6 °CTue, 20

Ballymena and the Great War

Dessie Blackadder

Reporter:

Dessie Blackadder

AFTER four years of war on an industrial scale, the 1914-1918 confluict was entering its final stages.

But for the troops on the ground the ‘war of movement’ was taking a heavy toll as the allies drove the Germans back despite some fierce resistance.

Many men who had made it all the way through the war would faln in these bloody final days.

Mr. John Henry senr., 25 Patrick Place, Harryville, Ballymena, has received notice from the War Office that his son, Private John Henry, Machine Gun Corps, has been admitted into hospital in Boulogne, suffering from wounds and severe gas poisoning. This is the second occasion on which Private Henry has been wounded, the first time being on July 31st 1917. He took part in the quelling of the Dublin Rebellion and the latest news is that he is out of danger and is progressing favourably.

Ballymena Observer, October 4, 1918.

WYLIE, Archie, 23197, Private, 2nd Royal Innsikilling Fusiliers, died of wounds on the 2nd October 1918. Aged 24, he was the son of Mrs. M. Wylie, Ballywatermoy, Glarryford. He is buried in Haringhe Military Cemetery, Poperinge and commemorated in Killymurris Presbyterian Church.

WILSON, Thomas, 19826, Rifleman, 12th Royal Irish Rifles, died a POW in Germany on the 3rd October 1918. Aged 20, he was born and lived Ballymena and he enlisted in Belfast. He was the son of James and Mary Agnes Wilson, Killyfleugh. He is buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery Germany, and is commemorated in 2nd Ballymena Presbyterian Church.

MEEKE, Samuel, 42492, Private, 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers (formerly 9849 Royal Irish Rifles), died of wounds on the 6th October 1918. He was born at Ahoghill, the son of Margaret Meeke of Slatt, Ballymena. he is buried in Haringe (Bandaghem) Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium.

BRADY, Patrick, 28735, Private, 6th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in action on October 7, 1918. He is buried in Bellicourt British Cemetery, France. Aged 33, he was born at Killyfast, Randalstown, the son of John of Portlee/Ballynamullan. His wife Margaret Brady lived at Staffordstown, Randalstown.

SCOTT, John, 71780, Private, Household Cavalry (19th Queen Alexandra's Own Royal Hussars), was killed in action on the 8th October 1918. Aged 21, he enlisted at and lived in Ballymena. He was the son of Mary A. Scott of Parkmore Row, Parkmore. He is buried in Bisgny Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France.

This week's recruiting:

RAF - John Russell, Linenhall Street; James McCready, Clonavon Road; Wilson Eagleson, 42 Bridge Street; Robert McNeice, Tullygarley; James Scullion, Railway Street; John Lindsay, Larne Road; Arthur Lamont, Queen Street; James Mullan, Queen Street, James Kernohan, Queen Street; Archd. Barr, Queen Street; William McNeice, Queen Street; James Scott, Queen Street; Albert Kernohan, Queen Street; James Stewart, Queen Street.

RGA - John Dunseith, Carnmore, Glarryford.

Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders - John Davison, Wyliestown, Ballinacaird.;

Army Service Corps - Wesley Wilson, High Street.

Rifleman John Anderson, Royal Irish Rifles, youngest son of Mrs. Anderson, North Street, Ballymena, has been wounded in the left hand and is at present in hospital in England. He has been at the front for more than two years.

The Military Medal

Corporal William Stevenson, North Irish Horse, son of the late Mr. Wilson Stevenson, Crankill, and brother of Mr. James Stevenson, contractor of Gracehill, has been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in the field during the recent advance. Corporal Stevenson joined up in November 1915 and was drafted to France in July 1916.

Second Lieutenant H. A. Healey, 3rd Royal Irish Rifles, has been gazetted Lieutenant in the West African Regiment He is a native of Martinstown, Ballymena, Co. Antrim.

Ballymena Observer, October 11, 1918

This week's recruiting:

RAF - Joseph Galloway, Bridge Street Place; James Foster, Liminary; Matthew Carson, Ballymarlow.

North Irish Horse - Henry McMaster, Killyless, Cullybackey; James Black, The Bally, Ballymena.

Royal Irish Rifles - John McFerran, Rasharkin.

Mrs. Rebecca Torrens, Alexander Street, Ballymena, has been notified that her son, Rifleman William J. Harvey, Royal Irish Rifles, has been wounded and has been admitted to the Stoke-on-Trent War Hospital. Prior to joining up he was employed by Mr. Robert Beaumont, Fairhill, Ballymena.

Lieutenant John Taylor, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, son of Mr. James Taylor of Galgorm Parks, Ballymena, sent us a leaflet found in a German 'strong-point' captured by the Inniskillings. It runs as follows:

Dear Tommy -

Thanks for the loan on this ground. It served its purpose. Now you are welcome to have it back.

Fritz.

Lieutenant Taylor was later awarded the Military Cross.

Ballymena Observer, October 18, 1918

CUPPLES, David, 2138287, Private, 31st Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment) was killed in action on the 11th October 1918. Aged 25, he was the son of David Cupples, Kells. He is buried in Queant Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais and is commemorated in Kells Presbyterian Church.

Ballymena Observer, November 1, 1918 - Mr. David Cupples, Kells, Ballymena, has received intimation that his son, Private David Cupples, Canadians, has been killed in action

NEESON, Charles, 48698, Sergeant, 7/8th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in action 11th October 1918. He was born at Ballymena and enlisted and lived in Belfast. He is buried in Voormezeele Enclosure No. 3., Ypres.

PEDLOW, MC, William, Captain, 2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers, was killed in action on the 12th October 1918. Aged 24, the family had close links with Ballymena and may have lived at Broughshane Road. Captain William Pedlow was the son of William and Marianne Pedlow, 59 Anglesea Road, Dublin. He is buried in Honnechy British Cemetery Nord, France.

LAVERTY, Arthur, 6840, Lance Corporal, 12th Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 13th October 1918. He was born at Craigs, enlisted Ballymena, and lived at Cullybackey. He is buried in Dadizeele British Cemetery Belgium.

CRAIG, David, 24125, Private, 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in action on October 14, 1918. He is buried in Dadizeele New British Cemetery. Aged 25, he was born at Ballymena and enlisted in Carrickfergus. His father and family lived in 13 Newington Ave. Larne.

STEWART, Andrew, S/11266, Lance Corporal, 6/7th Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action on the 14th October 1918. He is buried in Iwuy Cemetery Nord, France. He was born at Ballymena, lived in Airdrie.

McCOLLUM (sometimes McColm), William, 21927, Private, 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died on the 14th October 1918. He was the son of James and Esther McCollum of Blacktown, Ballyligpatrick, Broughshane and he is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial and in Buckna Presbyterian Church.

DOOLE, Isaac, 19467, Rifleman,2nd Royal Irish Rifles, died of wounds on the 15th October 1918. Aged 24, he was born at Kellswater and enlisted in Belfast. He was the son of Robert and Agnes Doole, Islandbawn, Muckamore. He is buried in Godewaersveld British Cemetery, Belgium.

WILSON, William, 6444, Company Sergeant Major, 7/8th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in action on the 16th October 1918. Aged 37, he was born in Ballymena and was the son of John Wilson, Drumcon, Rasharkin. He enlisted in Glasgow. His wife Jeannie lived at Henry Street, Enniskillen. He is buried in La Kreule Military Cemetery, Hazebrouck, Nord, France and is commemorated in Rasharkin Presbyterian Church.

LAW, William, 19767, Private, 6th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in action on the 17th October 1918. Aged 41, he was the son of James Law of Gortaheron, Portglenone. His wife Nancy lived at Killycoogan, Portglenone. He is buried in Highland Cemetery, Le Cateau, France and commemorated in 3rd Portglenone Presbyterian Church.

This week's recruiting

RAF - Peter Mills, Alexander Street; James Hamilton, Tully, Kells; Samuel Bamber, Springwell Street; John Steele, Drumrankin, Cullybackey; Arthur Wilshaw, Drumrankin, Cullybackey.

North Irish Horse - William Adams, Aughnadore, Broughshane.

Temporary Captain, the Hon. R. W. H. O'Neill, to be temporary Major from 1st May 1918. Major O'Neill is the younger and only surviving son of Lord and Lady O'Neill, Shane's Castle, Co. Antrim. He was returned unopposed for the parliamentary division of Mid-Antrim, after the death in action of his brother, Captain The Hon. Arthur O'Neill, MP, of the Life Guards. He went to the western front with the Ulster Division in 1915 and was appointed a Deputy Judge Advocate General in another theatre of war on February 19th 1916.

Ballymena Observer, October 25, 1918

DARRAGH, Thomas, 44434, Private, 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died of wounds on the 19th October 1918. He was born at, enlisted and lived in Ballymena. He is buried at Terlincthun British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

Ballymena Observer, November 1, 1918 Rifleman Darragh, Royal Irish Rifles, son of Mr. John Darragh, Broughshane, has been killed in action.

KIRKPATRICK, David, 12739, Lance Corporal 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died on the 20th October 1918. Aged 29, he was born at Ballymena and enlisted and lived in Belfast. He was the son of David and Mary Kirkpatrick, Cosgrave Street, Belfast. He is buried in Harlebeke New British Cemetery, Belgium.

MILLS, Alfred, 6523, Private, 1st Connaught Rangers, died on the 20th October 1918 in Egypt. Aged 23, he was born at Crebilly, Ballymena and enlisted Clydebank, Glasgow. He was the son of Matilda Mills of Lisnamurrican, Broughshane. He is buried in Haifa War Cemetery, Israel.

WILSON, Matthew, 49783, Private, 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers (formerly 1003 Royal Irish Rifles), was killed in action on the 21st October 1918. He was born at Ballymena and enlisted in Belfast. He is buried in Harlebeke New British Cemetery, Belgium.

WISENER, John, 42380, Private, 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, was killed in action on the 23rd October 1918. Aged 36, he was the son of Daniel and Jane Wisener and the husband of Annie, Cloughmills. He is buried in Harlebeke New British Cemetery and is commemorated in Killymurris Presbyterian Church.

ERVINE, Samuel, 43831, Private, 1st Duke of Edinburgh's Wiltshire Regiment (formerly M/372233 Army Service Corps), was killed in action on the 23rd October 1918. He was born at, and lived in, Ahoghill and he enlisted in Ballymena. He is buried in Ovillers New Communal Cemetery, France and commemorated in 3rd Ahoghill Presbyterian Church.

Ballymena Observer, November 8, 1918 - Mr. William Ervine, PLG (Poor Law Guardian?) of Ahoghill, Ballymena, has been notified that his son, Lance Corporal Samuel Ervine, Wiltshire Regiment has been killed in action. Lance Corporal Ervine, who joined the motor transport and was subsequently transferred, was previously a creamery manager near Ahoghill.

McILREE, Henry, 13191, Rifleman, 12th Royal Irish Rifles, died of wounds on the 25th October 1918. Aged 25, he was born in Ballymena and enlisted in Belfast. He is buried in Harlebeke New British Cemetery Belgium.

STERLING, James, 22025, Rifleman, 4th Royal Irish Rifles, died of wounds resulting from an accident on Salisbury Plain on the 28th October 1918. He was born at Glasgow, enlisted in Ballymena and lived at Cullybackey. He is buried in Durrington Cemetery, Wiltshire. Sterling and Frater (below), killed together in a grenade accident during training, were friends, two Scottish 'pals' from the same village in an Irish regiment.

FRATER, John, 21818, Rifleman, 4th Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in an accident on Salisbury Plain on the 28th October 1918. Aged 17, he was born at Milton of Campsie, Glasgow, enlisted Ballymena, son of William and Margaret Frater, Main Street, Cullybackey. He is buried in Durrington Cemetery, Wiltshire and commemorated in Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church, Cullybackey.

Frater and Sterling (or Stirling) were killed in the same incident, accidental explosion of a bomb on Normanton Downs, near Stonehenge, on Monday, 28th October, 1918.

An inquest by the County Coroner, a Mr F H Trethowan, on Wednesday evening looked into the circumstances.

'They were walking over the downs, as it was officially stated they were entitled to do, whilst bombing practise was proceeding, as no red flag was shown at the time. A witness said he saw one of the men kick at “something,” which turned out to be a 16 lb unexploded bomb, which upon impact exploded and killed both Frater and Stirling.

It was stated by a military officer that the ground is periodically searched for unexploded bombs but no record was kept from which it could be stated definitely that all unexploded bombs had been found.

A verdict was recorded that the two men died from injuries caused by the accidental explosion of a bomb, and the military authorities intimated that an enquiry would be held with a view to effecting precautions against the recurrence of similar accidents.'

FOSTER, John, 21818, Rifleman, 4th Royal Irish Rifles, died of wounds at home on the 28th October 1918. He was born at Glasgow, enlisted Ballymena, lived Cullybackey.

MITCHELL, William, 59642, Private, 17th Royal Scots, was killed in action on the 28th October 1918. Aged 19, he was the son of Richard and Mary C. Mitchell, Clarence Street, Ballymena. He lived in Scotland.

He is buried in Heestert Military Cemetery, Belgium.

STEVELEY, Ernest, 43963, Private, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), 15th Bn., was killed in action on the 30th October 1918. He was the son of Hugh and Jane Steveley, Station House, Cullybackey.

He is buried in Guignies Communal Cemetery, Brunehaut, Belgium.

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