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James O'Donnell

Rank: Gunner
Townland: Soran
Town/Village: Ballinalee
Civil Parish: Killoe
Catholic Parish:
Alternative Address: Esker, Ballinalee
Census 1901: Possible entry at Soran
Census 1911: Possible entry at Esker
Regiment/Unit: Attempted enlisting with National Army; [previously likely Royal Field Artillery, 147th Brigade]
Regiment Number: None for National Army; [1041200 & 76699]
Date of Death: 01-03-1922
Cause: Poisoning, Upper Barracks, Longford
Memorial: Unknown


We believe that James was James O'Donnell, of Soran, Ballinalee as this British Army pensions index noted that he died on the 1 March 1922 (the full file was destroyed in 1933 however). If this is the case, he was born c.1889 and was raised in Soran. It is likely that by 1911 he was working for a farmer in Esker. 

James enlisted with the Royal Field Artillery c.1915 and entered the war on the Western Front in July 1915; he was discharged on medical grounds in September 1918.

Regarding the circumstances of James's death, it is believed that on the 3 March, James went to the Upper (infantry) Barracks to enlistwith the newly-formed National Army. He was seemingly rejected, and after getting in trouble was arrested and detained in the guard room. At the inquest, the guard testified that James, removed a small paper packet from his pocket, and took his life via strychnine poisoning. An inquest was held, the details of which was published in the Longford Leader

Parents Names: Possibly the son of Thomas and Bridget O'Donnell, Soran
Notes: Possible entry in the 1911 Census:

link to Civil Record of Death (please ensure web address ends in .pdf); Ex-Soldier's Fate, Longford Leader, 4 Mar 1922; 

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