James Kilmartin was born on 24th June 1894, one of four children to James and Mary Kilmartin. James Sr was a farmer from Tobercurry in County Sligo, and this is where he raised his family.
When he left school, James Jr helped his father out on the farm, but by the time he was 22, war was raging in Europe and he received his call-up papers. He joined the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd Class on 11th April 1916 and was sent to England for training.
After initially being based at HMS Pembroke – the shore-based establishment at the Naval Dockyard in Chatham – Stoker Kilmartin was assigned to HMS Greenwich. He served on board for nine months, during which time he was promoted to Stoker 1st Class.
James’ next assignment was on board HMS Bacchante, where he spent two years, through the Armistice and beyond. Returning back to HMS Pembroke in February 1919, he fell ill, contracting bronchial pneumonia. Admitted to hospital, the condition sadly got the better of him, and he died on 24th February 1919, aged just 24 years of age.
James Kilmartin was laid to rest in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham, a short walk from the dockyard at which he had been based.
Tragically, less than two weeks after James died, his brother Michael, also passed away, at home in Tobercurry. While I have been unable to locate any specific documentation around military service, it seems likely that he too would have been in some way involved in the conflict.