BALLYMENA 1914-1918

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Second World War Names - Panel 4

Panel 4
Kennedy, 403012 Flight Sergeant (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) Isaac, Royal New Zealand Air Force, attached 142 Squadron, Royal Air Force, was killed on the 9 November 1942. He was aged about 23. He was the son of farmers Robert Kennedy, Limnaharry, Ahoghill and his wife and Margaret Anne McNeilly, of Castletown, Ahoghill, Co. Antrim. The couple married in 1st Ahoghill Presbyterian Church on the 29 July 1901.  They went on to have a large family, among them: Jeanne 1902; Ethel, 22 Aug 1904; Agnes, 1 Nov 1905; Sarah, 30 Sept 1907; Isabella, 21 Aug 1909; Clara, 16 Aug 1912; John, 29 June 1915; Margaret, 31 Mar 1917; Isaac, circa 1921; and William, circa 1924.
Kennedy had trained extensively in Canada before joining 142 Squadron, his record showing him at 2 Wireless School, Calgary, and at 2 Bombing and Gunnery School, Mossbank, Saskatchewan. He also held the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM).
Vickers Wellington bomber, serial number BJ711, code QT-Z, of 142 Squadron with Issac Kennedy aboard, took off from RAF Grimsby, near the village of Waltham, Lincolnshire. The target was Hamburg. Anti-aircraft flak probably brought the plane down on 10th November 1942, though no-one knew for sure. However, the only twin engine bomber claimed on the date by German night fighters was shot down over Holland.
One month after the loss, on the 9th December 1942, NZ newspaper The Evening Post reported the reclassification of Kennedy’s status: Previously reported missing, now reclassified missing believed killed. The Auckland Star carried the same notice next day, as did other official lists. He was later declared to have died.
Kennedy and the rest of the crew are buried in Hamburg Cemetery. His colleagues were 995657 Sergeant (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) Archibald Sinclair, 109082 P/O (Air Gunner) George David Ronald Thompson, 143198 P/O (Navigator) Aubrey Arthur Sergeant (Pilot) John Bradley. Smith, J/15845 P/O (Pilot) William Thomas Bent, DFM, RCAF, and 1199393. The cemetery also holds the resting places of men from Lancaster W4247 and other crews of 57, 44, 7, 76 and 420 Squadrons brought down on the same night, a total of twenty-nine men killed; other surviving crew became POWs.

Kennedy, 5382483 Private William Thomas, 2nd Btn. King’s (Liverpool) Regiment died aged 24 years on the 8th November 1944. He was the husband of Elizabeth Jane Kennedy of Broughshane. His parents were William and Minnie Kennedy of Moat Terrace, Ballymena. He is buried in Forli War Cemetery, Italy.
Kernohan, 1796515 Sergeant George, 159th Squadron RAFVR, died on the 6 October 1944. He was aged 22 and was the foster son of parents at Castletown, Ahoghill.
Kernohan’s No. 159 Squadron, reformed at RAF Molesworth on 2 July 1942, was posted, without aircraft, to the Middle East on 12 February 1942 and then to India on 18 May 1942. It was equipped with B-24 Liberators, and was posted to Palestine in July 1942. It bombed targets in North Africa, Italy and Greece, then flew to India on 30 September 1942. It commenced operations against the Japanese on 17 November 1942, and during the rest of the war, the squadron flew mine-laying, bombing, and reconnaissance missions over Burma, Siam, Malaya, Indo-China and the Dutch East Indies.
After the war, No.159 converted to transport and survey duties before disbanding on 1 June 1946.
One report of the raid on the 6 October 1944 put Kernohan on Liberator BZ978 but this appears to be an error, as the following sworn statement by a crew member and survivor makes clear:
I am Ex-F/L CAN.(Flight Lieutenant, Canada) J12276 David McDonald Bruce, permanently residing at 445-3rd St. Kenora, Ontario.…. I was born on October 25, 1912, at Old Meldrum, Aberdeen, Scotland. I enlisted in the R.C.A.F. on March 4, 1941, and was discharged at No. 5 Release Centre, Winnipeg, on January 8, 1946
On October 6, 1944, I was attached to No. 159 Squadron, RAF Group 231, operating from Digri, Bengal. We were flying Liberators.
At 0001 hours that date we took off to do a low-level attack on railways in Northern Siam. The crew as composed of myself as navigator and bomb aimer; Warrant Officer Barr as first pilot (RNZAF); Flying Officer Hocking, RAAF, as mid-upper gunner; Sergeant Derrick, RAF, as wireless operator; Sergeant Rutter, RAF, as flight engineer; Sergeant Kernohan, RAF, as rear gunner [listed as Ball Gunner in 159 records]; Sergeant Richards [error, should be Kenneth Prichard, per 159 Squadron records and CWGC database], RAF, second pilot and two other members of the crew whose names I cannot presently recall. [They were Sergeant John Ratcliffe and Sergeant Patrick Hogan.]
At approximately 0615 hours ground fire from the defence of Ban Dara Bridge ignited our aircraft and the skipper gained height to about 800 feet and five of us were able to bale out and landed safely. The other four members either died in the aircraft or in the resultant crash.
The five of us who landed safely were Barr, Hocking, Derrick, Rutter and myself. On landing I immediately hid …. However, within approximately 2 1/2 hours the villagers had tracked me down and I was taken prisoner by native Siamese. The others fared approximately the same way with the exception of Barr who was not captured until the following day. ….
This sworn statement about what happened was signed twice, first by D. M. Bruce at Kenora, Ontario on the 12th March, 1945. [1946?], and then by B. C. Andrew, Wing Commander, No. 2 Air Command Headquarters, RCAF, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The full crew of BZ992 whose fate Bruce was describing were 417002 Warrant Officer (Pilot) Leo Arthur Barr, RNZAF; 1324322 Sergeant (Co-Pilot) Kenneth Gordon Prichard, RAF; J.12276 Flying Officer (Navigator) David McDonald Bruce, RCAF; 1318896 Flight Sergeant (Wireless Operator) Ronald W. Derrick, RAF; 1894746 Flight Sergeant (Nose Gunner) John Squire Ratcliffe, RAF; 407291 F/O (Mid Upper Gunner) Reginal Thomas Hocking, DFC, RAAF; 1796515 Sergeant (Ball Gunner) George Kernohan, RAF; 1522977 Sergeant (Tail Gunner) Patrick Hogan, RAF, ; and 1803261 Sergeant (Flight Engineer) T. W. Rutter, RAF.
On 5-6 October 1944 sixteen aircraft had left from Digri for a low-level daylight attack on the Bangkok Chieng Mai railway, the crews instructed to bomb locomotives and any other targets of opportunity there. They flew out shortly before midnight and expected to return late in the following afternoon.
The attack was intercepted by enemy fighters. Aircraft "E" captained by Warrant Officer L A Barr, was not to return. Barr and his crew members, Pilot Officer R.T. Hocking, Sergeant. K G Pritchard, Flight Lieutenant D.M. Bruce, Flight Sergeant R W Derrick, Sergeant. T W Rutter, Flight Sergeant J S Ratcliffe, Sergeant G. Kernohan, and Sergeant P. Hogan, were posted as missing. It was only thirty-eight days later, on 13 November, that the Squadron learned that some of the missing crew members were held as prisoners. Kernohan, Prichard, Ratcliffe and Hogan had been killed. These are, having no known grave, commemorated on the Singapore Memorial.

The British Expeditionary Force arrives in France, September - October 1939.
Men of Lamont's 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers disembark from the former passenger ferry ROYAL SOVEREIGN at Cherbourg. Photograph courtesy of Imperial War Museum - IWM 01

Lamont, 6977978 Serjeant John, 2nd Bn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died age 22 years on the 19 September 1939.
According to the Ballymena Observer, September 29, 1939, he was 'probably the first Ulster soldier to lay down his life for his country in the present conflict'.  It reported that Sergeant. Lamont, in the army for almost five years, was accidentally killed on September 19th. It further said that two years previously he had returned to England after a spell of duty in Palestine, and that before joining the army he had been employed in Mr. R. White's scutch mill at Kenbally, Broughshane. The newspaper noted that on Friday, the day after his parents had been notified of his death, a letter arrived from him and in it he stated that he was going to France. He said that if it was the will of God that he should lose his life he hoped to meet his father and mother in heaven.
The 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers had arrived in Cherbourg aboard the Royal Sovereign, a former passenger ferry, on the 16th September 1939.  The short interval between his arrival and death would suggest he was killed in the scramble to unload equipment at the port; other units were also there doing the same.

Laverty, 3779794 Private William, 7th Bn. Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, then part of the 167th Infantry Brigade of 10th Corps, died age 32, born 9th July 1912, on the 20th September 1944. As the newspaper says, he enlisted early in the war and took part in the fighting in North Africa and in Italy. Two brothers had served in the First World War and one was killed – See Virtual Memorial – and the other became a Quarter Master Sergeant and won a Military Medal. Yet another brother served in the RAF in WW2.
Laverty was killed on Italy’s east coast. On 3 September 1943 the Allies had invaded the Italian mainland, and the Italians had entered the war on the Allied side. Following the fall of Rome to the Allies in June 1944, the Germans made successive stands on a series of defensive lines. In the northern Apennine mountains the last defence, the Gothic Line, was breached during the autumn and the front crept forward as far as Ravenna in the Adriatic sector. However, with divisions transferred to support the offensive in France, and the Germans dug in, the advance stalled.
Coriano Ridge was the last important ridge to be taken before winter in the Adriatic sector in the autumn of 1944. Its capture was the key to Rimini and eventually to the River Po. German parachute and panzer troops, aided by bad weather and topography, resisted all attacks between 4 and 12 September 1944.
On the night of 12 September the Eighth Army reopened its attack on the Ridge, the 1st British and 5th Canadian Armoured Divisions participating. This attack was successful in taking the Ridge, but it marked the beginning of a period of the heaviest fighting experienced since Monte Cassino in May, with daily losses for the Eighth Army of some 150 killed. Laverty was killed at the end of the operation on the 20th September.
He was the son of Alexander and his second wife Agnes, nee Dempsey, of Cullybackey, Co. Antrim. She was born at Tullygarley and he at the Dreen, Cullybackey, and the couple had wed in Craigs Parish Church, Cullybackey on the 20th April 1908.

Law, 7014291 Fusilier James, 1st Btn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers died on the 7 April 1943 aged 22 years. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial, Burma.
7014291 Fusilier James Law, 1st Btn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers died on the 7 April 1943 aged 22
The 1st Battalion was a Regular Army unit stationed in British India in 1939, and it stayed in the east during the entire war.
In 1942 the battalion, part of weak and ill-equipped force, was flown to Burma to help stem the Japanese advance. They were heavily involved in the dreadful retreat of 1942, and they eventually reached Assam after months of fighting and marching, an exhausted remnant of a once powerful battalion. Their spirit was, however, unbroken and within months they had absorbed drafts and were willing to play a leading part in the Arakan with the 47th Indian Infantry Brigade, part of the 14th Indian Infantry Division, which was sent to garrison Chittagong on the frontier with Burma. The division's establishment included only two infantry brigades instead of the usual three, though in July 1942, the division absorbed the 55th Indian Infantry Brigade as a third brigade, and also the 88th Indian Infantry Brigade for the static defence of Chittagong. The main body of the division held a line around Cox's Bazar, on the frontier with Burma.
In late 1942, the division advanced into the Burmese coastal province of Arakan (First Campaign), intending ultimately to recapture Akyab Island, vital for its airfields. Well-built Japanese defences on the Mayu peninsula, very close to the target island, compelled the sending of reinforcements, and a temporary headquarters, "Mayforce", was created to oversee operations in the Mayu River valley, separated from the main body of the division by a rugged hill range.
Several frontal attacks mounted on the impenetrable Japanese positions failed. Heavy losses led on 29 February 1943 to Lieutenant General Noel Irwin taking personal command. However, strong Japanese reinforcements, amounting to an understrength division, arrived from Central Burma. Crossing rivers and mountain ranges which the Allies had assumed to be impassable, they hit 14th Division's exposed left flank on 3 April 1943 and overran several units, forcing the remainder to make a disorderly withdrawal. The various units split up into small groups to fight their way north through the jungle. For the second time, a much reduced 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusilier battalion and others re-assembled in India, and the flat rice growing area, which gave British artillery an advantage, and heavy rain forced the Japanese to halt their pursuit. It was during this bitter fighting retreat that Fusilier James Law was killed. He is one of 74 men, most from the Royal Inniskillings, who are named on the memorial and said to have died that day and who have no known grave.
The 1st Bn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers took no further part in active operations in Burma, remaining in India on internal security duties until 1947, when they were one of the last British units to depart.

Alexander Street, Ballymena - home of many Ballymena soldiers in the Great War, 1914-1918 and during Second World War, 1939-1945.

This local newspaper photograph shows the residents' scrap metal collection during Second World War in aid of war effort.
The street's houses have now been demolished and the site is a car park.

Lorimer, 7014075 Rifleman William, 1st Btn. London Irish Rifles (formerly Royal Ulster Rifles), died on the 10 October 1941. He had been born at Alexander Street, Ballymena on the 26th June 1918.  His parents were William Lorimer, a shoemaker, of Springwell Street, Ballymena and Hannah McLaughlin, Harryville Ballymena.  The couple had married St. Patrick's Parish Church, Ballymena on the 9th January 1902. They later lived at 2, Alexander Street, Ballymena. He is buried in Ballymena Cemetery, Cushendall Road.
Lynas, 2872731 Lance Corporal Mark, 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died age 32 on the 18 May 1940. He was the son of Joseph Lynas and his wife Margaret McNeill, of Ballymena, Co. Antrim. He was the husband of Margaret Hawke Lynas (nee Power), of Harryville, Ballymena. He is buried in Halle Communal Cemetery.
His wife’s name indicates that she was a daughter of 308879 Joyce Power, Leading Stoker on  HMS Hawke. His ship was sunk by U-Boat on the 15th October 1914. He was aged 33, born 10 March 1881 at Ahoghill, and was the son of Mr. and Mrs. William and Maria Power, nee Allison, Ahoghill. He was the husband of Maggie Power, nee Marcus, Waring Street, Ballymena. The couple, then of Craigywarren and Eglish respectively, had married in Cloughwater Presbyterian Church on the 6 August 1912.
Marshall, D/LX 31320 Steward Matthew Herbison, (Herbie), H.M.S. Mourne, Royal Navy, died off the beaches of Normandy and aged 19 on the 15th June 1944. He was only 19 when he died in June 1944. He was the son of H. and Jeannie Marshall, of Ballymena, Co. Antrim. He is remembered on Plymouth Naval Memorial.
At 13.45 hours on 15 June 1944, HMS Mourne (K 261) (River class frigate commanded by Lt Cdr R.S. Holland, RD, RNR) was hit and sunk by a torpedo fired from U-767. The ship was south-southeast of Wolf Rock, and together with other warships was on patrol off the western entrance of the English Channel, their role being to screen Operation Neptune, the Allied landings in the Normandy. The unfortunate frigate had just turned towards the U-boat after making Asdic contact when the torpedo struck her bow and she disappeared in an explosion caused by the ignition of the forward magazine. The powerful blast killed the commander, seven officers and 102 crewmen; another rating later died of wounds.
The River class was a then relatively new type of British-designed frigate. One hundred and fifty-one such frigates were constructed, and these were operated by seven different nations during the war. HMS Mourne, commissioned on 30 April 1943, was built by the Smiths Dock Co., South Bank-on-Tees. Two others of the type, HMS Itchen and HMS Tweed, were also lost while serving with the Royal Navy, and a number were damaged and had to be declared totally lost.

Millar, Andrew,  died on the 1 May 1948 and he is buried in Connor New Cemetery, Kells.

Millar, 1449826 Gunner George, 9th Heavy AA Regiment, Royal Artillery, died aged 20 on the 26th August 1940. His parents were Alexander and Annie Millar of 31 Garfield Place, Ballymena. He is buried in Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.
Londonderry’s largest contribution of manpower to the Allied war effort was 9th (Londonderry) Heavy Anti-Aircraft (HAA) Regiment of the Royal Artillery. This regiment was part of the Supplementary Reserve and therefore was assigned to the field army rather than to home defence. This meant that the regiment would serve overseas, and it was believed that it would join the British Expeditionary Force in France in late 1939.
At first the regiment had four batteries. Three of these were heavy batteries and were numbered 24, 25 and 26, while the fourth was a light battery; this was 6 LAA Battery. Of the heavy batteries, two were based in Londonderry while the third was based in Ballymena.            
In November 1939 the Regiment was posted to Egypt to protect HMS Nile, the Royal Navy base at Alexandria. During the following summer, 25 Battery was sent to the Western Desert, serving with 7th Armoured Division (the Desert Rats) and then Port Sudan which it defended against numerous air raids by the Italian air force.
Meanwhile 24 and 26 HAA Batteries remained in Alexandria where they provided the backbone of the anti-aircraft defence for the harbour and would do so until mid-1942. During that time not a single Italian or German bomb hit a ship in Alexandria harbour. At Port Sudan 25 Battery had achieved a similar distinction. It was during this time, however, that Gunner George Miller was killed.
25 Battery returned to Alexandria on Easter Day 1941 but were almost immediately ordered to the Western Desert. There they spent six months defending front-line landing strips and were often strafed by enemy aircraft. In October they re-joined the Regiment in the Alexandria area. In spring 1942 the Regiment moved to the Suez Canal Zone before being deployed to join Ninth Army in Palestine in the summer, their role to defend against a possible German attack. They spent much time in intensive training before the threat from the Caucasus evaporated. Following the Battle of El Alamein the Regiment was ordered to join Eighth Army’s advance and deployed in the defence of Tripoli from late January 1943. The Royal Navy had demanded that the Regiment should be part of the Tripoli defences.
From North Africa the Regiment took part in the invasion of Italy, landing at Salerno in September 1943 on D-Day + 6. For a time they served as infantry in the beachhead before returning to their usual role. They also served as field artillery. Before leaving Italy for Britain in September 1944 the Regiment had also supported American forces along the Arno river and earned much praise for the accuracy and effectiveness of their shooting at ground targets.     
9th HAA’s final operational role was in Britain where the Regiment was part of the defences of Derby before moving to the east coast in early 1945 as part of the ‘Diver’ defences; this was the codename for the guns deployed to engage the V1 flying bombs, known as doodlebugs, some of which were launched from aircraft over the North Sea.
Although the Regiment saw no V1s to fire at their guns did engage German aircraft in the Luftwaffe’s final operations over Britain in March 1945.
Millar, Robert, 2nd Engineering Officer, SS Glen Head (Belfast), Merchant Navy, died aged 54 on the 6 June 1941.  His wife was the late Josephine Millar. She had died aged 35 years at 24, Kingswood Street, Belfast on the 19th March 1913.  Robert, recorded as a sailor, was at her bedside.
SS Glen Head was a British Cargo Steamer of 2,011 tons built in 1909 by Clyde Shipbuilding Company, Port Glasgow as the SS Neva for the Stott Line (W H Stott), Liverpool. She was owned by various companies and sailed under various names before she was acquired in 1937 by Ulster SS Co. and renamed SS Glen Head.
While part of Convoy OG-63 she was bombed by a Focke-Wulf Fw200 aircraft on 6th June 1941 and sank south-west of Cape Vincent. Twenty-seven crewmen were lost. The Glen Head had been in the sixth of seven convoy columns, and as the plane flew directly over the columns, it dropped three bombs; two bombs were near misses but the third hit the ship’s No 5 hatch.
The 39 ships, some say more, of convoy OG-63 had sailed from Liverpool on the 25th May and had arrived at Gibraltar on the 7th June. Three of the vessels, of which Glen Head was one, were lost.
OG-63 had been first sighted on the 5th June by an Italian vessel, submarine Velella, which directed submarine Marconi (Lt Cdr Pollina) to the target. During night 5/6th Marconi claimed four hits and submarine Velella two hits. British ship Baron Lovat and Swedish vessel Taberg were, however, the only ships torpedoed and sunk off Cape St. Vincent on the 6th June 1941. Both are credited to submarine Guglielmo Marconi.
Guglielmo Marconi did not long survive the action. She disappeared in 1941 with her 62 crew, probably sunk by depth charges from the destroyer HMS Duncan on 28 October.
Pandias, another ship in the convoy, was sunk after the dispersal of the vessels. She was struck 450 miles south of the Cape Verde islands by a torpedo fired from the German U-107. The torpedo struck her amidships on her starboard side and she went down with the loss of 11 of her 34 crew. Other crew, given water and food by the submarine, travelled by lifeboat to French Guinea and were interned. At least one sailor died in captivity.
Robert Millar’s name appears on the Tower Hill Memorial.
Montgomery, 1119211 Sergeant (Air Gunner) David, 78th Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, died on the 12 June 1943. His father was Mr. Joseph Montgomery, Patrick Place, Ballymena.
A big effort was being made by Bomber Command on the 11/12 June 1943, one part of which saw 783 aircraft - 326 Lancasters, 202 Halifaxes, 143 Wellingtons, 99 Stirlings, 13 Mosquitos - sent to Dusseldorf. The Pathfinder plan worked well until an Oboe-equipped Mosquito unintentionally released a load of target indicators 14 miles north-east of the actual target and this caused some crews to waste its bombs on open country. However, the main bombing caused extensive damage in the centre of Düsseldorf, where 130 acres were claimed as destroyed, and this proved to be the most damaging raid of the war for this city. 38 aircraft - 14 Lancasters, 12 Halifaxes, 10 Wellingtons, 2 Stirlings - lost, 4.9 per cent of the force. One of the Halifax II aircraft lost was Montgomery’s plane, that designated W7932.
On Friday, 11 June 1943, Halifax II, serial number W7932, code EY- , left RAF Linton on Ouse at 22:23. Somewhere near Sambeek, south of Boxmeer, Noord-Brabant, Holland it was shot down by night fighter pilot flown by Major Werner Streib. That night Streib, together with radio operator Helmut Fischer, flew the prototype version He 219 V9, and claimed five aerial victories. Halifax II, serial number W7932 was fourth kill and the plane was shot down at 02:22hrs in location west of Sambeek. This "ace-in-a-day" achievement took his total to 55 nocturnal aerial victories.
All the crew on the plane perished. They were Pilot, 1334168 Warrant Officer F. Hemmings, RAF; Flight engineer 982053 Sergeant. J. Muir, RAF; Navigator 993803 Sergeant. J. Stone, RAF; Bomb aimer Pilot Officer 145699 W.C.R. Foale, RAF; Wireless Operator/Air Gunner 1127874 Sergeant. A. Shaw RAF; Air Gunner 1315951 Sergeant T.W.R. Daniel; and Air Gunner 1119211 Sergeant D. Montgomery, RAF.  All are buried in Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery, Holland.
Montgomery, 1358070 Sergeant Robert, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, died on the 1st November 1942. He was aged 21 years. His parents were Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Montgomery, Patrick Place, Ballymena.
Sergeant Robert Montgomery was one of a six-man crew aboard a Wellington II type aircraft, serial number Z8418, which belonged to OADU, the Overseas Air Delivery Unit, and which was lost on a fight from Gibraltar to Bathurst, now Banjul, Gambia. What caused its disappearance is unknown. All the crew were lost. They were, in addition to 1358070 Sergeant Robert Montgomery, as follows: 650471 Sergeant Arthur Baden, RAF; 131813 Sergeant Philip John Davis, RAFVR; 964314 Sergeant Douglas Hugh de Gruchy, RAFVR; 1078799 Sergeant Jeffrey Ogden, RAFVR; and R/85449 Warrant Officer (Class 2) Walter Keogh Martin, RCAF.
They are all commemorated on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt.