Monday, 16 October 2017


Henry Waterson
Private, 1st Royal Marine Batt., Royal Naval Divison, Royal Marine Light Infantry
Service No: CH/1261(S)
Died: 02/03/1917
Age: 22

Interred in St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen
Remembered on family memorial in Bangor Cemetery

Henry Waterson was born in Groomsport on the 27th December 1894. He was the youngest child of William Waterson and his wife Jane Waterson (nee Malone). His father was a fisherman and after his education Henry followed in his father's footsteps taking up fishing as his occupation.

He enlisted on the 24th November 1915 and embarked with the Royal Marine Brigade on 28th June 1916. He was drafted to the BEF and joined the 4th Entrenching Battalion on 10th November 1916 before transferring to the 1st Royal Marine Battalion on the 25th November 1916. At the end of February 1917 he received a gun shot wound to the left leg resulting in a compound fracture of tibia which required amputation. He died of his wounds in 11th Stationary Hospital, Rouen, on 2nd March 1917.

Portrait photograph courtesy of Nigel Henderson, Great War Newspaper Clippings.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

MacCALLUM, John Evelyn Matier

Group Captain, Royal Air Force
Date of Death: 16/10/1943
Age: 37

Interred in Bangor Cemetery

John "Lyn" MacCallum was born on the 3rd October 1906 in Longstone Street, Lisburn. He was the son of William MacCallum, a teacher, and his wife Charlotte MacCallum (nee Williams).

After his education he entered the R.A.F. in 1923. Later gaining a cadetship at Cranwell, he was commissioned as a pilot officer in December 1927.

In 1931 he married Patricia Bishop in Ismailia, Egypt.

Until 1932 he was employed on flying an air pilotage duties with Army co-operation squadrons at home and in the Middle East. After three years as a flying instructor at home training schools he was with bomber squadrons in England in 1935-36. He then joined the Far East Command, and was subsequently appointed for personnel staff duties at its head-quarters in Singapore, where he was still serving in 1939.

He was promoted squadron leader in August, 1937, and wing commander, in June, 1940.

MacCALLUM -- In October, 1943, Group-Captain John Evelyn MacCallum, R.A.F., second son of Harry and Lottie MacCallum, Castle Street, Portadown, and husband of Corporal Mollie MacCallum, W.A.A.F.
Belfast Newsletter, 20th October 1943

Monday, 11 September 2017

MAY, Harold Anthony Kidd

Flight Lieutenant, 511 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service No: 81372
Died: 10/08/1943
Age: 21
Remembered on Runnymede Memorial
Remembered on family memorial in Bangor cemetery

Known as "Tony", Harold Anthony Kidd May was born in 1922, the son of Harold Kidd May, M.C., and his wife Cicely Alice May (nee Ray)

Educated at Bangor Grammar School, Tony joined the Royal Air Force on outbreak of hostilities and was promoted to Flight Officer in September 1940 at the age of 19.

In August 1943, Flight-Lieutenant Antony Kidd May was "reported missing, presumed lost at sea on air operations."

Maurice Wilkins, former headmaster of Bangor Grammar, writing in the school's magazine in 1965, said:
"Tony Kidd-May was in our junior school for some years — a fair curly-haired attractive and handsome boy with pleasant manners and highly intelligent. He showed excellent all-round promise and took a leading part in the Dramatic Society. I have a photograph which used to hang in the old H Room (now a lab.), showing Tony gesticulating on the bow of a ship and addressing his crew of ruffianly pirates just below — prominent among them, cheering with arms upraised, George Morrison, now internationally renowned in Film Research and Documentaries of the Irish revolutionary years of 40 to 60 years ago."

MAY, Harold Kidd

Lieutenant, Royal Berkshire Regiment
Died: 06/08/1934
Age: 36

Harold Kidd May was born on the 20th March 1898 in Holywood, Co. Down. He was the youngest son of George May, a merchant in cotton goods, and Isabel May (nee Greenfield).

Harold was educated at Coleraine Academical Institution and in November 1914 passed his preliminary examinations for the Institute of Chartered Accountants. He was employed by the accounting firm of Messrs. H. B. Brandon & Co. whose offices where in the Scottish Provident Buildings. He was a member of the Belfast University Contingent of the Officers' Training Corps and received a commission as Second Lieutenant in the Royal Berkshire Regiment on 26th August, 1915.

Although his Medal Index Card records he entered the war zone in 1917, he went to the front in April 1916 and was wounded the following June. He was officially reported missing on the 3rd July at the Battle of the Somme but was found to have come through unscathed a few days later.

In August 1916, Harold was promoted to Lieutenant and was wounded again – in the shoulder – in October.

He was wounded for the third time on 1st December 1917, more seriously, receiving gunshot wounds to both legs and was transferred to England for treatment at a hospital in Oxford.

In February 1918 he was awarded the Military Cross, the citation published in Supplement to the London Gazette of July recording:
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of a company in an attack. He moved about fearlessly under heavy machine gun fire, directing the advance. When the advance was held up he went forward to reconnoitre, and then directed his platoons to their objectives. He superintended the consolidation with great energy, and set his men a splendid example throughout."
He married his wife, Cicely A. Ray, in Oxford at the end of 1919 and relinquished his commission on 31st January 1920.

MAY – August 6, 1934, at his residence, "Merton," Osborne Drive, Bangor, Harold Kidd May, M.C., dearly-loved husband of Cecile May. Funeral private.
Belfast News Letter, 7th August 1934

Monday, 28 August 2017

SHAW, Thomas Herbert

Lieut. Thomas Herbert Shaw
Lieutenant, 7th Batt., Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Died: 08/08/1917
Age: 21

Remembered on Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial
Remembered on family memorial in Bangor Cemetery

Thomas Herbert Shaw was born in Strandtown, Belfast, on the 28th February 1895. He was the fifth of seven children of David Shaw and his wife Isabella Graham Shaw (nee Cahoon).

Thomas's father was a successful merchant and the family lived on the Earlswood Road in the east of city where they are recorded in the census of 1901 and also of 1911 by which time Thomas is recorded as working in the linen trade.

Thomas enlisted in the 6th Royal Highlanders (Black Watch Territorials) – apparently under the name of Thomas S. Shaw – with whom he went to France, entering there on 2nd May 1915. He received a commission as Second Lieutenant in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on the 12 June 1916 – While his Medal Index Card records his rank as Lance Corporal the London Gazette records it as Private. He was then gazetted as Lieutenant on the 28th December 1916.

According the the Battalion War Diary, they where located at Square Farm on the 7th August when there was an "Intense artillery fire by Germans all along the British front... Our casualties 8 O.R.s wounded, these slight casualties being due to the enemy not having got our front line range accurately. One M/G at H.Q.'s was destroyed and two temporarily put out of action… The situation became normal again about 9.45 p.m."

With regard to Thomas, the Diary records that "2nd Lieut. & A/Lieut. T.H. Shaw and Sgt. Carroll, both of 'B' Coy, during this bombardment in moving forward to their front line of shell holes and old trenches (German) presumably lost their bearings and wandered into the German lines, where presumably they were captured."

Thomas was later recorded as having been killed on the 8th August.

Portrait photo courtesy of Graham Conway

Saturday, 19 August 2017

MATSON, Norman Leslie

Petty Officer, Royal Navy
Service No: DASRI 189504
Died: 01/09/1950
Age: 45

Norman Leslie Matson was born in Belfast on the 17th November 1903. He was the son of Charles Matson, a contable in the RIC, and his wife Jean Matson (nee McIlwrath). The family then living in Ulsterville Gardens moved to Madrid Street where they are recorded in the 1911 census. Norman's father, now a sergeant, later attained the rank of Head Constable.

After school Norman joined the Belfast and County Down Railway working for 14 years in the office of the general manager.

On the outbreak of the Second World War, Norman joined the Merchant Navy and later volunteered for the Royal Navy.

In 1940 Norman was serving on board HMS Carnarvon Castle. Built by Harland and Wolff, the Carnarvon Castle was a passenger ship operated by the Union-Castle Mail line. Requisitioned by the Admiralty in September 1939 while in Cape Town, she was converted into an armed merchant cruiser and commissioned in October 1939.

On the 5th December 1940, while off the coast of Brazil, she encountered the German auxiliary cruiser Thor. In a five-hour running battle with her the Carnarvon Castle suffered heavy damage, sustaining 27 hits causing 4 dead and 27 wounded. She put into Montevideo for repairs, and was repaired with steel plate reportedly salvaged from the German cruiser Admiral Graf Spee.

Bellringers of St. Thomas's Church, Belfast, who took part
in the victory peal on Sunday. Mr. David Ireland
(hon. conductor) is in centre foreground, and to the extreme
right is Leading Steward Norman Leslie Matson,
home on leave from the Merchant Navy.
Larne Times, 19th November 1942
For his part in the action Norman was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

Norman was a keen bellringer and was a member of St. Thomas's Bell-Ringers Society. On the morning of Sunday, 15th November 1940, across the United Kingdom a "firing peal" of bells was rung in honour of the first offensive victory by the Allied forces. Norman who was home on leave at the time, was given the honour of the Society by being assigned the biggest bell, the tenor.

MATSON – September 1, 1950, at Hospital (as result of war services, patiently borne), Petty Officer Norman Leslie Matson, D.S.M., loved son of Jeannie and the late Charles Matson. Funeral from his residence, 24, Camden Street, on Monday, at 2-30 p.m., to Bangor New Cemetery. Very deeply regretted. Thy will be done.
Belfast Newsletter, 2nd September 1950

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

CAIRNS, George Ritchie

Second Lieutenant, 52nd Div. Ammunition Col., 
Royal Field Artillery
Died: 04/01/1916
Age: 20

Interred in Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Gallipoli
Remembered on family memorial in Bangor cemetery

George Ritchie Cairns was born in Partick, Glasgow, in 1894, the youngest son of James Cairns, a police constable (later police inspector) and his wife Mary Cairns nee McKeown, who came from Belfast.

He was educated at Hillhead High School in Glasgow University, where he graduated prior to enlisting shortly after the outbreak of war.

A keen athlete he won several prizes for running and was captain of the school's Rugby football team. It was his intention on leaving school to enter the legal profession and was to have entered the office of the Town Clerk on the day he was gazetted.