Wednesday, 27 December 2017

CARSON, Robert

Major, 139th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
Died: 24/08/1916
Age: 37

Interred in Martinsart British Cemetery
Remembered on family memorial in Bangor Cemetery

Robert was born in Craigavad on 6th April 1879. He was the second son of William Carson, a solicitor (later a clerk of the peace for the city of Belfast) and his wife Isabella Carson (nee Major).

Educated at Campbell College, Belfast (1894-1896) and Trinity College, Dublin, Robert went to the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, from were he went to the Royal Regiment of Artillery with the rank of Second Lieutenant on 26th May 1900.

He was a member of the Royal Ulster Yacht Club, and also played for the 2nd XV. of the North of Ireland Football Club.

Robert spent eight years serving in India and on 24th January 1902, he married Helen Beatrice Heyworth, of Liverpool, in St. Thomas' parish church, Bombay.

He was promoted to Lieutenant on 11th February 1902, and then Captain on 26th May 1913.

Robert was at a home station on the outbreak of the war and went to France almost immediately. He was mentioned in despatches in late 1915 and promoted Major on 30th December 1915.

He died after having left his dugout during a heavy bombardment, on 24th August 1916, to check that the men of his company were safely under cover.


CARSON – August 24, killed in action, Robert Carson, Major, Royal Garrison Artillery, the dearly-loved husband of Helen Beatrice Carson, Bredon, near Tewkesbury.
Liverpool Echo, 7th September 1916

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

TORRENS, James Claude

Sec.-Lieut. James C. Torrens
Second Lieutenant, "B" Co. 19th Batt., Machine Gun Corps
Died: 30/05/1918
Age: 27

Remembered on Soissons Memorial
Remembered on family memorial in Bangor Cemetery

James Claude Torrens was born in New Zealand in 1891. He was the son of James Torrens and his wife Matilda Torrens (nee Bradshaw). His parents had been married in 1888, his father then a farmer in Kildowney, Ballymena, and his mother, Matilda, hailing from the neighbouring townland of Ballynatormey.

It is unclear when the family moved to New Zealand but they had returned to Ireland by 1901 where they are recorded in the 1901 census as living in Ballymullen, Bangor.

Educated at the Municipal Techical Institute, James became a draughtsman in the drawing office of Workman, Clark & Co. shipyard.

The memorial panel from the Soissons Memorial
on which James is recorded
On the outbreak of the war, James joined the Y.C.Vs. were he gained the rank of Lance Corporal and fought at the Somme on 1st July. Afterwards he transferred to the Machine Gun Corp were he became a Sergeant and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 26th June 1917.

The Belfast Newsletter of 22nd June 1918 reported that "A letter has been received by his father from his captain, which states – 'From all accounts I hear he went back to fetch out one of the gun-teams, which would have been surrounded had he not gone back. His work at all times has been of the highest standard, and he did, I know, fine work in the last fight. He ws certainly one of my best section officers, and his death is a great blow to me.'"

His brother, William, was an officer in the American Army and both are recorded on the memorial scroll in Ballygrainey Presbyterian Church.




Portrait image from Larne Times courtesy of Nigel Henderson.


GRACEY, William Parr

Trooper, Natal Mounted Police, Second Boer War

Interred in Pretoria Old Cemetery, South Africa
Remembered on family memorial in Bangor Cemetery

William Parr Gracey was born on the 9th February 1882 in Monaghan. He was the eldest child of James Gracey from Co. Down , manager of the Monaghan branch of the Belfast Bank, and his wife Elizabeth Whitla a local Monaghan girl. The family home at the time being  Dublin St., Monaghan.

Why he ended up in South Africa at such a young age is unclear but go he did and he enlisted in the Natal Police on 5 April 1899. His service number was 2308.

The Second Boer War began on 12th October 1899. After a number of small engagements the British withdrew to Ladysmith. The northern Natal Police, approx 90 men, where also brought to Ladysmith which became besieged by the Boers on 2nd November 1899. The siege lasted for 118 days before it was relieved.

Siege of Ladysmith — a bird’s-eye view by A. Sutherland 1900.  http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/doyle/boerwar/17.html

The Times, 9th March 1900
It is reported that the Natal Police casualties during the siege were one man killed, three wounded and three died of disease.

One of those was the unlucky William Gracey who is recorded as dying of enteric fever on 27th February, the 117th day of the siege – and the last day – the relief column arriving the next day 28th February 1900.

Further information on the Natal Police can be found at www.angloboerwar.com


Monday, 11 December 2017

MOHAN, Henry Deacon

Captain, 10th Batt., King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)
Died: 11/04/1916
    
Remembered on Basra Memorial 
Remembered on family memorial in Bangor cemetery

Henry (Harry) Mohan was born on the 2nd January 1889 at Haywood Avenue, Ballynafeigh. He was the son of George Mohan, a Clerk in a linen warehouse, and his wife Isabella Mohan (nee Hempton).

A few years later his father had become manager of a hemstitching factory and in 1900 the family moved to Ashley Avenue in Belfast.

Educated at Queen's University, where he was a member of the OTC, Harry took up the linen business and was a clerk in the Managers Dept. and by 1911 the family had moved to Cromwell Road in Bangor.

In 1913, Harry sailed from Glasgow in the ss Cameronia to go the the United States to his uncle, William Wishaw, in Brooklyn were he took up a position in the linen trade there.

When war broke out, Harry left his employment and travelled to France with a mule transport before returning to Belfast. After preliminary training with the 10th (Reserve) Battalion he was gazetted as temporary Second-Lieutenant in February 1915 and was then posted to the 6th Service Battalion.

Soldiers of the 10th Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, resting during route march
at Swanage with officers: Captain Charles Clarence Brachi, Harry Deacon Mohan, Walter McFarlane. www.kingsownmuseum.com KO2928/05-126

Harry then saw service in the Gallipoli campaign from 6th October 1915. His battalion were evacuated from Gallipoli due to heavy losses and illness and sailed for Port Said in February 1916 before travelling onto the Persian Gulf, disembarking at Basra on 27th February for service in the Mesopotamian campaign. During the voyage, on 24th February 1916, he was appointed to Temporary Captain and given command of a company.

Harry was slightly wounded on 5th April 1916 whilst in the trenches at Hannah during the first attack on Turkish positions at the Orah canal. He was then reported as missing in action on 9th April 1916 at Sannaujat. In December 1917 the War Office officially declared him as killed in action (or died of wounds) on the 11th April 1916.

Henry Deacon Mohan is also commemorated on the Queen’s University War Memorial and in their Book of Remembrance.



MOHAN -- Reported wounded and missing April 11, 1916, now presumed by War Office killed in action (or died of wounds) on that date, Captain H. D. Mohan, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, dearly-loved and eldest son of George Mohan, Cromwell Road, Belfast. GEORGE MOHAN.
Belfast Newsletter, 6th December 1917



Sunday, 26 November 2017

MOFFETT, Samuel

Rifleman, 11th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Service No: 18/97
Died: 15/03/1916
Age: 29

Interred in Forceville Communal Cemetery and Extension
Remembered on family memorial in Bangor Cemetery

Samuel is recorded on the Memorial
in Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church
Samuel McWha Moffett was born 19th March 1886 in Ballyleidy (Clandeboye), Bangor. He was the son of Thomas Moffett, a labourer, and his wife Elizabeth Moffett (nee Russell) and was the youngest of their nine children. The family moved shortly after to Ballymullen, Crawfordsburn where they are recorded as living in both the 1901 and 1911 census.

In the 1911 census Samuel's occupation is recorded as clerk. He was also a member of Bangor Commercial L.O.L. 477.



Rifleman Samuel Moffatt, 11th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (South Antrim Volunteers), has died in hospital of wounds received in France. Deceased was a son of Mr. Thomas Moffatt. Clandeboye, County Down, and a member of Bangor Commercial L.O.L. No. 447.
Northern Whig, 25th March 1916
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
KILLED IN ACTION

MOFFETT -- March 15, 1916, killed in action, Rifleman Samuel Moffett, 11th Batt. Royal Irish Rifles, youngest son of Thomas Moffett, Clandeboye.

BANGOR COMMERCIAL L.O.L. 447
MOFFETT -- Died in hospital, on 15th March, 1916, from wounds received in action on same date, Rifleman Samuel Moffett, number 18/97 C Company 11th Batt. R.I.R., son of Thomas Moffett, Clandeboye. Deeply regretted by members of above. M. GIBSON, W.M.; R. D. MONTGOMERY, Secretary.
Belfast Newsletter, 25th March 1916


Tuesday, 21 November 2017

REA, Vivian Trevor Tighe

Lieut. Vivian T. T. Rea
Lieutenant, 4th Batt. attd. 2nd Batt., Royal Irish Rifles
Died: 25/10/1914
Age: 23
 
Interred in Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy
Remembered on family memorial in Bangor Cemetery

Vivian Trevor Tighe Rea, was born in Mendoza, Argentina in 1891, the only son of Henry Tighe Rea and Clara Small and eldest of their five children. His parents were married in St. John's Anglican Church, Buenos Aires in June 1890.

The family returned to Ireland and were living on the Sandown Road, Belfast, in 1901, where his father is listed as working as an accountant in a shipyard office. Vivian went on to study at Campbell College, Belfast, from 1905 to1908, before going to Queens University were, in 1910, he gained a B.A. with honours in logic, metaphysics, history of philosophy, and jurisprudence.

In 1906 his father was appointed a Vice-Consul for the Argentine Republic. He later became an honorary Vice-Consul of the Netherlands being decorated for his services in 1932.

Vivian was very active in the Scout movement becoming honorary secretary for the Ulster Provisional Council of Baden-Powell Scouts and was the Scoutmaster of the 1st Bangor troop. He was also an member of the Queen's University OTC and, in 1912, he joined the 4th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles being gazetted a second-lieutenant on probation on 10th February, which was confirmed in June 1912. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 20th February 1913.

Vivian felt called to the ministry of the Church of Ireland and so after Queen's went to the Divinity School in Trinity College Dublin. He was also active in the Trinity College Theological Society were he laterly became secretary.

On the outbreak of war he volunteered for service and left for the front on the 25th September 1914 to help fill vacancies in the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.

On the 16th November 1914, the Belfast Newsletter gave the following report of his death:
Death of Lieutenant Vivian Rea.
TRIBUTES TO A GALLANT OFFICER.
Subsequent to the retreat at Mons, the 7th Brigade, in which were included the Wiltshires, Manchesters, South Lancashires, and Irish Rifles, took part in the forward movement towards Lille, via La Bassee. They occupied Richebourg, and proceeded thence to Neuve Chapelle, about twelve miles south-west of Lille, and thence to Herlies and Aubers, both of which were taken. The Irish Regiment got too far ahead, and was ordered to retire towards Neuve Chapelle, where trenches had been prepared by the villagers. The 2nd Rifles were under fire here for thirteen days, during which time the majority of their officers were either killed or wounded. October 24th and 2Sth were two of the most terrible days experienced. The Rifles had for some time been kept in the trenches continuously day and night, and on these days several determined attempts were made to rush the British trenches. None of these were successful until the evening of the 26th, when the trenches and the adjoining village were partly occupied by the Germans. The enemy's success was short-lived, for the whole of the lost ground was retaken by the Rifles, then sadly diminished in numbers, aided by the Indian troops, who had been hurriedly sent to reinforce them.
It was on the 25th October that Lieutenant Vivian T. T Rea received a fatal wound in the tranches. His company commander, Captain H. A. Kennedy, had previously been severely wounded, but was still alive, and a part of this officer's duties had presumably devolved upon Lieutenant Rea. (Captain Kennedy has since died of his wounds). The ambulance party attended, notwithstanding the rain of shrapnel and rifle bullets, and Lieutenant Rea was taken to a chateau at the end of the village of Neuve Chapelle, about 300 yards behind the trenches. The medical officer saw that the wound was fatal, and that the wounded officer was rapidly sinking. Lieut. Rea spoke to the doctor, and on learning his condition charged him with a reassuring message to those at home. Shortly afterwards he lapsed into unconsciousness, and died almost without suffering. After nightfall his body was interred, together with that of Captain Reynolds, in the grounds of the chateau. Shortly after Lieutenant Rea had been brought into the chateau wounded, another severe casualty occurred to an officer. Two stretcher-bearers were sent out to bring the wounded officer in, and both these men were shot dead by the enemy. At three o’clock on the following morning, the 26th ult., the chateau, which had been used as a base by the staff, and the cellars of which were utilised as a hospital for the wounded, was shelled and set on fire by the enemy. It was necessary to hurriedly remove the wounded, and shortly afterwards the building was reduced to ruins.
Of Lieutenant Rea, it may be added that the night before he was fatally wounded, on hearing the cries of wounded men in front of "B" Company's trench during a lull in the firing at nightfall, he took one or two of the men of his company and brought the wounded men into safety. They were attended by the base medical officer, who, however, expostulated with the gallant officer on ground that there waa insufficient room in the cellars of the chateau for the British wounded soldiers. A brother officer states:— Lieutenant Rea died like a gallant gentleman; his men were devoted to him, and said that he put heart into them in the desperate fighting. Another officer says of him: Lieutenant Rea was not only extremely popular with all who came in contact with him, both officers and men, but he was also a very plucky and diligent officer. He rendered valuable assistance as an interpreter when not in the trenches owing to his fluent knowledge of the French language. The medical officer who was in charge of the base hospital at Neuve Chapelle, and who has been invalided home suffering from concussion, states that he buried twenty officers of the Royal Irish Riflas, and that the experience was one never to be forgotten.
Vivian is recorded on a number of memorials including those of St. Comgall's Church in Bangor
and Trinity College Dublin

Private William Leckey, of B Company, 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, returning home to 16, Memel Street, Bridge End, having been wounded in the right hand and left thigh, reported in an interview with the Belfast Newsletter:
"After Captain Kennedy had fallen, Lieutenant Vivian T. T. Rea, 'a fine gentleman and a brave officer,' took command of his company, displaying in the highest degree those noble qualities which have characterised the officers during the terrible fighting in which the Rifles were engaged. Lieutenant Rea was principally concerned with the welfare of the men under his control, and he fell on 25th October while crossing open ground between the trenches, the hail of shrapnel and rifle fire being of the most deadly character. He had had a long conversation with Private Leckey some time before he was killed, his popularity with the men being based on his evident concern for their well-being, his plucky conduct in the face of great danger, and his coolness and nerve under the most trying circumstances."

On 20 November 1915 a stained glass memorial window was unveiled in Bangor Parish Church in his memory. The ceremony was attended by ten officers and 100 men of the 4th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles who had travelled from Carrickfergus.


REA – October 25, killed in action in Belgium, Vivian T. Tighe Rea, B.A., Lieutenant, Royal Irish Rifles, only son of Henry Tighe Rea, of 1, Glandore Park, Belfast, and grandson of the late Hugh Rea, of Clifton Lodge, Belfast, and Northern Bank, Derry.
Belfast Newsletter, 30th October 1914.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

HOLLYWOOD, James

Sec.-Lieutenant James Hollywood
Sec.-Lieutenant, 18th Batt. (att. 12th Batt.), Royal Irish Rifles
Died: 01/07/1916
Age: 23

Recorded on Thiepval Memorial
Recorded on family memorial in Bangor Cemetery

James was born on 16th April 1893, in 139 Albert Bridge Road, Belfast. He was the son of James Hollywood, a house agent and Elizabeth Hollywood nee Carson. The family moved to Bangor in the late 1890s and lived in Ballyholme Road before moving to Ballygrot (Helen’s Bay).

He attended Friend's School, Lisburn from  September 1904 to July 1906 then going to the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, Belfast.

Employed at Ross Brothers Linen Merchants in Linenhall Street, Belfast, James also spent some time in the Young Citizen Volunteers before joining the Ulster Volunteer Force and is recorded on the Roll  of Honour for the 1st Batt. North Down Regt. as serving in ‘F’ Company alongside his brother Arthur.


The family attended First Bangor Presbyterian Church and both James and brother Arthur are recorded on the church’s war memorial.



He joined the 18th Royal Irish Rifles on 14th September 1914 as  a Corporal, being appointed Company Quartermaster Sergeant on 14th  October 1914 and received a commission in the 18th (R.) Battalion Royal Irish Rifles at Clandeboye, 5th May, 1915, before being sent to the Central Antrim Regiment.

He was killed during the Ulster Division attack at Thiepval Woods. His body was reportedly found later in the year by men of the 2nd Hants Regiment but subsequently lost.



Killed
Second-Lieutenant James Hollywood, Royal Irish Rifles, killed in action, was a son of Mr. James Hollywood, J.P., Red Gorton, Helen's Bay, and 130, Albertbridge Road, Belfast.
The Witness, 14th July 1916

                                                 ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Second-Lieutenant James Hollywood

Second-Lieutenant James Hollywood, Royal Irish Rifles, killed in action, was a son of Mr. James Hollywood, J.P., Red Gorton, Helen's Bay, and 130, Albertbridge Road, Belfast. He was in the service of Ross Bros., Linenhall Street, before he received a commission in the 18th (R.) Battalion Royal Irish Rifles at Clandeboye, 5th May, 1915, being sent recently to the Central Antrim Regiment. His brother, Lieutenant A. C. Hollwood, Royal Irish Fusiliers, was wounded some months ago.                                                      
Belfast Newsletter, 7th July 1916

                                                 ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Mr. James Hollywood's Heavy Loss

Belfast Water Commissioners' Sympathy

At the fortnightly meeting of the Belfast City and District Water Commissioners, held yesterday at the Water Offices, Royal Avenue, the chairman said he wished, before they proceeded with the ordinary business of the meeting, to call their attention to the calamity that had overtaken the family of one of their members, He referred to Mr. James Hollywood, J.P., two of whose sons – boys of whom any father might be justly proud – had been killed in action in France. He was sure their hearts went out to Mr. Hollywood and his family in that terrible bereavement, and he moved – "That he deep and heartfelt sympathy of the members of the Board be respectfully tendered to Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood in the great sorrow that has fallen upon them by the death in action in France of their two sons, who, in response to their country's call, entered his Majesty's Army, and have yeilded up their lives in defence of the Empire."

Mr. E. W. Pim, J.P., in seconding the resolution, said he felt deeply for Mr. Hollywood and his wife in the great bereavement which had overtaken them, and, indeed, he could not help thinking of many families in Belfast which had also suffered great loss. Their soldiers at the front were undergoing very severe trials, and were nobly doing their duty to their King and country. (Hear, hear.)

The resolution was passed in silence, the members standing.
Belfast Newsletter, 14th July 1916



Portrait image from the RBAI Inst and the Great War website  www.instgreatwar.com


HOLLYWOOD, Arthur Carson

Lieutenant Arthur Hollywood
Lieutenant, 9th Batt., Royal Irish Fusiliers
Died: 01/07/1916
Age: 24

Recorded on the Thiepval Memorial
Recorded on family memorial in Bangor Cemetery

Arthur was born on 29th December 1891 in 139 Albert Bridge Road, Belfast. He was the son of James Hollywood, a house and rent agent and Elizabeth Hollywood nee Carson. The family moved to Bangor in the late 1890s and lived in Ballyholme Road before moving to Ballygrot (Helen’s Bay).

He attended Friend's School, Lisburn, from September 1903 to July 1906 before going to Royal Belfast Academical Institute in Belfast and thence to the Royal University of  Ireland in September 1909.

He is recorded on the Roll  of Honour for the 1st Batt. North Down Regt. as serving in F Company alongside his brother James.



The family attended First Bangor Presbyterian Church and both James and brother Arthur are recorded on the church’s war memorial.



Arthur was working as a rent agent in his father's business on the Albertbridge Road, Belfast, when he joined the 108th Field Ambulance, part of the 36th  (Ulster) Division, on 12th September 1914, as a Staff Sergeant. The London Gazette of 2nd July 1915 records his commission as Temporary Second Lieutenant  in the 12th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on 19th April 1915, and joined the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers in  January 1916, being posted to A Company. He was subsequently appointed  Lieutenant on 29th February 1916.

The web site for Inst and the Great War records that:–
“He was killed on 1st July 1916 . . . during the Ulster  Division attack on the west bank of the River Ancre. Sgt Whitsell  stated: ‘The first wave of men left the British trenches followed by the second wave to which Lt Hollywood belonged. I followed them with the 3rd wave of men. I saw Lt Hollywood jump into the German trench. I was then wounded and saw no more. Before this attack, Lt Hollywood showed me the rips in his steel helmet where he had been hit, but seemed to be all right then.’

“Private Stewart and Private Coppleton both stated that they saw Arthur  being killed at Hamel, just after leaving the 1st line German trench  about 13.00. Private Cobain wrote that he saw Arthur being ‘hit by a  machine gun bullet during the advance’.

“It was reported that Private Nelson, who was wounded in the attack, lay beside his body for a night.

“Sgt Slater reported that he saw the body being brought in, and that it was buried in the Hamel village graveyard, but Arthur now has no known  grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial (pier and face 15 A),  Somme, France. He is also commemorated on the Bangor War Memorial.” (No source is given for the above information.)


Killed

Second-Lieut. Arthur C. Hollywood, killed, is a son of Mr. James Hollywood, J.P, Helen's Bay and Albertbridge Road, Belfast, who thus lost two boys in the one day.
The Witness, 14th July 1916

                                                 ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Lieutenant Arthur C. Hollywood

Lieutenant Arthur C. Hollywood, Royal Irish Fusiliers (County Armagh Volunteers), killed in action, was a son of Mr. James Hollywood, J.P., Red Gorton, Helen's Bay, and Albertbridge Road, Belfast. The death in action of this officer's brother, Second-Lieutenant James Hollywood, Royal Irish Rifles, attached Central Antrim Battalion, was announced in yesterday's issue. The late Lieutenant A. C. Hollywood was wounded some months ago, and had been recommended for conspicuous gallantry in recovering the body of a brother officer. Before he obtained his commission he was in business with his father.
Belfast Newsletter, 8th July 1916

                                                 ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Mr. James Hollywood's Heavy Loss

Belfast Water Commissioners' Sympathy

At the fortnightly meeting of the Belfast City and District Water Commissioners, held yesterday at the Water Offices, Royal Avenue, the chairman said he wished, before they proceeded with the ordinary business of the meeting, to call their attention to the calamity that had overtaken the family of one of their members, He referred to Mr. James Hollywood, J.P., two of whose sons – boys of whom any father might be justly proud – had been killed in action in France. He was sure their hearts went out to Mr. Hollywood and his family in that terrible bereavement, and he moved – "That he deep and heartfelt sympathy of the members of the Board be respectfully tendered to Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood in the great sorrow that has fallen upon them by the death in action in France of their two sons, who, in response to their country's call, entered his Majesty's Army, and have yeilded up their lives in defence of the Empire."

Mr. E. W. Pim, J.P., in seconding the resolution, said he felt deeply for Mr. Hollywood and his wife in the great bereavement which had overtaken them, and, indeed, he could not help thinking of many families in Belfast which had also suffered great loss. Their soldiers at the front were undergoing very severe trials, and were nobly doing their duty to their King and country. (Hear, hear.)

The resolution was passed in silence, the members standing.
Belfast Newsletter, 14th July 1916


Portrait image from the RBAI Inst and the Great War website www.instgreatwar.com.

Monday, 30 October 2017

SMYTH, John Stanley

Pilot Officer John S. Smyth
Pilot Officer (Navigator), 51 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service No: 139301
Died: 26/07/1943
Age: 29

Interred in Castricum Protestant Churchyard, Holland
Remembered on family memorial in Bangor Cemetery

John Stanley Smyth was born on 18th April 1914 at 16 Victoria Road, Bangor, to John Smyth, a grocer, and Sara Smyth (nee McClean).

He was educated at Main Street P.E.S. and Bangor Grammar School being a playing member of the School Rugby XV. (later playing for Bangor Rugby Club) and gained the Q.U.B. Matriculation in 1931.

On leaving school, John became an apprentice in the pharmacy business of Mr. R. M'Cutcheon, Bangor. He qualified as a Member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland and was later in the employment of Mr. R. Morrow, Conway Square, Newtownards.

In August 1941, he married Olive Perry of Londonderry, and their son was born on 9th December 1943.

He joined up in July, 1942, and on completing his training in England and the U.S.A., he received his commission as Pilot Officer in March, 1943.

His younger brother, Sergeant Bertie Smyth, R.A., was captured at Tobruk in June, 1942.

His bomber was shot down in July 1943 and his body was recovered from the sea and was buried in August in the cemetery at Castrium, North Holland.



KILLED ON ACTIVE SERVICE
SMYTH — Pilot-Officer John Stanley Smyth, R.A.F.V.R., second son of the late John Smyth and of Mrs. Smyth Finlay, 20 Hamilton Road, Bangor, and beloved husband of Olive M. Smyth, 78 Beechwood Avenue, Londonderry. Buried Castrium, N. Holland, August, 1943.
Co. Down Spectator, 29th January 1944


Monday, 16 October 2017

WATERSON, Henry

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 http://www.buxtonwarmemorials.co.uk




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.




CAIRNS, James John

Lieutenant, 31st Batt., Australian Imperial Force
Died: 21/02/1926
Age: 48

Remembered on family memorial in Bangor cemetery

James John Cairns was born in Blackfriars, Glasgow, in 1878, the eldest son of James Cairns, a police constable (later an inspector) and his wife Mary Cairns nee McKeown, who came from Belfast.

After school he became a law clerk for the Glasgow corporation. Some time between 1911 and 1913 he emigrated to Australia where he met his wife Letitia Ford. They married in 1914 and their son James Ford Cairns was born later that year.

He enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force on 5th July 1915. Rising through the ranks he was transferred to the Officer Cadet School in England in April 1917 gaining the rank of Lieutenant by the end of that year.

His relatively respectable career started to go into decline when the war ended being arrested for drunkenness in Belfast in January 1919 and came to an abrupt end when he was cashiered latter that year for misappropriating funds.

He left France and turned up in Kenya where he died on 21st February 1926.

His son James Ford Cairns became a well-known Australian politician who was for a while Deputy Prime Minister.

Below is an extract from his biography which gives a more in-depth overview of his father's story.



Extract from "Keeper of the Faith: A biography of Jim Cairns"

THE FUTURE MAN OF PEACE arrived in war. The only child of James John Cairns and Letitia Cairns (nee Ford), James Ford Cairns was born in a terrace house at 22 Drummond Street Carlton on 4 October 1914. Only two months had passed since the commencement of hostilities in Europe — not enough time to diminish the tide of imperial patriotism that had swept up the bulk of Australians. The nation was transfixed by the news of the fighting on the Western Front in Belgium and Northern France. The day before Cairns was born, the Argus commented: 'All men are talking war and hearing war talked, thinking war, and dreaming war, and reading war. The war picture fills the mind to the exclusion of everything else ... [it] has dislocated all the regular annual output of thought and ideas'.

Although Cairns was only four years of age when armistice was declared in November 1918, his life was irrevocably stamped by the events of World War I. His father, James Cairns, enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 5 July 1915. He was described in his enlistment papers as having a fresh complexion, blue eyes and brown hair, physical features that his son inherited. After training with the 59th Depot Company at Seymour, James Cairns was deployed to the 29th Battalion, 8th Infantry Brigade. On 10 November 1915 he embarked for the Middle East aboard the Ascanieus. He never returned.

According to his AIF service record, James Cairns was stationed in Egypt for several months. In March 1916 he was promoted to corporal and transferred to the 5th Divisional headquarters at Tel el Kebir on clerical duties. In June he embarked for France, where the 5th Division was to be committed to the Somme campaign on the Western Front. The following March James Cairns was selected to attend a training course at the Officers' Cadet School at Cambridge in England. While there he received 'special mention' in Sir Douglas Haig's despatches of 9 April 1917. He returned to France in August and was appointed as adjutant to the 31st Battalion, stationed in the field on the Western Front. His star continued to rise, and he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in November 1917. When hostilities ended, James Cairns remained with the 31st Battalion in France. Soon after, the troubles began that were to ruin what up until that point had been a successful, if unspectacular, service record. In January 1919 on leave in Belfast, where he was visiting his sister, he was arrested by military authorities for drunkenness. He was released after several days, officially censured, and sent to rejoin his unit. This was a minor misdemeanour and hardly unusual in the context of the AIFs reputation for unruly behaviour away from the battle front. Nonetheless, for an officer it was probably regarded as an incident of considerable dishonour.

Worse was to come. In May 1919 James Cairns was reported absent without leave in France and declared an illegal absentee. On 5 August 1919 he surrendered himself to military authorities in London and was placed under close arrest. The next month he was tried by General Court Martial on four charges. The first three alleged that he had misapplied regimental money for 'his own use with intent to defraud' on three separate occasions between 20 March and 2 May 1919. The amounts involved totalled 5535 francs and 85 centimes, equivalent to almost two years' pay for an AIF private. The final charge related to his absence without leave between 9 May and 5 August. James Cairns pleaded guilty to all four charges, and was sentenced to be cashiered and his pay stopped until he had made good the money that he had defrauded. He was due to embark for Australia aboard the Aeneas on 22 November 1919. He failed to do so, and an entry in his service record bluntly states that 'no further action will be taken to arrange his passage to Australia'. On 15 March 1920, on the letterhead of the steamship Llanstephan Castle, he wrote to the AIF requesting an official statement of his service record and asking whether he was entitled to any medals in respect of his period of service. In a postscript he added that he was 'not quite sure of my final destination but a letter addressed to me c/o this steamer at Durban [South Africa] should find me sooner or later.'

From there the trail goes cold. As Paul Ormonde discovered when researching his biography of Cairns in the mid-1970s, there was great reticence within the family about James Cairns' fate. Until her death in 1964, Letitia Cairns appears to have maintained the pretence that her husband was killed in the war. Jim Cairns did not learn otherwise until he was middle-aged. He too has often seemed reluctant to acknowledge that his father abandoned both himself and his mother, and is remarkably vague about what happened to him after the war. The most reliable account is that James Cairns was killed in a car crash in Kenya in 1927, although Cairns claims to have heard dozens of other versions.

The reason James Cairns did not return to Australia in 1919 seems less mysterious. His decision to head for Africa was probably motivated by a desire to find a place to start life afresh, where he would not be haunted by the stigma of the events of the preceding twelve months. Yet this may be only part of the explanation. Born in Hillhead in Glasgow in Scotland, James Cairns had been in his early thirties when he arrived in Australia aboard the one-class ship, the Benalla, in May 1913. According to Jim Cairns, his father had been 'part of the establishment for the greater part of his life'. It is true that James Cairns sprang from a conservative and comfortable middle-class family. He was the eldest son of a Glasgow police inspector and had apparently received a public school education. After leaving school, he found secure employment in the Town Clerk's Office in the Glasgow Town Hall. He remained there for some eighteen years and had reached the grade of senior clerk when last listed as an employee of the City of Glasgow in 1912. What prompted him to come to Australia the following year is unclear. Possibly it was a sense of wanderlust and adventure, or perhaps he was escaping something.

The reason behind the Ford family's decision to emigrate to Australia is far more obvious. The Fords were 'poor farmers' from Lancashire. Letitia's father, John Thomas Ford, had started work at a cotton mill when he was nine years old. He and his wife, Elizabeth Ann, and other members of the family later worked as tenant farmers on a small dairy holding not far outside Blackpool. In 1912, weary of the family's continuing economic struggle, John Ford decided to begin a new life in Australia. After sailing from Britain, he spent a brief spell working in Western Australia, then arrived in Victoria, where he found a job as manager of a pig farm in Keilor, 20 kilometres north-west of Melbourne. He sent for his wife and daughters, Eleanor, Letitia (Letty) and Sara. It was on the voyage to Australia aboard the Benalla that 19-year-old Letty met James Cairns.

Despite their disparate social backgrounds and substantial age difference, romance blossomed between James and Letty. Shortly after their arrival in Melbourne the Fords moved into 22 Drummond Street, Carlton, while James Cairns found lodgings nearby in Victoria Parade, East Melbourne. James and Letty continued to see one another, and early in 1914 Letty fell pregnant. Although fundamentally tolerant and generous spirited, John and Elizabeth Ford conscientiously abided by a puritan Methodist ethic; they believed in the virtue of hard work and austerity, and shunned the sins of the flesh. The discovery that their middle daughter had become pregnant out of wedlock must have come as a shock and a source of anguish.

On 30 April 1914 James and Letty were married in a simple ceremony at the home of a Baptist minister in East Melbourne, with John Ford and Letty's elder sister Eleanor as witnesses. James Cairns moved into the Ford home in Carlton, but predictably it was not long before tensions surfaced between the Fords and their new son-in-law. In September James Cairns secured a position in the Melbourne Town Hall Clerk's Office with a handsome starting salary of £200 per annum. Because his duties included the organisation of social functions and official entertainments, as his son later explained, he 'was at dinners, banquets, parties and so forth a great deal'. In effect, James Cairns' job afforded him the opportunity to mix in Melbourne social circles and indulge his taste for the high life. His weakness for alcohol created special consternation at home. Referring to the reticence that had surrounded his father's memory,

Jim Cairns noted one reason was that 'at more than one stage of his life he drank too much. My mother and grandparents didn't drink at all. I think they were more than a little ashamed of it.'

It is conceivable, then, that another factor behind James Cairns' desertion of his family was that once the initial flush of romance between him and Letty faded, and their social differences became more apparent, he no longer saw the marriage as a compelling reason to return to Australia after the war. While there is no evidence that he had actually been coerced into the marriage after Letty became pregnant, it is feasible that the war offered him a way out of a domestic situation he had inadvertently stumbled into.

If this is speculation, the crucial impact of James Cairns' abandonment of his wife and son in determining the nature of Jim Cairns' upbringing is beyond question. The first consequence of his father's absence was that Cairns was not raised in a conventional nuclear family. Not long after James Cairns departed for the war, Letty's parents leased a property known as Victoria Farm on Macedon Road, Sunbury. For the next four years or so the farm was home to John and Elizabeth Ford, Letty Cairns and her baby son, Eleanor and Sara Ford, their cousin Mattie Smith and the Fords' domestic Lizzie Salthouse. Life in this extended family was to be a consistent pattern of Jim Cairns' childhood and adolescence, although he was too young to remember much about the years at Victoria Farm. His mother remained the centre of his universe and his principal recollection of this period was of being physically close with her.

CAIRNS, Percival

Lieutenant, Royal Flying Corps.
Died: 28/06/1926
Age: 36

Remembered on family memorial in Bangor cemetery

Percival Cairns was born in, Glasgow on 22nd August 1889, the third son of James Cairns, a police constable (later police inspector) and his wife Mary Cairns nee McKeown, who came from Belfast. He studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1905 to 1912 and married Christina Elliot McAllister in 1914.

He enlisted in the Royal Artillery and served with the 3rd Lowland Howitzer Brigade and transferred to the Royal Flying Corps at the beginning of 1918. He was discharged in the end of 1919.

After the war he returned to his occupation as an architect and went in to partnership with Neil Campbell Duff. He died on 28th June 1926 of pulmonary tuberculosis.

A biography of his career is given below.


From the Mackintosh Architecture archive in University of Glasgow.

Percival Cairns was born in Springburn, Glasgow in 1889. He attended the Glasgow School of Art from 1906-7 until 1910-11, while also engaged as an apprentice to Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh from April 1909 to April 1910. He is recorded in the 1911 census as an 'architectural draughtsman'.

Cairns became an associate member of the Glasgow Architectural Institute around 1913. The Glasgow Post Office Directory gives his office as 108 Douglas Street (an address shared by architect Robert J. Walker), while another entry lists '136 Wellington Street'; no. 136 was also shared with other practices, including John A. W. Grant. It is thought that Cairns may have been articled to Neil Campbell Duff between 1905 and 1912, but it is not till 1914 that there is firm evidence of him working as Duff's assistant.

Duff had an unusual specialism: the production of scenes of crime, or 'locus' plans, for legal firms and as evidence for courts. Examples from Cairns's time include a murder site at Sheildhall timber wharf (1914), and an arson-damaged shop in Partick (1915). Duff concentrated on the entertainment industry, frequently as part of a syndicate which identified sites for potential development into dance halls or cinemas. The syndicate would form a joint-stock company with a public share issue, thus raising capital to fund the construction. Among Duff's projects on which Cairns was probably employed was the planned Regent Hotel and Picture House in Sauchiehall Street, advertised in December 1913.

After renting a house at Oxford (now Oban) Drive, Kelvinside, in 1915, Cairns vanishes from the records until 1919, possibly due to war service. Around 1919, Duff took Cairns into partnership, and the title of the firm reflects this from 1920. A further share-issue was made in 1921, to fund their jointly-signed design, the 'Palais de Danse' hall at Eglinton Toll, specifically chosen to be near major tram interchanges in southern Glasgow. Cairns died in 1926.


Wednesday, 2 August 2017

SMYTH, Irvine Johnston

Second Lieutenant, 6th Batt., Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Died: 03/09/1915
Age: 23

Interred in Green Hill Cemetery
Remembered on family Memorial Bangor Cemetery

Irvine Johnston Smyth was born in Hill Street, Lurgan, on the 18th December 1891. He was the eldest of three sons of William Henry Smyth, a Methodist Minister and Mary Jemima Ruskell Smyth (nee Johnston).

His parents were married on 11th September 1890 in Donaghadee Methodist Church where Mary’s father, Rev Irvine Johnston, ministered from 1890 until 1893.

He was educated at the Belfast Academy, Methodist College, Belfast (receiving a M'Arthur Scholarship in 1905) and Wesley College, Dublin. He passed the Matriculation examination of Royal University of Ireland in 1908 and went to Trinity College, Dublin.

Irvine was working in the Civil Service on the outbreak of war and enlisted in the 6th Royal Highlanders (Black Watch Territorials)  It wasn't long before he transferred to the Officers Training Corps and was commissioned as Second-Lieutenant on the 16th December 1914 and posted to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Irvine landed in Gallipoli with his battalion on 7th August 1915 in command of a machine gun section. On 28th August, he wrote a letter to the sister of Private David Barras Smith, the section's range finder, telling her of his death and of how David saved the life of Captain Robert Stevenson when he was wounded on the day of landing. "Its a lovely letter," says David's great nephew, "and even more moving after looking at Irvine's story too and learning of his death only weeks later."

In a letter received by his father, a fellow officer wrote – "He was in charge of the machine-guns, and he very soon became known along the line of trenches for his skill. Other officers from other regiments would come along to see how Smyth, of the Inniskillings, had placed his guns, and to check their ranges by his. For coolness under fire and disregard of danger there were few his equal. One day he and I were huddled together under a little cover, and the enemy were picking off anybody who showed himself, from a close range, when a man was hit not far from us. Smyth jumped up immediately to do what he could for the wounded man, regardless of his own danger. It was the same when any of his own men were hit. He never hesitated to expose himself. I have lost a friend, the 6th Inniskillings have lost a skilled and important officer, and the men a splendid leader."



"SMYTH OF THE INNISKILLINGS."

Tribute to a Gallant Officer.

A tribute to the memory of Second-Lieutenant Irvine J. Smyth, 6th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, whose death in the Gallipoli Peninsula was recently reported, is paid in a letter received by his father from a brother officer, who writes – "He was in charge of the machine-guns, and he very soon became known along the line of trenches for his skill. Other officers from other regiments would come along to see how Smyth, of the Inniskillings, had placed his guns, and to check their ranges by his. For coolness under fire and disregard of danger there were few his equal. One day he and I were huddled together under a little cover, and the enemy were picking off anybody who showed himself, from a close range, when a man was hit not far from us. Smyth jumped up immediately to do what he could for the wounded man, regardless of his own danger. It was the same when any of his own men were hit. He never hesitated to expose himself. I have lost a friend, the 6th Inniskillings have lost a skilled and important officer, and the men a splendid leader." 
    This gallant officer was a son of Rev. W. H. Smyth, a Newtownards man, who was formerly minister of University Road and Carlisle Memorial Methodist Churches, Belfast, and who has accepted an invitation to the latter congregation for June, 1916. Deceased, who was a grandson of Rev. Irvine Johnston, Bangor, was born in Lurgan.
Belfast Newsletter, 9th October 1915



Monday, 17 July 2017

SKIMIN, George

Mate, Franz Fischer (London)
Died: 01/02/1916
Age: 48

Remembered on Tower Hill Memorial
Remembered on family memorial in Bangor Cemetery

George Skimin was born on the 21st June, 1867, in Church Street, Bangor. His parents were John Skimin (aka Skimmon), a sailor, and his wife Eliza Skimin (nee Leay).

Like his father before him, George took to the sea and signed on as a ships boy in 1884.

In June 1892 he married his wife Jane Barnes in Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church. Her father James was also sailor.

List of those killed in the Great War
in Trinity Presbyterian Church, Bangor
Over the years his maritime career progressed. He passed his examinations in April 1896 earning his Mates certificate and gained his Master's Certificate of Competency in November 1903.

Mainly working the coasting trade, George served on various vessels, and in November 1915 signed on as Mate on the Franz Fisher.

Built by Irvine & Co., West Hartlepool in 1881 the Franz Fischer was a German owned steamer that had been requisitioned by the Admiralty for service as a collier.

She was on a voyage from Hartlepool to Cowes with a cargo of coal on 1st February 1916, when she was sunk two miles south of Kentish Knock lightvessel. Of the 16 crew members, 13 were lost.

The cause of her loss has been the source of some controversy over the years however. British records give her loss as the result of a bomb from a zeppelin – L19. However, later research, which is now more accepted, claims she was sunk by the German submarine UB-17.

George's name is recorded on the war memorial of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Bangor, and on the Roll of Honour for Bangor Masonic.



BANGOR SEAMAN KILLED BY ZEPPELIN BOMB

Captain George Skimin, a Bangor seaman, who was engaged in transport work since beginning of the war, has been killed by the explosion of a bomb from a Zeppelin. He was a son of the late Captain Skimin, Bangor, and a brother of Mr. Arthur Skimin, clerk of the Bangor gas undertaking. He was a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Bangor. Deceased's widow, two sons, and daughter reside at Holborn Avenue, Belfast.
Belfast Newsletter, 12th February 1916