S J Somerville

Lieutenant Colonel Stafford James Somerville Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers died on 16 August 1917 from wounds received in action on the same day whilst commanding the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Born on 18 February 1871 he was the son of the Reverend D Somerville, Chaplain to the Forces. He was grandson of Captain John Somerville RN Knight of the Tower and Sword of Portugal.

Sommerville was in the Combermere between 1883 ad 1889, being made a prefect in 1888 before going to Sandhurst. He was commissioned in the Inniskilling Fusiliers in 1890. Promoted Lieutenant in 1892 and Captain in 1898 he saw action on the NW Frontierwith the Peshawar Column and 5th Brigade in the Tirah Expedition as part of 29 Division from 1897 to 1898. He was promoted Major in 1910 and Lt Colonel in 1916.

Before the Great War Somerville was initiated into Golconda Lodge No 3249, the same lodge as OW Lodge member Reggie Lees

Somerville assumed command of the 1st Battalion at Gallipoli on 2 May 1915 until wounded in the shoulder and evacuated to hospital in England on 6 May 1915.

Recovering he deployed to France in December 1916 and was attached to and assumed command of the 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers on 16 March 1917. He led the Battalion through the attack at Messines in June, when it played a reserve role.

He was killed in action on 16 August 1917 on Hill 35 during the Battle of Langemarck. He was 46.

He is remembered in the Memorial Chapel at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

The eldest of his two sons, Captain Stafford Dudley Somerville, 5th (Service) Battalion, King’s Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry), was killed in action at Hamel on 5 July 1916, fighting in the trenches recently vacated by the 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers. He had been at Lancing.