The Edinburgh Tattoo. In today’s Roll – John Bill the Queen’s medical student who died as an infantry officer at the Battle of Langemarck (Third Ypres) and five RAF aircrew from WW2 are amongst 17 remembered with honour today.
Representing their comrades who died on this day
+EKIN, Frederick William
Royal Fusiliers, (City of London Regiment). Private. 4795, Died 18/08/1916. Age 23. Member of the QUB Training Corps 1914 -15. He attended Queens University for one year, 1914-1915, and was a Member of Training Corps. On enlistment he served with the Royal Fusiliers (Old Public Schools Battalion) and was seriously wounded, having received a gunshot to his arm at the Battle of the Somme on 20/07/1916. Eldest son of John and Annie (nee Hartie) Ekin. Frederick was born on 20/07/1893 in the Shankill area of Belfast. John Ekin was a grocery agent. Frederick was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. He died in Edinburgh War Hospital and was buried in Belfast City Cemetery.
+BILL, John Alexander Patterson
Royal Irish Rifles. Second Lieutenant. RBAI. A Queen’s undergraduate in the Faculty of Arts, on the outbreak of war, Jack Bill enlisted as a Private with the Royal Army Medical Corps before receiving a commission in the 18th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles in April 1917. He was attached to the 12th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, when he was killed on 18/08/1917, aged 22, during the Battle of Langemarck (Third Ypres)
Two of his fellow officers reported thus:
2nd Lt Branningan – “Mr Bill was hit before he got right over and his body was seen in front of our wire. Mr Bill was a great friend of mine.”
2nd Lt Stokes – “This officer was last seen about map ref. D 19 b 10 90. He was lying on the ground apparently wounded in the groin or lower abdomen. Rifleman Matthews went out to dress him but was himself killed in the act of doing so, and it is supposed that the same bullet also hit Mr Bill. The men had by this time started coming back and Mr Bill was left behind apparently very seriously wounded.”
The location identified is very close to Gallipoli Farm, just to the south of the Wieltje – Gravenstafel road. Jack Bill’s body was not recovered
Jack Bill was born 08/07/1895 in Edinburgh, the son of Samuel Alexander and Grace Bill, who were missionaries. His grandfather was John Bill, a builder, of Downshire Park, Cregagh. Samuel Alexander Bill (born in Belfast, 1864; died in Nigeria, 1942) was raised in Ballymacarrett Presbyterian Church.
The 1901 Ireland Census return for 77 Upper Newtownards Road indicates that Jack Bill (aged 5) was living with his paternal grandfather and grandmother, John and Betsy Bill. The Fitzroy Avenue church magazine, The Courier, records that Jack Bill and his sister resided with the family of the Rev. William Colquhoun whilst their parents were in the mission field. John Bill entered RBAI in January 1907 and, in 1910, he briefly left to board at a school in County Cavan. While at RBAI, he was a member of the cricket first XI and the rugby first XV, until an accident cut short his sporting career. He also took part in the school’s “dramatic entertainments”
The family’s address when Jack died is recorded as the Mission House, Qua Iboe, Southern Nigeria – the 1911 Ireland Census records that Grace, Emma and Jack Bill lived at 61 University Street and the return is annotated to the effect that the Head of the Household was “absent in Qua Iboe, West Africa”. It had been Jack’s intention was to follow his father as a missionary in Qua Iboe, an aspiration that was to be denied by the Great War.
After leaving RBAI, John went to QUB. He was awarded the Drennan Exhibition, which was given to the First Literary Scholar of RBAI students in their first year at QUB. His name is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, West – Vaalanderland, Belgium, and RBAI WM.
+KNOX, James Huston
9th Bn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Private. 30699. Died 16/08/1917. Aged 20. Son of Alexander and Margaret Knox, of Bridge St., Kilrea, Co. Derry. Tyne Cot Memorial, West – Vaalanderland, Belgium
+HOUSTON, William Wylie
Royal Engineers, 226th Field Company. Second Lieutenant. Died 18/08/1917. Age 30. RBAI. Member of the QUB Training Corps 1915 – 16. He was living in Fitzroy Ave, Belfast, and was an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects, when he enlisted. William was killed in action. He, with a party of Royal Engineers, was conducting a working party of infantry to Mill Trench, near Cuinchy. They were in a position known as Lunatic Sap, when a pineapple bomb dropped close by. As well as William, Lance Corporal Turner was also killed, and 2 sappers wounded. Son of Thomas and Jane Wylie Houston (nee Wylie), “Lenamore,” Jordanstown, Whiteabbey. Native of Carnmoney. Cambrin Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. RBAI WM
+CROMIE, Robert Stevenson
RAFVR. Flight – Lieutenant. 90485. Died 18/08/1940. Aged 32. 615 Squadron. Medical officer killed in the bombing of RAF Kenley. MB, BCh, BAO 1937 QUB. Son of Samuel James Cromie and Sarah Morton Cromie, Ballymoney; husband to Mabel Cromie, M.D., M.M.S.A, Coulsdon, Surrey. Ballymoney Cemetery. QUB RH
+GUY, Hubert 18/08/1942
RAFVR. Sergeant. 1096085. Died on 18/08/1942. Aged 22. Son of Francis and Elizabeth Guy of Belfast. Dundonald Cemetery
AB. D/SS 35903. Died 16/08/1942. H.M.M.G.B. 609. Dover (St James) Cemetery (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 28/08/1942).
+REYNOLDS, George Edmund H
RN. Lieutenant. Reported missing 19/08/1942. His mother received a letter from him that he had ben wounded. Had served previously in RN and London police before rejoining RN at outbreak of war. Brother Thomas serving in RAF. Son of Mrs Reynolds, Castle St, Omagh. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 11/09/1942 ; Belfast Weekly Telegraph 23/10/1942).
+WHITESIDE, Charles Alexander
RAFVR. Flight Sergeant (Observer). 1181362. Died 18/08/1942. Aged 23. 113 Sqdn. Son of the Rev. James Whiteside, and of Vemby Whiteside, of Tandragee. Ranchi War Cemetery, India
+GRAHAM, Henry James
RAFVR. Sergeant. 1029884. Died 18/08/1943. Aged 21. 547 Sqdn. Henry was born in Cologne in Germany in 1922. On18/08/1943, a Wellington K of 547 Squadron was airborne at Davidstow Moor at 1327hrs, on a Musketry patrol. It was later reported that the aircraft failed to return. The aircraft was shot down by Oblt Herman Horstmann, StKapt 13/KG 40. Son of William John and Aletta Gertrude Graham, of Portobello, Staffordshire. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, Panel 151. Castlecaufield C of I WM, Dungannon WM
+CONNOR, Desmond William
RAFVR. Flying Officer (Pilot). 132894. Died 18/08/1944. Aged 24. 19 Sqdn. Son of Samuel Edgar and Florence Jane Connor, of Belfast. St Desir War Cemetery, Calvados, France
+MacLEISH, Maxwell Herdman
Royal Artillery. Lieutenant. 240224. Died 18/08/1944. Aged 36. 68 Anti-Tank Regt. Son of Alexander Rollo Macleish and Henrietta Herdman Macleish; husband of Elizabeth Vance Macleish, of Armagh. Banneville-La-Campagne War Cemetery, Calvados, France
RAFVR. Flight Sergeant (Navigator/Wireless Op.). 1007187. Died 18/08/1944. Aged 24.19 Sqdn. Son of Robert J. McDermott and Isabella McDermott, of Londonderry. Belgrade War Cemetery, Serbia
RAMC. Major. MCB. QCB 1872. MD RUI 1878. Served as Hon Surgeon to Shrewsbury Division, St John’s Ambulance Brigade. Born 1855. Son of James Lyttle, Maghera, Co Londonderry. Died 18/08/1923, Shrewsbury
WRIGHT, Peter Paul
RAMC. Lieutenant. Marist College, Dundalk. QUB MB 1914. BCh MD 1919. FRCS Edinburgh 1921. Served in Salonika and Gallipoli. Born 1892 Murroe, Co Limerick. Son of James (RIC Sergeant retired) and Ellen Wright. Died Belfast 18/09/1952. Milltown Cemetery, Belfast
ROBERTSON, nee Sheridan, Peggy
WRNS. Served duration of WW2 in UK, S Africa and Egypt. M Thomas who also served. They lived in Edinburgh. B 18/08/1915, Lisnooley, Florencecourt, Co. Fermanagh. Celebrated her centenary in Fermanagh. (Impartial Reporter 20/08/2015)
YOUNG, George Vaughan Chichester
RNVR. Lieutenant 1941-42; RNVR. 1942 (June-October); RINVR.10/1942 – 05/1946. QUB1939. Campbell College. Solicitors’ Final exam (N. Ireland 1st Place), 10/1946; Bar Final Exam. (N. Ireland), 06/1949. Admitted Solicitor (N. Ireland), 11/1946. Called to Bar, N. Ireland, 07/1949. Crown Counsel, Colonial Legal Service, Gold Coast. Born 18/08/1921. Son of HC Young, Aghanloo House, Bellarena.