Moody, 3194424 Fusilier William, 1st Bn. Royal Scots Fusiliers, died age 29 on the 30 November 1944. He was the son of William and Lizzie Moody, and the husband of Jessie Moody, of Jedburgh, Roxburghshire. He is buried in Taukkyan War Cemetery. William Moody died fighting the Japanese in Burma. There were two reasons for the Japanese invasion of Burma: they wanted to cut overland access to China from Burma via the famed Burma Road, the route along which military aid went to the Chinese nationalists, and they understood possession of Burma would open the way to India, where they believed general insurrection against the British Raj would occur. Entering Burma from Thailand, the Japanese quickly captured Rangoon, cutting off the Burma Road at source, and depriving the Chinese of their only convenient supply base and port of entry. In response, General Wavell formed two scratch divisions, the 1st Burma and 17th Indian, into Burma corps (Burcorps). They were to defend well forward, but the troops were raw, lacked combat experience, and were inadequately trained and equipped. Only two experienced light tank regiments and an infantry battalion brought in from the Middle East were up to the task and their presence in the long retreat up-country undoubtedly saved Burma Corps from total destruction. Burcorps, now under command of Lieutenant General William Slim, fell back up the Irrawaddy river, and it was not until May 1942 that the retreat finally ended, and the shattered remnants of Burcorps began to prepare for return to Burma. There followed many months of stalemate as both sides tried to probe each other's strengths and weaknesses. The first tentative advance into the Arakan, the coastal region of Burma, at the end of 1942 stalled and was bloodily repelled. Things were only lightened by the propaganda value of Brigadier Orde Wingate's first Chindit expedition. In this the Allies enjoyed some success in using guerrilla tactics against the Japanese, and despite incurring heavy losses, proved that British troops could fight in the jungle. By 1943 the Allied High Command was overhauled, and Lord Louis Mountbatten took command. He got essential air support, particularly transport aircraft, for what now became the 14th Army. Re-supply by air became the norm for the forward troops. Slim, now in command of 14th Army, encouraged troops not to disperse when attacked, but to sit tight and rely on air-dropped supplies. The Japanese, aware of these changes, resolved to end the campaign at a blow with an assault into Assam, their target the key towns of Imphal and Kohima. Another Japanese attack was made simultaneously in the Arakan. However, this time the defenders stood firm. Between March and July 1944 fierce battles raged on both fronts – the 1st Battalion spent the entire war in SE Asia. The outnumbered fanatical Japanese troops were pushed from the hills and across the River Chindwin, harassed by Wingate's second Chindit expedition. The 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers and William Moody were part of all this. They had fought the Battle of Madagascar, 1942, and rested in British India for a time, saw their 29th Brigade become part of the 36th Infantry Division and fall under the command of the British 14th Army. From then on they were part of the Arakan advance and the march on Mandalay. Moody, killed on the 30 November 1944, did not live to see the victory of 1945 that he had helped to win. Early in 1945, 14th Army continued to advance, somewhat easier since they were no longer in the jungle but in the open plains of upper Burma. Mandalay fell in March, and Slim conducted a brilliant crossing of the mighty Irrawaddy before heading south. In the Arakan, the Japanese had to be winkled out of strong positions before Rangoon was taken on 3 May. Even then, the overall victory secure, thousands of Japanese troops fought on behind British lines. Defeated they were but fought on the run as they were desperate to escape across the Sittang river into Thailand.
Mullan, 6978659 Fusilier Thomas, 1st Bn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died on the 18 February 1943 and aged 23 years. 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. Mullan was one of those who fell during the retreat. He has no grave and is remembered on the Rangoon Memorial. The memorial is located in the centre of Taukkyan War Cemetery in Burma and it commemorates nearly 27,000 Land Forces of the British Empire who died during the campaigns in Burma and who have no known grave.
Mulvenna, 3245219 Rifleman Thomas, 1st Bn. Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), died age 27 on the 26 February 1942. He was the son of James and Margaret Mulvenna, of Ballymena, Co. Antrim. The Mulvenna family originally came from Belfast. James Mulvenna, a joiner of 48 Ravensdale Street had married Margaret Keating of 2 Eileen Gardens, Windsor Avenue inn St Bridget’s RC Chapel on the 1st January 1913. Their son, Thomas Patrick Mulvenna, was born at 40 Groomsport Street, Belfast on the 1st February 1915. When they moved to Ballymena is unknown. The 1st Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), which had been in India at the start of the war, was deployed to Burma as part of the 1st Burma Brigade in the 39th Indian Division in 1942 and saw action in the Burma Campaign. Its role was to hold up the Japanese advance, and allow for people and places to be evacuated. With a shortage of weapons, little transport and hostile locals, this was a particularly tough assignment. This campaign ended in defeat for the British Army. So many men were killed in the fighting retreat that 1st Battalion, The Cameronians was left create a new 1st Battalion. Mulvenna was one of those who did not live to see this new battalion. He is remembered on the Rangoon Memorial.
Murray, D/KX 134458 Stoker 2nd Class Robert, H.M. Submarine P. 514., Royal Navy, died age 19 on 21 June 1942. He was the son of Robert and Sarah Murray, of Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. He is remembered on Plymouth Naval Memorial. It was just after midnight on 21 Jun 1942 and off Cape Race when the path of the eastbound submarine and her corvette escort was spotted. The former US Navy Submarine R-19 was en route from Argentia to St. John’s in Canada under the command of Lieutenant Walter Augustus Phillimore. Problems with one of the ships in CL.43, a convoy about to sail for Sydney, Australia, had delayed its departure by several hours. Moreover, an eastbound convoy, SC.88, had been blown north of its intended track, and passed through CL.43. The situation was confusing and dangerous, more so because visibility was poor, the night sky overcast with occasional mist patches. Lieutenant Commander AG Stanley’s HMCS Georgian detected an approaching diesel engine on her hydrophones and turned onto the bearing to investigate. The lookouts spotted the submarine and, unaware of friendly submarines in the area, the ship rammed P.514 amidships. At 00:40 hours Atlantic Time, the submarine went down in 27 fathoms. As soon as the sinking was reported an instant rescue mission was mounted but found no survivors were found. A lone body was spotted but it sank before it could be recovered. The body, that of ERA, Norman C. Bennett, came ashore a month later near Ferrylands, and he was laid to rest in the local graveyard with full military honours. A subsequent Board of Enquiry into the incident. According to one testimony, the submarine's navigation lights flicked on, then off. According to the CO of the corvette escorting P.514, her lights had been on for some time. The bridge personnel in Georgian could look down into the bridge of the submarine and they observed that it was empty, the hatch was shut. The Board of Enquiry accepted, however, that the Commanding Officer of the Georgian had acted correctly; there had been no reply from the submarine to his identification challenge.
McAteer, 6982565 Corporal Daniel, 6th Bn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died age 22 on the 13th January 1943. He was the son of John and Hessie McAteer, of Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. The 6th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was a war-service battalion created in October 1940. In early 1942 the battalion was assigned to the 210th Independent Infantry Brigade (Home), serving alongside 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers and 2nd Battalion, London Irish Rifles. The brigade was later redesignated 38th (Irish) Infantry Brigade, part of the 6th Armoured Division. During the fighting in Italy, the 6th Battalion would serve in the same theatre as the 2nd Battalion. The 6th Battalion, therefore, fought in the Tunisian Campaign in North Africa in 1942-1943 with the rest of the 6th Armoured Division, part of the British First Army. In May 1943, the war in North Africa came to an end in Tunisia with the defeat of the Axis powers. The campaign had commenced on 8 November 1942, when Commonwealth and US troops made a series of landings in Algeria and Morocco. The Germans responded immediately by sending a force from Sicily to northern Tunisia, which checked the Allied advance east in early December. In the south, the Axis forces defeated at El Alamein withdrew into Tunisia along the coast through Libya, pursued by the Allied Eighth Army. Medjez-el-Bab was at the limit of the Allied advance in December 1942 and remained on the front line until the decisive Allied advances and defeat of Axis forces in North Africa in April and May 1943. McAteer was probably killed in the Battle of Bou Arada, 13th January 1943. On the evening of 10 January 1943 fifteen German tanks reached the outskirts of Bou Arada but were driven back. However, it became known that a strong force of infantry and tanks was assembling in an area seven miles north of Bou Arada. An attack was launched on the 13 January 1943 by the French who were commanding, and the French were supported by troops of the 6th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. It would seem McAteer was killed at this time. The War Diary records the action starting at 0545hrs. The two forward Companies, C on right and led by Captain Ferris and D on left and led by Captain Rowlette, crossed the start line on time. Battalion HQ followed behind the leading Companies along the track which was to be the axis of advance. By 1530 hrs the men withdrew, the 6th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers ordered back to farms west of Bou Arada, which they took over from Rifle Brigade. In those few short hours Lieutenant Desmond James Warren had been killed, Captain Ferris, Lieutenants Buck, George, Strickland and Poer Power wounded. CSM Stevenson was also wounded. Eleven Other Ranks (ORs) were killed, 55 wounded and 16 were missing. The Medjez-el-Bab Memorial commemorates almost 2,000 men of the First Army who died during the operations in Algeria and Tunisia between 8 November 1942 and 19 February 1943, and those of the First and Eighth Armies who died in operations in the same areas between 20 February 1943 and 13 May 1943, and who have no known graves.
McBride, 14217683 Lance Corporal William George, 1st (Airborne) Division, Divisional Provost Company, Corps of Military Police, died age 36 on the 21 December 1943. He was born on the 15th June 1907 at Eglish, Broughshane, the son of Robert James McBride and Agnes (Nancy) Glenn. Her forename is illegible on the record of his birth. The couple had married in Cloughwater Presbyterian Church on the 15th May 1891. Robert James McBride, son of farmer James, said he was a miner from Knockboy, Broughshane, and Agnes, daughter of butcher John Glenn, was from Ballycloghan, Broughshane. The parents said on the 1911 census return that they had had nine children and that all were alive at that time. They were John (10 March 1892), Andrew Hutchinson (circa 1894), Sophie Jane (12 February 1895), Agnes (25 February 1897), Margaret (7 January 1899), Robert (15 April 1902), Samuel (20 August 1904), William George (15 June 1907) and Elizabeth (17 July 1909). He is buried in the Sango River War Cemetery.
McCabe, Assistant Steward William John, Merchant Navy, died aged 26 years in the sinking of the S.S. Bengore Head (Belfast). He was the son of James and Susan McCabe. The couple, James McCabe, a 21-year-old groom, then of Fortwilliam Park, Belfast, had married 18-year-old Susan Coburn, daughter of sailor Thomas and then of 8, Canning Street, Belfast, in St. Anne’s, Belfast on the 13 April 1893. He was the husband of Margaret McCabe, of Broughshane, Co. Antrim. He is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial. James and Susan indicated on the 1911 census return that they had had eight children and that six were still alive at that date. Those who can be traced – Sarah Coburn (20 September 1904), Meta (Martha Maria, born 19 August 1906) and Andrew (born 30 Nov 1909) - were born in Islandmagee, and the absent records of others may indicate that they were born outside Ireland. Other children names in the census returns of 1901 and 1911 are Hunter, James, Louie, Sylvia and Thomas J. SS Bengore Head IV was launched by Irvine's Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. Ltd. in West Hartlepool in 1922 and was torpedoed and lost on the 9th May 1941, William McCabe being the only crew member to perish, apparently from shock and the exhaustion of being in the sea. The master, 35 crew members and four gunners on the armed merchantman were rescued. Sixteen were taken by the Norwegian merchantman Borgfred and landed at Sydney on 18 May. The remaining twenty-four survivors were by transported by HMS Aubretia to Reykjavik. SS Bengore Head IV was one of the ships in convoy OB-318, a west-bound convoy of 38 ships that sailed from Liverpool on 2 May 1941 and was bound for ports in North America. At 11.58 hours on 9 May 1941, U-110, one of a group of U-boats operating in the area, attacked convoy OB-318 east of Cape Farewell, Greenland and sank Bengore Head and Esmond. U-110 had departed Lorient on 15 April 1941, and she sank merchantman Henri Mory on the 27th April about 380 miles west northwest of Blasket Islands, Ireland, before heading out in the deeper ocean. She was soon part of a group hunting the ships of convoy OB-318 east of Cape Farewell, Greenland. She successfully attacked and sank Esmond and Bengore Head, but the escort vessels responded. The British corvette, HMS Aubrietia, located the U-boat with ASDIC (sonar). Aubrietia and British destroyer Broadway then proceeded to drop depth charges, forcing U-110 to surface. What happened then became Operation Primrose, 9 May 1941. U-110 survived the attack, but was seriously damaged. HMS Bulldog and Broadway remained in contact after Aubrietia's attack. Broadway changed course to ram the damaged submarine, but instead fired two depth charges beneath the U-boat; her intent was to make the crew abandon vessel before scuttling her. Lemp, U-110’s commander, did order "Abandon ship", but as the crew scrambled onto the U-boat's deck they came under fire from two attacking destroyers Bulldog and Broadway and there were casualties. The British believed the crew were trying to use their deck gun. They ceased fire when they realised that the U-boat was being abandoned and the crew wanted to surrender. Lemp then realised that U-110 was not sinking and attempted to swim back to it to destroy the secret code books and other sensitive material. He died, a German sailor saying he was shot in the water by a British sailor. Fifteen men, including Lemp, were killed in the action, and 32 were captured, fated to become POWs in Canada. Bulldog's boarding party, led by sub-lieutenant David Balme, got onto U-110 and stripped it of everything portable, including her Kurzsignale code book and the vessel’s Enigma machine, the latter retrieved by William Stewart Pollock, a former radio operator in the Royal Navy and on loan to HMS Bulldog. The documents captured from U-110 helped Bletchley Park codebreakers solve Reservehandverfahren, a reserve German hand cipher. U-110 was taken in tow back toward Britain, but sank en route to Scapa Flow. Some say she was deliberately sunk to keep the Nazis from finding out that their codes and Enigma machine had been compromised. U-110's capture, later given the code name "Operation Primrose", was one of the biggest secrets of the war, remaining so for seven months. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was only told of the capture by Winston Churchill in January 1942. It was sad that William George McCabe did not survive to know the momentous events of that day. U-571, a film inspired by the capture of U-110, saw Hollywood use American characters instead of British seamen in their recounting of the tale. They depicted a German submarine boarded by disguised American submariners in an effort to capture their Enigma cipher machine.
McCaig, D/LX 26009 Leading Steward James Victor, H.M. Submarine Parthian, Royal Navy, died on 11 August 1943. HMS Parthian, commanded by Lt. Cyril Astell Pardoe, RNR, is presumed to have struck a mine somewhere in the southern in Adriatic in early August 1943. In February 1943, she was the sole British submarine positioned at Beirut. She repositioned, thereafter sailing to Malta under the command of Lieutenant C. A. Pardoe. She again, ordered to patrol west of Greece in the southern Adriatic, went to sea from Malta on 22nd July. She subsequently received on 26th July 1943 orders to patrol off Capo Otranto, but these orders were again changed on the 28th. The submarine was further signalled on 6th August and told to abandon the patrol, but the signal was not acknowledged. No further contact could be made with the submarine and HM submarine Parthian did not arrive at Beirut on 11th August 1943, her expected date of return. The fatal contact with the mine probably happened near Brindisi, south-eastern coast of Italy, on or around 6th August. Leading Steward James Victor McCaig is remembered on Plymouth Naval Memorial.
McCarroll, 103019 Flight Lieutenant William, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and former Ballymena Academy pupil, born on the 24 June 1918 at Clogher (Clougher sic), Kirkinriola, Ballymena, was 25 years of age when he died on active service on the 21 November 1943. He was the son of William John McCarroll and his wife Minnie O’Hara. The Couple, William John, a farmer from Dernaveagh, had married Minnie, daughter of farmer John O’Hara of Leymore in 1st Broughshane Presbyterian Church on the 5th September 1901. The family were living at Broughdone in 1911. William John was 34 and still a farmer and Minnie was aged 30. They listed four children at the time of the census, Thomas (6), Walter (5), Johnie (4) and Lillian Mary (3). William was also the husband of Gwendoline Mary McCarroll, of Belfast., William had married Gwendoline Mary Sheridan from Enniskillen in early 1943. Records suggest Mary was pregnant in 1943 and gave birth to a son also named William after her husband’s death. 103019 Flight Lieutenant William McCarroll died on the 21st November 1943 while aboard a Short S.25 Sunderland, serial number L2168, that belonged to 4(C)OTU. The aircraft and crew left RAF Invergordon to perform a night training landing practice exercise. Apparently, an engine caught fire in flight and the seaplane crashed into the Cromarty Firth off the village of Nigg. All four crew members, 1777038 Sergeant George Robert Sawhill Riddell, 143788 Flying Officer John Raymond Harnwell, 103019 Flight Lieutenant William McCarroll, and 1611333 Sergeant Sydney Albert Spencer, were killed. No. 4 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit was formed at R.A.F. Station Stranraer, Wigtownshire on the 16th of March 1941 as a part of R.A.F. Coastal Command's No. 17 Group. The unit's role was to train crews for operations on flying boats. The initial training aircraft were Short Singapore Mk. IIIs. These were augmented with Supermarine Stranraer Mk. Is, Saro Lerwick Mk. Is, Saunders-Roe London Mk. IIs and Consolidated Model 28 Catalinas, Mark1s and possibly Mark IIs. Support aircraft used in target towing and other general duties included the Westland Lysander Mk. II, de Havilland Tiger Moth Mk. II and Airspeed Oxford Mk. I. The unit operated for a brief period from Invergordon, Ross & Cromarty from the 15th to the 21st of June 1941, but may have used RAF Alness, as it became in February 1943, periodically thereafter. The crew names are on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, no bodies having been recovered.
McCartney, 6975296 Corporal William James, 1st Bn. Royal Irish Fusiliers, died on the 9 February 1943 and aged 36 years old. He was the husband of Matilda McCartney, of Ballymena, Co. Antrim. He is buried in Massicault War Cemetery, Tunisia. In May 1943, the war in North Africa came to an end in Tunisia with the defeat of the Axis powers by a combined Allied force. The campaign began on 8 November 1942, when Commonwealth and American troops made a series of landings in Algeria and Morocco. The Germans responded immediately by sending a force from Sicily to northern Tunisia, which checked the Allied advance east in early December. Meanwhile, in the south, the Axis forces defeated at El Alamein were withdrawing into Tunisia along the coast through Libya, pursued by the Allied Eighth Army. By mid-April 1943, the combined Axis force was hemmed into a small corner of north-eastern Tunisia and the Allies were grouped for their final offensive. Many of those buried at Massicault War Cemetery died in the preparation for the final drive to Tunis in April 1943 and in that advance at the beginning of May. McCartney’s date of death suggests he probably died in the preliminary skirmishing that preceded the main attack in April.
McComb (or McCombe), D/SSX24324 Able Seaman Malcolm Patrick, then H.M.S. Gannet, Royal Navy, died of illness, heart problems and 'terminal broncho-pneumonia' at Musgrave Park Hospital, Barmoral, Belfast, on the 1st December 1947. He is buried in Kilbride New Cemetery, Co Antrim.
Malcolm Patrick McComb was born 27th May 1920. He was serving at HMS Sultan, part of the naval base at Singapore, when he was captured by the Japanese on the 15th February 1942. He presumably spent the rest of the war in the notorious POW camps and this may have contributed to his health problems. He died in service and qualifies for CWGC recognition.
He was the son of Hugh and Isabella McComb, of Ballymena, though they were living at 7 Cogry, Doagh at the time of his capture. He was the husband of Annie McComb. (Additional information by Nigel Henderson)
McCready, 1024867 Sergeant Herbert George Horatio, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, died on the 17th May 1943 and aged 26 years. He was probably killed whilst flying in Wellington VIIl, HX735, of 7 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit (No 7 (C) OTU), which failed to return from a navigation exercise over the Atlantic. Loss of aircraft in training squadrons was unsurprisingly high and accepted; crews had to be given very specific instruction on their planes, tactics and tasks before being fed into operational squadrons. 7 (C) OTU would have been using Wellingtons adapted for hunting ships and submarines in the Atlantic, e.g. special radars, torpedoes, etc. McCready probably flew out of Limavady airfield. Built in 1940, the airfield at Limavady, initially for 15 Group, was in April 1942 transferred to 17 Group for training purposes and the operational squadrons withdrew to be replaced by 7 Operational Training Unit (7 (C) OTU) equipped with Wellingtons and Ansons. It was not until January 1944 that it once again became a base for operational Wellington squadrons, and for Fleet Air Arm 850 Squadron operating within 15 Group. Those lost on HX735 appear to have been 125997 Flying Officer Robert Bridge, 1024867 Sergeant Herbert George Horatio McCready, 1383134 Sergeant Harry Kenneth Barker, 1314929 Sergeant Ernest Charles John Hill, and 1384178 Sergeant James Herber Newton. The body of the last named was the only one ever recovered. It washed ashore on the 11 September 1943 and was buried in Ashaig Cemetery, Isle of Skye. 1024867 Sergeant Herbert George Horatio McCready was the son of James and Margaret McCready, nee Currie, of Cullybackey, Co. Antrim. He had been born at Moylarg townland, Cullybackey on the 24th July 1916. The parents had married in the United Presbyterian Church, Cullybackey on the 2 June 1899. Beetler James was from Tullygrawley and his bride Margaret was from Rasharkin.
McCrystal, 13011025 Private Bernard, 79 Company, Pioneer Corps died aged 46 on the 2nd April 1944. He had been born at Broughshane on the 11th June 1898 and was the son of Lizzie (Elizabeth) McCrystal. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission says he was the husband of Elizabeth McCrystal, of Ballymena, Co. Antrim. He is buried in Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio, Italy. The Labour Corps of the latter end of World War 1 rematerialized in September 1939 when a number of infantry and cavalry reservist units were formed into Works Labour Companies. These new bodies became the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps (AMPC), and on 22 November 1940 the AMPC morphed and became the Pioneer Corps. Pioneer Corps units were essential backup for combat troops. Indeed, a total of 23 pioneer companies took part in the Normandy landings, for example, Nos. 85 and 149 Companies, Pioneer Corps served with the 6th Beach Group assisting the units landing on Sword Beach on D Day, 6 June 1944. 79th Company would have played a key role at Anzio, ‘the landing that nearly failed’. "Royal", added to regimental title in November 1946, is an indication of their distinguished service.