October 20 – Roll of Honour

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In the Ulster Tower at Theipval. 101 years ago on the night of the 19th & 20th October 1918, the Ulster Division crossed the Lys River. This would be the last movements of the division before the war ended. Today’s Roll of 15 men includes a young scout-master from Greenisland who joined the NI Horse and later died in battle along with eight from the Royal Irish Rifles in WW1. In WW2 a former member of 502 (Ulster) Squadron, RAFVR, died over Norway, having been in action during the Battle of Britain.

Representing their comrades who died on this day

1914

+BALDRICK, James
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 2nd Bn. 3761. Private. Died 20/10/1914. Aged 23. Son of Mrs. Martha Baldrick, of 2, Duddys Row, Waterside, Londonderry. Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium

+DOUGLAS, George
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 2nd Bn. 7723. Private. Died 20/10/1914. Aged 30. Son of George and Mary Jane Douglas, of 14, Fountain Place, Londonderry. Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium

+SMYTH, John Ross
Royal Irish Regiment, 3rd Bn. attd. 2nd Bn. Second Lieutenant. Died 20/10/1914. Aged 18. Son of Col. Ross Smyth (10th Bn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers) and Mrs. Smyth, of Ardmore, Londonderry. Le Touret Memorial, Pas de Calais, France

1915

+CONNOLLY, John

Royal Munster Fusiliers, 2nd Btn. Private. 911. Died 20/10/1915 of wounds at Netley War Hospital. Born in Dungannon. Netley Military Cemetery, Southampton, Hampshire. Armagh WN, IMR

1917

+ALLEN, David

Royal Irish Fusiliers. 1st Bn. Private. 24898. Died 02/10/1917. Age 21. Born in Minterburn, County Tyrone about 1896. Son of William and Sarah Allen. William Allen was a caretaker and gamekeeper and then a farmer. Rocquigny – Equancourt British Cemetery, Rocquigny, Somme, France

1918
 

+ANDERSON, William
North Irish Horse – 20th Royal Irish Rifles. Second Lieutenant. Died 20/10/1918. Age 23. Enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 02/06/1915 (No.1659, later Corps of Hussars No.71488). He was promoted to the rank of lance corporal on 30/12/1915 and corporal on 10/03/1916. On 29/06/1916 he embarked for France, where he was posted to E Squadron, 1st North Irish Horse Regiment. Apart from some months invalided home with eczema, he remained with the regiment until July 1917, when he left for officer training. He joined the No.7 Officer Cadet Battalion at Fermoy on 07/09/1917 and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 30/01/1918. Second Lieutenant Anderson was initially posted to the 20th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. Later in the year he was posted to the Rifles’ 15th Battalion, joining it at the front in August. He was killed by machine-gun fire as his battalion pushed across the Deerlyck-Waereghem road towards the Gaverbeek, in Belgium, after taking charge of his company when its commander had been hit. Born 15/01/1895 in Greenisland. Son of John and Robina Anderson, Greenisland, Carrickfergus. He was Assistant-Scoutmaster of the 16th Belfast Troop. (Irish Times, 09/11/1918). He served a five-year apprenticeship at the Belfast firm of Mitchell Brothers before being engaged in the tea trade business with Mr. James Feeney, Ulster Street. His remains were interred with eight others, mostly men of the Royal Irish Rifles at Harlebeke New British Cemetery, West Vlaanderen, Belgium

+CROTHERS, George Soran Fraser
Royal Irish Rifles, 15th Btn. Rifleman. 12709. Died 20/10/1918. Aged 20. He had been wounded about 3 years previous. Prior to enlistment he was a member of the North Belfast Ulster Volunteer Force. He was also a member of North Belfast Temperance LOL 2046 and Oldpark Flute Band. Prior to joining the colours he was employed by Messrs Marsh and Co, Donegall Street, Belfast. Son of Joseph and Mary Ann Crothers, of 6, Beechnut St., Belfast. Brother Joe and Sister-in-law, 213 29th Street, Brooklyn, New York (Belfast Telegraph 20/10/1919). Harlebeke New British Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

+GARTLAND, Patrick
Royal Field Artillery, Small Arms Division, Ammunition Column. Driver. 30685. Died 20/10/1918. Age 22. When14 years old, he was a linen weaver. Son of Michael and Mary Gartland of Brackaville, Coalisland. St Vaast Communal Cemetery Extension, St Vaast, Nord, France. Dungannon WM

+GUESS, Thomas
RAF. Private (2nd Class). 299596. Died 20/10/1918. Age 18. L Section, Recruits Training Wing. Son of Thomas and Elizabeth Guess. Thomas was born in the Desertmartin / Draperstown area on 15/05/1900. He was just 4 years old when his mother, Lizzie Guess, died on 22/09/1904. The 1911 census lists Thomas as age 10 living with the Donnelly family, his aunt and uncle, at house 6 in Keenaght, Iniscarn, County Londonderry. Keenaught Roman Catholic Churchyard, Desertmartin.

+WIGTON, Robert
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 9th Btn. Private. 11227. Died 20/10/1918 . Age 22. Born about 1896 in Killyman. Son of William and Margaret Wigton, of Cavan Hill, Killyman, Moy. The 1911 census shows Robert and his sister Ellen working as servants for John Richardson and his sister in Bernagh, Killyman. Robert enlisted in Dungannon. He died six months after his brother Frederick. Harlebeke village was taken on the night of 19-20 October 1918 by the 9th (Scottish) Division. Harlebeke New British Cemetery, Harlebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.  Dungannon WM

1940

+GREEN, Maurice David
RAFVR. Pilot Officer. 78363. MiD. Died 20/10/1940. RAF 248 Sqdn. He joined the RAFVR in August 1939. As an observer, he undertook pilot training. He was called-up on 01/09/1939, completing training at 4 Bombing and Gunnery School at RAF West Freugh. He joined RAF 248 Squadron on 30/03/1940 at North Coates. A posting to No 1 OTU at Silloth followed on 31/05/1940 for further training.

With that completed, he rejoined 248 Squadron on 25/06/1940. He flew Blenheim bombers with RAF 248 Squadron during the Battle of Britain between July and October 1940.

He went missing in action presumed dead on 20/10/1940. Green was part of a crew that took of at 0716 hrs from Coastal Command base RAF Sumburgh in the Shetland Islands in Blenheim IVF L9453. The plane coded WR-Z was referred to as “Z for Zebra”. Along with two other Blenheims, the reconnaissance mission was to find a shot-down German crew between Stadtlandet and Trondheim on the Norwegian coast. Intercepted radio messages suggested a floating dingy of German survivors would be picked up by a Luftwaffe floatplane.

While in the air off Ballen, Hemnfjorden Sør-Trøndelag, Blenheim L9453 came under attack from two ME109s from 4/JG77 at 1023hrs. Luftwaffe Unteroffizier Ludwig Fröba claimed the victory. Pilot Officer Sydney Russell “Paddy” Gane (20) from Duncon, Argyllshire, Scotland baled out as the plane went down. Pilot Officer Green and Sergeant Norman James Stocks remained on board as the Blenheim entered the sea. This was one of only two losses for RAF 248 Squadron in the battle.

A sixteen-year-old local boy Erling Karlsen watched as the Luftwaffe pilots strafed the wreckage. Afterwards, he rowed out with friends to try salvaging some of the plane. As Gane’s parachute fell, the Messerschmitt gunners shot the British pilot. Norwegian locals would later find Gane’s body and bury him on the hillside at the nearby Stamnes Farm.
The farmer did not want the burial near his farmyard so locals dug a grave on the hillside. German soldiers helped to carry the body on a door taken from a nearby boathouse. He was reinterred at Stavne Cemetery, Trondheim on 31/08/1946. Pilot Officer Maurice David Green has no known grave. His will lists his place of residence as Ballinavalley, Neill’s Hill, Belfast. He is named on the Runnymeade Memorial, Panel 8. 502 (Ulster) Squadron WM, St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast

1944

+HAVERON, Francis Greer
Royal Irish Fusiliers, 1st Bn. Fusilier. 14440500. Died 20/10/1944. Aged 21. Son of Dorothy Elizabeth Haveron, of Larne Harbour. Santerno Valley War Cemetery, Italy

+JOHNSTON, Charles Lambourne
Royal Irish Fusiliers, 1st Bn. Fusilier. 7023038. Died 20/10/1944. Aged 22. Son of James and Rose Johnston, of Belfast. Cassino Memorial, Italy

+SMITH, William
Royal Irish Fusiliers, 1st Bn. Fusilier. 14425414. Died 20/10/1944, in the initial attack on Mt Spaduro. Aged 19. Son of Joseph and Ann Jane Smith, of Belfast; nephew of Agnes Ritchie, of Belfast. Santerno Valley War Cemetery, Italy

VETERAN

CURRAN, Lancelot Ernest

Royal Flying Corps. Major. Also served 1939 – 1945 in WW2. Knighted 1964. RBAI and QUB. Served in the RFC from 1917 to 1918. Barrister. Called to the Irish Bar (King’s Inn) 1923. Senior Crown Prosecutor for County Down. Chairman of the Court of Referees and Deputy Umpire under the Unemployment Protection Acts from 1926 to 1945. Served in the Army from 1939 to 1945. Queen’s Counsel 1943. An Ulster Unionist member. Sat for the Carrick division from the byelection of 19/04/1945 until he resigned on appointment as a Judge of the High Court of Northern Ireland on 03/11/1949. Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Finance (Chief Whip) from 17/07/1945 to 12/06/1947. Attorney-General from 06/06/1947 to 04/11/1949. Judge of the High Court of Northern Ireland from 1949 to 1955. Lord Justice of Appeal in the Supreme Court of Northern Ireland from 1956 to 1975. PC (NI) 1957. The murder of his daughter Patricia in 1952 led to a miscarriage of justice which took nearly 50 years to put right. Died 20/10/1984.

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2 Comments on “October 20 – Roll of Honour

  1. From ‘The War graves of The British Empire’ NI edition. Pte Thomas Guess died of influenza.

    Like

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