August 17 – Roll of Honour

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HRH The Princess Royal –

Royal Patron of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

A QUB medic from Belfast who won the MC and was MID five times in WW1; a Royal Ulster Rifles officer from Newcastle who won the MC and Bar in WW2; and a decorated pilot from Portrush who flew in the Battle of Britain are among those we remember today

Representing their comrades who died on this day

1915

+CUDDY, John
Royal Dublin Fusiliers. 21910. Died 17/08/1915. Helles Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey

1916

+CLAXTON, Charles
RNR. Leading Seaman. 2090D. HM Yacht Zaida. Died 17/08/1916. Aged 40. HMY Zaida was built 1900. Hired by the RN as a Patrol vessel 26/05/16. Sunk 17/08/16 by gunfire from German submarine U35 in the Eastern Mediterranean. Husband to Annie Claxton, Quay Lane, Larne. Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 23. Larne WM. St Cedma’s Parish Church WM

+QUARRY, William Harold
Royal Fusiliers. Corporal. Died 17/08/1916. Age 25. Member of the QUB Training Corps 1914. Campbell College. Son of the late George Henry and May Quarry, Belfast. Flatiron Copse Cemetery, Mametz

1917

+GRAHAM, George Lyons
Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 6th Battalion attached 2nd Battalion. Second Lieutenant. Died 17/08/1917. Age 24. Killed during the very difficult fighting at Passchendaele. Member of the QUB Training Corps. Commissioned 03/09/1915. Born Ballymacfin. Son of Mr S. Graham, Dervock. Husband to Margaret Graham, Channing St, Castlereagh, Belfast and father of two children. Tyne Cot Memorial, Ballymoney WM, Carncullagh Presbyterian Church RH

1942

+BLACK, Robert

Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, attached to 10 Indian Division Provost Unit.
Lance Corporal. Died 17/081942. He is believed to have been lost at sea. Alamein Memorial. Enniskillen WM

+FLEMING, William Joseph Alexander

RAFVR. Sergeant.1118705. Died 17/08/1942. Aged 28.154 Sqdn. 
Son of William A. and Catherine Fleming, of Londonderry. Runnymede Memorial, Panel 83

1944

+PEDLOW, William
RAFVR. Flying Officer. 156773. Died 17/08/1944. Aged 27. 102 Sqdn. Son of William and Sarah Pedlow, of Finaghy, Co. Antrim. Runnymeade Memorial, Surrey. 502 (Ulster) Squadron WM, St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast

+TOPPING, Samuel
1st Btn. Royal Ulster Rifles (Airborne). Rifleman.7017020. Died 17/08/1944. Aged 39, after three years’ service. His home was at Millbrook Road, Lisburn, County Antrim; he was married with three children. His father had served with the Royal Irish Rifles in the First World War, being killed in August 1916. Ranville War Cemetery

1945

+LOVELL, Anthony Desmond Joseph
RAF. Wing Commander. 40402. DSO and Bar, DFC and Bar. DFC (American). Died 17/08/1945. Aged 26. Flew in Battle of Britain. Son of Stuart C. A. Lovell, and of Clare Mary Lovell of Portrush. His brother, Stuart James Lovell, also died on service. Ballywillan New Cemetery, Portrush

VETERAN

McCULLAGH, William McKim Herbert

RAMC. Lieutenant DSO, MC. MiD five times. Methodist College Belfast. QUB MB 1913. MRCS and FRCS 8 June 1922. MRCOG foundation 1927; FRCOG 1937.

On the outbreak of war he joined the RAMC and served throughout in France, winning the MC at the beginning and the DSO at the end of the war and being five times mentioned in dispatches; he was attached to 4 Field Ambulance, Guards Division till 1918 and then as Lieutenant-Colonel to 137 Field Ambulance, 40th Division. MC 18/02/1915. DSO Jan 1918.

He held resident appointments at Queen Charlotte’s and the Samaritan Hospital, where he became registrar, and then established himself in successful obstetric practice in London, serving on the staff of several hospitals and being a foundation Member of the College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

During the second world war he was ADMS to 47 London Division (TA) 1939 to 1942, and then ADMS in Sierra Leone 1942-44; in 1944-45 he was officer in command of Campbell College Military Hospital, Belfast.

He was awarded the Arnott medal in 1956 by the Irish Medical Schools Graduates Association. William McCullagh invented a number of special gynaecological instruments.

Son of Samuel W and Dorinda McCullagh, Rosetta Pk, Belfast. He was a keen golfer, but was incapacitated towards the end of his life by fracturing his femur in a road accident.

He practised at 138 Harley Street and lived at 7 Holly Lodge Gardens, West Hill, Highgate where he died on 17/08/1964 aged 75. He had married in 1932 Alison daughter of Henry Carrothers of Duneane, Ballynafeigh, Belfast, who survived him with their son and two daughters.

Lieutenant-Colonel Adam Desmond Woods M.C. and Bar

Lt-Col Desmond Woods was serving with the Royal Ulster Rifles in Palestine during 1938 when he won the Military Cross.

He was awarded a Bar to his M.C. in Italy in 1944.

Woods was an instructor at Mons OCTU in 1942 and joined the 2nd Battalion, the London Irish Rifles at Termoli, Italy, the following year.

Shortly after taking command of H Company, Woods received orders to capture a bridge on the River Moro. Suspecting that the bridge was mined and that the Germans were there in considerable strength, he insisted on sending out a patrol to reconnoitre the position.

After the patrol reported, the company attack was upgraded to a battalion attack and, following a visit by the brigadier, revised again to an attack in brigade strength.

On May 11 1944, the Allies launched Operation Diadem in an attempt to unlock the stalemate south of Rome and the final battle began for the fortress of Monte Cassino, the key to the Gustav Line. The Germans had been preparing their defences behind the River Rapido for over a year. They had tanks, mortars, machineguns, and 88mm guns cemented into pill-boxes. The infantry were in the cellars of fortified farmhouses or in slit trenches in the gardens.

After a small bridgehead had been made over the Rapido, on May 15, at first light, three companies of the London Irish formed part of 78 Division’s attack on the heart of the Gustav Line.

“Everything in the garden is not exactly rosy, sir,” observed Woods’s company sergeant-major, who had a distinctly quirky sense of humour. Advancing straight up the Liri Valley behind a heavy artillery barrage, H Company encountered fierce resistance, but the enemy strong points were overcome.

In the assault on the fortified village of Sinagogga, Woods took part of his company in ahead of the tanks, under intense small arms and shellfire, and neutralised the German anti-tank weapons.

H Company’s capture of the village was largely responsible for the success of the operation but Woods lost two platoon officers and two-thirds of his company in reaching the objective. His outstanding leadership and skilful handling of his company was recognised by the award of a bar to his MC.

In July, Woods took part in an action at Lake Trasimene in which he was wounded in the leg by a stick grenade. He was mentioned in dispatches, but soon after was medically downgraded and moved to a holding centre near Caserta.

He died on 17/08/2002. Tullybrannigan Cemetery, Newcastle.

Acknowledgment – The Daily Telegraph

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One thought on “August 17 – Roll of Honour

  1. Where British and Indian troops made their assault crossing in Operation HONKER on the night of 11/12 May 1944 is the Gari river and not the Rapido, which flows into the Gari north of Sant’Angelo in Theodice, the nub of the crossing operation. Until recently, most accounts made the error of describing the river as the Rapido.
    Desmond Woods earned the Bar to his MC at Casa Sinagoga, which is a farmhouse and outbuildings rather than a fortified village. It still belongs to the Sinagoga family although they now live in a modern house along the road. Desmond’s greatest regret was that Cpl Jimmy Barnes, a Monaghan man, who had sacrificed his life to unlock the German defence by attacking an anti-tank gun position that was pinning down the tanks supporting 2 LIR, was denied the posthumous VC for which Desmond recommended him. John Horsfall, who took over command of the battalion when the CO was killed, wrote that, of H Coy, ‘a bare dozen of them were visible – smothered in brick dust, and their eyes the only bright thing about them’ when the farm had been secured.

    Like

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