The war graves of two who fell on this day are in Catania War Cemetery, Sicily, Italy. They are from the Royal Ulster Rifles and Royal Irish Fusiliers. We also remember today a Dungannon man serving with the Canadian Regiment, an RAF Japanese POW from Ballymena and a Chaplain killed following the Normandy landings.
Representing their comrades who died on this day
+KEANE, Ernest John
RN. Able Seaman. 225445. Died 05/08/1915 of enteric fever in 21st General Hospital, Alexandria. Age 27. Served in HMS Egmont, depot ship in Malta (13/10/1913 – 20/10/1914). Served in Blenheim and Adamant (01/11/1914 – 05/08/1915). Born Bangor 07/12/1887. Son of Richard and Elizabeth nee Sumner Keane, Helen’s Bay. Brother of Stephen Vincent Keane whi served in RN. Alexandria (Chatsby) Cemetery, Egypt, L82. ADM 188/397/225455
+COLEMAN, Patrick George
Royal Canadian Regiment. Private. 477183. Died 05/08/1916. Son of James and Katherine Coleman; husband of Ellen Coleman, of Derrygortreary, Dungannon. Native of Moy, Co. Tyrone. Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium. Dungannon WM
+McCLINTOCK, Samuel Leo
6th Battalion Royal Irish Regiment. Private. 2912. Born Templemore, County Londonderry. Enlisted Derry. Died from wounds on 05/08/1917. Grandson of Mrs Sarah Sweeney, 34, Nailor’s Row, Derry. Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, West Vlaanderen, Belgium. Diamond WM.
2nd Bn. Royal Ulster Rifles. The London Irish Rifles.Private. 7018987. Died 05/08/1943. Son of William and Margaret Stewart Cathcart, of Kells, Co. Antrim. Catania War Cemetery, Sicily, Italy
1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. Fusilier. 7043525. Died 05/08/1943. Aged 30. Son of William John ‘Billsy’ Hill who served in the First World War with 15th (North Belfast Volunteers) Battalion. William had two Sons, George and Billy who followed him into military service. Rifleman Billy Hill, served with 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles in both Normandy and Palestine. He was wounded in an arm by shrapnel which was finally removed in the 1950’s after it had worked its way down over the years to between his fingers. Billy joined the Royal Ulster Rifles T.A Battalion after the war and was a Provost Sgt in Victoria Barracks. Billy died in 1989. From the Shankill Road area of Belfast. Catania War Cemetery, Sicily, Italy
+ROWAN, William Erwin
RAFVR. Aircraftman 1st Class. 993604. Died 05/08/1943. Age 23. Japanese POW. Son of Thomas and Ellen Rowan, Patrick Place, Ballymena. Chungkai War Cemetery.
Chaplain 4th Class. 244123. MiD. Attached to 5th Battalion, The Wiltshire Regiment. Died 05/08/1944. Aged 34. Son of John and Kathleen Douglas and husband to Annie Hildegarde Douglas of Dunmurry. Tilly-Sur-Seulles War Cemetery
James Douglas was the Rector of Colebrooke, Co. Fermanagh. He was appointed in February 1938. Previously he had served from August 1933 as curate-assistant of Magheralin.
He was born in Waterford and educated in Wesley College and Trinity College, Dublin. When he first came to Magheralin, he lodged in the `Wilderness’ with the Gilpin family. Later in 1935 he married and moved to the curate’s house at 19 Avenue Road.
As Chaplain he was attached to 5thBattalion, The Wiltshire Regiment. He was killed in the Normandy landings in 1944, and was later Mentioned in Dispatches, having been in the front line with his men.
A tribute from Magheralin records, “The resilient and complete faith in God which had characterised Mr. Douglas’ ministry in Magheralin was the gift he took with him to the field of battle. That he was able to share God’s saving grace with so many young men, and urge them to place their trust in God was indeed a special calling for Mr. Douglas. He felt honoured that God had called him to do this business and he answered that call faithfully to the end. A Padre leading his men in prayer in the fleeting minutes before battle is a sobering moment.”
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