September 22 – Roll of Honour

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Today’s Roll includes two medical officers who had been members of the Training Corps at Queen’s University, two men who served with Canadian forces, and two men born in Randalstown.

Representing their comrades who died on this day

1916

+CONLON, Benjamin
58th. Btn. Canadian Infantry. Private. 405610. Died 22/09/1916. Age 22.
Born on 22/11/1888 in County Tyrone. The 1901 census lists Benjamin as age 13 living with his brother’s family at Ennish, Clananeese, Tyrone. Benjamin was still at school. Benjamin emigrated to Canada. He had been living for three years in Toronto before enlistment. He was working as a stable groom. He has spent a year with the 48th Highlanders. He enlisted in Niagara on 09/06/1915. He was single and named his next of kin as his sister, Mrs. George Wilson of 11 Smith Street, Risburn, Tyrone. Vimy Memorial, Arras, Pas de Calais, France. Dungannon WM. Lower Clonaleese Presbyterian Church RH

+FULTON, John – served as WATT, John
2nd Canadian Infantry (Eastern Ontario Regiment). Private. 412650. Died 22/09/1916. Aged 33. Son of farmer William Fulton, Tamnaderry, Cargin, Randalstown and Jane Watt, Drumbo(e), who had married in 2nd Randalstown Presbyterian Church on 15/03/1872. They had 10 children. 2nd Canadian Cemetery, Sunken Road, Contalmaison, Somme, France.
1917

+FOSTER, Edward John
Royal Engineers. Sapper. 64439. Died 22/11/1917. Age 24. Son of James and Maria Foster, Cushendall. Husband of Elizabeth, Provost Road, Dundee. Layde Church of Ireland Churchyard, Cushendall

+McCAFFREY, Joseph Fred
2nd Btn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Private. 20677. Died 22/09/1917. Aged 21. Serving with ‘A’ Company of the 2nd Battalion when he was wounded at Passchendaele, where there was a major offensive on the Messines Road at that time. Youngest son of Thomas and Mary Anne McCaffery. Thomas was born about 1896 in Fivemiletown, County Tyrone. Joseph worded as a tailor’s apprentice. Coxyde Military Cemetery, West-Vlaanderenland, Belgium. The cemetery is just 48kms away from the grave of his older brother Thomas McCaffery, who was killed seven months later on 14/04/1918.
1918

+McCORMACK, Campbell McNeill

RAMC. Major. MC and 2 Bars. MiD. Died 22/09/1918. Age 27. Educated initially at the Carr and Ballymacbrennan National Schools, he won a scholarship to Lisburn Intermediate School, subsequently Wallace High School, where he won exhibitions in the junior, middle and senior schools, and then an entrance scholarship of £30 to QUB to study medicine. After graduating MB in June 1914 and, having been in the OTC at Queens, (where he was the best shot in his Company and won four bronze medals for training), he joined the Reserve of Officers (RAMC) going to Aldershot at the end of June for preliminary training. On completion of this he expected to be able to return home to Drumbo for a short holiday but the outbreak of war intervened. Posted to Dublin for a short time, he susequently embarked for France on the night of 07/08/1914 with the medical contingent of the Aldershot Division.

Heavily involved in the retreat from Mons, he “came to prominence for good work bravely performed at … Hill 60.” Writing home afterwards, he commented that it was, “a miracle more of them did not get knocked out”. He was also mentioned in dispatches, “for gallant and distinguished conduct in the field” in Sir John French’s last dispatch.
He was promoted to Captain from 01/04/1915 (London Gazette of 23/07/1915).

He was awarded the MC in September 1916. The citation published in the London Gazette read, “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during operations. He directed the stretcher-bearers under heavy shellfire with the greatest coolness and courage. He succeeded in entering a village which had been heavily shelled, and, with another captain, a sergeant and four men, collected the wounded into a dug-out and succeeded in getting them back later. He has frequently shown great courage.”

He was married to Ella Todd Warnock of Fernleigh, Endsleigh Drive, Belfast, in Drumbo Presbyterian Church on 12/09/1917. She was the only daughter of the late Rev. James Warnock, formerly minister of Drumbo and of Kroonstad, South Africa where he had gone for the sake of his health. One of the ministers officiating was the Rev. Joseph Cordner who may have been the father of James Cordner, who was KIA in April 1918. The best man was Hugh McCormack the bridegroom’s brother who was later to have Campbell’s death commemorated on his own headstone. The officers and men of 15 Field Ambulance gave them a silver salver.

Slightly wounded in late August/early September 1918, he was KIA in France on the 22/09/1918 two days after coming out of hospital and just over a year after his marriage. He was 27 years old and was serving in the 5th.(5) Field Ambulance RAMC.

Born 05/05/1891, he was the son of William McCormack, a farmer and Mrs. McCormack of Hillhall House, Lisburn, Co. Down, his death is also commemorated on his brother’s (H.H. McCormack’s) headstone in Drumbo Presbyterian church graveyard. He died on the 12/08/1980.

Writing to his parents shortly after his death, Major F.R. Thornton (RAMC) wrote, “I think by this time you will have received news of Major McCormack’s death yesterday morning. A shell hit the shelter in which he and Colonel Bradley were sleeping and both were killed at once. He was buried yesterday afternoon in the cemetery close by in the presence of all the men of his ambulance who could be spared, and detachments from the other ambulances of the division. The General commanding the Division and many other officers were present. At the special request of the men his body was carried to the grave by the N.C.O.’s of the unit. It is difficult for me to express to you the deep sympathy that I feel, as I realise what a terrible loss it must be to you all. We all feel it most deeply, as he was beloved by officers and men. Of his unselfishness and courage it is needless to speak, for the men would follow him anywhere, or do anything which he asked them to do. I wonder if you have any small photographs of him, I should, myself, so much like one and the other officers are asking for it; in addition if you could let us have a few, I know how deeply some of our N.C.O.’s and men of his section would appreciate them. With my very deepest condolence”. Barastre Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calsis, France

+McGROGGAN, Patrick Joseph
Royal Engineers. 77th Field Coy. Sapper. 25253. Died 22/09/1918. Born in Randalstown. Fins New Brit Cemetery, Sorel Le Grand, Somme.

1940

+WEIR, Thomas James
RN. Able Seaman. D/JX 185603. Date of Death: 22/09/1940. Age: 29. H.M.S. President III. Lost in MV Invershannon. Son of Charles and Isabella Weir; husband of Kathleen Weir, Newry. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 38

VETERAN

CAMPBELL, William Kealty
RAMC. Brigadier. DSO. MBE. MC and Bar. MiD twice. Member of the Officers Training Corps. QUB MB 1915. Lieutenant RAMC 08/08/1914. Captain 07/08/1915. Major 31/07/1941. Brigadier 29/11/1942. In France from 05/05/1915 – 1919 with 28 Field Ambulance. DSO (22/09/1916) for services at Longuval on 14/07/1916. Post war served in India, China, Malaya and Egypt. He continued to serveright through Word War Two, ending his army career, on retired pay, on 12/05/1947. Born 12/11/1889

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