Information about birth

Army information

Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
British Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment place:
Belfast, Antrim, Ireland, United Kingdom
 —  Royal Irish Rifles, 14th Bn. (Young Citizens)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Corn Hill, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Tyne Cot Memorial
Panel: 138A

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 2

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place

My story

James Agnew was a 19-year old boy who fell during the Battle of Passchendaele. He originated from Ballymacarrett, County Down in Ireland and served with the 14th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (Young Citizens), part of the 109th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division.

The Ulster Division participated in The Battle of Langemarck (16 August 1917), a phase of the Battle of Passchendaele, fighting alongside the 16th (Irish) Division. The 14th Royal Irish Rifles were the first to attack. They went over the top at 4.45 a.m. Things went wrong from the start. The preliminary barrage hadn’t been able to take care of the German blockhouses and the men ran right into the relentless German machine-gun fire, coming from Corn Hill and Pond Farm. The attack had been checked even before it could develop.

In a desperate attempt to silence the German strongpoints all able men were sent forward. Corn Hill was eventually captured, but the high amount of casualties made any further advance impossible and the men dug in. Throughout the rest of the day the German artillery shelled the Irish positions and casualties kept stacking up. To make things worse, all first aid stations had been taken out by shell fire and the wounded couldn’t be treated. They had to be carried all the way to the hinterland.

The whole attack had been an utter failure. The 14th Royal Irish Rifles had gone into battle with 19 officers and 480 men. 41 men and 5 officers were killed in action, 4 officers and 216 men were wounded and 1 officer and 65 men went missing. Rifleman James Agnew was one of the many who were killed during the attack on Corn Hill. James has no known grave and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Files 1

Sources 5

"Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Uniform, 2018, pg. 52-55.
Sources used
Further reference
Sources used
The Long, Long Trail
Sources used
War Diary Royal Irish Rifles, 14th Bn. (Young Citizens)
Further reference