BALLYMENA 1914-1918

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Not on Memorial in Ballymena
Includes some names from nearby coastal areas - Glenarm, Carnlough, Cushendall, etc.

HMS Tamar in 1941.
Photograph courtesy of Naval Historical Society of Australia.

Allison, D/MX45771 Chief Petty Officer (Sick Berth) John, H.M.S. "Tamar", Royal Navy, died age 36 years on the 23 October 1942.  He is buried or commemorated at Yokohama War Cemetery, British Section C D 7.
John Allison, husband of Edna Gwendolen Allison, of Mutley, Plymouth, was the son of Henry Allison and Catherine Wilson, and he was born at Ballygarvey, Ballymena on the 23rd May 1906. The couple, Henry, son of labourer William, from Ballymena and Catherine (sometimes Cassie), daughter of labourer John of Ballygarvey, Kirkinriola, had married in 2nd Broughshane Presbyterian Church on the 19th February 1904.
The 1911 census return records the family living at Ballygarvey. Henry, an agricultural labourer was then aged 41 years; his wife Catherine was aged 26 years. The couple listed four children at that date. They were William, John, Josephine and Robert. At least four more children were born after that 1911 date – Henry Millar, born 15th June 1912; Thomas Hugh, born 5th January 1914; Benjamin, born 13th February 1916; and Nathaniel Morton, born 25th May 1918.
John served in the Royal Navy and one report of his death states that he had been serving on HMS Tamar at Hong Kong Naval Base, and that he died as result of being POW. It also states that he had survived the sinking of the SS Lisbon Maru by submarine USS Grouper. These few lines tell us that John Allison was caught up in one of the largely forgotten war crimes of the Second World War.
Allison’s HMS Tamar was an old Royal Navy troopship built in 1863 and it was moored at Hong Kong to serve as a base ship after 1897. The vessel, scuttled December 12, 1941 to avoid being used by the invading Japanese forces, had been the centre of the Royal Navy's operations in the north Pacific and Oriental waters.
Hong Kong was attacked by units of the Japanese Imperial Army after December 8, 1941, only hours after the Japanese aerial bombardment on Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, and HMS Tamar was naturally in the centre of this Battle of Hong Kong. Allison was one of those who survived the fighting to become a prisoner.
The Japanese wanted to use prisoners for work and in September of 1942, they assembled 1816 British and Canadian prisoners of war on the parade ground of the Shamshuipo Camp in Hong Kong, and they told them they were to be transported to Japan to work as slave labour in the dockyards and ports. Indeed, one group had already gone to Japan before the rest were loaded aboard the vessel Lisbon Maru.
The Lisbon Maru sailed from Hong Kong on 27 September 1942 en route to Japan via Shanghai.  The ship was armed and carried, in addition to 1816 British POWs, 778 Japanese troops and a guard of 25 for the POWs. No effort was made to identify it as a POW transport.
The Royal Navy (379) were held deep within the ship in No 1 Hold at the front of the ship, the 2nd Royal Scots (373) and 1st Middlesex Regiment (366), with others from various regiments to a total of 1077 were held in No 2 Hold forward of the Bridge, and the Royal Artillery (380) were held in No 3 Hold at the stern. Conditions in all three holds were horrible. Moreover, the Japanese had already treated the prisoners badly while in Hong Kong.
At about 7 o’clock on 1 October 1942, in a position off the Chinese coast of south of Shanghai, the Lisbon Maru was hit in the engine room, housed at the stern, by a torpedo, one of several fired from the US submarine USS Grouper. The engines were crippled but the ship remained afloat, though it was slowly sinking. All the POWs were kept in the closed holds throughout the following hours with no food, water or access to latrines.
778 Japanese troops were taken aboard a Japanese destroyer and merchant ship which had arrived during the day. However, the British POWs were kept aboard Lisbon Maru by a guard of 25 soldiers and the 77 crew on board.
The Japanese removed the ship’s four lifeboats and most, if not all, of the six life rafts ensuring that none would be available for any possible subsequent evacuation of the POWs. Some believe the intention was to drown the prisoners. At about 9 o’clock, allegedly fearing the POWs could overpower the guard, Guard Commander Lieut. Wada Hideo ordered the ship’s Captain to secure the hatches with canvas. Conditions in all three holds deteriorated rapidly, but No.3 Hold was the worst.  Water levels were rising rapidly, and though POWs manned the pumps, they knew they were slowly being drowned. Extreme heat and shortage of air made it worse.
At dawn on 2 October the crew and all but five guards were taken off. Lt Howell, Royal Scots, was ordered to open the battened hatches, and he and his men succeeded. Japanese guards opened fire, which led to two men being killed, but the senior officer, Col Stewart, gave the order for all to leave the holds and the POWs rushed on deck, overpowered their guards and plunged overboard. One report said 1,750 men made it into the water.  They swam towards the Japanese boats that had come to the aid of the Lisbon Maru but were met with gunfire from Japanese soldiers.  Some prisoners made it onto the ships but were shot and their bodies were thrown back into the sea.
The Japanese did eventually pick up some POWs because the Chinese had intervened. Lt Howell, having been picked up by Chinese fishermen, was able to explain to the local villagers that men in the water were not Japanese, their enemy. Chinese boats arrived and other islanders assisted those men who had come ashore. Some 200 survivors were rescued, though the Japanese on the following days rounded up all but three civilians, who later escaped to Chungking. Those aboard Japanese ships were placed on a gunboat deck where, exposed to the elements, some died of exposure and exhaustion before finally being landed south of Shanghai on 5 October.
Of the 1816 POWs only 973 survived; 843 who were assumed to have been killed by the Japanese firing on them or to have drowned.
John Allison was one of those, possibly from No. 1 Hold, who survived the events above, but he died on the 23rd October 1942 as a consequence of his exposure to these events and to continued detention in Japanese camps.
At war’s end, the captain of the Lisbon Maru was sentenced to seven years in prison, and the Japanese interpreter, Niimori Genichiro, was sentenced to 15 years. The latter, according to an article in the Evening Standard (London), had given the order to fire on the prisoners and to have subsequently mistreated the men disembarked at Shanghai. He apparently kept them, men barely able to stand owing to their ordeal, assembled on the dockside at Shanghai for twenty hours. He gave them no food, indeed stealing Red Cross parcels and personal effects from some. He also allegedly beat others with his sheathed sword. Lieut. Wada Hideo, who ordered the hatches locked down, died before he could be brought to trial.
Black, Fireman and Trimmer Cecil, Merchant Navy, S.S. Fort Lamy (Newport), died 8th March 1943 and aged 27 years. He was the son of Alex and Mary Black, of 6, Bridge Street, Carnlough, Co. Antrim.
SS Fort Lamy,  under the command of Master William Evans, had left New York on 23rd February 1943 bound for Liverpool as part of Convoy SC 121. The cargo included explosives and a Landing Craft Tank (L.C.T. 2480) which was on the deck. Submarine U-527, commander Herbert Uhlig, torpedoed the vessel while it was south of Greenland and forty crew members, including the Master and six gunners, died when she sank. HMS Vervain picked up three crew members and two gunners after 12 days.
U-527 was herself sunk on 23 July 1943 in the North Atlantic south of the Azores by depth charges from an Avenger aircraft (VC-9 USN) of the US escort carrier USS Bogue. Forty of the crew died and 13 survived.
Cecil Black is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Black, Charles Knox Henry, Merchant Navy, Second Engineer Officer S.S. Castlehill (Belfast), died 2nd March 1941 and aged 42 years. He was born on the 20th February 1898, the son of soldier John and Mary Jane Black, nee Bunting, of Vennel Street, Glenarm, Co. Antrim. The couple had married on the 26th April 1886 in Glenarm Presbyterian Church.
He was the husband of Mary Yendall, daughter of Chief Engineer William John Yendall, Glenarm, and the couple had married in Glenarm Parish Church (Tickmacrevan) on the 2nd February 1921.
He died on 2nd March 1941 in the sinking of the coal cargo ship SS Castlehill, which was en route from Cork, Ireland to Newport, South Wales. The vessel had been built in Greenock, Scotland and was owned by John Kelly Ltd. of Belfast. The vessel sank in the Bristol Channel off Minehead, Somerset with the loss of all but one crew member. A Heinkel HE111 of Kampfgeschwader 27 claimed the sinking.
He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Blaney, Second Officer John Henry, Merchant Navy, S.S. Brinkburn (Sunderland), died on 21st June 1943 and aged 45 years. He was the son of widower, later Captain, John Blaney, age 47, of Glenarm and Catherine Blaney (28), nee O’Hara, the couple having married in St Patrick’s RC Church, Cushendun on 21st May 1893. John Henry was born on the 28th November 1897 at 61, Vulcan Street, Belfast.
John Henry was the husband of Mary Catherine Blaney, of Cushendall, Co. Antrim. He was a private soldier on the 19th April 1919 when he had married Mary Catherine O’Hara, shopkeeper daughter of sea captain John O’Hara in Cushendall RC Church.
He died in the sinking of the SS Brinkburn. The 1,598 ton steam merchant SS Brinkburn, commanded by Master Norman Johnsen at the time of her sinking, was completed in 1924 by Sir John Priestman & Co Ltd, Southwick, Sunderland for S. Marshall & Co, Sunderland.
The vessel in June 1943, an element of convoy TE-22, was sunk by U-73 (Horst Deckert) while travelling from Swansea via Gibraltar (18 Jun) to Philippeville, her cargo 2500 tons of government stores, this including 800 tons of ammunition. The ship was hit while west of Algiers by two of three torpedoes fired from U-73, a type VIIB U-boat, and she exploded and sank immediately. Twenty nine of the thirty one crew died. The ship’s one crew member who survived and one gunner recovered were rescued by landing craft and a fishing vessel and landed at Algiers.
U-73 was herself sunk on 16 December 1943 in the Mediterranean north of Oran by depth charges and gunfire from the US destroyers USS Woolsey and USS Trippe. Sixteen of her crew died and thirty-four survived.

Blaney, Sailor John Henry O’Hara, Merchant Navy, died in the sinking of the S.S. Cheldale (Newcastle-on-Tyne) on the 17 February 1940. He was 19 years old, the son of John Henry and Mary Catherine Blaney, of Cushendall, Co. Antrim (See above). He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial and on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.
SS Cheldale was a cargo ship built in 1925 by John Priestman and Company Ltd., Southwick (Sunderland) and was owned by John Morrison & Sons on 17 February 1940 when she sank in the Indian Ocean twenty-four miles off the coast of Durban, South Africa following a collision with the motor vessel MV Greystone Castle.  Sixteen of the thirty-five man crew were lost. The vessel apparently sank in two minutes following the collision and lies at a depth of 250 fathoms. The collision report also notes that both ships were navigating without lights.
No enemy action was involved but the ships were operating without lights because there was a war raging.

Contemporary Press Report of the Incident

Bonnar, 108613 Squadron Leader William McKee, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, then age 28 years old, died on the 25 February 1946 and he is buried in Kirkee War Cemetery, India. The CWGC record says he was the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Ellen Bonnar, of Ballycraigy House, Carnmoney, Co. Antrim.
William McKee Bonnar was born at Rocavan/Racavan, Broughshane on the 6th March 1917, the son of farmer Samuel Bonnar and his wife Elizabeth (Lizzie) Ellen McKee. The couple, Samuel from Rocavan, Broughshane and Elizabeth Ellen from the Craigs, Ballymena, had married in West Church Presbyterian Church, Ballymena on the 12th June 1912. They had at least two other children: Samuel, born 21st March 1913, and Ellen Mary Elizabeth, born 28th June 1920. All the births were at Rocavan, Broughshane.
108613 Squadron Leader William McKee Bonnar was a medical doctor and acting squadron leader R.A.F. when he died on active service. He was then attached to 227 group, based in Bombay. This was an RAF training group for the training of Indian pilots. On the date of his death his aircraft, a Vultee Vengeance IV, Code FD 402, that was flown by pilot Warrant Officer Henry Findley Watson, arrived for his use at his Bilaspur base at 1200 hours and took off again at 1400 hours. It subsequently crashed ten miles from Raipur, the plane striking a bund, an earth embankment, and turning over. Both men died.
Bonnar’s death was reported in the Belfast Newsletter of March 22 1946.
Bowles, Able Seaman George, Merchant Navy, M.V. Empire Attendant (Glasgow), died on the 15th July 1942, aged 19 years. He was the son of William and Ethel Bowles, of Carnlough, Co. Antrim. He is commemorated at Tower Hill Memorial, London.
On July 10, 1942, after breaking down for the seventh time, MV Empire Attendant, Master Thomas Grundy, became a straggler from Convoy OS.33. At 0330 hours on July 15, 1942, South of the Canary Islands and while out of contact with the convoy she was torpedoed and sunk by U-582. The master, 49 crew members and nine gunners were all lost.
Submarine U-582 was herself sunk on 5 October 1942 in the North Atlantic south-west of Iceland, by depth charges from a US Catalina aircraft (VP-73 USN/I), and all 46 of her crew died.
Bremner, Donkeyman Donald, Merchant Navy, SS Babine, died on the 6th February 1943 and is interred in Le Petit Lac Cemetery, Algeria. He was the son of Donald and Catherine Bremner, and the husband of Annie Bremner, of Ballymena, Co. Antrim.
SS Fort Babine, was a Ministry of War Transport, registered to W. Thomson & Co, London. On the 6th February 1943 the vessel, part of convoy KMS 003G Clyde (8th November 1942), was torpedoed by German aircraft (36.15N 00.15E) during a voyage from Newport – Algiers; Bremner and six other men died.
The ship was towed to Oran and temporarily repaired at Gibraltar after the 9 April 1943, being towed to the latter by tug HMRT Empire Ned. On the 13th September 1943 she was bombed by German Focke-Wulf FW 200 aircraft of I Staffeln, Kampfgeschwader 40, Luftwaffe and sank in the Atlantic Ocean 250 nautical miles (460 km) southwest of Cape Finisterre, Spain (41.31N 14.39W). The ship had been in tow from Gibraltar – Milford Haven.
Brown, 13046098 Private Andrew Hill, Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps, died 18 August 1940 and he is buried Glasgow (Carndonald) Cemetery. He was born on 17th January 1888,  the son of Andrew Brown and his wife, Eliza Ann Rapson of Eastwood, Renfrewshire, Scotland. His mother, known as Ann, died shortly after his birth.
He was the husband of Catherine Campbell of Carnlough, Co. Antrim, though the couple had married in Govan, Lanarkshire, Scotland on the 25th February 1927, where Brown worked as a Railway Engine Shunter.
Andrew Hill Brown died in Aberdeen, Scotland on 18th August 1940 aged 52 years old.
Bryden, T/88872 Driver Gordon, Royal Army Service Corps, died aged 42 years on the 4th October 1946. He was the son of Gordon and Mary Jane Bryden and the husband of Edith Bryden, of Ballymena. He is buried in Ballymena New Cemetery, Cushendall Road.
Cahoon, Fireman Robert, Merchant Navy, SS Coral, died on the 20th August 1944. He was the son of John and Martha Cahoon, born the 7th January 1916 at Carnlough North. His parents, labourer John Cahoon of Carnstrone, Broughshane and Martha Johnston of Breckagh, Skerry. The couple married in 2nd Broughshane Presbyterian Church on the 29th March 1895. (Martha Johnston was born on the 2nd September 1875, the daughter of unmarried mother Jane Weir. Robert Cahoon’s birth record shows him as born the son of Martha Weir. It appears the family chose to use the original name.) He was the husband of Jennie Cahoon, of Carnlough, Co. Antrim. He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
The Cahoon family appear in the census returns of 1901 and 1911 and on both occasions they resided around Carnlough, firstly at ‘Galbally’ (Garron Point) and then at Carnlough itself. Eight children had been born of the marriage and seven were still alive in 1911.
The SS Coral, completed in October 1919 as Cromarty Firth for G.T. Gillie & Co, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was in 1923 renamed SS Coral for William Robertson, Glasgow. At 17.08 hours on 20 August, 1944, the SS Coral , Master Donald McKinnon, in convoy ETC-72 was hit and sunk by a Gnat (German Navy Acoustic Torpedo) fired from U-764. The incident took place south-east of St. Catherine´s Point, Isle of Wight. Four crew members, one gunner and one army storekeeper were lost. The master, eight crew members and two gunners were picked up by the British merchant Roebuck and a Royal Navy motor launch and landed at Southampton.
The U-764, a type VIIC U-boat, survived the war, surrendered on 14 May 1945 at Loch Eriboll, Scotland, and was eventually transferred to Lisahally, Lough Foyle, Co Londonderry and used for target practice. The vessel was sunk on 2 February, 1946.
Cameron, Annie, civilian, died at Union Infirmary, Lisburn Road on the 22nd April 1941 as a consequence of injuries received during the Belfast Blitz, specifically during the raid on the 15 April 1941. She was 72 years old and she lived at 55 York Road, Belfast. This area around York Street Mill sustained much damage.
Annie Cameron was the daughter of the late Samuel and Elizabeth Kernaghan of Ahoghill, Ballymena, and the widow of Thomas Cameron.
Gardener Thomas Cameron, 31 years old and of 15, Steen Street, Belfast, had married Annie, a 27 year old spinner of 5, Bute Street, Belfast, in St Anne’s on the 17th July 1891. The couple do not appear in the 1901 census but in 1911 Annie Cameron, then 39, was living at York Road, Belfast.  She said she was married and listed an only child, 18 year old Andrew. Her mother, 78 year old Eliza Kernaghan, lived with them, as did her sister Jane (22 years old). No record of Andrew’s birth can be found.
Annie Cameron’s grave, like many of the Blitz victims, is in Carnmoney Cemetery, Co. Antrim. Her funeral service had been held on the 24th April 1941 at Wilton’s Funeral Home, Crumlin Road, Belfast.
Chambers, 7013649 Lance Corporal Thomas, served in 20 Platoon, D Company, 1st (Airborne) Bn. Royal Ulster Rifles. He was killed while leading the 5th Camerons to the forming-up point prior to the attack on Ste Honorine on 13 June 1944 at Longueval. He was the third son of Mr Thomas Chambers and the late Mrs Mary Chambers of Tullymore, Broughshane, County Antrim. The couple, Thomas a widower and labourer from Tollymore, married Mary Currie in 2nd Broughshane Presbyterian Church on the 20 December 1913. Their son Thomas was born at Killyharn, Broughshane on the 30 June 1918.
The account of the opening of the action at St Honorine gives insight into what may have happened to Chambers. It is adapted/extracted from a war diary - (WO171/1270)
In order to strengthen and enlarge the bridgehead established by the 6th Airborne Division on the East bank of the River Orne, it was decided to capture the village of Ste. Honorine La Chardonerette. The attack was to be carried out by 5th Camerons (Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders) behind a barrage just before dawn on the 13th June 1944. The Start Line was the South East edge of the orchards in front of Longueval which was held by 2nd Royal Ulster Rifles, and the route thither was along the towpath which was covered from the enemy to the East by a high escarpment. A very steep track led from the towpath up into Longueval and this made it impossible to bring the battle transport by this route. The only alternative was to bring it by the road from Ranville which ran over the slight rise known as Hill 30. It had been ascertained that this was held by the enemy and it was accordingly arranged that the 12th Devons from Ranville should attack and capture Hill 30 with one company in order to clear the way for the passage of the Cameron’s battle transport.
 On the evening of 12 June 1944, the Camerons moved up from West of the Orne bridges into an assembly area just East of Ranville and lay up there in the woods. Meanwhile the battle transport assembled in the village under Capt. C.W.R. HILL, ready to move to Ste Honorine La Chardonerette when Hill 30 was captured ..., and he was called forward by wireless from the Bn.
Everything went according to plan and the way along the tow path was lighted by the glow in the sky from burning Caen and accompanied by the thunder of the fourteen-inch shells of HMS Nelson shelling the town. By 0340 hrs the Camerons were forming up along the orchards East of Longueval and at 0356 hours the barrage opened. To everyone’s consternation, however, shells began to fall thick and fast on the Start Line so that when the Battalion left it at 0400 hours companies had already suffered casualties and become disorganised. Further casualties were suffered crossing the open cornfields from Longueval to Ste Honorine by Spandaus (Machine Guns) firing from the right flank. In fact, Battalion HQ moving with the wireless in the C.O.’s jeep along the track had to take to the cornfields in order to reach the safety of the wall running round the orchards North West of Ste Honorine.
Chambers was probably one of those caught up in the friendly fire incident around the orchards since his role was only to show the Camerons to their forming up point.
He was 25 years old and had seven years' service.
His wife Sylvia and baby son resided in Swansea, Wales. He is buried in Ranville War Cemetery, grave IIIA.L.4.
Clarke,  40513 Flying Officer Robert Hugh, 112 Squadron RAF, died aged 24 years on the 31st October 1940 and he is remembered on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt. He was the son of Robert Hugh and Elizabeth Clarke, later of Belfast, though he was born on the 1st March 1916 at Greenmount Terrace, Ballymena. Horticulturalist Robert Hugh Clarke of Ballymena had married Margaret Elizabeth S Jamison of Antrim in Carnalbana Presbyterian Church on the 31st July 1915.
112 Squadron was hurriedly created, the squadron re-formed on the 16 May 1939 on board the aircraft carrier HMS Argus for service in Egypt.  The squadron did not receive modern aircraft initially and had to make do with obsolescent Gloster Gladiator 1 biplanes. Moreover, after Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940, the squadron was almost immediately in action.
There was a large action over Mersa Matruh with Italian S.79 bombers that were escorted by about 36 CR.42 fighters on the 31st October 1940. They were intercepted by seven Gladiators from 112 Squadron and at least four Hurricanes from 33 Squadron. 112 Squadron and 33 Squadron claimed 4 CR.42s, 3 S.79s destroyed, 1 probable S.79, and 1 damaged S.79. However, they lost 5 Gladiators and 2 Hurricanes. Clarke’s aircraft, serial number L7608, was lost that day, though no-one saw his plane go down.
Collins, 2001570 Sapper Ernest Patrick, 234 Field Company, Royal Engineers, died aged 25 on the 3 November 1944. He was the son of Joseph John Collins and of Rose Collins (nee O'Connor), and the husband of Annie Florence Collins, of Kinhilt Street, Ballymena, Co. Antrim. He is buried in Roosendaal En Nipsen Roman Catholic Cemetery.
234 Field Company was on D Day commanded by Major Arthur Charles Redmond Hughes (known as Spike). For Operation Overlord (D Day) they loaded at Tilbury and landed at Coursielles sur Mer on either the 6th or 7th of June 1944. They went in ahead of the Canadian brigade and were involved in the battle for Caen, and then fought their way through to Germany.
Bryden does not appear on the Nominal Roll for D Day nor is he listed as one to the early replacements. It must be assumed that he joined the unit at a later date as a reinforcement.

J21466 Flying Officer (Air Bomber) James Craig, DFC

The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 7th April 1944, page 2
Craig, J21466 Flying Officer (Air Bomber) James, DFC, Royal Canadian Air Force, attached 97 Squadron (RA.F), died age 22 on the 31 March 1944.
Craig Lake, a 'ghost lake', is situated southeast of Lynn Lake, Manitoba, ten kilometres to the east of the Saskatchewan border and a short distance north of Two Tod Lake, another of the Memorial Lakes. The lake is dedicated to the memory of 22-year-old Flying Officer James Craig, DFC, a bomb aimer with 97 Squadron, a Pathfinder unit of the Royal Air Force. James was the son of John and Elizabeth Craig of Winnipeg.
On the night of 30-31 March 1944, fourteen Lancasters from 97 Squadron were detailed to participate in an attack on the city of Nuremburg. Craig, his pilot Len Hyde and the rest of the crew took off in Lancaster ND640—coded OF-R—at 22:30 hours and were attacked subsequently by a night fighter over Germany. That night was a terrible night for Bomber Command, which lost a total of 97 aircraft. 97 Squadron lost two Lancasters, including that commanded by a Flight Lieutenant Leonard “Len” Hyde, DFC.
Hyde’s crew, judging by their ranks and awards,  four DFCs and one DFM, was very experienced. They were Flying Officer James Craig, DFC, bomb aimer; Flight Lieutenant Eric H. Palmer, DFC, navigator; Pilot Officer Maurice E. Putt, flight engineer; Flight Sergeant Eric Hill, wireless operator; Flying Officer Richard J. Weller, DFM, mid-upper gunner; and Pilot Officer Richard Taylor, DFC.
Another 97 Squadron pilot, Flight Lieutenant C.S. Chatten, witnessed the end of ND640 and is quoted in The Nuremburg Raid by Martin Middlebrook: “I saw the light of tracer fire and an aircraft hit and going down on fire. Its markers must have been jettisoned for I saw them burst below. I identified the markers as belonging to those of the aircraft which had taken off just before me and was sure then that it was my friend Len Hyde.
The aircraft crashed at Münchholzhausen, five kilometres from the city of Wetzlar in east central Germany. It was Craig’s 29th operational sortie with Bomber Command. The men are all buried at Hanover War Cemetery in Niedersachsen, Germany. Craig’s Distinguished Flying Cross was gazetted in June of 1944, three months after his death.
J21466 Flying Officer James Craig, DFC, Royal Canadian Air Force, attached 97 Squadron, was born at Moat Road, Ballymena in 1921. He was the son of John and Elizabeth Craig, formerly of Ballymena, later Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  He is buried in Hanover War Cemetery.
Crawford, James, Merchant Navy, died on the 10th June 1944 and aged 56 years in the sinking of the S.S. Brackenfield (Liverpool). He was the son of farmer’s daughter Jean Crawford, and he was born on the 1st January 1888 at Ballygally, Cairncastle. He was the husband of Mary Ann Crawford, of Glenarm, Co. Antrim. The couple, both of Glenarm, had married in Glenarm Presbyterian Church on the 3rd October 1911. His bride, Mary Ann Atcheson, was the eldest daughter of labourer James Atcheson and his wife Annie of Altmore Street, Glenarm.
On June 10th, 1944, SS Brackenfield, built in 1937 by Lytham Shipbuilding & Engineering Co and owned by Zillah Shipping & Carrying Co., was en route from the Isle of Wight to Juno Beach, Normandy (D Day Landings), when she was torpedoed and sunk by German E-boats, 50 miles south of the Nab Lighthouse. The SS Dungrange went to aid of the SS Brackenfield but was herself torpedoed and sunk while searching for survivors. Eighteen of her crew perished, including Captain J. E. Herbert.
James Crawford is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial.
Deane, 14554391 Signalman James Noel, Royal Corps of Signals, died age 31 on the 6 May 1945. He was born on the 9th November 1913 at Oldtown, Abbeyleix, Queen’s County (now County Laois), Ireland and his name appears on the Broughshane war memorial.  
He was the son of mechanic James Deane and his wife Agnes Logan. The couple, both from Broughshane, were married in Broughshane’s 2nd Presbyterian Church on 25th September 1906. The couple were living at Warden Street, Ballymena in 1911 and listed one son, Samuel David Deane, born 22nd November 1909 at Warden Street, Ballymena, on their census return.
James Deane is buried in Hamburg Cemetery.
Donnelly, 2724294 Guardsman James, 3rd Bn. Irish Guards, died age 24 on the 9th September 1944. His parents were James and Margaret Donnelly of Galgorm Parks, Ballymena.
He is buried in Leopoldsburg War Cemetery.
We do not have information on the precise cause of Donnelly’s death or where it happened. Some are burials in this cemetery were from a military hospital which was established at Leopoldsburg during the latter part of 1944 and other bodies were brought into the cemetery from the surrounding district. However, several graves in the cemetery record men from the 3rd Irish Guards who died on the 7th, 8th and 9th September 1944, three on the last date, and this suggests Donnelly was killed in action of that date.
The War Diary of the 3rd Battalion Irish Guards gives further insight. It says that on the 9th September the unit left to join the Welsh Guards in the woods to the east of Hechtel. However, the Welsh Guards had ‘met considerable opposition and towards evening were compelled to withdraw from it (the village) altogether’. The 3rd Irish Guards were ‘ordered to by-pass the village’ and ‘push north-west towards the Escaut Canal. With this in view, the Battalion harboured the night in the woods ready to move on next morning’. The diary noted that on the 9th there were casualties, ‘5 killed and 10 wounded’. Donnelly was most probably one of the five killed.
German sources indicate severe fighting took place between 9-12th of September around Hechtel. Excellent quality German troops, one battalion of the 2nd Hermann Göring Tank Regiment and two battalions of the 20th parachute regiment, were in the zone. The 1st battalion was in Hechtel itself, the 2nd was placed 2 km to the east in a little place called Wijchmaal.
On September 10th, the day after Donnelly’s death, the Irish Guards made a breakthrough towards the northeast and captured Joe's Bridge at the Maas-Schelde Canal in Lommel, about 10 km to the north. One week later, this bridge was used as springboard for the Operation Market-Garden, of ‘Bridge Too Far’ fame, as it leads to Eindhoven.
Douglas, 2720741 Serjeant William Joseph, 3rd Bn. Irish Guards, died 05 August 1944 and aged 28 years. He was the son of Alexander and Annie Douglas, of Cloughmills, Co. Antrim, and the husband of Kathleen Douglas, of Cloughmills. He is buried in St Charles de Percy War Cemetery and was killed somewhere between Vire and Caen during the breakout from Normandy.
His 3rd Battalion Irish Guards had been created from the Regiment's Holding Battalion at Northwood on 30 October 1941, and on 5 September 1943, it had joined the 32nd Infantry Brigade (Guards) of the Guards Armoured Division.
On 23 June 1944, the Battalion landed at Arromanches, Normandy and initially served throughout the Normandy Campaign. It later participated in the advances all the way through the Low Countries and Germany.
The Irish Guards had been given the number block 2,714,001 to 2,730,000 to number its soldiers who served in the ranks, and men like Douglas with numbers which fall within this block had not served in other units. Others who had previously served had a General Service Corps number beginning with 14 followed by another six digits.
Duffin, Fireman Patrick, Merchant Navy, S.S. Millisle (Belfast), died 21 March 1941. He was 57 years old and he had been born on the 10th April 1884 at Gortnageeragh, near Martinstown, Skerry, Ballymena, the son of Patrick Duffin and his wife Ann McErlean (or McErlaine). He was the husband of Jane Duffin, of Carnlough, Co. Antrim. Seaman Patrick Duffin, Carnlough had married Jane McIlwee of 50, Bombay Street, Belfast in St Paul’s RC Church, Belfast on the 15th March 1919He is named on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
SS Millisle, 617-ton coal boat, sank after a Luftwaffe air attack some two miles east of Helwick Light Buoy in the Bristol Channel. The vessel was when bombed en route from Cardiff to Cork, laden with coal. Eight crew members from Northern Ireland died as a result of the attack.
Patrick Duffin is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Fitzgerald, VX15676 Private William, 2/32 Bn, Australian Imperial Force, died on the 1st November 1942 and aged 31 years. He is buried El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.  He enlisted in Caulfield, Victoria, lived at 90, King Street, Melbourne, and was the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Fitzgerald, of Ballymena, Co. Antrim.
The fighting, the second Battle of El Alamein, is well documented, and the circumstances in which he died were as follows:
30th October 1942 – Day spent preparing for tonight’s operations.
1800 hrs – Bn commenced a slow night march, during which C.0.'s Jeep was blown up on mine. At 2200 hrs supporting artillery barrage opened up, and at 2210 hrs Battalion crossed start line – A&B companies right and left forward, C & D Coys right and left Reserve.
Advance was on frontage of 600 yards and first objective, railway line, was reached in good time after moderate opposition had been broken up, and prisoners estimated at over 175 taken, all Germans with exception of about a dozen Italians. From railway line to main ALEXANDRIA – MATRUH Road opposition was stiffer, but objectives were gained.
31st October – 2/24 Bn, 2/48 Bn & 2/3 Pioneer Battalion followed through on our axis of advance and went forward to exploit. A temporary hold up was caused owing to engineers having to blow a gap in railway line for A echelon vehicles.
1st November 1942 - Battalion HQ at Sidi Abd El Rahman
11.00 hrs -  200 enemy infantry reported advancing NW of railway line on Battalion front, artillery DF (Defensive Fire) fire was brought down on these troops.
1415 hrs – 2/28 Battalion report counter attack repulsed.
1500 hrs – 2/28 Battalion report tanks attacking from North, armed support requested. Suspected enemy 0.P. (Observation Post) located at 87205054.
1615 hrs – Command Post reports to 26 Brigade – casualties slight, Battalion intact.
C.P. advises 2/15 Bn of enemy troops advancing on their front.
C.P. advises Brigade – tanks observed to right of 2/43 Bn.
C.P. advises Brigade –  tanks firing from ridge at 87103045 to 87133043. Artillery fire brought down on that area.
Reported to Brigade that enemy artillery positions at 86763054 troublesome.
Enemy tanks on B11 feature and its vicinity moving S.E.
Request sent for our tanks to be sent to right flank 2/43 Battalion.
Enemy infantry advancing along main road, all available artillery brought down.
6 enemy tanks to right of railway line 1500 yds from Blockhouse, and Battalion enemy infantry on right of railway line, 2 coys infantry left of railway line West of our FDLs (Forward Defence Lines). Engaged by artillery DF fire.
Artillery fire driving enemy back along railway line.
2 enemy tanks and considerable movement noted area 87193036 and 87193034
1725 hrs – Suggest "football team" (18 bombers) on area 870303,
1736 hrs – To Brigade.  Require tank support Eastern front and DF 2 (Defensive Fire, Scenario 2) between road and railway line, urgently.
1741 hrs – To Brigade. Artillery concentrations required on 86953053.
A press report of the time says of Fitzgerald's unit:
Practically throughout the desert campaign the 2/32 Infantry Battalion ... fought alongside the 2/43 Infantry Battalion. The greatest days of both these units were between October 30, 1942, and November 5, 1942, in the area known as "The Blockhouse," when together they withstood and defeated an attack by the German 90th Light Division which seriously threatened "Monty's" right flank. In order to assure the Indian Division break through on November 5, 1942 it was imperative that their flank should hold. It did but the combined strength of both units fell from 800 to under 200.
Fleck, 345058 Sister Emma - was born on the 18th September 1914 at Suffolk Street, Ballymena and she was the daughter of draper James Fleck and his wife Emma Williams.
James Fleck, son of farmer Robert, was shop manager of 13, College Terrace, Londonderry when he married Emma Williams of Salisbury Square, Harryville, Ballymena in Ballymena Congregational Church on the 5th July 1909. The couple moved to College Terrace after their wedding and the 1911 census shows them there with daughter Olga Daphne.
Emma trained as a nurse at the Kent County Mental Hospital, 1934-1939, and at the Central Middlesex Hospital 1939-1941. Sister Emma Fleck subsequently joined the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (Reserve) in March 1945. She served in India, the Far East, and on the Hospital Ship HMHS Somersetshire.
345058 Sister Emma Fleck, SRN, died in service on November 22nd 1947 and is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial, Panel 22 and is also remembered on the Dervock & District War Memorial 1939-1945. Her parents then resided at Dervock, Co. Antrim.
Grant, 539570 Corporal Desmond Mary,  Aircraftman 1st Class (AC1) Royal Air Force, died 20 September 1941 and aged 23 years. He is buried in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, 4. A. 21. He was the son of on James and Ellen Josephine Grant of Toomebridge, Co. Antrim.
Desmond Mary Grant was born at Toome (often Toomebridge) and his birth registration says he was the son of surveyor James Joseph Grant and his wife Nellie (Ellen) Josephine Flannigan (elsewhere Flanigan or Flanagan). The couple had married in St Malachy’s RC Church, Belfast on the 29th September 1909. He was then a civil engineer from Toomebridge and his bride, Ellen J Flanigan of Great Victoria Street, Belfast, was the daughter of hotel keeper Patrick.
The couple had a number of children, probably more than listed here: Francis Dominic, born 4th August 1910; Edmund Joseph, born 28th September 1911; Patrick Hughes, born 12th November 1913; Anna Maria Margarette, born 27th November 1914; James Gerald Greenwood, born 9th March 1916; and Desmond Mary, born 16th May 1918. All the children were born at Stranmillis Road, Belfast, Desmond Mary excepted. For most of the period their father was a land commissioner.
James Joseph Grant and his wife Ellen Josephine are listed on the 1911 census return of the Flanigan family, Amelia Street, Belfast.
Grant was according to one source was taken prisoner on Crete. The German attack, Operation Mercury, began on Tuesday, 20th May 1941 at 0530 hrs when they launched the world’s first airborne invasion. Their initial landing at Maleme saw them suffer heavy casualties; more Germans died there in the first thirty minutes than in the first eighteen months of war. However, further landings to the west allowed them to capture Maleme airfield and this loss of the airfield destroyed the whole allied defence:  the Germans, with air-superiority, were able to bring in reinforcements and supplies, and on 27 May 1941 General Wavell ordered allied forces to abandon the island.
The small number of RAF personnel involved were drawn from 30, 33 and 805 Squadrons, a total of around 1000 men. Some ground personnel formed small parties, mainly on the lower slopes of Kavkazia Hill, known to the military as Hill 107. They had been tasked with defending their allocated sections and did so well.  71 men were killed or died of wounds, 9 were wounded and 226 became Prisoners of War, Grant being one of the latter. He was possibly captured on the 24th May.
Grant was originally buried in the German Military Cemetery at Doeberitz, Berlin and his body was later moved to the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. The Graves Concentration Report Form records him as having been killed in action on the 31st May 1941 and says his body was then reburied in Berlin on the 30th October 1946. However, he was clearly not killed in action and the date given has to be incorrect.
Grant had been involved in a previous incident, one local newspaper stating as follows: 'The inhabitants of Toome district were delighted when they heard the good news on Monday evening that Mr. and Mrs. James Grant had received a telegram stating that their son, Desmond Grant, was safe. Mr. Grant is in the Air Force and was on the British Aircraft Carrier Courageous when she was torpedoed on Sunday by a German submarine.' Submarine U-29 sank HMS Courageous off the west coast of Ireland on the 17 September 1939.
Hamilton, H/7091 Sergeant Hill, Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps (R.C.I.C), died age 29 on the 9th October 1944. He was the son of David and Mary Hamilton, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, formerly of Bridge Street, Ballymena. This soldier emigrated to Canada when he was aged 23. To all intents and purposes, despite serving with Canadian Forces, he was a Ballymena man.
Hill Hamilton died in fighting connected with the Battle of the Scheldt.  This arose because the Germans occupied the ports on the coast of Europe to prevent the Allies having easy access to supplies and support as they pushed out from the Normandy beach head, and for a long time they ensured all supplies came ashore across the mulberry harbour in Normandy. This was just too precarious.
The Allies were slow to act, however, and Eisenhower told Field Marshal Montgomery that he believed 21st Army Group was not giving sufficient priority to the Scheldt and Antwerp. He reportedly said, “I believe the operations designed to clear up the entrance require your personal attention.” The Field Marshal reluctantly reinforced the Canadians, whose September attack had been repulsed, with four British divisions and some Polish units.
A painful struggle followed. Some 10,000 Germans in the so-called Breskens Pocket inflicted some of the most intense fighting of the war on the troops; October rains and floods added to the misery. The Wehrmacht’s 64th Division, core of the Breskens defence, was one of the most effective formations under Field Marshal Model’s command. The opening move of the attack began at the Leopold Canal, which had caused such grief during the first Canadian crossing attempt in September, and it now required a major assault.
When priority was given to the First Canadian Army to clear the lands north and south of the Scheldt Estuary in order to open the port of Antwerp, the 3rd Division moved up to clear the Breskens Pocket by launching Operation Switchback. It had to be an infantry attack: the terrain was flat, and the low-lying land was interlaced with canals and drainage ditches, each a natural anti-tank obstacle. The ground itself, much of it reclaimed from the sea, had a shallow water table; some areas had been flooded by the Germans. The roads were mined, most of the bridges over the canals and drainage ditches were demolished, and any tanks that could be brought into action were almost completely confined to roads.
The assault began at 0530 on 6 October at two crossing points on the Leopold Canal; 27 massed flamethrowers fired across the water, opening the battle.  Canadian troops, who had spent the day before training with folding assault boats, were tasked with carrying the boats to the canal bank, launching the craft, and maintaining a shuttle service back and forth across the water.
The initial attack of the Winnipeg Rifles was successful; they crossed the canal before first light on the morning of 7 October and advanced 600 yards before hitting enemy resistance. With one of their companies attacking frontally, the other worked to the flank under cover of a dyke, reaching within 100 yards of the enemy. An entire company of the 2nd Battalion, 1038th Grenadier Regiment was eliminated; a cut-off platoon of the Canadian Scottish was rescued in the process. However, the gap between their bridgehead and that of the other troops on their bridgehead further along the canal remained.
The gap between the bridgeheads was sealed after much intense fighting when, in the early hours of 9 October, the Winnipeg Rifles achieved the feat, but attempts to secure their further objective, the village of Biezen, failed. It was in this hour of partial success for the Winnipeg Rifles that Hill Hamilton was killed on the 9th October.
Third Canadian Division and their Allies finally completed the capture of the Breskens Pocket on 4 November. They took more than 12,000 German prisoners. On 1 November, British and Canadian troops had staged three amphibious landings on Walcheren. They had fought their way through the streets of Flushing to secure the town. On 3 November, after several Canadian attempts had been bloodily repulsed, the Scottish 52nd (Lowland) Division had finally forced the causeway to west Walcheren. On 5 November, Allied troops had entered the town of Middelburg. In all, it took eight days of fighting and cost some 7,700 casualties to secure Walcheren.
In all, it had taken five weeks of difficult fighting and 12,873 Allied casualties, half of them Canadian, to win the battle. For some obscure reason, however, the ‘clearing of the Scheldt’ has never really been given the attention it deserves, for the fighting was truly testing in every sense, as Hill Hamilton would testify, if he had survived. He is buried in Adegem Canadian War Cemetery, midway between Brugge and Ghent.
Hands, 13011402 Private Samuel, Pioneer Corps, died aged 37 years on the 24/25th December 1941 and he is buried in the Tel El Kebir War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt. He was the son of Benjamin and Margaret Hands, and the husband of Barbara Ellen Hands, of Broughshane, Co. Antrim.
Haskins, 5193194 Driver Jack Stanley, 73 Construction Section, Royal Corps of Signals died on the 21st October 1944 when he was 22 years old.  He is buried in St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France.
He was the son of Frank and Margaret Haskins, and the husband of Jeanie Haskins, Ballymena, Co. Antrim. He was either resident in Ballymena or enlisted there.
Hendry, 3191396 Lance Corporal William, 11th Bn. Royal Scots Fusiliers, died on the 4 November 1941. He is buried in Jedburgh (Castlewood) Cemetery. Mary Hendry, his wife, lived at 42 Linenhall Steet, Ballymena.
Hoey, 2339044 Signalman Richard Basil Echlin, 3rd Anti Aircraft Brigade Signals, Royal Corps Of Signals is presumed to have died on the 27th May 1940 during the France and Belgium Campaign. Richard was the second son of James Hoey and was born on the 22nd January 1915 at Rotunda, Dublin, though the family lived at Whiteabbey, Co Antrim at the time of their son’s death.
Teacher James Hoey, born on the 4th February 1876 at Artnagullian, Connor, was the son of weaver William and his wife Ann Henry. 36 years old and then with a home address of Maxwell’s Walls, Kells, Ballymena, he married Harriet Alice Echlin, then 27 years old, of Ballymena and Brooklyn, Holywood, Co Down in Holywood Parish Church on the 17th July 1912. His bride had been born on the 14th June 1885.
The couple had known each other for many years. James was a boarder in the Echlin household at North Strand Road, Mountjoy, Dublin in 1901 and Harriet Alice, born in Westmeath, was then aged 15 years. He was still a boarder in the Echlin household at Nottingham Street, Mountjoy, Dublin in 1911.
Hunter James, civilian, died 12 December 1941 and aged 49 years. CWGC says he was the son of Mrs Annie Hunter, Glenarm, Co. Antrim. More exactly, James Hunter, son of Petty Sessions Clerk Thomas Hunter and his wife Annie McNeill, was born at Glenarm on the 5th June 1892. The couple are listed in the census returns of 1901 and 1911 and at the latter date they indicated that they had ten children, all alive in 1911. On both occasions they were living at Toberwine Street, Glenarm. James was the husband of Dr. Louise Olivia Hunter, of Leighton Hill, Hong Kong.
I have no definite information on James Hunter in Hong Kong but there was a James Hunter, a surveyor in the Harbour Department, Hong Kong in 1941 at the time of the Japanese invasion.
The Battle of Hong Kong (8–25 December 1941), one of the first battles of the Pacific War in World War II, began the same morning as the attack on Pearl Harbour, with forces of Japan attacking without declaring war against the British Empire. The Hong Kong garrison consisted of British, Indian and Canadian units, also the Auxiliary Defence Units and Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps (HKVDC). There was resistance, but within a week the defenders abandoned the mainland and less than two weeks later, with their position on the island untenable, the colony surrendered.
It was gruesome. Approximately 7,000 civilians were killed, along with 2,100 Allied troops and 675 Japanese – the low Japanese figures are disputed. By Christmas Day, Japanese forces had reached St. Stephen’s College in Stanley. Troops entered the hospital and took away two doctors to be tortured and killed. Canadian, Indian and British soldiers were bayoneted as they lay helpless on their beds. Soldiers then rounded up the nurses, raped them, murdered them and mutilated their bodies. Hong Kong, a relatively minor front of the war, was not spared Japanese brutal excesses. Britain surrendered soon afterwards the massacre.
A James Hunter is named in the list of Civilian War Dead, and appears to have been one of those lost when the P&O Tug Jeanette’s load of nine tons of dynamite was detonated in the harbour by fire from PB63 (Patrol Boat). Corporal Heather, probably Middlesex Regiment, fired the shots. The vessel and lighter had gone to to Green Island to bring back explosives. The magnitude of the explosion at 11pm meant all in the vicinity of Tug Jeanette lost their lives, Hunter believed to be one of them.
Jackson, civilian Harold Joseph died in an air crash on the 31st January 1940.  He is believed to be a technician.
Avro Anson (Mk 1), Code N4943, took off from RAF Prestwick, Scotland at 08:30 hrs on a non-operational flight. Those aboard, apart from Jackson, were 741702 Sergeant Derek Paul Watson-Parker (Pilot), RAFVR; 751038 Leading Aircraftman (Navigator) Dennis William Whittaker, RAFVR; and 751036 Leading Aircraftman (Navigator) Herbert Arthur Williams, RAFVR. Pilot Watson-Parker was an old hand, a pilot with over 400 flying hours experience in the Royal Air Force, 140 of these in Ansons. The listed navigators were young men training with the Air Observers Navigational School.
At around 09:30hrs the plane crashed into the NW face of Upper Glenariff Mountain, County Antrim, some 1,100 feet above sea level. A heavy snowstorm was raging and the crew allegedly veered off course.
The impact, sufficiently severe to leave a ploughed scar of about 150 yards in length,  killed all the plane’s occupants.  Two shepherds, first on the scene about an hour after the crash, found three bodies outside the aircraft and another wedged by his head in the wreckage.
Police, civilians and RAF men from RAF Aldergrove recovered the bodies, bringing them to the foot of Glenariff Glen, and the RAF eventually took the RAF bodies away for burial.
Jenkins, 4079705 Private Trevor B, 1st Bn. Devonshire Regiment, died age 22 on the 8 May 1944 and he is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial and on the memorial in the churchyard of St Cybi's Church, Llangibby, Monmouthshire.
On the outbreak of war the 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment was in India, and it spent the entire war in India, Ceylon and Burma. It was to become a machine gun regiment at one stage and then spent a period training for desert warfare. However, after jungle training to deal with the Japanese threat, it joined the 20th Indian Division, and the 1st Devonshires finally reached Burma in the late summer of 1943.
October 1943 saw the 1st Battalion in action near Tamu, and thereafter they were engaged in guarding the Kabaw Valley and the line of the River Chindwin. This responsibility lapsed when a Japanese offensive unfolded in March 1944.  For the next two months the Devonshires protected the hills along the Tamu road, which included the notorious Nippon Hill; their successful assault on that hill cost them 20 killed and 67 wounded.
When the Japanese offensive was defeated, and General Slim’s Fourteenth Army began to drive their enemy southwards, the Devons’ allotted task was an advance up the Iril Valley; this would cut the Kohima-Ukhrul road behind the retreating Japanese.  The 1st Devonshire Regiment faced strong enemy resistance as they conducted sweeps through the jungle to destroy pockets of resistance.  In a series of these actions the 1st Battalion lost 13 killed and 37 wounded, but the road was cleared for the British advance south.  Since he died on the 8th May 1944 it seems likely that Jenkins was one of the 13 men lost in this phase of anti-Japanese operations.
In mid-July the regiment were withdrawn to Imphal to recuperate and prepare for the long advance to Mandalay. It was at this stage that victory over the Japanese invader became a reality, one that Jenkins had not lived to see. In November 1944 the Battalion rejoined the advance south and excelled in the bitter battles between the River Irrawaddy and Kyaukse, south of Mandalay.  One New Year’s Day they crossed the River Chindwin.  On 22nd February 1945 they assaulted and captured Kanlan.  In early March they fought at Sinbyugan before advancing to and attacking Gyo.  Late in March they attacked Letpanpin without success but within two days it was taken and, by 1st April, the Devons were in position below Mandalay astride the road to Rangoon.
In May 1945 the 1st Devons returned to India and were stationed at Visapur, near Poona.  Their total losses during the campaign were 122 killed, 307 wounded and 9 men missing.
4079705 Private Trevor B Jenkins, 1st Bn. Devonshire Regiment was the son of Condred George and Gertrude Jenkins, of Tredunnock, Monmouthshire. His wife was Isobel Jenkins, nee Craig, of Fair Hill Lane, Ballymena.
Johnston, M/16958 Private George, Loyal Edmonton Regiment, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps (R.C.I.C.), part of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Infantry Division, died age 44 on the 2 August 1943 in Sicily.
Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, was potentially difficult. The invasion fleet had to through waters swarming with U-boats, and on July 4th and 5th, 1943, the convoy was attacked and three merchantmen carrying supplies were lost. Ground forces were anticipated to take heavy losses, the island being defended by the Italian Sixth Army and two German divisions.
Johnston’s Loyal Edmonton Regiment were part of the British 8th Army under Montgomery. The force, besides British divisions, contained the 1st Canadian Infantry Division and the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade. It landed between Pachino and Syracuse, its task to move north to gain control of the inland mountains and liberate the eastern coast up to Messina.
The Canadians landed with no major difficulty on the beaches around Pachino, most Italian soldiers surrendering without resistance. By day’s end, Johnston’s 1st Canadian Infantry division was on their third phase, the march inland.
Fighting intensified as they did so. On the 15th July, a column approaching Grammichele was caught in a German artillery and tank ambush. They drove the enemy back and pursued them to Caltagirone. Elsewhere, German forces skirmished to slow the Allied advance as the Germans themselves fell back towards the natural barrier of Mount Etna. The 1st Canadian Division’s orders, however, were to push forward as hard as possible towards the city of Etna that controlled the centre of the island. Fierce fighting ensued at Piazza-Armerina on July 16th, then at Valguarnera on the 17th and 18th; all the time the terrain became more difficult and soon the enemy was stationed around Leonforte-Assoro, where rocky outcrops jut out from the bed of the River Dittaino, and buttress Mount Etna. Mount Assoro, which reached 3000 feet, made German positions seem impregnable and from these they controlled access to Messina. However, on July 20th, a group of soldiers climbed Mount Assoro’s steepest face, something deemed impossible, and at dawn, the Canadians were on ground higher than the Germans. The latter withdrew, quickly counter-attacked, and the fighting raged until July 22nd. Assoro, however, remained under Canadian control.
Meanwhile, the 2nd Infantry Brigade engaged the enemy in Leonforte, a city of 20,000, near Assoro. The Loyal Edmonton Regiment found themselves scattered throughout the town and a mobile armoured unit and a company of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry had to help them. Fierce fighting went on until surrender of the city and the surrounding area.
Four brigades were then immediately sent to attack Agira, a town 123 kilometres east of Leonforte. The enemy resisted fiercely, and it took five days to capture Agira and the neighbouring city of Nissoria, this despite a massive artillery barrage by five field and two medium artillery regiments. At the same time, the RAF bombed German positions. Canadian losses were heavy, but the enemy had suffered severely.
Thereafter, and unfortunately for Johnston, a struggle unfolded to capture Regalbuto, Centuripe and Adrano. The Canadian 3rd Brigade was temporarily assigned to the British 78th Division for their drive on Centuripe, and fought a successful action at Catenanuova on 29-30 July, and then at Centuripe. The Germans, having lost Regalbuto and Centuripe to their rear, quickly withdrew to avoid being encircled. However, on the 2nd August, the advance to Adrano, which involved the 1st Canadian Infantry Division, led to fierce actions in the Salso and Troina Valleys on the flank of the British 78th Division, who eventually took the town. Johnston died on the 2nd August, presumably in the Salso-Troina Valley area fighting and probably on the Loyal Edmonton Regiment’s approach to Hill 736.
British and US forces, the latter having attacked along the north coast, made their junction at Messina as planned on August 17th, 1943. Sicily had been liberated and Canadian troops were put in reserve on August 6th, 1943.  They had fought without respite for thirty-eight days and suffered 2,310 casualties, including 562 killed in action. It is sad that Johnston had endured so much and fell with the victory in sight.
He was the son of Thomas and Margaret H. Johnston, of Ballymena, Co. Antrim. He is buried in Agira Canadian War Cemetery, Sicily.
Lawrence, 6985282 Private James Bryce Armstrong Lawrence,  6th Bn. King's Own Scottish Borderers, died on 8th August 1944, then aged 24 years. He is remembered on the Bayeux Memorial, France.
James Bryce Armstrong Lawrence was born on the 10 May 1919 at Killyree House, Killyree, Clough, Co Antrim, the son of farmer Henry Lawrence and his wife Mary Young Armstrong. The couple had married in Ballymena’s Presbyterian West Church on the 7th June 1905, Henry Major Lawrence stating he was from Clough, and his wife saying she was from Glenwhirry/Glenwherry. Indeed, the 1901 census shows 25 year old Mary Young Armstrong living with her family at Kinnegalliagh, Glenwherry. Her father John was then 75 years old, his wife Hannah, nee Killen and born 6th March 1876, aged 59 years. Seven children are listed at that date: James (26), Mary Young (25), John (23), Edward Brice (21),  Anna (19), Francise S (17), and Margaret Young (15) - spellings as recorded.
The 6th Bn King's Own Scottish Borderers, part of the 15th Scottish Division, had landed on Queen Beach on 6th June 1944, the beach one of the areas in the British Sword Sector. They eventually found themselves fighting in the area around Caen until the Nazis capitulated on July 9th, but then in early August, as they were moving inland, they and others encountered heavy German resistance around Estry, a village N E of Vire.
The new British offensive which had led to this situation had not gone to plan. While the XXX Corps attack stalled, VIII Corps pushed ahead, and with the experienced 11th Armoured and 15th Scottish Divisions in the lead and Guards Armoured close behind, they made inroads, threatening to take the pivotal city of Vire and unhinge General Haussers German Seventh Army.
The Germans responded. Heavy fighting continued around the village of Estry between August 5th and 8th – some sources say it continued until the 13 August, when the Germans pulled back. The Irish Guards noted in their diary as follows: The 15th Scottish Division moved through our lines to go into the attack. At 1200 hrs, many wounded were being moved back and we understood that they had had a very tough time at the village of Estry.’ Sources also record that on August 8th German artillery stormed Estry to prevent the British from entering the town’. However, the diary of the Gordon Highlanders recorded success on the 8th August when the ‘Enemy [was] now on the retreat’ and stated that ‘44 and 46 Brigades have taken up the chase’ - 44th Brigade included 6th KOSB.  It was amid this that Lawrence fell, his body never identified.
LINTON, DFC, 158128 Flying Officer Adam, 35 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died on the 20th October 1944 and age 33 years. He is one of eight airmen buried in Wintzenbach Protestant Churchyard, north-north-east of Strasbourg. He was the husband of Ivy Beatrice Linton, of York.
Adam Linton was the son of farmer Robert John and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Linton. The couple, Robert John from Appletee, Connor had married Lizzie Stewart of Frocess, Dunaghy in Killymurris Presbyterian Church on the 1st June 1904. The couple had at least five children: John, born 28th August 1906; Samuel, born 9th October 1907; Robert, born 22nd June 1909; Adam, born 17th June 1911; and Mary Agnes, born 12th December 1915. All were born at Appletee, Kells.
Linton died when Avro Lancaster III, serial ND755 and code TL-J, was lost. On Thursday, 19 October 1944,  583 aircraft in two forces, 2.5 hours apart, took off for a mission to Stuttgart in Germany; sixteen were from Linton’s 35 Squadron (RAF) from Graveley, 5 miles south of Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. Their target was the strategically important Bosch factory. It was hit and serious damage caused for the loss of 7 (1.2%) aircraft, one being Linton’s ND755. 376 people were killed on the ground.
ND755’s eight-man crew comprised 414768 Flying Officer Robert William Brown, DFC (Pilot), Manly Vale, New South Wales, Australia; 177263 Pilot Officer John Anthony Creemer Clarke, DFC (Navigator), Thame, Oxfordshire; 1800892 Flight Sergeant Reginald Francis Jack Bright (Air Bomber), Tottenham, Middlesex; 1090928 Warrant Officer Dennis Thompson (Set Operator), Starbeck, Harrogate, Yorkshire; 158128 Flying Officer Adam Linton, DFC (Wireless Operator), Appletee, Connor, Co Antrim; 2211230 Flight Sergeant Edmond Joseph Kiely (Air Gunner), Mitchelstown, Co. Cork; 1128364 Flight Sergeant Frank David Thomas Phillips (Air Gunner), Carmarthen, Wales; and 1819247 Sergeant Colin Johnson (Flight Engineer), Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. All died.
The 35 Squadron’s Operations Record Book records the following: “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take-off”, and telegrams sent to families read only, “missing as the result of air operations on 19th / 20th October 1944”. It was May 1941 before the crew were deemed killed. The Royal Air Force Missing Research and Enquiry Service (MRES) located the men after the war, exhumed their remains, and placed them in their current location, their graves suitably marked.
What happened to ND755 is not entirely clear. Local people reported that about 08.00hrs on 19th October 1944, a four-engined bomber in flames crashed and exploded. They said eight bodies were found and buried, and the aircraft wreckage was removed by the authorities. A night fighter pilot claimed the kill (Hptm Heinz Rokker (2/NJG2), 3800M, Pirmasens-Weissenberg area (UQ), 21.48), but so too had an AA unit (1 & 2/schw Flak Abt 543, 5200M, 2km NW of Winzenbach, 20.29). Seven planes were lost that night and it may never be known which team brought down ND755.
Linton, 1222596 Leading Aircraftman Albert Edward, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, died age 37 on the 3rd April 1943 and he is buried in Karachi War Cemetery. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Edward Linton formerly of Cloughmills/Clough; he was the husband of Florence Gladys Linton, of Barking, Essex.
Linton was attached to 320 Maintenance Unit at RAF Karachi (Drigh Road, Karachi. It is now the site of Jinnah International Airport, Pakistan) and was the passenger killed in the crash of a Harvard IIb aircraft, serial number FE601, that was being flown by 139032 Flying Officer John Steele Higgins.
A report on the incident said the aircraft ‘Spun in on test flight 2m SE of Rehi’, and ‘crashed into Sea’. In short, the Harvard flown by Higgins disappeared on a normal test flight, and it was found about an hour later in the Indus river delta. The cause of the accident was never established but it was suspected that he had been ‘low flying around the various water channels.’
Logan, 25241 Private John Barnett, 24th Bn New Zealand Infantry, part of the 6th Infantry Brigade, 2nd New Zealand Division, died age 23 on the 9th December 1941.
Shortly after its arrival in North Africa the 24th Battalion and others undertook training in desert warfare to ready for its role in the planned Operation Crusader, a campaign to lift the siege of Tobruk. The 2nd New Zealand Division was to surround and capture key points along the front, this allowing the armoured divisions was to engage Rommel's Afrika Korps. The 2nd Division’s 6th Brigade then moved to its jumping off points in Libya in November.
The brigade entered the fight on 21 November, the 24th Battalion leading the advance of the brigade to Bir el Hariga, while 4th Brigade targeted the Bardia-Tobruk highway and 5th Brigade the area around Bardia and Sollum. However, on the 22nd November, the 6th Brigade was ordered to advance to Point 175, to prepare a perimeter, and then work with the 5th South African Brigade at Sidi Rezegh; the latter unit was in danger of being overrun. Leaving early in the morning of 23 November, the 24th Regiment were at their first stop point by dawn. However, the two other battalions of the brigade had camped in a wadi rather than along the ridge as instructed. The 24th realised immediately that elements of the Afrika Korps were moving into the same wadi from the other end and, having assessed the situation more quickly than the Germans, they initiated a battle in which the battalion took 200 prisoners.
Sixth Brigade moved on quickly to Point 175, which was held by German forces, and which marked the start of the Sidi Rezegh escarpment, some 40 kilometres from Tobruk.  The first attempt to capture Point 175 was made by 25th Battalion while 26th Battalion sought to contact the South Africans. However, the 24th Battalion, held in reserve, was soon called upon to reinforce the attack of the 25th Battalion. Despite, the battalion's B Company capturing the summit of Point 175 the following day, it was not until 27 November that all of Sidi Rezegh was under the control of the New Zealanders.
Elsewhere, however, Rommel had inflicted a significant defeat on the British armour and was now returning to the Tobruk area, and the 6th Brigade was dangerously scattered along the Sidi Rezegh ridge, vulnerable to a counter-attack. Indeed, elements of the 15th Panzer Division began attacking on 28 November. A disaster then followed.
An incorrect message sent to 24th Battalion led its troops to expect South African troops to pass through their lines; advancing troops were allowed to approach unmolested until it was realised too late they were Germans. Two companies of the battalion were forced to surrender almost immediately. Some tanks rushed to the area to reinforce what was left of the battalion and the remaining soldiers drove off the attacking Germans, at least temporarily, and in the evening, 24th Battalion remnants were joined by the 26th Battalion. However, Point 175 was captured by the Germans and the 4th Infantry Brigade, positioned to the north, was coming under increasing attack. Indeed, by 30th November 1941, 6th Brigade was surrounded, and 24th Battalion's strength had been whittled down to 163 men.
The 15th Panzer Division began their assault on 6th Brigade in earnest that afternoon. Despite the support of anti-tank guns, both 24th and 26th Battalions were overrun. Nearly 300 members of the battalions were captured and another 100 were killed or died of wounds. Some 60-odd personnel managed to evade capture and made their way to 6th Brigade headquarters while 20 others made their way into Tobruk.
Somewhere in the midst of all this was 25241 Private John Barnett Logan, 24th Bn New Zealand Infantry. He died of wounds and so we cannot say precisely at which stage in these events he was injured.
He was the son of Henry James Logan and of Margaret Logan, nee Bell, of Herriesville, Auckland, New Zealand. The family had lived at Broughshane. He is buried in Kantara War Cemetery.
A detailed account of the fighting can be found here:

Loughbridge, 7019600 Lance Corporal Joseph, 2nd Bn. The London Irish Rifles, Royal Ulster Rifles, died 24 on the 20 January 1943.
Loughbridge was to die in the Battle of Bou Arada, a murderous affair in which the London Irish won glory at terrible cost.  The morning of the 19th January saw troops march across the Goubellat Plain by way of Bou Arada.  Their task was to guard the brigade’s one line of communication, the road from Bou Arada. Unfortunately, the Germans had occupied a hill, Point 286, and from there could observe and harass the brigade’s life-line.
2nd London Irish, with no time for a reconnaissance, were ordered to drive the Germans from the hill.  They formed up on the road at about 0330 hours on the 20th December. G Company were to lead and occupy Point 279, a lesser hill adjacent to Point 286, and F Company were to follow and establish themselves on the reverse slopes of Point 279, while H Company were to make a detour on the left and attack Point 286 from that flank.  Support from the guns, mortars, machine-guns, and anti-tank guns was arranged, though the attack was to be made without any preliminary bombardment.
At 0440 hours G Company advanced on to Point 279 and, meeting no opposition, continued towards Point 286.  F Company moved on as well, but mistakenly attacked Point 351 instead of Point 286.  Here the Germans were strongly entrenched, and F Company were forced later to withdraw having taken losses.  It was 0730 hours and broad daylight as F Company returned to Point 279, where they re-formed to attack their correct objective.
F Company moved towards Point 286 round the back of Point 279.  There was a hail of bullets as the company approached, but the two leading platoons went forward, covered by G Company firing from the forward slopes of Point 279.  The enemy were seen running from Point 286, but F Company occupied it only to find German armour ascending the eastern slopes in a counter-attack.  Mortars bombarded the hill, but the men of F Company stood firm and the enemy armour was withstood, but F Company suffered heavy losses and was so reduced that the remnants were withdrawn.  
The enemy occupied Point 286 and E Company made a further effort to drive them off. Some managed to reach the crest, but the Germans had not been entirely driven from the hill.  They bombarded the forward slopes of Point 279 where G Company were in the open and supporting their comrades with supressing fire.  Losses, however, eventually drove G Company back to cover in a wadi behind the hill, where they were joined by the men of E Company who had survived the attack.
Brigade emphasised the importance of securing Point 286, and a further attack by the London Irish was ordered.  The attack was made by H Company, and no sooner had it got into its stride than the battalion area was dive-bombed by Stukas, and simultaneously H Company were heavily mortared. Men were falling fast, and the Commanding Officer ordered the company back.  Some had actually managed once more to gain the summit, but it was impossible to hold it in the intense enemy fire.
Then word then came that the Germans were withdrawing yet again from Point 286.  H Company remnants went forward again, and as unobtrusively as possible, they occupied the hill-top.  They remained there for the rest of the day, despite having scant cover on the rocky hill.  Fortunately firing died down in the afternoon. The 2nd London Irish had gained their objective, Point 286, but at a crippling cost.
Moreover, shortly after midnight German tanks and infantry climbed the slopes of Point 279 again. They overran the posts and fired furiously into the wadi where battalion headquarters were quartered.  The companies were scattered, and the fighting became very confused.  They then withdrew as suddenly as they had appeared, and Allied tanks chased them.  At daylight the position was once more normal.  The London Irish were on Point 286, and the enemy had gone.
Final casualties in the Battle of Hill 286 were six officers and twenty other ranks killed; eight officers and seventy-eight other ranks wounded; six officers and one hundred and thirty other ranks missing.  Many of the latter were confirmed later as having been wounded and taken prisoner.  However, the 2nd London Irish had restored a situation which had been critical.
Loughbridge was one of those killed. He was the son of Elizabeth McIlwaine, of Parkmore, Co. Antrim. He is commemorated on the Medjez-El-Bab Memorial.
Mairs, 2718689 Guardsman William, 1st Bn. Irish Guards, died age 27 on the 30 March 1943.
In March 1943 the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards landed with the rest of the 24th Guards Brigade in Tunisia, to fight in the final stages of the campaign in North Africa. The battalion fought in the Medjez Plain area, seeing heavy action at Djebel bou Aoukaz, or 'Bou', and it was probably at ‘Bou’ that Mairs was killed. John Keneally, later to win a VC said, ‘Our No 2 Company were ordered to do a probing attack on Recce Ridge. This meant advancing across the valley in the dark, climbing the mined slopes, a quick in-and-out battle on the ridge and then a withdrawal in daylight back across the valley. It looked a sticky job. Suicidal, even.’
The account that follows was based on the unit records.
At 1 a.m. on 30th March 1943 No. 2 Company filed down the track to carry out their orders. It was a clear, cold starlit night and a sharp wind blew across the valley from the ridge. Half an hour later Captain Kennedy reported that No.2 Company was all across the Beja road and that there was not a sound to be heard.
About five o'clock Colonel Scott and the Brigadier went to the Observation Post, and they were told that things were OK; the Company had been sending a regular tuning call - "Paddy two, Paddy two." At 0530 hrs they called base and reported, "No trouble so far... We are more than halfway up the slope … it is much steeper from now on. … Have the guns (artillery) got one up the spout? So long. Over." Fifteen minutes went slowly by and then those at the Observation Post heard sound of machine guns, grenades and mortars. No 2 Company suddenly called for artillery support and almost immediately shells began bursting on enemy positions on Recce Ridge.
It was just beginning to get light. The guns kept up an hour-long barrage on appointed positions and then fell silent. The unnatural silence which followed was interrupted by the rattle of Bren guns (LMGs) and the distinctive sound of fast firing German M42 machine guns. There was still no call for further artillery support, no signal for smoke. In the O.P. Colonel Scott suddenly shouted, "Here they come. Oh, thank God!”
Scattered groups trickled down the slope as they tried to withdraw from the ridge, but the German firing increased and the Brens fell silent. British artillery firing smoke and HE (High Explosive) were joined by available mortars to help the men of No. 2 Company on their return journey. It was half-past eight when five wounded men came back; two unwounded men came back that night. That was all that was left of No 2 Company’s 103 officers and men.
In short, within two weeks of arriving in North Africa the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards had lost over a quarter of its men and it had no clear idea of what had happened to them. There were conflicting accounts from the few confused survivors.
Mairs appears to have been one of those killed in the debacle. He is commemorated on the Medjez-El-Bab Memorial. His wife, Mrs. Ann Mairs, resided at Larne, and his mother was Mrs. Rose Mairs of Cargan, Ballymena.
McAuley, Chief Engineer Officer John,  Merchant Navy, SS Olivine, is said to have died on the 29th March 1941 in the sinking of his ship. He had been born on the 20th April 1889 at Tully, Glenarm and was the son of farmer Charles McAuley and his wife Grace Black. He was married to Annie Black, 25, Herbert Street, Carnlough in St John’s RC Church, Carnlough on the 30th April 1917. He gave his address as Bellair, Glenarm, his occupation as merchant seaman.
McAuley, Fireman John Joseph,  Merchant Navy, SS Olivine, son of John and Annie, is said to have died on the 29th March 1941 in the sinking of his ship, that on which his father served. He had been born at Carnlough on the 18th December 1919.
SS Olivine on which father and son perished was lost without trace after sailing Glasgow for Sharpness on the 27th March. The Joint Arbitration Committee considered the vessel lost to war causes between 27th March and 29th March. The Missing Ship Committee consider the vessel lost on the 29th March 1941, the date accepted by Commonwealth War Graves Commission on their site.
McAuley, Fireman and Trimmer Michael, S.S. Stonepool (West Hartlepool), Merchant Navy, died on the 11th September 1941 and aged 37 years old. He is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial, London, Panel 102.
Michael McAuley was the son of Francis McAuley and Catherine Scullion. The couple, widower and shipwright Francis from Dumbarton, Scotland had married Catherine from Carmegrim, Portglenone in Portglenone RC Church on the 24th July 1901. They were to have at least six children: Sarah, born 27th May 1902 at Carmegrim; Michael, born 5th February 1904 at Carmegrim; Elizabeth, born 23rd April 1906 at Killygarn; Francis, born 8th July 1907 at Killygarn; Catherine, born 25th January 1909 at Killygarn, and Mary Ann, born 23rd September 1912 at Killygarn. Francis was originally a contractor/cementer but was a farmer after moving to Killygarn, a townland in the Largy area south of Portglenone and in County Antrim. It butts on to the River Bann.
Michael McAuley died in events connected with Slow Convoy SC42. Convoy SC 42 was the 42nd of the numbered merchant ship convoys from Sydney, Cape Breton Island to Liverpool. It was comprised of sixty-five ships and was attacked over a three night period in September 1941 by the Markgraf wolf pack, a group of 14 U-boats in a patrol line south-east of Greenland. It lost 16 ships sunk and 4 damaged, the worst Allied loss since convoy SC 7 the previous year. Two attacking U-boats were also destroyed, one being U-207, the vessel believed to have torpedoed SS Stonepool and SS Berury - (U-207 was sunk 11 Sept 1941 in the Straits of Denmark south-east of Angmassalik, Greenland, by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Leamington and HMS Veteran. All 41 submariners perished. U-207 was a Type VIIC U-boat that was commissioned on 7 June 1941 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Fritz Meyer) The master of SS Stonepool and 33 crew members and eight gunners on the ship were killed. Six crew and one gunner were picked up by HMCS Kenogami and landed at Loch Ewe.
McClure,  Third Radio Officer Samuel Ezekiel, S.S. Induna (Glasgow), Merchant Navy, died 30 March 1942 and aged 26 years. He was the son of William McClure and of Annie Elizabeth McClure (nee Linton), of Cloughmills, Co. Antrim. He is commemorated at Tower Hill Memorial, London, Panel 58.
SS Induna was a 5,086 ton British Cargo Steamer built in 1925. On the 30th March 1942 and at 08.07 hours the unescorted SS Induna, a straggler owing to a gale from convoy PQ-13, was hit and set aflame north-east of the Kola Inlet by one of three torpedoes fired by U-376. Two further ‘coup de grâce’ torpedoes at 09.32 hours and at 09.40 hours finally sank the vessel.
The ship had been en route from New York via Reykjavik to Murmansk, and she was carrying a cargo of 2,700 tons of war material and oil. Induna had had a terrible voyage. The vessel was that of the vice commodore and he formed a new convoy of six ships after separation; these was escorted by HMS Silja (FY 301). On 28 March, the SS Ballot, a ship of this group, was bombed and damaged by  an aircraft. 16 men abandoned ship in a lifeboat, but the remaining crew stayed to repair the ship and brought her safely to Murmansk on 30 March.
The men in the lifeboat were picked up by the escorting armed trawler and later transferred to Induna, but these two ships, having gone further north to avoid U-boats, got stuck in ice. Remaining ships of the group continued to Murmansk, while the marooned crews worked successfully for several hours to free the stuck vessels.  Induna then took HMS Silja in tow because she was low on fuel, but the next night the tow broke in heavy seas. Unable to find the trawler in snow squalls, the Induna continued alone until being torpedoed by U-376.
At least 41 survivors of the 50 man crew abandoned ship in two lifeboats, but when they were picked up by a Russian minesweeper on 2 April only about 30 were still alive; two later died in  hospital in Murmansk of exposure. The weather, around 20° below zero and with freezing winds, had frozen the survivors and most of them lost limbs.
McErlean (or McErlaine) Bridget - died in the sinking of the S.S. Athenia, owned by Donaldson Atlantic Line, when submarine U-30, commanded by Oberleutnant Fritz Julius Lemp, fired on the British vessel on 3rd September 1939 when it was 250 miles north-west of Inishtrahull, Donegal. Capt. James Cook’s passenger ship was hit at 7.45 p.m., struck on the port side by the torpedo and then by two shells after the submarine surfaced. War with Germany had broken out but a few hours before.
SS Athenia left Glasgow on Friday, 1st September 1939 at about noon and was en route for Montreal, Canada. It picked up additional passengers after stops at Liverpool and Belfast, and there were 1,418 persons aboard, of whom 1,103 were passengers, when it was torpedoed.  311 were US citizens.
117 passengers and crew died in the incident. Many were apparently killed by the torpedo explosion. The lifeboat provision was for 1,830 persons, enough for all, but there were further losses of life when the ship quickly began to list severely. One boat crowded with people fell and threw all its occupants into the sea, another capsized, and a third was hit by a rescue vessel.
The Athenia was the first British vessel to be sunk by the German Navy during the World War Two. Germany, since there were numerous Americans among the dead, denied the sinking and only admitted its role in 1946.
Bridget McErlean was the daughter of Henry McErlean (‘McErlaine’ on record of birth) of Moneystaghan, Portglenone and his wife Jane Graham, and she was born at Aughnahoy, Portglenone, Co. Antrim on the 31st October 1900. Bridget McErlean has no known grave and her name is recorded on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site and on on the Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour at St. George’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey, London.

McHendry, 1133853 Sergeant Joseph Brown, 50 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, died 15th  June 1943 when aged 25 years. He is buried in Schoonselhof Cemetery, Belgium. He was the son of John and Catherine McHendry, of Glenarm, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.
He was lost in the shooting down of Lancaster III ED810. The aircraft had taken off from RAF Skellingthorpe and was shot down by a night-fighter flown by Uffz Rudolf Frank. All the crew were lost. They were as follows: 1602905 Sergeant Kenneth Ivor Bowerman, 1120118 Sergeant Charles Joseph Buckle, 127903 Flying Officer Albert Victor Crawford, Pilot; 1389014 Sergeant Arthur Ernest Davey, Navigator; 1133853 Sergeant Joseph Brown McHendry, Wireless Operator; 1388490 Sergeant William George Reed; and 525494 Sergeant Leslie Toal, Flight Engineer.
McKendry, Able Seaman Samuel, Merchant Navy, S.S. Hamla (London), died age 46 on the 18 August 1942.
The unescorted S.S. Hamla, Master William Ashley Shute, OBE, was sunk by submarine U-506, Commander Erich Würdemann, at 23.37 hours on 23 August 1942. The vessel was travelling from Rio de Janeiro (18 August), via Trinidad and Freetown, to the UK with a cargo of Manganese ore when she was struck by two torpedoes while positioned about 200 miles south-southwest of Freetown, West Africa. Würdemann noted how the vessel disappeared almost immediately after being hit under the bridge and the aft mast. There were no survivors, the master, 37 crew members and four gunners being lost.
The CWGC record says he was the son of Samuel and Mary McKendry, of Dunloy, Co. Antrim, though he was born at nearby Tullygrawley, Glarryford on the 1st August 1896, the son of labourer Samuel McKendry and his wife Margaret Irvine (sic). The couple, Samuel McKendry and Mary Erwin (sic) both of Tullygrawley, Craigs, Cullybackey had married in Ballymena Register Office on the 15th September 1890. The 1911 census shows the family living in Bellaghy, a townland midway between Glarryford and Dunloy, though the same source shows them at Ballywatermoy, Tullygawley in 1901.
He was the husband of Agnes McKendry, of Glasgow.
He is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial.
McKeown, Telegraphist William, Royal Navy and H.M.S. Kite, service number D/JX 344845,  died 21st August 1944 and aged 20 years old. He was the son of William and Martha McKeown. The couple, plumber William of Lower Broughshane and Martha Wilson of Ballygarvey, had married in Ballymena’s Wellington Street Presbyterian Church on the 11th June 1917.
At 20.45 hours on 20th August 1944, the British destroyer HMS Keppel while escorting the convoy JW-59, detected a U-boat on her starboard quarter and, together with HMS Kite and a Swordfish aircraft from the British escort carrier HMS Vindex, attacked it. They subsequently hunted the U-boat fruitlessly throughout the night.
At 06.40 hours on 21 August, HMS Kite had slowed down to 6 knots and U-344 fired a spread of three torpedoes at her. The ship was struck by two torpedoes on the starboard side and lurched over immediately. The stern separated, floated momentarily and then sank. The bow followed immediately thereafter at a steep angle.
At 07.30 hours, HMS Keppel stopped to pick up survivors, while the British sloops HMS Peacock and HMS Mermaid screened the rescue operation. Only 14 of the about 60 survivors in the water could be rescued from the icy water; five of these died at sea.
U-344 was sunk the next day by depth charges from a single Swordfish aircraft, piloted by Gordon Bennett, from H M S Vindex.
McLoughlin, Fireman Robert served in the Merchant Navy during World War Two. He was the son of George McLoughlin and Elizabeth McLoughlin of Vennel Street, Glenarm, Co. Antrim.
He died on 2nd March 1941 aged 19 years old on board the coal cargo ship SS Castlehill en route from Cork, Ireland to Newport, Wales. Built in Greenock, Scotland and owned by John Kelly Ltd. of Belfast, Co. Antrim, the merchant vessel went down in the Bristol Channel off Minehead, Somerset with the loss of all but one crew member. A Heinkel HE111 of Kampfgeschwader 27 claimed the sinking.
Robert McLoughlin has no known grave. His name is on Panel 24 of the Tower Hill Memorial, London, United Kingdom.
McShane, Second Engineer Officer Charles, Merchant Navy, S.S. Emerald (Glasgow), died 31st January 1944 and aged 28 years. He was the son of John and Agnes McShane, of Carnlough, Co. Antrim, husband of Katie A. McShane, Glasgow.
McShane died in an attack by Nazi Germany’s 5th S-flotilla (Schnellboot, or S-Boot, meaning "fast boat"), generally known as E Boats, which operated frequently in the English Channel out of ports like Cherbourg.
Hinrich Ahrens’ S142 E Boat was at the forefront of the attack on McShane’s CW243 convoy south-east of Beachy Head on the night of 30/31st January 1944. McShane’s SS Emerald was on passage from Middlesborough to Poole, Dorset and was carrying coal.
The 5th S-flotilla divided into three Rotten, one attacking from inshore of the convoy. Ahrens hit and blew the bow off escort HMT Pine which continued to fight back, though it later sank under tow. He also sank SS Emerald with the third torpedo he fired; his fourth was a failure. The other half of his Rotte, ObltzS Hans-Jurgen Stohwasser’s S138, torpedoed 1,813-ton SS Caleb Sprague; twenty of twenty-seven crew and three out of four gunners lost. SS Emerald lost twelve men.
McShane’s last address seems to have been Ardveenish, Barra, Hebrides, and his name is recorded on the Barra & Vatersay war memorial at Castlebay, Isle of Barra.
He is commemorated on Tower Hill Memorial, London and on the Barra War Memorial.
McVeigh, Boatswain Hugh, M.V. Empire Attendant (Glasgow), Merchant Navy, died on the 15th July 1942 and was age 25 years. He is commemorated at Tower Hill Memorial, London. He was the son of Hugh and Jane McVeigh, of Carnlough, Co. Antrim, and the husband of Margaret McVeigh, of Carnlough.
On July 10, 1942, after breaking down for the seventh time, MV Empire Attendant, Master Thomas Grundy, became a straggler from Convoy OS.33. At 0330 hours on July 15, 1942, south of the Canary Islands and while out of contact with the convoy, she was torpedoed and sunk by U-582. The master, 49 crew members and nine gunners were all lost.
Submarine U-582 was herself sunk on 5 October 1942 in the North Atlantic south-west of Iceland, by depth charges from a US Catalina aircraft (VP-73 USN/I), and all 46 of her crew died.
McWilliams, 7013179 Serjeant Robert Bowers, 6th Bn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was killed in action in the vicinity of the notorious Monte Cassino battlefield in Italy on 30/03/1944. He was the husband of R. McWilliams, of 31, Garfield Place, Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.  
The War Diary of the 6th Battalion records his death on the 30th March at Monte Castellone, Italy. It had been a generally quiet day of routine activity: ‘During the day, D Company erected a wooden bridge across a gully in S Company area. Pioneers organised baths and company personnel did their washing’; ‘Work was started where possible to clear up the Battalion area, which had been left in an untidy condition. This had to be carried out very carefully owing to enemy OPs (Observation Posts) on our flanks’; and ‘D Company were entertained by the Pipe Band from a nearby hillside’. That said, they had to ‘Stand To’ (Stand to arms – be ready for action) on two occasions, and ‘two shells fell in Battalion HQ area, one of which wounded Major Kendal (Officer Commanding S Company)’. At ‘0955 A and B Companys’ positions heavily shelled (HE [High Explosive] and smoke) and (it) continued until 1035’; and at ‘1855 A member of the patrol (Corporal Delaney of ‘Delaney’s Corner’ North Africa fame) (trod) on a mine (French) and was killed’. Then suddenly at ‘2330 MMG fire and grenade throwing started on the FDLs (Forward Defence Lines) of A Company. Apparently, a patrol of eight Germans rushed the left position of the right flanking Battalion where they worked to the rear of our A Company. Sharp exchange of fire and grenades took place. The only casualty suffered by A Company through enemy action was Fusilier Thornbury. Sergeant McWilliams and Corporal Bryan (stretcher bearer), both of A Company, were killed by a mine. Fusilier Wilcox (A Company stretcher bearer) did good work in bringing them in and was himself wounded while doing so'.
7013179 Serjeant Robert Bowers McWilliams, 6th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, is buried in Cassino War Cemetery.
Mitchell, Alfred Trench, Merchant Marine, was drowned in the sinking of the vessel Helena Margareta at 19.40 hours on 8th April, 1941. The ship had separated from convoy OG-57 and was hit by a torpedo from submarine U-107, this causing her to perish some 330 miles west of Madeira. 27 crew members were lost. The master and 8 others were rescued on 14th  April by the fleet oiler Cairndale.
Alfred Trench Mitchell was born at Kintullagh Terrace, Cullybackey Road, Ballymena on the 21st October 1894. He was the son of boot shop manager Joseph Anderson Mitchell of Ballymena and his wife Agnes Logan. The couple, shoemaker Joseph from Magherafelt, Co. Londonderry and Agnes, daughter of farmer Robert Logan, Carniny, Ballymena, had married in Ballymena’s Wellington Street Presbyterian Church on the 5th May 1888. The couple, Joseph then a salesman, were living at Melrose street, Windsor, Belfast in 1901, and at Canterbury Street, Cromac, Belfast in 1911.   They said then that they had had 12 children and that 11 of these were still alive at the time of the census. Alfred was 16 years old at the latter date.
U-107, a Type IXb craft built in 1939,  was herself sunk in the Bay of Biscay by depth charges from a British Sunderland aircraft on the 18th August 1944. All 58 crew died.

Mitchell, 525420 Sergeant Hugh, 214 Sqdn., Royal Air Force, died on the 1 April 1942 and aged 25 years. He had been born on the 1st December 1916, the son of James and Mary A. Mitchell, of Lemnalary Carnlough, Co. Antrim. James Mitchell, the stonemason son of Robert, a Carnlough farmer, had married Mary Ann McKenty, daughter of farmer Hugh, in Carnlough’s RC Chapel on the 15th July 1906.
Wellington Mark IC Z1052,  BU-Z, flown by Mitchell, took off at 20:19hrs on the 1 April 1942 on Operation 'Lineshoot' to bomb railway yards in Hanau, Lohr. Altogether 35 Wellingtons and 14 Hampdens were involved. Twenty-two aircraft returned but twelve Wellingtons, Mitchell’s included, and one Hampden were lost. Indeed, seven of the lost Wellingtons were from 214 Squadron (R1789, X9979, Z1052, Z1156, Z8805, Z8842, and Z8979), with a loss of 41 lives, and only 1 survivor. He was Sgt Davidson, one of Mitchell’s crew. It was a black day.
Mitchell’s plane had been shot down and crashed between Wilskerke and Leffinge, approximately 2 miles ESE of Middelkirke, Belgium. On board were Sgt Hugh Mitchell, 525420, Pilot, Royal Air Force; Sgt James Murphy, 1165663, Observer; WO/I Walter David Page, R/69723, Royal Canadian Air Force; Sgt Stanley 'Stan' Perry, 1174623, Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve; Sgt Richard Arthur Platt, 939816, Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, and Sgt Clifford Hollins Davidson.
He is buried in Middelkerke Communal Cemetery, Belgium.

Murdoch (Murdock), 7008070 Private Alexander, Pioneer Corps, died age 37 on the 26th March 1943. He was the son of labourer Samuel and Myria (Maria) Murdoch (Murdock), and he was born at Carnlea, Ballymena on the 9th February 1902. Samuel Murdock and Maria Wylie, both of Crankill, Ballymena, had married in Ballymena Register Office on the 26th March 1886. They subsequently produced a family of ten children, but only six were alive in 1911. The family appear in the census returns of 1901 and 1911 at Carnlea and Crankill respectively, essentially the same place.
Alexander was the husband of Annie Murdoch (Murdock), of Ballymena.
Nesbitt, 1074968 Sergeant Thomas Alexander, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, died in an air accident when aged 30 years on the 5th December 1941. He was born at Caddy, Drummaul on the 17th January 1911, the son of William Nesbitt and his wife Mary Moore McCandless. His parents, both teachers and from Caddy and Ahoghill respectively, had married in 1st Ahoghill Presbyterian Church on the 3rd April 1907. He is buried in Kempston Cemetery, Oxfordshire.
Nesbitt was serving with 15 Operational Training Unit and was on a cross-country night training exercise in a Wellington Mark 1C, code X9799, from RAF Harwell, Oxfordshire when his aircraft collided with Tiger Moth N6968 of 6 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS), based at Denton, Northamptonshire.  It was about 2300 hrs and they were flying at 800 -1000 feet when the accident happened and the plane struck the ground north east of Piddington Station, near Denton. All eight of the Wellington crew died. They were 33533 Flying Officer Charles Edward Beloe (pilot), 591395 Sergeant Arthur Gerald Johnston (Wireless Operator), 1377212 Sergeant Herbert Samuel Loader (Observer), 1360363 Sergeant Derek Julius Marcus (Wireless Operator), 1057674 Sergeant James Henry Mattingly (Wireless Operator), 1074968 Sergeant Thomas Alexander Nesbitt (pilot), 976645 Sergeant Sydney George Parrott (Wireless Operator), and 1380378 Sergeant Harry Wright (pilot).
The crew of the Tiger Moth II also died. They were 90507 Flight Lieutenant Edward Murray Frisby (pilot) and 1443637 Leading Aircraftman David Quaife May.
Nicholl, 873038 Corporal John, Royal Air Force (Auxiliary Air Force), died age 47 on the 18th January 1945. He was the son of farmers John and Sarah Nicholl. John had married Sarah Leetch in 2nd Ahoghill (Trinity) Presbyterian Church on the 24th September 1895. Son John is a three-year-old living at Ballyconnelly, Cullybackey with his parents in 1901, and a 13 year old living at Craignageeragh, Ballyconnelly, Cullybackey living with his family in 1911. He married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Wright in 3rd Portglenone Presbyterian Church on the 18th September 1920. He later lived in Glasgow. 873038 John Nicholl is buried in Trinity Presbyterian Churchyard, Ahoghill. His son was 1821022 Sergeant Robert Nicholl (below)

Nicholl, 1821022 Sergeant (Air Gunner) Robert, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, died age 19 on the 11 April 1944. He was the son of John and Elizabeth Nicholl, of Glasgow. He was born on the 11 November 1924, probably in Glasgow, though the family originated at Ballyconnelly, Cullybackey. He is buried in Oxford (Botley) Cemetery.
Peters, 7013671 Sapper Robert, Royal Engineers, age 24 died on the 27th April 1946. He was the son of Robert and Agnes Peters, of Braid Valley View, Broughshane, Co. Antrim. He is buried in Hamburg Cemetery.

Reid, Constable Robert, Royal Ulster Constabulary died age 22 on the 5th May 1941 during the bombing of Belfast on that date.

During ‘The Fire Raid’ of the Belfast Blitz, Glenravel Street RUC Station in Belfast, Co. Antrim took a direct hit. Constable Robert Reid was one of 5 young constables killed in the attack. The other four were Constable Martin Robert Armstrong, Constable Hugh Campbell, Constable William John Lemon and Constable James McKenna.

Robert had joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary in August 1939, immediately prior to war’s outbreak. He had previously worked at Wilson’s Nurseries and in the Braidwater Mill. He was well known in Ballymena, the leader of Ballymena Accordion Band and a member of the local Apprentice Boys of Derry. Robert had three sisters and five brothers. One was Gunner William John Reid and the other Lance Corporal James Reid.

He was the son of William John and the late Maggie Reid, 32 Springwell Street, Ballymena. He is buried in Ballymena New Cemetery, Cushendall Road.

Robinson, 160770 Captain James Mairs, 1st Bn. Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), died age 35 on the 6th April 1943. He was the son of David J. M. and Annie Mairs Robinson of Cloughmills, and the husband of Frances Perioli Robinson, of Kells, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. He is buried in Sfax War Cemetery and remembered on the family headstone in Ballyweaney Presbyterian Churchyard, Cloughmills.
Ross, Matron Mary Jane Colvin, died 23 December 1940 and aged 61 years. She was Matron of Hope Hospital, now Salford Royal Hospital on Eccles Old Road, Salford, Manchester,  and she was the daughter of James and Frances Ross, of Greenfield, Clougher, Cushendall Road, Ballymena.  
Matron Ross had been appointed during the Great War and had been involved in the care of wounded servicemen. She was made a Member of the Royal Red Cross for her work. She remained at the hospital after the Great War and was killed during the Christmas Blitz on Manchester on 22nd-23rd December 1940, as were several other staff. Most were buried locally but some sources say Mary Ross was buried in Anfield Cemetery in Liverpool, next to her brother, in accordance with her wishes.
An early memorial to her, a stained glass window, was installed in the hospital, this paid for at her request from her estate. The window is now located in the chaplaincy on the third floor of the Hope building. A more recent memorial to all six casualties stands in the WRVS cafe garden in the Ladywell Building at the hospital.
Smyth, 1504638 Flight Sergeant (Navigator) James, 166 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, died age 29 on the 31st March 1944. He was the son of Thomas and Martha Smyth, of Moneynick, Randalstown, though the family had formerly of Moorfields, Ballymena. Known to family and friends as Jim, he attended Ballymena Academy and later worked in the accountancy department of the Belfast Telegraph. He enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, his number being one issued by RAF Padgate, a recruiting centre, between April and November 1941, and he subsequently trained in No 1 ITW (Initial Training Wing), Cambridge, then passed through Elementary Flying Training School. He was chosen as a navigator and subsequently went to South Africa before receiving his first posting to a bomber crew. He was initially a member of Fennel’s crew at 18 OTU (Operational Training Unit). The two were apparently good friends.
Smyth’s plane, Lancaster ME624 AS-X from 166 Squadron, was lost on 31st March 1944, one of four aircraft from his squadron lost that night. The machine left from RAF Kirmington, Lincolnshire on a night raid against Nuremburg at 2200hrs on 30th March 1944. A Luftwaffe night-fighter, possibly that of Leutnant Hans Schafer of 7/NJG2, engaged the bomber crew over Vogelsberg and reports suggest the Lancaster crashed on an airfield near Giessen, Germany.
The full crew were: 409130 Sergeant William James Allan, Royal Australian Air Force, Rear Gunner; 1318683 Flight Sergeant Roy Barton Fennell, RAFVR, Pilot; 420835 Flight Sergeant Douglas Venning Harvey, Royal Australian Air Force, Wireless Operator; 929021    Flight Sergeant Albert Patrick Jones, RAFVR, Mid Upper Gunner; 1851255 Sergeant William George Sydney Pettis, RAFVR, Flight Engineer; Flight Sergeant W J C Keigwin, Bomb Aimer; and 1504638 Flight Sergeant James Smyth, RAFVR, Navigator.
Flight Sergeant Keigwin was the only crew member to survive to become a POW, and he was later able to report that when he baled-out the aircraft was already spinning in such fashion that it was improbable that anyone else was able to get out. Some reports suggest the plane eventually exploded in mid-air. Keigwin was of the opinion that wireless operator Douglas Harvey went down with the aircraft and it is certainly true that Flight Sergeant Harvey's body was the one which was never found.
Bomber Command’s attack on the German city of Nuremberg, Bavaria on the night of 30/31 March 1944 was significant for being the costliest in terms of aircraft losses in one night time attack. The RAF lost 96 bombers shot down and a further 10 written-off after landing, making a total of 106 aircraft, more than 11% of those engaged; 545 crewmen perished that night, more than 150 captured, a personnel loss greater than losses during the Battle of Britain. Nuremberg was not significantly damaged.
Flight Sergeant James Smyth is buried in Hanover War Cemetery.
Smyth, Robert John "Jack", son of R. Crawford Smyth and Anna Smyth, of Rasharkin, Co. Antrim.  His name appears on a family headstone in Ballymena New Cemetery, Cushendall Road, Ballymena.
He served at HMS Jackdaw, RN Air Station, Crail, Fife, as a pilot with 792 Squadron Fleet Air Arm (HMS Vulture, RN Air Station, St Merryn, Padstow, Cornwall), as  a pilot, with 1832 Squadron Fleet Air Arm, (HMS Gannet, RN Air Station, Eglinton, Co. Londonderry), at Speke, near Liverpool (HMS Blackcap, RN Air Station, Stretton, Warrington, Lancashire), and from from  HMS Gannet (RN Air Station, Eglinton, Co. Londonderry) before going as a pilot to 842 Squadron Fleet Air Arm aboard the escort carrier HMS Campania. It was while serving there that he was killed in action.
HMS Campania was an incomplete mercantile hull requisitioned by the Admiralty in 29th July 1942 that was then adapted for use as an escort aircraft carrier by Harland and Wolff of Belfast. The ship had been ordered by the Cunard Line on 5th August 1941. The shipyard made changes to the structure to ensure decks were watertight and added additional transverse bulkheads. A hangar and flight deck were included as part of the changes, though the vessel was never an ideal aircraft carrier.
The vessel was one of the escort ships attached to Convoy JW64. This group of 28 merchant vessels, guarded by at least 14 naval vessels, departed from the Clyde on February 3, 1945 and later arrived without loss at the Kola Inlet, Russia on the 15th February 1945.
JW64 was, however, subject to fierce attacks en route. It was sighted on the 6th February 1945 by a JU88 bomber and the next day attacked by 48 torpedo bombers. The attackers lost 7 aircraft, 6 to fighters and 1 to the guns of the Denbigh Castle. Another torpedo bomber attack took place on the 10th, with the loss of 7 aircraft, but with no damage to the convoy. Some reports say that up to 11 U-boats were also operating the area.
Smyth was lost on the 6th February in the attack on the JU88 that had relayed the position of the convoy. This is known because of an account given relating to the death of Lieutenant Richard Alexander Fleischmann-Allen D.S.C. and Bar, born August 21st, 1921, who died aged 92 on January 29th, 2014 and whose obituary appeared in a national newspaper. It recorded that late in the short Arctic day of February 6, 1945, whilst Allen was part of the escort for convoy JW64 en route to Murmansk, a contact was detected on Campania’s radar at 28 miles distant, and aircraft were scrambled to intercept. Other sources tell us these were two Wildcat fighters. They had flown about 150 miles before they sighted the twin-engined Junkers 88 bomber.
As the enemy descended into a cloud layer at 1,000ft to evade detection, Allen fired several bursts and saw it fall, trailing smoke, into the sea, but to his dismay the Germans returning fire had hit his wing man, Robert Smyth, who was also to fall into the frozen arctic waters. He said, ‘We had flown together for the last two years, and it was a very sad moment for me.’
There was nothing he could do. Allen's plane was short of fuel, and he had only a vague idea of where the carrier was located, and it was dark before he saw her lights.

Stevenson, 6355702 Officer Cadet Wilson, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment, died as the result of an accident when aged 19 on the 2 November 1946. He had been born on 10th December 1927, and he was the son of William Stevenson and his wife Margaret Kernohan of Crankill, Ballymena. The couple had married on 23rd July 1925 in Ballymena, but Wilson was born in Birkenhead, Merseyside, the residence of the couple after their marriage. He served an apprenticeship with hardware merchant Robert Cameron at Wellington Street, Ballymena, before joining the firm of Nixon & Shaw at Liverpool. A headstone in Ballymena New Cemetery, Cushendall Road reads, ‘1935 – STEVENSON - In memory of William Stevenson, Wallasey. Died 12th November 1944, aged 60 years. Also …

William Stevenson had received the Military Medal for gallantry in the field while serving as a Corporal with North Irish Horse in World War One. He had enlisted in November 1915 and had served in France after 1916. The Ballymena Observer of 11 October 1918 reported that, ‘Corporal William Stevenson, North Irish Horse, son of the late Mr. Wilson Stevenson, Crankill, …, has been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in the field during the recent advance’- (Fighting around the Canal du Nord).

Wilson Stevenson is buried in Ballymena New Cemetery, Cushendall Road and is not named on the local war memorial.

Stewart, J/87408 Pilot Officer (Air Bomber) James Gordon, Royal Canadian Air Force, died age 20 on the 24th February 1944..
On the evening of 24th February 1944 Halifax DK146, Code DH-N, of 1664 Heavy Conversion Unit was undertaking a training exercise - a series of take-offs, short flights around the circuit of the airfield and landing. This was routine and there would have been an instructor/assessor aboard the aircraft. The weather on the evening of the 24th February was considered good. The crew made four short flights of ninety minutes, and since they were deemed competent, the instructor left the plane and let the crew continue alone. The trainees then flew two circuits of the airfield and landed each time without incident.
At 2108hrs they departed RAF Dishforth for a third solo circuit. The aircraft climbed to an altitude of around 400 feet and then dived eathward, striking the ground about two miles north of the runway and about a mile west of the village of Rainton. All on board were killed.
The crew were J/5048 Flight Lieutenant John Gordon Broder, RCAF, Pilot; J/87408 Pilot Officer James Gordon Stewart, RCAF, Bomb Aimer; 1560936 Sergeant Alexander Pettigrew Reid, RAFVR, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner; R/191070 Sergeant Clarence Walter Gugins, RCAF, Air Gunner; 1850861 Sergeant Royston William Cottrell, RAFVR, Air Gunner; and J/38263 Pilot Officer Andrew Ian Sinclair, RCAF, Air Gunner. Stewart, Gugins, Cotterill and Reid had all flown operationally together as a part of a crew at 428 Squadron prior to posting to 1664 HCU in February 1944.
He was the son of James and Agnes Stewart, nee Watson, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, though formerly and allegedly of Tullygarley, Ballymena. James was born on 20th February 1924, and as a young man he had worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway company. He had enlisted for Royal Canadian Air Force on the 20th April 1942 in Winnipeg when he was just seventeen years old. He trained in Canada and was then posted to the UK in March 1943.  He further trained at 9 EFTS, 3 (O)AFU, 24 OTU and 1659 HCU before being posted to 428 Squadron on 15th October 1943. This posting at 428 Squadron lasted until 2nd February 1944 when he was posted to 1664 HCU. He appears to have received a backdated commission after his death, dated to 23rd February 1944.
He is buried in Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery.
Stock, 7016953 Rifleman Claude A James, 2nd Bn. Royal Ulster Rifles, died aged 26 on the 20th July 1944. He was the son of William T. and Amy Hilda Stock, and the husband of Sarah G. Stock, of Ballymena. He is buried in Banneville-La-Campagne War Cemetery.
Swann, 1131447 Sergeant John White, 107 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, died on the 15 September 1943. He was aged 31 years and was the son of Andrew and Jeannie Swann. Labourer Andrew Swann of Roughan, Broughshane had married Jeannie Lynn of Lower Broughshane in High Kirk Presbyterian Church, Ballymena on the 27th May 1912.
John White Swann was the husband of Rosetta Brown Swann, of Glenarm.  He had been born on the 7th April 1913, and was the eldest son of Andrew and Jeannie of 74, Old Glenarm Road, Larne. He was a well-known footballer and played for Carrickfergus and Larne Harriers. He later played for Larne, becoming a regular for the first team in 1934/35. He played for a time with Partick Thistle and followed that by a move to Ballymena United, at the latter winning an Irish Cup Final medal in 1940. On his return to Larne a year later he enlisted and, after marrying wife Rosetta Brown McAuley, served in England.
He was a founding member in February 1935 of the Apprentice Boys of Derry Baker Club Larne Branch, as were his father and brother. He was also a member of Boyne Defenders LOL 1297.
He died from injuries sustained on 13 Sep 1943 whilst flying in Boston IIIA, BZ220 of No 107 Sqn, which overturned in a forced landing at Eversley in Hampshire after hitting a tree. The crash landing was necessitated by an engine fire in the air. Three of the crew died immediately: 37666 Terence David Brian Blake, pilot; 132837 Frederick William Easton, Navigator; and 1334050 Alfred Henry Lacey, Wireless Operator. 1131447 Sergeant John White Swann died two days later.
He is buried in Glenarm New Cemetery.

Taylor, 2333136 Signalman Denis, Royal Corps of Signals, died on the 18th April 1947, then 27 years old, and is buried in Uttoxeter Cemetery, England. He was the son William and Alice Taylor, and the husband of Eileen Margaret Taylor of Ballymena, Co Antrim.

Thompson, T/58821 Corporal John, Royal Army Service Corps, died aged 42 on the 29th October 1944. He was the son of William and Hannah Thompson of Ballymena, and the husband of Mary E. Thompson, of Ballymena.
Yarn Dresser William James Thompson had married Hannah Carson in 2nd Broughshane Presbyterian Church on the 21st June 1897. The 1901 census return records them at Princes Street, Ballymena with their three children; the 1911 return records them and their five children at Kinhilt Street, Ballymena; a sixth child had died. John Thompson, their third child, was born at Princes Street on the 15th January 1902.
He is buried in St Patrick’s Ballyclug Church of Ireland. Mary E Thompson, his wife, died on the 5th Dec 1964.

Thompson, 1066764 Sergeant (Pilot) Walter, 156 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, died age 20 on the 5/6th June 1942. He was the son of Mr J G Thompson and the late Mrs Thompson of Randalstown, Co. Antrim, and formerly of Mount Street, Ballymena.
Walter Thompson’s aircraft, a Wellington 1c Bomber, serial DV812, code GT-D, left RAF Alconbury on the 5th June 1942 and it was shot down by a night fighter flown by Hptm H Lent of 11/NJG2, either a Bf 110 or a Dornier 215 B-5 out of Leeuwarden airfield. All five of the crew perished when the plane went into the Ijsseleeer south of Hoorn.
1066764 Sergeant Walter Thompson, the pilot of the aircraft, was buried Bergen General Cemetery after his body washed up at Schellinkhout on the 14 June 1942. 1253490 Sergeant Thomas Whelan, Observer, is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, as is Wireless Operator/Air Gunner 1261842 Sergeant John Charles Mason. Wireless Operator/Air Gunner R/75636 Sergeant William Pereira, Royal Canadian Air Force, is buried in Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery. Air Gunner 974024 Sergeant Stanley Alexander Marr was buried in Bergen General Cemetery after his body washed up on Hoorn 10 June 1942.

Turtle, 4005114 Aircraftman 2nd Class William John, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, died age 19 on the 4th February 1947. He was the son of William and Martha Turtle, of Aughafatten. He is buried in Buckna Presbyterian New Cemetery.
Weir, 6985735 Fusilier Thomas, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died age 22 on the 21st April 1945. He is buried in Kirkinriola (St Patrick) Old Burial Ground.

Whittaker, LT/MX 94696 Leading Cook Robert, Royal Naval Patrol Service, H.M.S. Tango, died age 24 on the 7th October 1947. His cause of death is not known.

The Royal Naval Patrol Service (RNPS), not much talked of now, was a vital branch of the Royal Navy during the war. They operated auxiliary vessels such as naval trawlers for anti-submarine and minesweeping operations. In Summer 1939 the Admiralty had purchased 67 trawlers and had added 20 more by the outbreak of the war in September. HMS Europa, located at Lowestoft and usually known as Sparrow's Nest, became the Central Depot of the Royal Naval Patrol Service.

Between 1942 and its decommissioning in 1946 craft manned by the Service totalled 1,637 and included converted trawlers, corvettes, fuel carriers, motor launches and naval seaplane tenders. Of this total approximately 260 vessels were lost in action; circa 15,000 RNPS personnel lost their lives. Churchill thanked them at the war’s end saying, ‘The work you do is hard and dangerous. You rarely get and never seek publicity; your only concern is to do your job, and you have done it nobly.… No work has been more vital than yours; no work has been better done.’

He was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Whittaker, of Ballymena. He is buried in Ballymena New Cemetery, Cushendall Road.

Wilkinson, D/24552 Corporal Robert Stewart, 6th Royal Ulster Rifles, died on the 11th October 1940 and he is interred in Belfast City Cemetery.
He was the son of shoemaker John Wilkinson of Lismacloskey, Duneane, Toome, and his wife was Elizabeth Jane Stewart, a minor (not yet 21 years) and farmer’s daughter from nearby Tamnaghmore townland. They had married in Duneane Presbyterian Church on the 15th October 1869.
The family remained in the area for some time and a number of the family were born Lismacloskey/ Tamnaghmore – John on the 11th July 1870, Abraham on the 29th December 1871, Margaret Mary Anne Stewart (sic Stuart) on the 1st July 1873,  Robert Stewart on the 18th June 1875 (Died on the 16th October 1887 at Springwell Street, Ballymena), Agnes on the 16th October 1876 (Died at Tamnaghmore, Duneane on the 12th March 1879.), Martha on the 6th October 1878, Matilda (Agnes Matilda) on the 27th May 1883, and Letitia Jane on the 26th August 1885.
Robert Stewart, the future Corporal, was born at Springwell Street, Ballymena on the 10th February 1888, as was his brother Charles and twin sister Rachel Stewart on the 11th December 1892. John Wilkinson died there too on the 11th January 1896 – Elizabeth J, then aged 49 and of Albert Street, Ballymena, lists herself as a widow on the 1901 census and says Martha, Matilda, Letitia, Robert S and Charles were with her on the day of recording the data. In 1911 the family were at Symons Street, Belfast and widow Elizabeth said she had had twelve children, only six of whom were alive at the date of the census.
His 6th Battalion (Home Defence) Royal Ulster Rifles was formed in Northern Ireland at the commencement of WW2 and it consisted of older men with previous military experience who were unfit for active service. Robert Wilkinson had served in the Great War and the Ballymena Observer, November 13, 1914, records that ‘Mrs. John Watt of Victoria Terrace, Ballymena has been notified that her brother, Lance Corporal R. S. Wilkinson of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers has been wounded and is now a POW at Hanover.’ There were two Robert Wilkinsons in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, numbers 8167 and 10469, and our Robert Stewart appears to have been the former. German POW records show that 8167 Corporal Robert Wilkinson, ‘B’ Company, 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was captured at Lille on the 21st October 1914, and that he had shrapnel wounds to his left shoulder (Kugelwunds am l. schulter). He gave his date of birth as the 10th February 1888 and said he was born in Ballymena. He also said he was then living at 10 Symons Street, Belfast.
John Wilkinson’s son John, born on the 11th July 1870, also had a son who served in the Great War. John (jnr.) had married Sarah Polley McLoughlin (various spellings of middle and last name), both of Springwell Street, Ballymena, in St Patrick’s Parish Church on the 4th November 1893, and their son Abraham Wilkinson, born at Albert Place, Ballymena on the 5th May 1898, served as 17/116 Rifleman Abraham Wilkinson, ‘D’ Company, 12th Royal Irish Rifles. He was captured on the 21st March 1918.
The family were at Selby Street, Belfast in 1911.
8167 Corporal Robert Stewart Wilkinson, 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was according to the  1939 Belfast Street Directory, a porter at the address of 33 Brookmount Street, Belfast, Co. Antrim. He died at home on 11th October 1940 and aged 52 years old while serving in 6th Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles. His grave is in the Glenalina Extension, Section E, Grave 287 of Belfast City Cemetery, Belfast, Co. Antrim.
L/Cpl R. S. Wilkinson, Albert Place, serving in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, is listed in ‘What Ballymena has done, Ballymena Observer, May 7th, 1915.’(see Recruits pre-1915) His sister, mentioned in the Ballymena Observer extract, was Maggie Wilkinson. She had married carpenter John Watt in 2nd Broughshane Presbyterian Church on the 18th December 1894. The couple, both from Ballymena, were living at Mill Street, Ballymena in 1901 and at Upper Canning Street, Belfast in 1911.

Below Left: Abraham Wilkinson, Great War                   Right: Great War POW Photograph of Robert S Wilkinson (front row in centre)
Wiseman, William, died on the 5th May 1941 and was aged 48 years. He lived at 5 Donegore Street, Ballymacarrett and died at Donegore Street air raid shelter. He was the son of Mrs. Speer Wiseman, of Old Road, Cullybackey. His son William, aged 17, was also killed in the incident, dying in the Royal Victoria Hospital on the 5th May 1941. The pair were killed in the third German raid on Belfast which took place over the evening and morning of 4–5 May 1941. 150 people were killed altogether. The fourth and final Belfast raid took place on the following night, 5–6 May.
Young, 137409 Captain Robert Neville Desmond, 1st Bn. Irish Guards, died age 27 on the 23rd February 1944. He was the son of Robert Chichester Young, Culdaff, Co Donegal, Lieutenant RNVR, and Amy Isabel Young, nee Stuart, and he was born at 8.10 am on 16th August 1916 at Castle Street, Ballymena. His twin sister Olive Marguerite was born at 9.25 am.
He was educated at Rockport School, Craigavad and Tonbridge School in Kent, thereafter going to to London to become a solicitor. He married Mary Cunningham on 19 February 1941 and the couple lived at Sanderstead, Surrey.
He joined the Army on the outbreak of WW2 and was gazetted Second Lieutenant in the Irish Guards in 1940, becoming Captain in 1943. He had seen extensive fighting in North Africa and was then moved to Italy where, participating in the landing at Anzio, he was killed by machine gun fire.
He is buried in Beach Head Cemetery, Anzio, Italy.