2nd Lieutenant John Newell

 

John Newell was born on 16 January 1890 at Union Place, Dungannon, County Tyrone, the sixth of eight children of butcher Joseph Newell and his wife Mary (nee Harding). By the outbreak of war he was working as a civil engineer with the Surveyor’s Department of the Tyrone County Council.

Newell enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron on 31 October 1914 at Enniskillen (No. UD/93). His departure from Dungannon to join the squadron was mentioned in the Mid-Ulster Mail of 7 November:

Enthusiastic scenes were witnessed at Dungannon railway station on Monday morning, when six local members of the Ulster Volunteer Force left for Enniskillen to join the extra service squadron of the Royal Inniskilling Dragoons. They were Messrs. Jack Newell, Randall McManus, and Sandy Williamson, A Company, Dungannon Battalion U.V.F., and Messrs. W.J. Armstrong, Garnet Irwin, and Alexander Watt, of B Company. A very large crowd of friends and well-wishers had assembled to give them a hearty send-off, and as the train left the station loud cheers were raised and detonators exploded.

By November 1915 Newell had risen to the rank of sergeant. He embarked for France with his squadron on 6 October 1915, serving there until he returned home on 21 February 1917 to seek a commission.

He was posted to the 1st Cavalry Cadet Squadron at Netheravon on 23 April. However he was found unsuitable for a commission in the cavalry, and was transferred to No.11 Officer Cadet Battalion (infantry) at Pirbright on 7 September 1917. He was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 18 December and posted to the 6th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment).

He arrived in France on 14 June 1918, attached to the 10th Battalion. On 23 July he was attached to the 39th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps, and transferred to that corps on 12 September.

He was released from Army service on 16 April 1919 and relinquished his commission on 26 November 1920.

 

Two of Newell's brothers also served during the war. Captain Charles Newell of the Royal Engineers died of wounds in France on 24 March 1918. Henry Newell served in the North Irish Horse. The other surviving brother, Robert Lancelot Harding Newell, who worked at the Inland Revenue officer in Dundalk, "had also volunteered for active service, but his department could not spare him".