surrounding townlands of Drumgor, Legacorry and Moyraverty. In the close community of Drumgor his cousins Francis McKerr, John McKerr and William McKerr, and fellow farmers Thomas Gregson, James Maxwell and his future brother in law James Jones from Lurgan enlisted in The Royal Irish Fusiliers. On the Thursday the 17th September 1914 Thomas Lyness was twenty-one when he signed up with the 9th Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers “D" Coy. Service number14419. Saturday September 20th the people of Lurgan lined the streets to say goodbye to their sons, brothers, and husbands as they marched from Brownlow House to Lurgan Station to board the 1.30pm train for Belfast. After arrival at Belfast they formed ranks and marched across the city to the County Down terminus and forward to Clandeboye for training. It was June before The Division was sent to Seaford, Sussex, to complete training before their transfer to France. Thomas’s skills on the farm were put to good use; one of his jobs was looking after a team of horses that were used to supply ordnance to his comrades on the frontline. The battlefield was a very dangerous and confusing place the noise from the bombardment of shells from the German army was continuous throughout the day and night. One account Thomas was to tell his family was he found himself lost late one dark evening along with his team of horses after delivering his supply of ammunition to the troops. Knowing how well his team of horses new there way around the battlefield he decided he would drop the reins of the horses and his instinct was right, the team of horses made there way back to camp. Thomas lost many friends in France his cousin Francis McKerr Service No. 14542 was killed 01/07/1916, Son of Robert and Sarah McKerr, of Drumgor. Also James Jones, this would have been Thomas’s future brother in law but sadly James was killed on the 2nd July 1916. Service No; 14353 Son of Robert and Margaret Jones, of 98, Union St., Lurgan. Another brother Archie Lyness from Drumgor was awarded a Bravery Award for retreiving wounded men from the from the fron line at Hamel on the 1st and 2nd of July 1916. Thomas was fortunate to return from France however his hearing was badly damaged due to continuous bombardment of artillery shells on the frontline and on his return spent some time in hospital in Belfast. He was transferred to army reserve on the 20th March 1919, noted on his discharge papers is a follows; “ He has always been a capable and reliable soldier with a good character” These men from Drumgor were called " DRUMGOR MEN OF WAR"