BALLYMENA 1914-1918

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Soldiers of the 12th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles perform their ablutions near their positions outside St. Quentin, France, 1918
Photograph courtesy of Imperial War Museum - (c) IWM (Q10683)
1918

THE young and enthusiastic recruits of 1914 had been decimated by almost four years of warfare. What was termed a 'war of attrition' seemed to be all the generals could offer. Many of the soldiers caught up in this monstrous confrontation must have doubted if they would ever see home again. 

Now men longed for a 'blighty' wound, an injury which would be just enough to earn a discharge but not bad enough to disable them for life.

In the meantime, the war dragged on but new weapons and new tactics were coming to the battlefields of France and Flanders. So too were the Americans who had finally entered the war the previous year. It has taken the 'Doughboys' almost a year to build up their strength in Europe. It would take more time to get these untried troops to a state of combat readiness.

In the meantime, the Germans had knocked Russia out the war and were preparing to launch a massive and risky attack on the British army in the west. Their reasoning was simple - if they knocked the British out of the war, the already demoralised French would collapse.

1918 was the last year of the war ... but until November 11th there was still a lot of dying to be done.

New Year Honours


Colonel James Barnett Wilson, C.M.G., M.D., Army Medical Service, of Knowehead Road, Broughshane has been made a Companion of the Bath in the New Year's Honours. He is a son of the late Mr. W. O. Wilson of Broughshane and is an old pupil of the Royal Academical Institution.


Lieutenant & Quarter Master Sproule, of the Cheshire Regiment has been awarded the Military Cross. He received his early education at the Ballymena Model School and his mother was a sister of the late Mr. James Chambers, Ballymena. He is a cousin of the late Captain Kidd, Dragoon Guards, also of Ballymena and of Arthut Lionel Gordon-Kidd - see separate entry for Gordon-Kidd.



Colonel James Barnett Wilson, CMG, MD

Bar to Military Cross


A bar to the Military Cross has been awarded to Major the Rev. Canon  Arthur Edwin Ross, MC, Chaplain to the Forces. Major Ross who was awarded the Military Cross last month for rescuing wounded under heavy shell fire is rector of St. Patrick's Church of Ireland, Ballymena.

Military Medal

Word has been received that Private William McAllister, Scots Guards, has won the Military Medal for Bravery in action while with the Machine Gun Corps. Before enlisting Private McAllister was a member of the Durham County Constabulary, stationed at Blackhill, and is a native of Loughconnelly, the Braid (Broughshane). Notice has further been received that he was wounded on December 2, at Cambrai.

Ballymena Observer, January 4, 1918


Rifleman Joseph Morrow, Royal Irish Rifles, son of Mr. Hugh Morrow, Ballymena, has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field. Rifleman Morrow joined the colours shortly after the outbreak of war and has been wounded.


Private Hugh Porter, Royal Army Medical Corps, has been awarded the Military Medal and certificate for gallant conduct under heavy fire on July 31, 1917 at the 3rd Battle of Ypres, while employed with the Tank Corps. He was a reserve man, being called up at the commencement of the war and has served at the front ever since. He was born in the townland of  Ballybeg, near Ahoghill. They now live at Essey Street, Belfast, while his wife lives at Coyle Street, Belfast.


Gallant conduct certificate


Private F. Loughran, Connaught Rangers, has had his name entered in the record of the Irish Division for gallant conduct and devotion to duty in the field, notification to this effect having been received by his wife, who resides at Alexander Street, Ballymena.


This is the second occasion on which Private Loughran has been commended for gallantry. He joined the colours in February 1915 and has two brothers in the army, one being discharged recently owing to wounds received in action.

Ballymena Observer, January 11, 1918


Military Medal


The Military Medal for gallantry in the field has been awarded to Sergeant J. McNabney, (482032), Royal Engineers (Ulster Division), whose relatives reside at 9, Larne Street, Harryville, Ballymena. 

Sergeant McNabney is well known in football circles and will be remembered as a popular player for South End Rangers. Prior to enlisting in August 1914, he was employed by Mr. Thomas Kerr, boot and shoe manufacturer, Church Street, Ballymena. His brother Private S. McNabney is also serving with the Engineers.

Ballymena Observer, January 18, 1918


The following are the names of recruits during the past month, all being from the rural district. This is the first blank month for town recruiting since the outbreak of war.


Royal Irish Rifles - John Harbison, David Kernohan, John Frazer, William Millar, Hugh Moore all of Main Street, Cullybackey; William Johnston, Craigs; Thomas McIlroy, Dunnygarron.

North Irish Horse - Daniel Park, Ballywatermoy; Joseph Shaw, Loughconnolly, Broughshane; William Reynolds, John Scott, both of Tyanee, Portglenone.

Army service Corps - Thomas McCarthy, Broughshane; Alex. Weir, Straid, Gracehill.

Royal Garrison Artillery - James Bradley, Dromore, Glarryford; 

Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders - W. J. Moorehead, Stoneyquarter, Ballynacaird, Broughshane.


Mr. T. Linton, Park Street, Ballymena, has received information that his only son, Gunner James Rowan Linton, Canadian Field Artillery, was wounded by shrapnel in the left ankle of 12th January. Gunner Linton emigrated from Ballymena to Toronto some five years ago and, joining the colours shortly after the outbreak of war, he proceeded to the front early in 1916, since then taking part with the artillery in several big fights.

Military Cross awards


Details of the action for which 2nd Lieutenant John Patrick, Royal Field Artillery, son of Captain John Patrick of Dunminning, was awarded the Military Cross, have been received. He was gazetted on September 26, 1917.


During a heavy burst of hostile fire on his battery position, the battalion were ordered to take cover, but seeing that the camouflage over the guns was in flames, he left his dug out and with the help of three sergeants, put out the fire before any further damage could be done. This prompt and gallant action was carried out under heavy fire and saved a gun and ammunition from blowing up.


Home from Hospital


Lance Corporal D. Kerr, Royal Irish Rifles, son of Mr. David Kerr, Greenmount Terrace, Ballymena, who had his right arm amputated as the result of wounds received on August 5 last, arrived home in Ballymena this week. He was formerly employed in the office of Mr. James Clarke, High Street. In November 1915 he enlisted in the North Irish Horse and was subsequently transferred to the Rifles.

Home on leave


Trooper Sam Wilson, North Irish Horse, an old 'Observer' employee was home from the front. His brother John is in the navy, being attached to the submarine service.


Lance Corporal William Thompson, New Zealand Infantry, son of Mr. William Thompson, Cloughhogue, Gracehill, Ballymena, is at present spending a few days leave at his father's home. Lance Corporal Thompson emigrated about 11 years ago and was wounded at the front.

Ballymena Observer, January 25. 1918



WYLIE, John, 13837, Private, 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in action on the 28th January 1918. Aged 34, he was born in Ballymena and enlisted in Belfast. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.


WYLIE, Robert, 331411, Pioneer, Royal Engineers (Inland Waterways and Docks), died at home on 29 January 1918. He was associated with Gilmore/Gilmer Street or Fairhill Lane, Ballymena, and he is buried Ballymena Old Churchyard.


Captain S. E. Holmes, Army Veterinary Corps who was recently mentioned in despatches, has been promoted to the rank of major. Major Holmes is the elder son of Mr. John Holmes, Ballyconnelly, Cullybackey, and was in the army previous to the outbreak of war.


Distinguished Conduct Medal


Details have emerged of the action for which the DCM was awarded to 40839 Lance Corporal W. J. Robinson, Royal Irish Rifles (of Rathkeel, Broughshane) :


When all his company runners had become casualties, he acted as a runner all day, taking messages under severe conditions to advanced posts in shell holes. His successful efforts in performing this extremely dangerous and most important work contributed very greatly to the repulse of two subsequent counter attacks.

Ballymena Observer, February 1, 1918


The following recruits from the town and district have joined the colours during the present month.


Royal Field Artillery - Alex Bonnar, Salisbury Square; John O'Neill, Greenvale Street; John Wray, Queen Street; James Scullion, Leighinmohr; John Thompson, Daisy Hill, Randalstown; Lyle Wilson, Drumrankin, Cullybackey.


Royal Garrison Artillery - William Russell, Victoria Place, Cullybackey; Alex. Millar, Harperstown, Cullybackey.


Royal Irish Rifles - Robert Faulkner, Portglenone; J. W. Hutchinson, Drumrankin, Cullybackey; John Steele, Ballyconnelly, Cullybackey.


North Irish Horse - R.C. Herbison, Drumfin. 


Army Service Corps - Robert Haire, Portglenone.


Bar to Military Cross


Captain John F. Hodges, MC, Royal Irish Fusiliers (Right) , has been awarded a bar to the Military Cross. He is a son of Mr. J. F. W. Hodges of Glenravel House, Ballymena. His brother 2nd Lieutenant Henry Hodges, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry was killed in action on April 18, 1915.

Ballymena Observer, February 8, 1918


Mrs. H. Stevely, Cullybackey, has been notified through the War Office that her son, Gunner E. Stevely, Machine Gun Corps, has been admitted to hospital suffering from trench fever and sickness but is progressing favourably.


Private William Cairns, Royal Irish Rifles, of Castle Street, Ballymena, is home from hospital on a visit, being at present treated for wounds received in action. He took part in the suppression of the Dublin rebellion and prior to enlisting was a prominent player for Summerfield FC.

Ballymena Observer, February 15, 1918


The following recruits from the town and district have joined the colours in the past fortnight:


North Irish Horse - Henry Ferguson, Queen Street; Samuel H. Madill, Crankill; William Clarke, Ballinacaird, Broughshane.


Royal Irish Rifles - Edward Sanderson, James Stirling, Cullybackey; William Small, Tullygowan, Gracehill; John B. McCrystal, William Black, Broughshane; Robert Sloane, Gloonan, Ahoghill.


Army Service Corps - Mechanical Transport - Joseph Bonnar, Kintullagh Terrace, Ballymena.


Royal Field Artillery - Joseph Devlin, Bridge Street; Joseph McDonald, Larne Street.


Military Cross

Captain Pedlow, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, has been awarded the Military Cross. He is the only son of Mr. W. Pedlow, formerly of Ballymena and now senior inspector of National Schools, Dublin. He entered the army from Sandhurst and had previously been a student at Trinity College.


Rev. Alex. Spence, Chaplain to the Forces, who was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in the Ulster Division last year has been invested at Buckingham Palace with his decoration.


He worked for 20 hours attending to wounded in an aid post during an attack. On the following day, hearing that some wounded were lying out in shell holes, he went out in daylight  under machine gun fire  and brought back several wounded men to the aid post. He rendered splendid service and showed great gallantry and contempt of danger'. London Gazette. 


The Reverend gentleman is a son of Mr. Alex Spence of Beechfield, Portglenone.


The Rev. John B. Cotter, senior curate of St. Patrick's Church, Ballymena, has been appointed a chaplain to HM Forces. He has been four years in Ballymena where he was exceedingly popular.

Ballymena Observer, February 22, 1918


FINLAY,  Samuel Hanna, 829240, Private, 8th Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment), was killed by shellfire on 15 February, 1918. He was the son of Mrs. Mary J. Finlay, of 142, Queen St., Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Ireland.  He is buried in A. 2., Aix-Noulette Communal Cemetery extension and commemorated in Wellington Street Presbyterian Church.


Ballymena Observer March 8 , 1918 - Mr. William Finlay, Queen Street, Ballymena, has been notified that his son, Private Samuel Finlay, Canadian Infantry, has been killed in action.


Deceased was home on leave a few months ago and was eagerly looking forward to another visit to Ballymena in the near future. Prior to emigrating to Canada, he was in the employment of Messrs. Dunlop and Carson, drapers, of Church Street.


His chaplain, writing to Mrs. Finlay, states he was killed in the trenches by the explosion of a shell and died instantaneously. 


His brother Private William Finlay, also served with the colours and after recovering from wounds received at the Dardanelles, was discharged from the army.  


BROOKS, Robert, 3356, Private, 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in action on February 27, 1918. He is buried in Poelcapelle British Cemetery, Belgium. Aged 23, he was born in Ballymena and enlisted in Enniskillen.


Miss J. K. Eagleson of Ballymena has been appointed Commandant of a V.A.D. unit under orders for an Eastern front. Miss Eagleson acted as organising secretary of the Ballymena Home Industries Association from its inception until the outbreak of war and she was quartermaster of the local detachment of the St. John Ambulance Association.  As a member of the local Soldiers and Sailors Family Association she received an appointment as chief of the clerical staff at the Berrington War Hospital in Shrewsbury. From Shrewsbury she was promoted to more important duties in the Ministry of Labour Bureau in London and it is particularly gratifying that the choice of the authorities has fallen upon a Ballymena lady to fill the responsible and distinguished position of Commandant to the first unit of the V.A.D. that has yet sailed from England for Salonika.

Ballymena Observer, March 1, 1918


Corporal Samuel Linton, Royal Field Artillery, has been presented with the Military Medal and the Distinguished Conduct Medal at a special parade in Victoria Barracks, Belfast. Corporal Linton is a son of Mr. R. J. Linton, who is an extensive farmer in Artnacrea, Clough, Ballymena. He was awarded the DCM for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.


He has shown great coolness under fire and set a splendid example to the men, this being announced in a supplement to the London Gazette. He won the Military Medal for bravery in the field. Corporal Linton's brother David was killed in action with the Royal Irish Rifles and another brother, John, is serving with the Royal Garrison Artillery.


Private John Torrens, Australian Light Infantry, son of the late Dr. J. L. Torrens, Connor, is at present home on leave.


Co. Antrim 'Our Day'


Fine contribution from Ballymena


On Tuesday, a cheque for £5,000 for the 'Our Day' fund was handed over being the result of the recent collection in Ballymena. Mr. Robert Crawford JP, who, with Mr. J. N. Lamont paid over the cheque, mentioned that more than £6,000 had been obtained for war charities as a result of the Ballymena collection.


Mr. F. W. Moneypenny,  MVO said the contribution was magnificent and the Joint Committee of the British Red Cross and the Order of St. John were deeply indebted to the Ballymena Committee for their energetic and patriotic effort and to the people of Ballymena District generally for their generosity and practical sympathy. 


The Co. Antrim Fund, thanks to this splendid contribution, now amounted to more than £13,000, a result of which the county has every reason to be proud.

Ballymena Observer, March 8, 1918

Details of the action for which temporary Captain William Ellis of the Royal Irish Rifles was awarded the Military Cross have been published in the London Gazette.


For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of his company. When many men of other units were falling back, having lost their officers, he rallied the men, reformed the line and held on to it under heavy fire until relieved.


Patriotic Harryville Family

The patriotism of another Ballymena family has been brought to our attention, that of Mrs. McDonald, Larne Street, Harryville.  Mrs. McDonald has the distinguished honour of being the proud mother of six soldier sons, one of whom, Private Thomas McDonald, RGA has given his life for his country.


Private William McDonald, RGA, is currently home on leave and Private Joseph McDonald, RFA, enlisted about five weeks ago. The other two are Robert McDonald, Royal Engineers, Harry McDonald, Royal Engineers and Charlie McDonald, Royal Garrison Artillery.

Ballymena Observer, March 15, 1918.


BUCHANAN, James, 5568, Lance Corporal, 2nd Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action at Grugies, France, on the March 21, 1918. He is named on the Pozeieres Memorial, Somme. Aged 25, he was born in Ballymena and enlisted Motherwell. He was the son of A. Buchanan, Ralphena, Broughshane Road, Ballymena.


Ballymena Observer, May 3 1918 - Official intimation has been received that Lance Corporal James Buchanan, Royal Irish Rifles, son of Mr. A. Buchanan, jeweller, Church Street, Ballymena, was killed in action on March 21. Prior to enlisting in November 1915, Lance Corporal Buchanan carried on an extensive jewellery business in Hamilton, Scotland which is now managed by his father who went over to take charge when the deceased enlisted.


He was educated at the Ballymena Academy and was at the front for 17 months.

 

His brother, Staff Sergeant Walter Scott Buchanan, Army Service Corps, is serving at the front.


McKENDRY, William, 2815, Private, 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was  killed in action on the 23rd March 1918. Aged 24, he was born in Ballymena and enlisted in Belfast. He was the son of Margaret of 125, Bellevue Street, Belfast. He is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial.

Lance Corporal Hugh McMullan


McMULLAN, Hugh, 19118, Lance Corporal, 12th Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 21st March 1918. he was born at Brocklamont, Ballymena. He had previously received Italian Bronze Medal for Gallantry. He was the son of Hugh McMullan, Carniny and brother of George (killed in action) He is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, France.


MONTGOMERY, Simpson, 112, Rifleman, 11/13th Royal Irish Rifles, was missing in action/later killed in action on the 23rd March 1918. He was the son of James G. Montgomery of Cullybackey. He is commemorated on the  Pozieres Memorial and in Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church, Cullybackey.

 

BROWN, Alexander, 79, Rifleman, 12th Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the  March 21, 1918. He is named Pozieres Memorial, Somme. He was born in Ballymena, enlisted in Ballyclare, and lived in Glasgow.

Private James Hughes 


HUGHES, MM, 2727 Private James, Connaught Rangers, 6th Bn., was killed in action on the 21 March 1918.  He was the son of the late Michael Hughes and Bridget Hughes (stepmother), of 7, Suffolk Street, Ballymena, Co. Antrim. He is buried in Ste. Emilie Valley Cemetery, Villers Faucon, France. 

 

Ballymena Observer, April 20. 1918 - Mrs. Michael Hughes, 7 Suffolk Street, Ballymena, has received an official communication that her only son Private James Hughes, Connaught Rangers, has been killed in action. 


The deceased was a son of the late Mr. Michael Hughes, formerly manager in Messrs. James McAllister's wine and spirit stores in Bryan Street. In October of 1917 he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in carrying despatches when all other means of communication were cut off.


LATIMER, James, 13011, Company Sergeant Major, 15th Royal Irish Rifles, died of wounds on the 21st March 1918. He was born in Ballymena and enlisted Belfast. He is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, Somme.


ORR, S/15921, Sergeant Frederick J. A.,  5th Cameron Highlanders, was killed in action on the 21st March 1918. He was the son of James Orr of Drumbare, Cloughmills. He is buried in Fins New Cemetery, Somme and commemorated in Clough Presbyterian Church.


Ballymena Observer, June 7, 1918 - Mr. James Orr, Drumbare, Cloughmills, has been notified that his son, Sergeant Fred J. A. Orr, Cameron Highlanders, has been killed in action. He enlisted in Scotland in November 1914.

Private Hugh Weir


WEIR, S/40159, Private, Hugh, 1/8 Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, was killed in action on the 21st March 1918. Aged 25, he was the second son of Hugh and Mary Weir, Straid, Gracehill and brother of David (below). He is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, Somme.


Ballymena Observer, May 10, 1918 - Official intimation has been received that Private Hugh Weir, Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, son of Mr. Hugh Weir, Straid, Gracehill, Ballymena, was killed in action on March 21. Prior to joining the army, he was a rivetter in the Messrs. Beardwood Company, Dalmuir, Scotland and was wounded twice during the war. His brother, Private David Weir, Australians, was killed in action on October 4, 1917 and three other brothers are still serving.


BELL, William McNiece, 11073, Private, 4th South African Infantry Regiment, died on the March 24, 1918. He is named on the Pozieres Memorial, Somme. Aged 38, he was the son of John Bell, 68 Queen Street, Ballymena. His wife Hanna Grace Bell lives at Crumkill, Ballymena, and he is commemorated in Harryville Presbyterian Church.


GILLESPIE, James, 41266, Private, 2nd Cameronians (formerly Glasgow Yeomanry) was killed in action on the 24 March 1918. He was born at Carmegrim, Ahoghill. He is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, France and 1st Ahoghill Presbyterian Church.


McCORMICK, Thomas, Private, 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers was killed in action on the 24th March 1918. Service no. 20909. Aged 23, he was born at Randalstown, and was the son of John and Sarah McCormick, Railway Street Place, Harryville, Ballymena. He is commemorated on the  Pozieres Memorial, Somme.


CLARKE (Clark), Henry, 21929, Private, 1 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died of wounds on March 26, 1918. He is buried in St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France. He enlisted at Harthill and lived at Lanark, West Lothian. He was 25 years old, and he had family at 45, Springwell Street, Ballymena. He is commemorated in Buckna Presbyterian Church.


Ballymena Observer, April 12, 1918 - Mrs. Clarke, 45 Springwell Street, Ballymena, has received information that her son, Private Harry Clarke, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died on March 26 from wounds received in action. Prior to enlisting, Private Clarke was employed as a collier in Harthill, Scotland. He was a native of the Braid and was 25 years of age. He was a member of Buckna LOL No. 487 and of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland. He went to Scotland about six years ago.


COCHRANE, John Harvey, 18891, Sergeant, 12 Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on March 24, 1918 at St. Quentin. He is named on the Pozieres Memorial, Somme. Aged 33, he was born in the Craigs, Cullybackey, and his wife Jeannie lived at 32, Harperstown, Cullybackey. He was the brother of Thomas, and Hugh (Canadian Forces). 


Ballymena Observer, May 3 1918 - Mrs. John Cochrane, Harperstown, Cullybackey, has received official intimation that her husband, Sergeant John Cochrane, Royal Irish Rifles, has been killed in action on April 26.


He was a son of Mr. John Cochrane of Cushendun, who was formerly employed as a coachman to the late Mr. Edmund McNeill of Craigdun and is at present coachman to Mr. Ronald McNeill MP of Cushendun. The deceased, who was one of the first to enlist in the Ulster Division, was formerly employed by Messrs. Frazer and Haughton, Hillmount, Cullybackey. 


His brother, Lieutenant Hugh Cochrane, is at present serving with the Canadian Forces and another brother, Tom, was killed in action some time ago.


The following recruits have joined the colours from the district during the past month:


Royal Flying Corps - Henry McFall, Station Road, Cullybackey.


Mechanical Transport Section - Samuel Ervine, Straid Road, Ahoghill.


Connaught Rangers - Bernard Campbell, Lisnahuncheon.


Lieutenant T. Graham, RAMC, only son of Mr. William Graham, Merchant of Ahoghill, has been promoted to the rank of Captain. Dr. Graham, before going to France, was in practice in London.

Ballymena Observer, March 22, 1918


ELLIOTT, Thomas, Private, 62nd Company, Machine Gun Corps (formerly 7657 Connaught Rangers) was killed in action  on the 26th March 1918. Aged 34. He was born Ahoghill and was the son of John and Margaret Elliott, Ahoghill. He enlisted Glasgow. He was a Boxing champion. He is buried in Bienvillers Military cemetery, Pas de Calais. He is commemorated at Ahoghill Roman Catholic Cemetery.


Ballymena Observer, April 12, 1918 - Mr. John Elliott, Ahoghill, has received information that his son, Private T. Elliott, Connaught Rangers, was killed in action on Easter Monday. Private Elliott was a popular young man and was well known in sporting and boxing circles. He was the welter-weight champion of Scotland, having had 21 fights in Glasgow and winning them all, and he won two competitions in France in the 'best out of five regiments'. (adapted text).


GILDEA, James, Sergeant, 122nd  Field Company, Royal Engineers,was killed in action on the 27 March 1918. Service no. 64253. He was born in Ballymena and enlisted in Belfast. He is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France.


STEWART, William, 7240, Company Sergeant Major,  12th Highland Light Infantry, died of wounds on the 27 March 1918. He was born in Ballymena and lived in Glasgow. He is buried in Warloy Baillon Cemetery, Somme.


CREIGHTON, John, 18617, Private, 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in action on the 28 March 1918. He was born in Ballymena and enlisted in Glasgow. He lived at Whiteinch, Scotland.


SEYMOUR, John, 23735, Private, 9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died of wounds om the 28th March 1918. He was the son of Robert and Elizabeth Seymour, Randalstown. He is buried St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen, France.


FORBES, John, 41453, Private, 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers (formerly 1924 North Irish Horse) was killed in action on the 29 March 1918. He was born at Dungall, Clough and he enlisted in Antrim. He was the son of George Forbes, Moneydollagh, Ahoghill. He is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, Somme and 1st Ahoghill Presbyterian Church.


Ballymena Observer, May 3 1918 -Mr. George Forbes, Moneydollog, Ahoghill, has received official intimation that his son, Private John Forbes, Royal Irish Fusiliers (formerly of the North Irish Horse), was killed in action on the second day of the battle at St Quentin, while attempting to rescue a wounded comrade from German hands.  Prior to enlisting in November 1915, the deceased was a clerk with Messrs. Frazer and Haughton, Cullybackey and was an Associate of the Institute of Commerce, Birmingham.


SPENCE Alexander Rev., Padre, 36th Department Army Chaplains, died of wounds as POW on the 31st March 1918. His father was Alexander Spence of Brookfield, Portglenone. He is buried in Roye New British Cemetery, Somme and commemorated in Ahoghill Church of Ireland.


Ballymena Observer, May 2, 1919: Mr. A. Spence, Brookfield, Portglenone, has received official intimation that a report has been received from the German Government that Captain Rev. A. Spence, MC, died on March 31, 1918 from a gunshot wound to the chest and was buried in the British Cemetery, Roye, a commune in the Department of the Somme some 40 kilometres south-east of Amiens. 


Captain Spence was curate of Christ Church, Londonderry when he volunteered with the 10th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He saw active service and was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry. He had been missing since the March retreat of 1918.


Bar to Military Cross


Captain William McMeekin Chesney, MC, Royal Army Medical Corps, son of Mr. David Chesney of Ahoghill, has been awarded a bar to the Military Cross he already holds.


The London Gazette stated:


For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in charge of stretcher bearers. He continually visited the forward aid posts throughout the day and supervised the evacuation of the wounded under very heavy shell and machine gun fire. Though wounded, he refused to quit his post until he had rendered a valuable report on the evacuation of the wounded. He worked with indefatigable energy and great courage throughout.


Private Samuel Montgomery, Royal Irish Fusiliers, second son of the late Mr. John Montgomery, Greenmount Terrace, Ballymena, has been wounded by a machine gun bullet in the chest. He enlisted in the North Irish Horse and was later transferred to the Fusiliers. Prior to joining the colours he was a clerk in the office of Messrs. J. K. Currie and Son. He had been at the front for 18 months.

Ballymena Observer, March 29, 1918

Information has been received that Rifleman Alex Connor, Royal Irish Rifles, son of the late Robert Connor, Larne Street, Harryville, has been wounded for the fourth time.  Rifleman Connor, who was home on leave a few weeks ago, joined the army at the outbreak of war at the age of 16 years.


Mr. Alex Moody, 16 Larne Street, Ballymena, has received intimation that his son Private Alex Moody, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, has been wounded in action. Private Moody, who was an old soldier, volunteered at the outbreak of war, prior to which he was employed in the Phoenix Weaving Company Ltd.


Mr. James Johnston, Hillmount, Cullybackey, has received intimation that his son Rifleman John Johnston, Royal Irish Rifles, has been admitted to hospital suffering from wounds. Rifleman Johnston, who joined the army in October 1917 was previously postman in the Craigs District.


Mrs. Marks, Casement Street, Harryville, has received intimation that her son, Rifleman George Marks, has been wounded. Rifleman Marks joined the North Irish Horse but was later transferred to the Rifles. He was formerly in the employment of John Wilson and Sons, Victoria Laundry, Harryville.

 

Mr. J.D. Stewart, eldest son of Dr. Stewart, Portglenone has volunteered for and been accepted for service in the Royal Navy as a probationer surgeon.


Staff Sergeant Major Thomas Quinn of the Army Service Corps, son of Mr Charles Quinn, Ballymena, was home from France on fourteen days leave.

Ballymena Observer April 5, 1918


GUTHRIE, George, Lance Corporal., 2nd King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died of wounds on the 10th April 1918. Service no. 10425. Aged 21, he was born at Drummaul, Randalstown and enlisted in Pontefract, Yorkshire. His wife and child live at at Princes Street, Ballymena. He was the son of Regimental Sergeant Major Guthrie, Derby Road, Nottingham. He is buried in Doullens Communal Cemetery, Somme and commemorated on Ballymena War Memorial.


Rifleman David McClintock


McCLINTOCK, David, 16731, Rifleman,  12th Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 12th April 1918. He was born at Ballymena, and enlisted in Belfast. He lived at Carncairn, Broughshane and was the butler of the O'Neills of Tullymore House in the village. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial and in 2nd Broughshane Presbyterian Church.


The following recruits from the town have joined the colours in the past three weeks:


Royal Field Artillery - Samuel Lorimer, Broughshane Street; James O'Hara, James Street.


Royal Irish Rifles - W. J. Spence, James Street.

Gaston Family Grave, Killymurris Presbyterian Churchyard


Military Cross


The following is the deed described in the London Gazette for which Captain Andrew Gaston, RAMC, son of Mr. Andrew Gaston and brother of James, RAMC, Cloughmills, was awarded the Military cross:


For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an attack. He was untiring in his efforts to attend to the wounded under heavy shell fire and personally brought in many wounded men, often dressing their wounds first in the open. His courage inspired all the wounded with confidence and provided the finest example to the stretcher bearers.


Editor's note: At this point in the 'Items About' section news begins to filter through of the scale of losses suffered during the ferocious offensive launched by the German Army on March 21, 1918. This is often referred to as the Spring Offensive.


Mrs. H. Millar, Albert Place, Ballymena, has been officially notified that her son, Private Hugh Millar, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was wounded on March 29. He had been previously wounded.

Notification has been received from the Red Cross by Mr. James Pryde, Leighinmohr, Ballymena, that his son Captain R. M. Pryde of the Royal Irish Rifles, is a prisoner of war at Karlsruhe, Germany, and is well. Captain Pryde was unofficially reported as missing last week. He is the third son of Mr. J. O. Pryde and was married last summer to Rose, second daughter of Mr. James Caruth, the Grange, Ballymena. He joined the forces at the outbreak of war and has seen much fighting . Captain Pryde was a lieutenant in the Ballymena Company of the Church Lads' Brigade and a prominent Ulster Volunteer.


The Rev. Andrew Gibson, Chaplain to the Forces, has written the following to friends of 2nd Lieutenant J. G. Robinson of Broughshane:


The Germans launched a great attack on March 21 and it so happened that the part of the line our battalion was holding was in the line of his most determined assault. We could get no information from them from early in the morning. We know they held up his attack for several hours and considerably delayed him.


Rev. Gibson believes that Lieutenant Robinson may have become a prisoner. He is the son of Mr. Joseph Robinson of Rathkeel, Broughshane, and was temporarily holding the post of adjutant.

Ballymena Observer, April 12, 1918.


McCLEAN, William, 19654, Rifleman, 12th Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 15th April 1918. Aged 26, he was born and lived in the Ballymena area. He was the son of Samuel and Matilda McClean, Kells. He is commemorated in Tyne Cot memorial, Belgium and Kells Presbyterian Church.


MILLAR,  David George, 1474, Lance Corporal, 12th Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 15th April 1918. Aged 18, son of William and Catherine, Bailey Cottage, Randalstown. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. 


The following recruits have joined during the past week:


Army Service Corps - James Hutchinson, Clough.

Royal Irish Rifles - William Walker, Newtowncrommelin.


2nd Lieutenant William Ferguson, Royal Irish Rifles, is reported missing. He is a son of the late Mr. Wm. Ferguson and his mother resides at Albert Place, Ballymena. He enlisted some time after the outbreak of war in the North Irish Horse and after spending some time in France as a sergeant he was appointed a cadet and received his commission some months ago.


He was confirmed as POW on April 26.

The following decoration by his Majesty, the King of the Belgians, was announced recently in the London Gazette


Croix De Guerre to 64527 Sapper John Watt, Royal Engineers, Ballymena.


He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Watt, Kinhilt Street, Ballymena. Sapper Watt enlisted shortly after the outbreak of hostilities and went to the front with the Ulster Division. He has seen much fighting and was awarded last year with a beautiful parchment certificate for gallantry and devotion to duty. 


Prior to enlisting in the army he was in the employ of Messrs. W. C Wolseley Ltd. Cullybackey Road.

Ballymena Observer, April 19,  1918.

Rifleman Albert McDonald


McDONALD, Albert, 57257, Rifleman, 1st Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 29th April 1918. Aged 19, he was born in Ballymena, the youngest son of David and Sarah McDonald, Broughshane Street, Ballymena. He enlisted at aged 16. He is buried in New Irish Farm Cemetery, Ypres, and is commemorated in 2nd Ballymena Presbyterian (High Kirk) Church.  


Ballymena Observer, May 31, 1918 - Mr. David McDonald, Broughshane Street, Ballymena, has been informed that his youngest son, Rifleman Albert McDonald, Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on a recent date. It appears that he volunteered as a member of a wiring party and was fatally wounded in the performance of his duty. Prior to enlisting in June 1915, Rifleman McDonald was employed in the Braidwater Weaving Company. He was only three months at the front. 


Editor's note: By the end of April, almost one month after the commencement of the German offensive, it was becoming clear that many Ballymena men were 'missing in action'. Thankfully for their families, most had been captured by the triumphant Germans.


A description of how Lieutenant James Vint, Royal Garrison Artillery, from Waveney Road, Ballymena, won his Military Cross has appeared in the London Gazette:


For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in charge of his battery under heavy shell fire. While he was getting the men under cover he was wounded but refused to go to the dressing station until his relief arrived. During the shelling he removed a box of cartridges which was ignited and threatened to set alight several others.


Rifleman Jim Barr, Royal Irish Rifles, son of Mr. William Barr of Waveney Avenue, is officially reported missing. He enlisted early in the war and served with the Ulster Division. He was employed in the Braidwater and was a member of the Young Conquerors Flute band.  (POW).


Mrs. Beattie of 26 Larne Street, has received intimation that her husband, Rifleman William Beattie, Royal Irish Rifles, Ulster Division, has been wounded in the right arm. Prior to joining the forces he was a painter and decorator employed by Mr. Samuel Perry. He was a member of the Orange Order and the UVF. His brother Rifleman Archie Beattie, Royal Irish Rifles, is serving at the front and he has two brothers-in-law with the colours, one of whom is missing since March 21.


Mr. James Cathcart of Castle Street, Ballymena, has been told that his son Rifleman William Cathcart, Royal Irish Rifles, Ulster Division, is officially reported missing. Before enlistment he was a postman. He was wounded at the Somme and in November of last year for the second time. His brother Corporal James Cathcart, is serving with the Royal Irish Rifles but no news has been received from him since the beginning of the great offensive. Corporal Cathcart was wounded in June last and before enlisting early in the war was an iron turner in the Braidwater Mill.


Mrs. R. J. Chambers, 2 Kinhilt Street, Ballymena, has received a letter from her son Lance Corporal Vincent Chambers, Signalling Section, Royal Irish Rifles, that he has been wounded in the left arm and is at present in a London Hospital. Lance Corporal Chambers joined in June 1915 and went to the front at the start of the present year. Prior to enlisting he was in the employment of Messrs. Harper and Sloan, Ballymena. His father, Lance Corporal R. J. Chambers is on the base staff of the Royal Irish Rifles.


Corporal James Herbison, Royal Irish Rifles, has sent a postcard to his sister who resides at Hill Street, Ballymena, informing her that he is a prisoner at Limburg Camp, Germany. He is unwounded and well.


Lance Corporal Thomas Galloway, MM, Royal Irish Rifles, who has been wounded is a son of Mr. Joseph Galloway of Bridge Street Place, Ballymena. He is a member of the original BEF (British Expeditionary Force) and was awarded the Military Medal last year for bravery.


Mr. William Leetch, 54 Queen Street, Ballymena, has received a communication from his only son, Sergeant Wm. Leetch, Royal Irish Rifles, stating that he is a prisoner and dated April 2. He enlisted in 1915 and went to the front at the latter end of last year.


He was formerly a clerk in the office of Messrs. Kane Bros. Ballymena Foundry and was well known in local football circles having played for both South End Rangers and Summerfield. He was also a member of Ballymena Young Conquerors Flute band.


Mrs. Robert Little, Mill View Place, Ballymena, has received intimation that her husband, Lance Corporal Robert Little, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, is a prisoner of war in Germany.


Mrs. Ellen Marks, Fair Hill Lane. Ballymena, has received official intimation that her husband, Rifleman Daniel Marks, Royal Irish Rifles was wounded on April 15. He has been three years with the forces and two years in France. Prior to enlisting he was employed at Messrs. Spence and Co., Broughshane Street.


Mr. James McCartney, Bridge Street, Ballymena, has received a letter from the Rev. J. McConnell CF, which states that his third son, Sergeant James McCartney, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was, according to the best he could gather, captured on March 21, together with his gun team. The letter also states:


He had done well and held on until they were surrounded. He has done excellent service out here as his rank shows.


Sergeant McCartney, who served his apprenticeship in the Observer office, enlisted at the outbreak of war and last year was awarded a parchment certificate for gallantry and devotion to duty. He has two brothers with the colours, Private Bob McCartney, Sherwood Foresters, and Private John McCartney, Royal Scots.


Rifleman Christopher Simpson, Royal Irish Rifles, grandson of Mrs. Redmond, Aughafatten and a nephew of the late Mrs R. G. Gaston, Waveney Cottage, is reported missing. Before joining the army he was employed in Messrs. Kane Bros. Foundry.


Mr. Alex. Sutters, North Street, Ballymena, has been informed by the War Office that his son, Rifleman James Sutters, Royal Irish Rifles, is officially reported missing. Prior to enlistment he was employed in the Braidwater Mill.


The War Office has informed Mr. Thomas Thompson, Clarence Street, Ballymena, that his son, Rifleman Jack Thompson is officially reported missing. He enlisted with the first batch of recruits from Ballymena in September 1914 and was wounded on July 1, 1916. Prior to joining the army he was employed by Messrs. Smith and Co., Thomas Street, Ballymena.


Mr. John Torbitt, Moat Road, Ballymena, has been officially informed that his son Rifleman Jack Torbitt, Royal Irish Rifles, is reported missing. He enlisted early in the war and went to the front with the Ulster Division. Prior to joining he was employed in the Braidwater Weaving factory.

April 26 1918

Rifleman William Allen (Left)


ALLEN, William, 59, Rifleman, 12 Royal Irish Rifles, died of wounds in France, May 2, 1918, and is buried Bolougne Eastern Cemetery, France. He was born and lived in Ballymena, enlisted Belfast. He was the 19 year old grandson of Allan and Ellen McKee, 1 Toome Road, Ballymena.


Ballymena Observer, May 3 1918 - Mrs. Ellen McKee, Toome Road, Harryville, Ballymena, has received official intimation that her grandson, Rifleman William Allen, Royal Irish Rifles, died on May 2 from wounds received in action. Prior to enlisting Rifleman Allen was employed with Mr. Miller, Grocer, of Henry Street. Deceased has two brothers serving at the front and he himself served three years with the colours.


McNEILLY,  Duncan, Private , 8th Seaforth Highlanders, died of wounds received on July 1917 on 6th May 1918. Service no. S/43179. Aged 20, he was born in Glasgow and enlisted in Ballymena. He was the son of Sam and Mary McNeilly of Liminary, Kells, Ballymena. He died in London and is buried in Kells and Connor New Cemetery. He is commemorated in Wellington Street Presbyterian Church.


His brother was Sergeant Samuel McNeilly, born Millport, Bute, Scotland, but living in Australia and serving with the 36 Bn. AIF.  He was severely wounded in the 'right buttock' in October 1917 and eventually repatriated on HMAT Gaika.  He failed a medical in February 1919 and was deemed discharged from the AIF on 31 December 1918.


Ballymena Observer, May 17, 1918 - Intimation has been received by Mr. Samuel McNeilly, Liminary, Ballymena, that his son, Lance Corporal Duncan McNeilly, has died in a London Hospital as the result of wounds received in action in July 1917. Deceased joined the army at the outbreak of war when he was at Ballymena Academy.


CLARKE, MC, R. S, 2nd Lieutenant, 47th Battalion,  Machine Gun Corps, was killed in action on October 4th/5th, 1918. He is buried at Vieille Chapelle New Military Cemetery, Lacouture, Pas de Calais. He was the son of Dr. Thomas Clarke, Liverpool, formerly Ahoghill.


BROWNLEE (or Brownlie), Robert Logan, 21990, Private, 1st Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), died of wounds on May 13, 1918. He is buried in Arneke British Cemetery, France. Aged 23, he was the son of James Brownlee,  Dunnygarron, Cullybackey and of Agnes Wilkie (formerly Brownlee/Brownlie), 13 Kinning  Street, Glasgow.

Rifleman John Thompson


THOMPSON, Rifleman John, 12th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, aged 19, a POW, died on the 13 May 1918. Service No. 12/19228. He was the son of Thomas and Rachel Thompson,  Kintullagh Terrace, Ballymena. He is buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery.  


Mr. Thompson, Clarence Street, Ballymena, has been informed through the Red Cross Society at Geneva, that his son, Rifleman John Thompson, Royal Irish Rifles, who was reported missing on 21st March last, and subsequently ascertained to be a prisoner, died on 13th May at Frieburg, Germany. He was unwounded when taken prisoner and no details are to hand as the cause of his death. He joined the Ulster Division at the time of its formation and was wounded at the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. Before enlisting he was employed in Messrs. Smith and Co, Thomas Street. His brother, Private  Robert Thompson, Army Service Corps has served throughout the Palestine Campaign.


QUAITE, Robert,  Royal Irish Rifles, died at home on the 16th May 1918. Mrs. Quaite lived at Parkmore, Glenariff and Robert is commemorated in Newtowncrommelin Presbyterian Church but is not recorded by the CWGC.


MILLAR, Benjamin,  18/627, Rifleman, 12th Royal Irish Rifles,  was killed in action on the 21st May, 1918. Aged 24, he was the son of Samuel and Alice J. Millar, Harperstown, Cullybackey. He is buried New Irish Farm Cemetery, Belgium and commemorated in Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church.


SMITH, Samuel Lyle, 28326, Gunner, 10th Brigade, Field Artillery, AIF, died of wounds on the 23rd May 1918. He was formerly of Tullymore Cottage, Broughshane. He is buried in St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France and commemorated in 2nd Broughshane Presbyterian Church.


Ballymena Observer, June 7, 1918: Gunner Samuel Lyle Smith, Australian Imperial Force. Only son of the late Mr. Samuel Smith JP of Tullymore Cottage, Broughshane, died of wounds in the 5th General Hospital, France on May 23. Deceased was educated at the Broughshane Boys' School and Ballymena Academy. When a boy, he went with his Uncle James to Australia, being in indifferent health. Having recovered, he came home after two years, but this climate did not agree with him and he went back to Australia after his father's death and settled in King Island.


He was rejected as medically unfit for the army at the outbreak of war but was accepted in April 1916 and came to England in 1917. He received severe wounds in the left hip and right eye on April 21, 1918.


COULTER, Thomas J, 267106, Lance Corporal, 6th Black Watch, was killed in action on May 28, 1918. He is buried in Ecoivres Military Cemetery, France. He was born at Govan, enlisted in Glasgow, and was the husband of Mrs. Coulter, Drumsough, Randalstown.


Military Medal 'Bar'


Sergeant J. McNabney, Royal Engineers, Ulster Division, whose relatives reside at 9, Larne Street, Ballymena, has been awarded a 'bar' to the Military medal. He was awarded the MM for bravery at Cambrai in January last. Prior to enlisting in August 1914 he was in the employment of Mr. Thomas Kerr, boot and shoe manufacturer, Church Street, Ballymena.


Prisoners

Miss Barr, Princes Street, Ballymena, has received information that her brother, Sergeant Robert Barr, Royal Irish Rifles, previously reported missing, is a POW. He enlisted at outbreak war and went to the front with the Ulster Division. He was a tailor in the employment of Mr. Henry Compton, Church Street and a member of the UVF. 


Mr. James Francey, Ballee, has received information that his son Private James Francey, Royal Irish Fusiliers, is a POW. He enlisted in the North Irish Horse shortly after the outbreak of war and was later transferred to the Fusiliers. Prior to joining up he was in the employment of Mr. J. Carson, Building Contractor, Ballymena.


Mr. Samuel Herbison, Ballymoney Street, has received a postcard from his son, Rifleman Samuel Herbison stating that he is a POW. Enlisting in 1915, he went to the front with the Ulster Division and took part in the Battle of the Somme. Prior to enlisting he was in the employ of the Braidwater Weaving Factory. His brother, Rifleman John Herbison is serving with the Royal Irish Rifles at the front and another brother, Robert, joined the United States Army in July 1917.


Mr. David Magee, Queen Street, Ballymena, has received a communication from his son, Rifleman William John Magee, previously reported missing since March 21, stating that he is a POW. One of his brothers, Rifleman Robert Magee, Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action in March 1917 and another brother, David Magee is serving with the colours.


Mrs. McCallion of 9 James Street, has received information that her husband, Rifleman Robert J. McCallion, who was previously reported missing since March 21 1918 is a POW. He joined up shortly after the outbreak of war and previous to that has been employed in the Braidwater Mill. His brother, Sergeant Jim McCallion is serving with the Highland Light Infantry.


Mrs. McIlwrath, Ballymoney Street, has been notified that her son, Private Thomas McIlwrath, Royal Irish Fusiliers is a POW. He enlisted in the North Irish Horse in November 1916 and was transferred to the Fusiliers. He was previously employed as a clerk with Mr. M. Montgomery, Coachbuilder.

Rifleman John Stewart (Left)


Mrs. Stewart, Waveney Avenue, has received information that her son, Rifleman John Stewart, Royal Irish Rifles is a POW in Germany.  He was wounded at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and had been a painter in the employ of Mr. Matthew Ross, High Street. He was a member of the UVF.


Mr. James Taylor of Galgorm Parks has received a communication from his son, Rifleman David Taylor, Royal Irish Rifles stating he is a POW. Prior to enlisting at the outbreak of war, Rifleman Taylor was employed by Messrs. James Lindsay and Co. Belfast. He was a member of the UVF. His brother, Lieutenant John Taylor is in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and was wounded.

Mr. James Watson, 7 Gilmore Street, Ballymena, has received a postcard from his son, Rifleman John Watson, Royal Irish Rifles (Right), stating that he is a POW in Germany. He enlisted in 1915 and took part in the Battle of the Somme. Before joining up he was employed in the Braidwater Mill. His brother, Private Charles Watson, Army Service Corps, has been wounded twice.


Captain F. R. Skillen, King's Liverpool Regiment, eldest son of Mr. Joseph Skillen, formerly of Claremont Ballymena, has been mentioned in despatches by Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig.

Ballymena Observer, May 31, 1918


GREER Joseph, S/13953, Lance Corporal, 1st Gordon Highlanders, died of wounds on the 5th June 1918. Aged 23, he was the son of M. Greer, Sprucebank, Portglenone. He is buried in Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport.


MAGILL, James, 41435, Private, 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers (formerly 1805 North Irish Horse) was killed in action on the 6th June 1918; he was killed while a POW by friendly fire during a French air raid on Ham, a fact confirmed by an entry in German records. Aged 25, he was the son of Dyas (or Dias), a greengrocer, and Catherine (sometimes called Cassandra, a maid) Magill, of 25, Springwell St, Ballymena, Co. Antrim. 


James  had been a pork cutter and then a railway labourer in his prewar life.


He is buried in Ham British Cemetery, Muille-Villete.



Wounded


Mrs. McGill, Queen Street, has been notified that her husband, Rifleman Hugh McGill, Royal Irish Rifles, has been wounded and is in hospital in England. Prior to the war he took a prominent interest in the UVF.


Prisoners


Mr. John Hamilton, Kirkinriola, has received a postcard from his son, Rifleman Thomas Hamilton, Royal Irish Rifles, stating he is a prisoner in Germany. He joined the colours about a year ago. His brother, Rifleman  William Hamilton, Royal Irish Rifles, is also a prisoner, his wife Mrs. Hamilton, who resides at Broughshane Street, having received a card from him to that effect.


Mrs. McFall, Clonavon Place North, has received a communication from her son Rifleman Robert McFall, Royal Irish Rifles, stating that he is a prisoner in Germany. Rifleman McFall enlisted about two years ago and was previously wounded. His brother, Daniel McFall Royal Irish Rifles was killed in action two years ago.


Mr. Robert McIlroy, Parkhead, Ballymena, has received information that his son Rifleman Robert McIlroy, Royal Irish Rifles, was posted as 'missing' on April 14. Rifleman McIlroy was wounded in July 1916 at which time his brother, Rifleman Harry McIlroy, Royal Irish Rifles was killed.


Mrs. James Rock, Ballygarvey, Ballymena, has been notified that her son, Rifleman James Rock, Royal Irish Rifles, previously reported missing since March 21st is now a POW. Prior to enlisting, Rifleman Rock was an employee on the Midland Railway and was a member of Craigywarren LOL. He had been wounded twice previously.


Mr. John Russell, Springwell Street, Ballymena, has been notified that his son, Private William Russell, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers is a POW in Germany. Prior to enlisting he was employed in the Locomotive Motor Works, Glasgow. He is three years in the army and has been wounded twice.


Mr. Wm. H. Adair, 7 Greenvale Street, Ballymena, has received a postcard from his son, Corporal David Adair, Royal Irish Rifles, officially reported missing on April 20th is now a POW. Corporal Adair was wounded at the Somme on 1st July 1916.


Mrs. Perry, Russellstown, Galgorm, has been informed that her son, Rifleman Sam Perry is a POW in Germany. He is the eldest son of the late Robert Perry and enlisted soon after his father's death. He only went to France a few days before the great battle began. Prior to enlisting, he was in the employment of Lisnafillan Works, Galgorm.

Ballymena Observer, June 7 1918


Military Cross Awards


Captain R. F. McKeown, General List, attached to a trench mortar battery, has been awarded the Military Cross. He is the third son of Mr. Wilson McKeown, formerly a well-known Ballymena solicitor and was educated at the Ballymena Academy and Campbell College. He enlisted shortly after the outbreak of war and was recently wounded.


Lieutenant J. Adams, RAMC, youngest son of the late Mr. J. J. Adams of Carnstroan, Broughshane, has been awarded the Military Cross. Lieutenant Adams was educated at the Ballymena Academy and Queen's University. He received his commission in June 1917 and went to the front in July.


Wounded


Mrs. Johnston of Ahoghill has received intimation that her husband, Rifleman James Johnston, Royal Irish Rifles, has been wounded. Rifleman Johnson, who is a son of Mr. James Johnston of Ahoghill, enlisted at the outbreak of war and came through the Dardanelles without a scratch. Before enlisting he was employed with his father at Galgorm Castle.


Prisoners


Mrs. Matilda Balmer, New Row, Ahoghill, has been informed that her son, Rifleman R. J. Balmer, Royal Irish Rifles, is a POW. He had been reported missing from March 31st. He enlisted over three years ago.


Mrs. Sarah Leith, Drumrankin, Cullybackey, has received a letter from her son, Lance Corporal Adam Leith, stating that he is a POW. He was previously reported missing. Prior to enlisting he was employed by Mr. Holmes of Cullybackey.


Mrs. Jane Thompson, 44 James Street, Harryville, Ballymena, has received a postcard from her husband, Lance Corporal George Thompson, Royal Irish Rifles, stating that he is a POW. Prior to joining the army he was employed in the Braidwater Mill and he has four brothers and a brother-in-law with the colours.


Mr. William Thompson, James' Street, Harryville, has received a letter from his son, Rifleman Adam Thompson, Royal Irish Rifles, stating he is a prisoner in Germany. Before enlisting he was employed in Messrs. Sinclair's Pork Store, Belfast. He has four brothers with the colours of whom George (above) is also a prisoner.

Ballymena Observer, June 14, 1918


Rifleman David Taylor

TAYLOR, David, 520, Rifleman  12th Royal Irish Rifles, died as POW on the 19th June 1918. Aged 23, he was the son of James and Annie Taylor, Galgorm Parks, Ballymena. He is buried Plaine National Cemetery, Bas Rhin, Alsace, now in France, and commemorated in Wellington Street Presbyterian Church.

McNEILL, Hugh, PO/10353, Lance Corporal, Royal Marine Light Infantry, was killed in action when a U-boat sank SS Montebello at Ushant on the 21st June 1918. He was the son of Annie McNeill of 11 James Street, Harryville, Ballymena and commemorated in Portsmouth Naval Memorial.


The four young men in the picture joined up together in September 1914

Norman Henry rose through all ranks to become an officer in 1918, Frank Thompson was wounded and discharged, William Grant became a Sergeant and died on 1st July 1916. Samuel Cumming won the DCM and MSM and in later life became President of the Law Society. (details below)

Double honour


Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant Samuel Cumming, Royal Irish Rifles, son of Mr. Thomas Cumming of Bottom, Ballymena has been granted the Meritorious Service Medal. The recipient of the honour enlisted at the outbreak of war and went to the front with the Ulster Division. Previous to enlistment he was in office of Mr. J. K. Currie, Solicitor, Ballymena.


And:


12/18926, R.Q.M.S. Samuel Cumming, Royal Irish Rifles, has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for conspicuous gallantry in action. The announcement of two such awards in so short a time is a unique record. 


London Gazette, 3rd September 1918, page 10285


12/18926, RQMS, S. Cumming, Royal Irish Rifles (Ballymena) - for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. he took charge of a lorry bringing up rations, and with great difficulty distributed the rations among detached parties in the front line. it was due to his efforts that these men got rations. they did not belong to his battalion, and his work was entirely voluntary.


Captain H. W. Wier, RAMC (Territorial Force) attached to the British Salonika Expedition, youngest son of Mr. John Wier JP, Liscoom, Ballymena, has been mentioned in despatches for gallant conduct and distinguished service during the war from September 21, 1917 to February 28, 1918.


Wounded


Mr. Johnston of Ahoghill has been informed that his son, Rifleman S. Johnston, Royal Irish Rifles, has been wounded.


Prisoners


Mr. Samuel Esler, Kells, Ballymena, has received information that his son, Rifleman William Esler, Royal Irish Rifles, is a POW in Karlsruhe, Germany.


Rev. A. Spence, MC, Chaplain with the 36th Division, has been missing since March 22nd. Any information to his father, Mr. A. Spence of Brookfield, Portglenone, will be thankfully received.


Signaller James Stead, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, has sent a communication to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Stead of Skerry East, Newtowncromellin, stating that he is a POW in Germany.

Ballymena Observer, June 21, 1918


Rifleman Robert Glass


GLASS, Robert, 18998, Rifleman, 12th Royal Irish Rifles, died of wounds while a POW on the 28th June 1918. Aged 29, he was born and lived at Cullybackey and was the son of James and Eliza, Ballyconnelly; he enlisted in Ballymena. He is buried Aulnoye Communal Cemetery, France and commemorated in 2nd Ahoghill Presbyterian Church


LYNAS, William John, 17/1552, Rifleman,12th Royal Irish Rifles, died while POW on the 29th June 1918. Aged 21, he was the son of William and Mary Lynas, Cambrai Street, Belfast. He is named on headstone in Ballymena Old Cemetery, Church Street, Ballymena and buried in Premont British Cemetery Aisne, France.


Military Medal


Mrs. McCarley, Casement Street, Ballymena, has received a letter from her son, Private William McCarley, Royal Irish Fusiliers, formerly of the North Irish Horse, stating that he has won the Military Medal for bravery in the field. He is now serving a year with the colours and prior to joining up was employed by Messrs. Morton and Simpson.


41329 Pte, W. McCarley, Royal Irish Fusiliers (Ballymena)

See Issue13333, page 3730, Supplement to the Edinburgh Gazette,October 9, 1918

Mr. Harry Brown, Moat Road, Ballymena, has received a post card from his son Rifleman Harry Brown, Royal Irish Rifles, stating that he is a POW in Germany. Rifleman Brown enlisted at the outbreak of war and went with the first volunteers from this district to Cleggan Camp. He went to the front with the Ulster Division but was subsequently sent to a home camp, being under-age for active service. Prior to enlisting he was employed as a painter.


Mrs. Gibson, Slatt, Ballymena, has received intimation that her son, Lance Corporal Matthew Gibson, Royal Irish Rifles, is a prisoner of war in Germany. His brother, Rifleman David Gibson, Royal Irish Rifles , is missing from July 1916 and another brother, Rifleman John Gibson Royal Irish Rifles, was wounded in March.


Mrs. Hamilton, Cullybackey Road, Ahoghill, has received a postcard from her son, Rifleman William Hamilton,  Royal Irish Rifles, stating that he is a prisoner of war in Germany. He enlisted at the outbreak of war and was formerly in the employ of the Lisnafillan Works.


Mrs. Agnes Moody, Drumraw, has received a letter from her son, Rifleman Thomas Moody, Royal Irish Rifles. stating he is a POW. Prior to enlisting he was employed by Mr. Robert Holmes, Ballyconnelly, Cullybackey.


Mr. Robert Sands, Cullybackey, has received cards from his two sons, Lance Corporal Alex. Sands and Rifleman Samuel Sands, Royal Irish Rifles, stating that both are POWs. A third son, Rifleman Thomas Sands, Royal Irish Rifles, is still serving at the front.

Ballymena Observer, June 28, 1918 


Recruitment


The following have enlisted from the town and district in the past seven weeks:


Royal Irish Rifles - Michael Malone, Ballyclug, Ballymena; Wm. Jas. McMaster, Tullygarley.


North Irish Horse - Jas. Hanna, Crumkill; Hillis Wright, Killyless, Cullybackey.


Royal Field Artillery - Wm. Mooney, Broughshane Street.


RAMC - Samuel Jas. Moore (late of Messrs. Gilmore, Moore and Chestnut).


Prisoners


Mrs. Mitchell, Springwell Street, Ballymena, has received official intimation that her nephew, Rifleman H. Marshall, Royal Irish Rifles, is a POW. Rifleman Marshall served three years with the colours and was previously reported missing. Prior to joining up he was employed in the Braidwater Mill, Ballymena.


Mr. Andrew Mills, Craigdoo, Broughshane, has received a postcard from his son, Rifleman G. Mills, stating that he is a POW.

Ballymena Observer, July 5, 1918


TAYLOR, Robert Gordon, 532376, Private, 46th Canadian Infantry, died of wounds on the 10th July 1918. He was originally of Queen Street, Harryville and is buried in Aubigny Communal Cemetery,  France. 


Ballymena Observer, July 19, 1918 - Mr. James Taylor, Queen Street, Ballymena, has received official intimation that his youngest son, Private Robert Gordon Taylor, Canadians, died at a Casualty Station on July 10th from wounds in the chest and abdomen received in action the previous day. Private Taylor emigrated to America six years ago and joined the Canadians two years ago. He spent a few days at his old home in Harryville before going to the front 12 months ago. He is the younger brother of Sheriff John Taylor of Mamon, Linn County, USA.


CATHCART, Robert, K/6681, Stoker First Class, HMS Anchusa, Royal Navy, died on July 16, 1918. he is  named on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. Aged 24, he was the son of David and Agnes, Tullygarley and he is commemorated in 1st Ballymena Presbyterian Church.


2nd Lieutenant W. H. Currie, RAF


CURRIE, W. H.,  2nd Lieutenant, 55th Squadron, RAF, was killed in action on the 16th July 1918. His wife at Drumrankin, Cullybackey. He is buried at Charmes Military Cemetery, Vosges, France. 


Mrs. W. H. Currie, Drumrankin, Cullybackey, has been notified that her husband, 2nd Lieutenant W. H. Currie, Royal Air Force, was killed in action in France on 16th July 1918 in a fight with German aeroplanes. Deceased was a son of the late Mr. William Currie of Clonard Gardens, Belfast and joined the army previous to the outbreak of war. Some time ago he was transferred to the RAF where gained rapid promotion. His younger brother is a POW in Germany.



Bar to MC


Captain J. F. Hodges, MC, Royal Irish Fusiliers, the son of Mr. J.F.W. Hodges of Glenravel House, Glenravel, has been awarded a 'bar' to the Military Cross.


The London Gazette stated:


He led his company with great courage and skill under heavy fire in an attack. His company was the first to reach the objective and owing to his good leadership was largely responsible for the success of the attack.


Mrs. A. Barr, Lower Tannybrake, Kells has received a letter from her son, Sergeant Major A. Barr, Canadian Machine Gun Corps, stating he has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for special attention to duty in the field. Sergeant Major Barr has been through almost all of the heavy fighting with the Canadians including Ypres, Vimy and Passchendaele. Prior to enlisting he was employed as a foreman planer with the Jewell Lumber Co., Hamburg, British Columbia.


Prisoner - Rifleman Robert Glass, Royal Irish Rifles, son of Mr. Robert Glass, Main Street, Cullybackey is a prisoner of war in Germany.

Ballymena Observer, July 12, 1918


The following have enlisted from town and district in the past fortnight:


North Irish Horse - Charles Reid, Rasharkin; 


Royal Irish Rifles - Henry Letters, Princes Street.


Rifleman R. Dempsey, Royal Irish Rifles, is a POW in Germany. He is the son of Mr. Robert Dempsey of Castleton, Ahoghill.


Mr. Robert McIlroy of Parkhead has received a card stating his son, Rifleman Robert McIlroy, is a prisoner in Germany, Rifleman McIlroy was previously posted as missing on April 14. He was wounded in July 1916 when his brother Rifleman Harry McIlroy, Royal Irish Rifles, was killed.

Ballymena Observer, July 19, 1918


Mrs. Agnes Cathcart, Tullygarley, Ballymena. has received information that her son, Seaman Robert Cathcart, is missing with HMS Asonza which was torpedoed.  He served eight years with the Navy prior to which he was employed by the Midland Railway Company. He joined up at the age of sixteen and was home on leave a short time ago.


Mr. James Cathcart, Castle Street, Ballymena, has received intimation that his son, Corporal James Cathcart, Royal Irish Rifles, is wounded and a prisoner in Germany. Corporal Cathcart was previously reported missing and was wounded earlier in the war. Before joining up he was a wood turner in the Braidwater Mill, Ballymena. His brother Rifleman William Cathcart is also a POW.


Rifleman Joseph Milligan, Royal Irish Rifles, has written to his mother, who resides at Galgorm Parks, stating he is a prisoner in Germany. Rifleman Milligan, who was previously reported missing since March last was, prior to enlisting, in the employment of Mr. S. Ruddle, High Street, Ballymena.

Ballymena Observer July 26, 1918


Lance Corporal David Holmes


HOLMES, David,  167, Lance Corporal,  1st Royal Irish Rifles, died of wounds on the 20th July 1918. Aged 21, he was the son of David and Jane Holmes, Hugomont Villas, Ballymena. He is buried in Bertenacre Military Cemetery, Fletre, Nord, France and commemorated in Ballymena New Cemetery.


Ballymena Observer, August 2, 1918  - Lance Corporal David Holmes, Royal Irish Rifles, son of Mrs. David Holmes of Hugomont, Ballymena, has been killed in action. He joined the Rifles in 1915 and has been serving in France for a couple of years. Prior to enlistment he was employed in Mr. James Ramsey's hairdressing establishment, Church Street, Ballymena. His brother, Private Arthur Holmes, Canadians, was killed in action in April 1917.


Mr. William McIlvenna, Mount Street, Ballymena, has received notification that his son, Private William McIlvenna, Canadians, was killed in action by shrapnel on August 6th. Before emigrating to the USA several years ago he was employed in the office of the late J.H.Bradley as a clerk. On the outbreak of war he journeyed to Toronto and joined the colours. His brother Stuart McIlvenna is serving as a sergeant with the US army in France.  

Ballymena Observer, August 30, 1918


GRAHAMSLAW, Alexander, 19940, Private , 7/8th King's Own Scottish Borderers, died on the 23rd July 1918. He was from Broughshane. He is buried in Vauxbuin Cemetery, France and commemorated in 2nd Broughshane Presbyterian Church and on the village war memorial.


TURTLE, John, 19572, Corporal, 62nd Machine Gun Corps (formerly 12161 Royal Irish Rifles) was killed in action on the 20th July 1918. Aged 22, he was born at Ballymena, lived Belfast, and is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial, France.


Lance Corporal George Ross


ROSS, George, 17896, Lance Corporal, 62nd Machine Gun Corps, attached Royal Irish Rifles, died of wounds on the 21st July 1918. Aged 26,  he was the son of George and Margaret Ross, Castle Street, Ballymena. His brother, John McCart Ross, died on the 1st July 1916. He is buried in St. Imoges Churchyard, France.


Ballymena Observer, September 20, 1918 - Mrs. Margaret Ross, 14 Castle Street, Ballymena, has been notified that her son, Lance Corporal George Ross, Machine Gun Corps, has been killed in action. His brother, Rifleman John McCart Ross, Royal Irish Rifles, was killed on 1st July 1916.


RAINEY,  J., 290563, Private, 1/8th Scottish Rifles (Cameronians), died on the 29th July 1918. Aged 27, he was the son of John and Hannah Rainey of Aughnahoy, Portglenone. He is buried in Raperie British  Cemetery, Villemontoire.


DEMPSEY, Isaac, 27520, Private, 9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died of wounds at No.62 Casualty Clearing Station, Arneke, France on the 29th July 1918. He was the son of William Dempsey, farmer, of Artiferal, Dunloy. His wife and son Isaac were at Dunboy, Dunloy and he is commemorated in Killymurris Presbyterian Church.


SINCLAIR, William B, 41416, Private, 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers, was killed in action on the 30th July 1918. He was born at  Ballymena and lived Bellshill, Glasgow. He is buried in Meteren Cemetery, Nord, France.


DAVIS, John Corporal, 1st (Depot) Bn. Canadian Infantry  (Manitoba Regiment), died in service on the30th July 1918. Aged 27, he was the son of Archibald and the late Margaret Ann, Ballynulto, Broughshane. He is buried in Winnipeg Cemetery, Manitoba.


Sergeant Samuel Wilson, Royal Irish Fusiliers, son of Mr. Thomas Wilson, Bridge Street, Ballymena, is at present home on leave. He enlisted at the outbreak of war and is one of three brothers with the colours. He came through the Dardanelles and was in Serbia, Salonika, Palestine and Egypt. This is his first leave since proceeding on active service. prior to joining up he was in the employment of Messrs. Barclay and Crawford, Ballymena.


Private William Murphy, son of Mr. A. Murphy, 11 Park Street, is at present home on leave after being on active service for three years and six months in the Dardanelles, Salonika, Serbia, Macedonia, Palestine and France.

Ballymena Observer, August 2, 1918


27520 Private Isaac Dempsey, 9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, and his Wife and Son.  

He died of wounds at No.62 Casualty Clearing Station, Arneke, France on the 29th July 1918.

Photograph courtesy of Robert Thompson

Seaman David Foster


FOSTER, David, J/36501, Able Seaman, Royal Navy, H.M.S. Ariel, aged 20, died on the 2nd August 1918. He was the son of David and Elizabeth Foster, of Ballycraigy, Ballymena, Co. Antrim. He is named on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.


Ballymena Observer, August 9, 1918 - Mr. David Foster, Ballycraigy, Ballymena, has been notified that his son, Seaman David Foster, was lost with one of his Majesty's Ships which was mined and sunk on August 2, 1918. Deceased joined the navy about three years ago and was home on leave some two months ago. he took part in the campaign in east Africa where he came through with only a few scratches and also saw considerable service elsewhere.


BOYLE, William, 424218, Private, Labour Corps (formerly 16378 Royal Irish Fusiliers), died at sea on the August 3, 1918. He is named on Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton. He was born at  Ballymena and enlisted Belfast.


There has only been one recruit from the district in the past fortnight: 


Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers - Robert John Bates, Broughshane.


Mrs. William Thompson, Galgorm Street, Ballymena, has been notified that her husband, Private William Thompson, Seaforth Highlanders, was wounded on March 21st and has lost his left leg. He is at present in Netley Hospital, Hants. Prior to enlistment he was employed by Messrs. Sinclair's, Belfast. He has four brothers serving with the colours, two of them being prisoners in Germany.


Military Cross Awarded

It is officially announced that the Military Cross has been awarded to Acting Major Robert Alexander Hepple of Ballygarvey, Ballymena.


For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. The advanced dressing station was hit by three shells simultaneously, the building was demolished and several men were killed or wounded. He at once set to work to recover the wounded from the debris and did not leave until all had been cleared in spite of the continued intense shelling of the vicinity.

Ballymena Observer, August 9, 1918


New commission


Mr. S. R. Millar, son of Mr. Robert Millar, Ballymoney Street, has been granted a commission in the Royal Irish Regiment. 2nd Lieutenant Millar joined the Young Citizens Volunteers shortly after the outbreak of war and has several years service with the Ulster Division to his credit. He has two brothers in the army.


Private J. Livingstone, Royal Irish Fusiliers, is at present home on leave from an Eastern front. He went to the front with the Ulster Division and was later transferred to another front where he had several attacks of malaria. Prior to joining the army he resided at Alfred Street, Ballymena and was a flax-dresser in the Braidwater Mill. His brother, Private William Livingstone, RAMC, is serving with the colours.


Prisoners - Mrs. Getty, of 3 James Street, Ballymena, has received information that her nephew, Private Charles Sinclair, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, is a prisoner of war. Private Sinclair was reported to be a prisoner of war about the end of last year but subsequently returned home on leave. Previous to joining up he was employed in the Braidwater Spinning Mill.


Captain Frank McCaughey, RAMC is now returned as a prisoner, news to this effect being received by his wife who lives in Bradford, England. Captain McCaughey is a son of the late Mr. Hugh McCaughey of Ballymena and was educated at the Ballymena Model School. His brother, Mr. William McCaughey and a sister, reside in Broughshane.

Ballymena Observer, August 16, 1918


WALLACE, Robert H, 5619, Company Sergeant Major, 2nd Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 18th August 1918. He was born at  Ballymena and lived in Dublin.


Additional information: 5619 CSM Robert H Wallace, 'C' Company, 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, a veteran of the South African Campaign, was the son of Robert and Mary Wallace, Mount Street, Ballymena.  He was wounded on the 16 August 1917 and died two days later at Calais. Calais was where No 6 Base Supply Depot was established in April 1915 - Calais was closer to the fighting zone than either Le Havre or Rouen and it served to take the pressure off Boulogne. It became the home of a number of hospitals, notably the 30th, 35th, 38th General Hospitals, No 9 British Red Cross Hospital and No 10 Canadian Stationary Hospital.  Burials from these were made in Calais Southern Cemetery from 1915 to 1918, and it is there that CSM Wallace is buried.


IRELAND, George, 295561, Private, 12th Royal Scots Fusiliers, was killed in action on the 19th August 1918. He was born at Loughconnelly, Broughshane. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Ireland, Netherburn, Larnarkshire and he is buried in Le Grand Hasard Military Cemetery, France.


Rifleman Samuel Stevely


STEVELY, Samuel, 1757, Rifleman,  1st Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 21st August 1918. Aged 18, he was the foster son of Mrs. Rachel Boyd of Gloonan, Ahoghill. He is buried in Bertenacre Military Cemetery, Fletre, Nord, France and commemorated in 1st Ahoghill Presbyterian Church


Ballymena Observer, September 27, 1918 - Rifleman Samuel Stevely, Royal Irish Rifles, who has been killed in action, was a son of Mrs. Stevely, Road End, Ahoghill. Deceased was only 18 years of age and prior to enlistment was employed in Messrs. Dinsmore's in Ahoghill.


Chaplain Gassed


Rev. W. H. Hutchinson, officially reported gassed, is the Presbyterian Minister of Cuningham Memorial Church, Cullybackey. He volunteered early in the war serving as a despatch rider at the front for two years. In February of 1917 he accepted a chaplaincy and returned to active service.


Acting Sergeant Major Thomas Kerr, RAMC, of Ballee, has been promoted to full rank. He went to the front with the original BEF and he was recently awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

Ballymena Observer, August 23, 1918


Forty-four in a week


Forty-four local man have joined the army since the recruiting meeting on August 21. This is the biggest recruiting week since September 1914 when the men of the Ulster Volunteers joined the 12th Royal Irish Rifles. The town boys have set a good example to the boys of the country districts.


Royal Air Force - Albert Kernohan, Queen Street; James Adger, Alfred Street; Samuel Ellis, Henry Street; Archie McNeice, Moat Road; John McAuley, North Street; Alex, Grant, Bridge Street; Robert Mullan, Queen Street; William Barr, Waveney Avenue; Hugh Morrow, Ballee; Charles Montgomery, Leighinmohr; Hugh Herbison, Railway Street; Harry McIvor, Moat Road; Robert Balmer, Carniny; James Rea, Broughshane; Thomas Kelly, Larne Street; John Mitchell, Railway Street; William Caulfield, Ladysmith Terrace; Alex. Wright, Moat Road; Patrick McClintock, Wellington Street; Herbert Ross, Bridge Street; Robert Ross, 12 High Street; James Gribben, Broughshane Upper; Robert Scullion, Laymore; M. Scullion, Railway Street; Thomas Reid, Greenvale Street; George Lorimer, Edward Street; Henry Torbitt, Moat Road; Robert Kennedy, Waveney Avenue; Isaac Murray, Broughshane Street; James Scullion, Leighinmohr; William Millar, Brocklamont; Alex. Adair, Railway Street; John Avery, Ladysmith Terrace; William Johnston, Waveney Crescent; Samuel Scullion, Railway Street; Hugh Boyd, Kellswater.


Royal Irish Rifles - John Millar, Tullynamullan; Jos. Douglas, Broughshane Road; Thomas McFall, Clonavon Road.


Royal Navy - Robert Madill, Broughshane; Robert Reynolds, Broughshane; Samuel Quigley, Broughshane.

Royal Scots - Samuel Logan, Bridge Street. Drummer - William John McCullough, Bridge Street.


Sergeant Major Barr, Canadian Machine Gun Corps, son of Mrs. A. Barr of Tannybrake, Kells, has been admitted to hospital suffering from wounds on the right knee. He was recently awarded the MSM.

Ballymena Observer, August 30, 1918


McILVEEN, William, 6140, Private, Royal Irish Fusiliers, died a POW on the 1st September 1918. He was born at  Ballymena and enlisted in Belfast. He is buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery, Germany.


McCOSH, Samuel James, 781211, Private, 46th Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan Regt), was killed in action on the 2nd September 1918. Aged 30, he was the son of David and Lydia McCosh, Knockboy, Broughshane. He is buried in Dury Crucifix Cemetery, France.


TAGGART,  William James,  A/201981, Rifleman, King's Royal Rifle Corps, was killed in action on the 2nd September 1918. He was born at  Tardree, Kells and his family were at Craigywarren, Ballymena. He is buried in Dury Crucifix Cemetery France, and commemorated in Cloughwater Presbyterian Church.


CRAWFORD, Thomas, Private, 15 Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment), was killed in action on the 2nd September 1918. Aged 34, he was the son of Thomas and Agnes Crawford, Tullymore, Broughshane. He is buried in Dominion Cemetery, Hendecourt-Les-Cagnicourt, France and commemorated in 2nd Broughshane Presbyterian Church.


CLARKE, Robert John, 243, Private, 12th Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on September 2, 1918. He is buried in Nieuwkerke Churchyard, Belgium. He was born at Randalstown, enlisted in Belfast, and lived at Taylorstown. He was the grandson of Mary Ann Underwood, Groggan and he is commemorated in Grange Presbyterian Church.


MARKS, George, 41562, Private, 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers (formerly 2251 North Irish Horse), was killed in action on the 4th September 1918. Aged 22, he was the only son of Sam and Mary J. Marks, 40 Casement Street, Ballymena and he is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial Belgium and in Wellington Street Presbyterian Church, Ballymena.  


Ballymena Observer, September 27, 1918. - Mr. Samuel Marks, Casement Street, Ballymena, has received a wire from the war office stating that his son, Private George Marks, Royal Irish Fusiliers, has been killed in action on 4th September. The deceased was for some time in the employment of Mr. Adam Gregg, Broadway, Ballymena and was in Scotland for a short period. After returning home he was employed by Messrs. J. Wilson and Son, Victoria Laundry, Larne Street. He joined the North Irish Horse in August 1916 and was transferred to the Fusiliers, going to France in March 1917. After some months he was wounded and on recovery went back to active service. 

 

CROTHERS (or CROWTHERS), David, 20889, Rifleman, 2nd Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 6th September 1918. He is named on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium. Aged 18, he was at Clogher, Co Antrim. He was the son of William and Margaret Crothers, 136, Disraeli St., Belfast.


O'NEILL, Joseph, Rifleman,1/8th London (Irish Rifles) Regiment, was killed in action on the 6th September 1918. He was the son of David O'Neill of Springwell Street, Ballymena. His brother David was serving in the Royal Irish Rifles; his brother John was discharged unfit for further service. He is buried in Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France.


Ballymena Observer, November 1, 1918  - Information has been received by Mr. David O'Neill, Springwell Street, Ballymena, that his son, Private Joseph O'Neill, London Regiment has been killed in action.


This week's recruiting: 


Royal Air Force - James Kelly, Larne Street; James McIlwaine, Dunfane; John McFall, Dunfane; Herbert Bell, Cushendall Road.


Royal Irish Rifles - James Gibson, Rathsherry.


Mrs. Black of Carniny has received a letter from her son, Private Frank Black, stating that he has been invalided to England sick. He has been serving two years in France and prior to joining up was employed by Mr. Gordon Black of Church Street.


Mrs. McAteer, Greenvale Street, has received intimation that her son, Private James McAteer, North Irish Horse, has been wounded on the left shoulder. Private McAteer has served sixteen months in France. His younger brother, Frank McAteer, is serving with the Machine Gun Corps.

Ballymena Observer, September 6, 1918


Information has been received that Private Harry Blair, Canadians, formerly of Ballymena, has been gassed and is in hospital in France, he is a son of the late Mr. William Blair of Church Street, Ballymena.


Mr. Alex. Montgomery, Kinhilt Street has been notified that his son, Trooper Thomas Montgomery, North Irish Horse, has been wounded in action. Trooper Montgomery has served in France with the North Irish Horse for a considerable number of months and prior to joining up was employed in Messrs. Wilson's of Ballygarvey.


Mrs. McNeilly of Rathkeel, Broughshane, has been notified that her son, Private George McNeilly, Canadian Highlanders, was wounded in action on September 2nd and is in hospital in England. This is the third time Private McNeilly has been wounded. Prior to emigrating to Canada about eight years ago he was a farm labourer in the Braid District.

Ballymena Observer, September 13, 1918

Corporal Samuel Neely


NEELY,  Samuel, 44376, Corporal,  12th North Staffordshire Regiment, died of chest wounds at No.1 Australian CCS on the 12th September 1918. Aged 32, he was the son of Matthew and Margaret Neely, Ballyclose, Cullybackey, Co. Antrim and husband of Margaret Neely, of Parkhead, Ballymena. He is buried in La Kreule Military Cemetery, Hazebrouck, and he is commemorated in 2nd Ballymena Presbyterian Church.


Ballymena Observer, October 11, 1918 - Mrs. Neely, Parkhead, Ballymena, has been notified that her husband, Lance Corporal S. Neely, North Staffordshire Regiment, has died at No.1 Australian Casualty Clearing Station as the result of a severe chest wound received in action. The head sister in charge of the clearing station states that Lance Corporal Neely arrived there in a very collapsed condition and died at 10.30 pm on 12th September. Mrs. Neely has also received letters from the chaplain in which he states that her husband was a gallant soldier and a true-hearted man.


McGARVEY, James, 1803, Rifleman,12th Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 13th September 1918. He was born at  Ballymena and enlisted in Belfast. He is buried in Dadizeele New British  Cemetery, Belgium


The following 13 recruits from the town and district have joined the colours during the past fortnight.


Royal Air Force - H. T. Wigger, Albert Place; Cadet James Noble, Ballymena.


Royal Garrison Artillery - Thomas McClelland, Clough; Walter Boyd, Waveney Avenue; Robert Smyth, The Curragh, Ballymena.


Royal Field Artillery - Fred Wylie, Samuel Workman, William Lowry (Cullybackey).


Royal Irish Rifles - James Kirkpatrick, Waring Street; Andrew Kirkpatrick, Waring Street.


North Irish Horse - William Harkness, Broughdone, Cullybackey.


Royal Navy - William Herbison, Ballymoney Street; W. R. Kernoghan, Lisnafillan.


Mr. Robert Smith of Curmkill, Ballymena, has been informed that his son, Private Hugh Smith, Royal Irish Fusiliers, has been wounded in action. Another son, Robert Smith, was recently awarded the DCM.

Ballymena Observer, September 20, 1918


EWART, James, 48042, Private, 8th Royal Scots Fusiliers, died on the 19th Septmber 1918 in the Balkans theatre. He was born at Ballymena and enlisted in Glasgow. He was the husband of Margaret Fulton Ewart, Crosshouse, Kilmarnock and he is commemorated on the Doiran Memorial, Greece.


GLENHOLMES, James, 18/442, Lance Sergeant, 15th Royal Irish Rifles, died of wounds as POW at Niederzwehren on the 20th September 1918. He was the son of William and Matilda Glenholmes and he enlisted in Ballymena. He is buried Niederzwehren Cemetery, Kassel, Germany.


HAMILTON, Robert, S/7727,  Private, 12th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, was killed in action on the 19th September 1918 at Salonika. Aged 26, he is associated with Craigywarren and was the son of John and Martha Hamilton, Alfred Street, Ballymena. He is buried in Doiran Military Cemetery, Greece and commemorated in Cloughwater Presbyterian Church.


CLOSE, John, 4258, Private, 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died of wounds as POW on September 23, 1918. He is buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery, Germany. Aged 23, he was the son of John and Matilda Close, 115 Cambrai Street, Belfast, and formerly of Galgorm.


PITT, James, 34239, Private, 5/6th Scottish Rifles (Cameronians), died of wounds on the 23rd September 1918. He was born at  Ballymena, enlisted in Hamilton, and lived at Busby. He is buried in Thilloy Road Cemetery Beaulencourt, France.


CATHCART, John, Private, 2nd Scots Guards, died after being gassed, on September 26, 1918. He is buried in Terlincthun British Cemetery, Pas de Calais. Aged 30, he was the son of William and Mary Cathcart, Tullygarley and he is commemorated in 1st Ballymena Presbyterian Church.


McCARTNEY, William, Private, 12th Highland Light Infantry (formerly S/10215 Gordon Highlanders), was killed in action on the 28th September 1918. Aged 22, he was the brother of James (DOW) and John (discharged) and son of James and Martha McCartney, Legagrane, Glenravel. He enlisted in Kilsyth and is commemorated in Perth Cemetery (China Wall) Zillebeke, Belgium and in Newtowncrommelin Presbyterian Church.


This week's week's recruiting:


Royal Air Force - Harry Stott, Mount View Cottage, Carnearney, Ahoghill; Thomas Graham, Kilnock, Toome; Robert McIlroy, Tullygarley.


North Irish Horse - Thomas Service Clarence Street; Royal Irish Rifles - Wm. Kenny, Dunminning, Glarryford.


Military Cross


The following appeared recently in the London Gazette:


Lieutenant Joseph Adams of Carnstroan, Broughshane.


For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in dressing and attending to wounded in an aid post under heavy shell fire and later in organising stretcher parties and getting wounded away under heavy fire.


Engine Room Artificer Goodlet Watson, RN, son of Mr. James Watson, Queen Street, Ballymena, who was amongst the survivors of the Union Castle liner, Galway Castle, arrived home on leave at the latter end of  last week looking nothing worse after his experiences with sinking of the liner which was torpedoed on its way to South Africa by a German submarine.


Engine Room Artificer Fred McClurkin, Waveney Crescent, is also home on leave at present. He joined the navy some months ago.


Company Quartermaster Sergeant Major Bertie Letson, Royal Irish Rifles, has arrived home on leave. Prior to enlisting he was a clerk in the office of Messrs. J & A. Caruth & Owens, solicitors, Wellington Street, and was well known in town.

Ballymena Observer, September 27, 1918


This week's recruiting:

North Irish Horse - William Knox, Ballykeel; James Ramsey, Galgorm Street; John Patterson, Galgorm Street.

RAF - Robert Baxter, Mullinsallagh, Portglenone; John Murray, Carnlea; Samuel Hogg, Tullygarley; David McCartney, Queen Street; Thomas Cubitt, Glenleslie, Clough; James McClean, Clough; Thomas Thompson, Clough; William Wallace, Millview Place; Herbert Anderson, 4 Clonmohr Terrace.


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 Peter 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.


Private James McGall


McGALL, DCM, James, 3/10823, Private, Durham Light Infantry, died on the 1st November 1918. Aged 35, he was the son of Johnston and Lizzie McGall, Portglenone. He enlisted in Gateshead and he is buried in Heworth Churchyard, Durham. His wife Sarah Jane McGall lived at Portglenone. 



This week's recruiting:-


RAF - Robert Marks, Craignageeragh, Ahoghill; H. D. Kyle, Omerbane, Cloughmills; James Gregg, Omerbane, Cloughmills; M. F. Gordon, Glenleslie, Clough; Andrew McCleery, Glenleslie, Clough; Robert Beattie, Gracehill; James McClintock, Clarence Street; G. R. Thompson, High Street; Archie Wylie, Mount Street.


Mr. Archibald Beattie, Galgorm Street, Ballymena, has received intimation that his son, Rifleman Archie Beattie, King's Royal Rifles, has been wounded. Rifleman Beattie joined up at the commencement of  hostilities and was previously wounded while serving with the Royal Irish Rifles.


Rev. W. H. Hutchinson, Army Chaplain's Dept. wounded on October 20th, was Presbyterian Minister at Cullybackey before enlisting in the ranks. After two year's service as a despatch rider he was appointed to a chaplaincy on 2nd February 1917 and has latterly been attached to a Royal Irish Rifles battalion. He was gassed a few weeks ago and on recovery paid a visit home when he preached in the Cuningham pulpit. (Rev. Hutchinson was later awarded the Military Cross)


Second Lieutenant S. R. Millar, Royal Irish Rifles, wounded (gunshot wound left thigh and right ankle) is a son of Mr. Robert Millar, Ballymoney Street, Ballymena. Before enlisting with the YCV with whom he was wounded at Thiepval on 1st July 1916, he was in business with a seed merchants in Belfast. On 31st July 1918 he was promoted to a commission and had returned to the front from leave a week before he was wounded. He is an old boy of Ballymena Academy.


Mrs. Montgomery,  Greenmount Terrace, Ballymena, has been notified that her son, Private Samuel Montgomery, North Irish Horse, attached Royal Irish Fusiliers, has been wounded in action. Before enlisting two years ago, Private Montgomery was employed as a clerk with Messrs. J. K. Currie and Son, Solicitors, Ballymena. This is the second occasion on which he has been wounded.


The London Gazette announces that Mr. Norman Henry, son of Mr. Samuel Henry, Bridge Street, Ballymena, has received a commission in the Royal Irish Rifles. Second Lieutenant Henry, an old UVF man joined in the first batch of recruits from Ballymena and commenced his training at the temporary camp at Cleggan. He was a quartermaster sergeant at the front with the local battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles with whom he went to France in 1915. His brother, Sergeant Samuel Henry, Royal Irish Rifles is at present stationed in England.


Private Bobbie Armstrong, son of Mr. R. Armstrong, Kilgad, Kells, Ballymena, has rejoined the colours recently. Formerly a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, he went to France in August 1914 with the original BEF, styled by the Kaiser as the 'contemptible little army' and took part in the retreat from Mons, being later wounded in the advance on the Marne, where he sustained a fractured knee. After partial recovery he was discharged and was lately in a munitions works  across the channel and a few weeks ago joined the Royal Air Force. His brother, Private W. Armstrong, Black Watch, also went to France with Lord French's army and was reported by the war office as missing since 29th October 1914.


Rifleman Lockart Millar, Royal Irish Rifles son of  Mr. Alex. Millar, Larne Street, has arrived home on leave from the front. He went to the front with the Ulster Division and has seen much fighting.

Ballymena Observer, November 1, 1918


SURGENOR, Ernest Glover, 177850, Private, 81st Machine Gun Company, died on the 4th November 1918. He was born at  Ballymena, son of John and Catherine Surgenor of Glasgow. He is buried in Kirechkoi Hortakoi Cemetery, Greece. 


Captain James Gaston


GASTON, MC, James, Captain, RAMC attached Suffolk Regiment, was  wounded on the 3rd September 1916 and died from those wounds on 5th November 1918. Aged 36, he was the son of Andrew and Marianne, Carnbeg, Cloughmills. He is buried in Arras Road Cemetery, Roclincourt, Pas de Calais and commemorated in Killymurris Presbyterian Church.


Ballymena Observer, November 15, 1918 - Captain James Gaston MC, RAMC, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs, Andrew Gaston of Carnbeg, Cloughmills, Co. Antrim, has died of wounds received in action on 3rd November 1917.


Captain Gaston joined the army in December 1914 and went to France in March 1915. He was wounded in September 1916 and after recovering went to France again in January 1917, gaining the Military Cross in April of that year for conspicuous gallantry in the field. 


Before the outbreak of war he had an extensive practice in Durham. He was educated at the Ballymena Academy and Queen's College, Belfast, taking his degree at the Royal University in 1906. 

His brother, Captain Andrew Gaston, RAMC, is also a holder of the Military Cross and a younger brother, Dr. John Gaston is practising in Chester.


CARSON, John, Private, 315th Infantry Regiment US Army, died of wounds on the 5th/6th November, 1918. He was killed at Sedan, France and is buried in Meuse Argonne Cemetery. He lived in Philadelphia and was the third son of John and Margaret Carson, Craigs, Cullybackey. He is commemorated in Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church, Cullybackey and in Pound Cemetery in the village.


This week's recruiting:- 


Royal Air Force - Alex. Winington Harryville; 


North Irish Horse - John Cathcart, Moat Road.


Mr. William Barr, 138, Queen Street, Ballymena, has received a letter from his son, Private R. Barr, Tank Corps, stating that he is a prisoner in Germany and is well. Private  Barr who has been 'missing' since 2nd September, enlisted in June 1915 and served for some time with the Royal Irish Rifles, being wounded in the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. Before enlisting he was a fitter in Mr. David Christie's Foundry and a member of the Harryville Company of the UVF.


Private William Grant, Canadian Infantry,  native of Ballymena, has been admitted to hospital suffering from a gunshot wound to the neck. His wife, also from Ballymena, resides at 47 Chester Avenue, Toronto. Private Grant is a son of Mr. William Grant of 12 Prospect Place, Ballymena.

Ballymena Observer, November 8, 1918

REID, Alexander, M/344918, Private, Motor Transport Depot, Army Service Corps, died on the 12th November 1918 of illness contracted on active service. He was the son of John and Maggie Reid, 27 Springwell Street, Ballymena. He is buried in Ballymena New Cemetery.


Second Lieutenant John Wylie, Royal Irish Rifles, attached Royal Irish Regiment, was admitted to the 18th General Hospital, Rouen on November 6th suffering from a gunshot wound on the right leg and thigh (slight). This officer is married to Miss Lily Gray, eldest daughter of Mr. Robt. M. Gray, the well known auctioneer, Belfast. He served in France, in Salonika and Palestine and was drafted to France again in April 1918. he is a native of Ballymena and was, prior to enlisting, managing clerk in the office of Mr. Robert Boal,  Solicitor, Ballymena.


Distinguished Conduct medal, Military Medal & Bar to Sergeant John McNabney


57836, Sergeant John McNabney, Royal Engineers, Signal Company, is awarded the DCM. He is a son of Mrs. McNabney, 9, Larne Street, Harryville, Ballymena and prior to joining the colours was prominent in local football circles, playing for South End Rangers and Cliftonville FC. He was awarded the Military medal in 1917 for gallantry in the field and subsequently a bar to the Medal, while he also holds the Ulster Division parchment certificate. His brother Private Samuel McNabney is serving with the Engineers.


57836, Sgt J. McNabney , M.M., 36th Division Signal Company, R.E. (Ballymena)


In the Dadizeele sector, during the fighting from 28th September to 5th October 1918, this n.c.o. was constantly out repairing lines under heavy shell fire and it was chiefly due to his courage and fearlessness that communication was maintained . On 2nd October he went out accompanied by another n.c.o. and remained out during a very heavy barrage, maintaining communication during the enemy counter attack.


Second Lieutenant S. R. Millar, Royal Irish Rifles, son of Mr. Robert Millar, Ballymoney Street has arrived home after treatment received for a recent gunshot wound to the thigh.


The half-yearly fare for the hiring of male and female servants was held in Ballymena on Saturday last. The attendance of servants was not so large as on former occasions but this is probably accounted for by the fact that many of them are remaining in their old situations whilst a great many have joined the colours and are fighting for their King and Country.


The demand for servants was very keen and consequently prices ruled accordingly. Good ploughmen obtained from £26 to £30 in the half year with board and lodging. Servant boys suitable for agriculture £18 to £24. Young lads up to 18 and 20 years of age, £13 to £20. Servant girls £11 to £16 and maids for house work £12 to £15.

Ballymena Observer, November 15, 1918


Rifleman William Stevenson


STEVENSON, William, 19204, Rifleman, 12th Royal Irish Rifles, wounded on the 1st July and POW at Lazarette Hospital, Minden, died 20th November 1918. He was born at  Crumkill and lived 18 Railway Street, Ballymena. He is buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery, Germany.


Mr. William Blair, 29 Queen Street, Ballymena, has received information that his son, Private J. Blair, Irish Guards, was wounded on 2nd November and is at present in a London Hospital. He was formerly employed as a tailor by Mr. Davis, Wellington Street and joined the Guards three years ago. This is the second time he has been wounded.


Private James Galbraith, Royal Scots, son of Mr. Alex. Galbraith, Carnlea, Ballymena, who was taken prisoner in April last, has written home stating he escaped from the internment camp at Friedrichsfield, Germany, two days before the signing of the armistice. He says he had a good breakfast that morning, the first for seven months. Prior to joining up, Private Galbraith was a clerk in the office of Messrs. J. K. Currie and Son, Solicitors, Ballymena.

Ballymena Observer, November 22, 1918


MILLAR, Patrick, 10462, Private, 17th Coy., RAOC, died on the 27th November 1918. He was born at Ballymena and is buried in Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre.


McGILL (Magill), Thomas, Private, 6th Connaught Rangers, died 2nd December 1918 after release from POW camp. Service no. 6584. Aged 20 born Broughshane, enlisted Galway, lived Buckna. Mother lived at Delaware USA.Buried Cambrai East Military Cemetery


BELL, Frank, 54284, Private, 1 Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), died of pneumonia on December 3rd, 1918. He is buried in Caudry British Cemetery, France. He was formerly of Newtowncrommelin, and was the son of John Gibbs Hill of Harthill, Lanarkshire, Scotland.


Mr. John S. Bell, Harthill, Lanarkshire, Scotland, late of Newtowncrommelin, Ballymena, has been notified that his fifth son, Private Frank Bell, Cameronians, has died as the result of an attack of pneumonia.

Ballymena Observer January 3, 1919


STEELE, George, 8832, Rifleman, 11th Royal Irish Rifles, died in Germany on the 3rd December 1918. He was born at Carnalbanah and lived at Moat Road, Harryville. He is buried in Hamburg Cemetery, Germany and commemorated in Carnalbanagh Presbyterian Church.  


Lance Corporal Robert Little


LITTLE, Robert, 22849, Lance Corporal, 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died from injuries received while a POW on the 12th December 1918. He was born at Limavady, but lived in and enlisted at Ballymena. His wife and five children at were at Millview Place, Ballymena. He is buried Niederzwehren Cemetery Germany and commemorated in 2nd Ballymena Presbyterian Church.


Ballymena Observer January 3, 1919 - Mrs. Little, Millview Place, Ballymena has received notification that her husband, Lance Corporal Robert Little, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who was a prisoner of war in Germany, died on 12th December in a military hospital as the result of injuries received in a German sugar factory during his period of captivity. He was wounded twice and gassed once during the war and was taken prisoner on March 21 1918. He leaves a wife and five children to mourn his loss.


SMALL, Robert, 308225, Private, 14th Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment), died in an accident at Ballymena Railway Station on the 23rd December 1918. Aged 24, he was the son of Sam Small of Ballyminstra, Straid, Ahoghill. he is buried in 2nd Ahoghill Presbyterian Churchyard.


SMYTH, Archie, 340, Sergeant, 10th Australian Light Horse, died of pneumonia on the 27th December 1918. Aged 27, he was the son of Robert Smyth,  Crumkill. His brothers were Robert Smyth DCM and Hugh Smyth, wounded. He is buried in Cairo War Memorial Cemetery.


Miitary Cross Award


Captain A. E. Telford, 15th Royal Irish Rifles, has received an immediate award of the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry in action during operations in the Courtai District. He was originally gazetted to the 6th Connaught Rangers from Queen's University OTC. He is a native of Clinty, Ballymena.


For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the attack on October 14th 1918, in the Moosreels sector. During the advance his company was held up by flanking machine gun fire. He personally scouted the position, formed up his company HQ and then outflanked the enemy capturing the machine gun and its team. Later, when an enemy field battery was hindering the advance he led the support platoon in an attack, taking two guns and killing or capturing the entire crews. Throughout the whole operation he displayed courage and leadership of the highest order.

Ballymena Observer January 3, 1919


McCRORY, Samuel, Private,  109 Machine Gun Battery, US Expeditionary Force, died at the Amercian Base Hospital on the 22nd January 1919. He came from Dunnygarron, Cullybackey and is commemorated in Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church. 


Private Samuel McCrory of the 109th Machine Gun Battalion US Expeditionary Force died on January 22, 1919 at an American Base Hospital. He was 34 and was the second son of the late Samuel McCrory of Dunnygarron, Ballymena.

Ballymena Observer March 14, 1919


McNEILLY, Thomas, 380, Rifleman, 'C' Coy., 18th Royal Irish Rifles, aged 23,  died on the 24 January 1919. He was the son of William and Elizabeth McNeilly, Braetown, Glenwherry. He is buried in Ballyclare New Cemetery.


WILSON, John Hugh, 162865, Gunner, Royal Field Artillery, died at home on the 12th February 1919. He is buried in Dunluce Presbyterian Churchyard and in 1st Ballymena Presbyterian Church.


HOUSTON (Huston), Joseph, P/5516, Acting Lance Corporal, Mounted Branch, Corps of Military Police, formerly 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards, died on active service of pneumonia on the 14th February 1919. He was born at Kirkinriola and enlisted in Belfast. His wife Annie lived at Fountain Place, Ballymena and he is commemorated in 1st Ballymena Presbyterian Church.


DAVISON, Andrew, 11/7288, Rifleman,  12th Royal Irish Rifles, died on the 19th March 1919. He was from Galgorm and is buried at Bothwell Cemetery, Bellshill, Scotland.


SPENCE, William John, 22351, Rifleman, 12th Royal Irish Rifles, died on active service (Occupation Duties) in Berlin from pneumonia on the 1st/2nd April 1919.  He was born at  Craigs, Cullybackey and lived in Ballymena. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Spence, 38 James Street, Harryville. He is buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery, Germany and commemorated in 1st Ballymena Presbyterian Church.


We regret to announce the death of ex-private Samuel McNeice, late 11th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, which took place on Friday, June 25 after a lingering illness. Deceased who was originally from Ballymena joined the colours in Canada on the outbreak of war and arrived in England with the 1st CEF. While still in the army his health broke down and he was in hospital for two years. He was subsequently discharged as unfit for further service. He then came back to Ballymena and resided with his sister, Mrs. Barr, Antrim Road, where his death took place.

Ballymena Observer, Friday July 11, 1919


CARROLL, Robert, 4051, Private, 1 Royal Irish Regiment, died on the August 7, 1919. He is buried at Crebilly RC Burying Ground. He was aged 45 and his wife Sarah lived at Broughshane Street, Ballymena.


Gallantry Awards


Rev. William Holmes Hutchinson,  Royal Army Chaplains department, attached 1st Royal Irish Rifles and Minister of Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church, Cullybackey. (photograph above)


Under heavy machine gun and shellfire during the operations south of Dadizeele on October 2, 1918, he helped to evacuate and render first aid to the wounded with complete disregard for personal safety. He assisted to carry two seriously wounded men from the front line to the regimental aid post, a distance of about one kilometre. He returned to the front line and continued dressing the wounded under heavy fire. His gallantry and conduct during the entire operation were marked by all ranks.

Ballymena Observer, August 8, 1919.


Lieutenant John Taylor, 9th Royal Inniskiling Fusiliers, son of Mrs. Taylor of Galgorm Parks, Ballymena.


On October 15th 1918, outside the village of Gulleghem, whilst in command of a company, he showed great coolness and initiative. When the advance on the right of his company was checked by heavy fire from enemy machine guns he led two platoons of his company round the left flank, capturing two of the enemy posts and causing the others to withdraw. His gallantry and determined leadership contributed in no small degree to the successful gaining on the objectives.

Ballymena Observer, August 8, 1919.


Captain, Temporary Major, Robert Alexander Hepple,  MC  of the Royal Army Medical Corps Special Reserve, has been awarded a bar to the Military Cross. He is a son of Mr. W. S. Hepple, Ballymena.


For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the operations at Roulers, Menin Road and Ledeghem from September 28 to October 5, 1918. As officer in charge of bearers of 28th Field Ambulance he worked incessantly night and day, keeping personally in touch with the battalions, in spite of shell and machine gun fire. He never once lost touch with the regimental officers, evacuating the wounded with the utmost rapidity thereby saving numerous lives.

Ballymena Observer, August 15, 1919.


MAWHINNEY, John,  24889, Lance Corporal  Machine Gun Corps,  died from wounds on the 5th June 1920. Aged 26, he was born at Little Ballymena, Ballyclare. He was the husband of Sarah Davison, formerly Mawhinney, of 3 Springwell Street, Ballymena. He is buried Larne New Cemetery.


Dr. Thomas Clarke of  Liverpool, formerly of Ahoghill, has been notified that his son, 2nd Lieutenant R. S. Clarke, Machine Gun Corps, was killed in action on the morning of 5th October 1918. Captain Cyril Lane states that on the morning the deceased was killed, the infantry were held up and suffering heavy casualties from enemy machine gun fire at close range.


2nd Lieutenant Clarke took forward his guns got them into action and succeeded in silencing one enemy gun before being killed by a sniper. 2nd Lieutenant Clarke had received the Military Cross for his bravery at the Somme.

Ballymena Observer January 3, 1919


MAWHINNEY, William, 289182, Petty Officer Stoker, HMS Gaillardia, was Killed by an explosion on board his ship. He had 20 years' service, having enlisted as boy sailor. His next of  kin was Mr. Thomas McKeen, Bryan Street, Ballymena. He is named Chatham Naval Memorial.


McDONALD, David, 14286, Private, 5th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died suddenly on the 15/16th November 1918. His sister lived at 12 Ballymoney Street, Ballymena, and he was the son of Lachlan and Catherine McDonald, 8 Union Street, Glasgow. He is buried in Kilbowie Cemetery, Dumbartonshire, Scotland.