September 17 – Roll of Honour


Today is the anniversary of two costly events in WW2. In 1939 the air carrier Courageous was lost and in 1944 Operation Market Garden began. The allies failed attempt to gain a foothold over the River Rhine into Germany from the Netherlands.

Representing their comrades who died on this day

RNR. Seaman. 3681C. HMS Fisgard II. Died 17/09/1914. Age 32. Capsize off Portland Point. Son of the late James and Sarah Woodside, Ballykeel, Islandmagee. Brother of David Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 6. First Islandmagee – PCI RH

+GALLOWAY, Robert Harrison
5th Bn. Seaforth Highlanders. Private. 4156. Died 17/09/1916. Age 20. Son of Robert and Matilda Galloway, of 3, Ravenscroft St., Belfast. Dundonald Cemetery

+MATHERS, Samuel George
2nd Bn. Irish Guards. Private. 8293. Died 17/09/1916. Aged 23. Son of Samuel and Ann Jane Mathers, of Fagan Row, Millbrook, Larne. Corbie Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France. Larne WM

+McMASTER, James Andrew
RMLI. Private. PLY/17781. 2nd RM Battalion RND. Plymouth Division. Died 17/09/1916 of wounds. Age 20. Enrolled 14/12/1914. Embarked Royal Marine Brigade 05/12/15 per HMT Northlands arrived Alexandria 17/12/15, joined 2nd Royal Marine Battalion at Mudros 26/01/1916-17/09/1916. Born Belfast 02/12/1896. Son of Thomas and Mary Jane McMaster, Glenvarlock St., Castlereigh Rd., Belfast (1914), and Wayland St., Belfast. IMR. ADM 159/161/17781

+RAINEY, James
44th and 52nd Battalions, Canadian Infantry. Private. 622046. Died 17/09/1916. Born 08/10/1890. Son of James and Margaret Rainey of Leitrim, Randalstown. Enlisted on 22/12/1914 in Winnipeg. He died serving with 52nd Btn in the trenches west of Courcelette. Vimy Memorial

Courageous, an aircraft carrier. was torpedoed and sunk in the opening weeks of the war, going down with more than 500 of her crew. See article on this site, September 17

+WHITLA, James
Named on Portadown WM. Only record with CWGC is for AB. D/J 26083. Died 17/09/1939. H.M.S. Courageous. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 33

+JOHNSTON, James Andrew
RAFVR. Leading Aircraftman. 981988. Died 17/09/1942. 158 Sqdn. Lurgan New Cemetery


+CLARKE, Thomas George
2nd Bn. Irish Guards. Guardsman. 2719127. Died 17/09/1944. Aged 26. Son of James and Jane C. Clarke, of Corkley, Almamachin, Co. Armagh. Groesbeek Memorial, Gelderland, Netherlands

+PARKES, William John
2nd Bn. Irish Guards. Warrant Officer Class II (S.S.M.). 2717391. Died 17/09/1944. Aged 33. Operation Market Garden. Serving in the Armoured 2nd Battalion of the Irish Guards, he was shot and killed after his Sherman tank had been destroyed and whilst he was trying to escape his stricken vehicle. Born 07/06/1912 in Belfast, He enlisted into the army in 1931, initially seeing service in Egypt. In 1938 he became an army reservist joining the Belfast Harbour Police. He was a Constable before being recalled into the army in 1939. Son of Joseph and Esther W. Parkes (nee McGibney), of Belfast. Billy wrote a last letter home to his mother the night before he was killed. Valkenswaard War Cemetery, a few miles south of Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands


RNAS/ Fleet Air Arm. Sub Lieutenant. Pilot. 1939-45. During the course of the war he had at least two near death experiences. His first wartime posting was flying Fairy Fulmars from the Harland and Wolff-built carrier HMS Formidable. He arrived in Egypt just as his ship was about to take part in the evacuation of Crete. After the Crete evacuation he flew Swordfish torpedo bombers during the invasion of Syria and once spent three days in a dingy, without food or water, after being forced to ditch at sea. Robert was awarded a DSC. The citation reads: “The Distinguished Service Cross has been awarded to Sub Lieutenant Babington for his skill, bravery and sustained resolution in many air attacks against enemy submarines and E-boats in the Mediterranean. He had another brush with death when the carrier HMS Dasher was sunk on 27/03/1943 while sailing in the Clyde with the loss of 379 men. As the ship was sinking, he was forced to jump overboard and swim to safety. A massive explosion took the ship under a short time later. Dublin born. St Columba’s College and Trinity College, Dublin. Called to the Northern Ireland Bar 1947. Queen’s Counsel 1965. An Ulster Unionist member. He resigned from the ’66 Committee of Unionist backbenchers in October 1970. Sat for North Down from the 1969 general election until the prorogation of the Parliament in 1972. County Court Judge for Fermanagh and Tyrone from 1974. Died 17/09/2010

GREACEN, Thomas Earldrid
Canadian Infantry, Captain. MC. Campbell College. Ulster Schools XV, 1911 and 1912. QUB 1913.  Canadian Bank of Commerce, 1914. Sales Manager in Esso Petroleum Co., London, for 21 years.  1940-45, Seconded to British Govt. as Technical Adviser on Petrol Rationing.  Home Guard, Sussex Regt., 1946, Managing Director, Greacen and Co. Ltd., Wine and Spirit Merchants, Monaghan.  Cortolvin House, Monaghan. Born 17/09/1893, son of Robert Greacen, Aviemore House, Monaghan.

MAXTON, Leonard Graeme
RNAS. Transferred to RAF. Squadron-Leader, 1931. Awarded Air Force Cross, 1926. Norwegian Campaign, mentioned in despatches 1940.  1940 – 42, Battle of Atlantic.  1943 – 45, Staff and Training.  Retired as Group Captain. Born 17/09/1896. Died12/1972, Chittern, Wilts. Son of James Maxton, Kirkliston Drive, Belfast. Campbell College 1008.

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We will remember them



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