November 8 – Roll of Honour


A WW1 record highlights service by an Instonian in Russia with the naval air service’s armoured car division and his death in Belgium with the RFC. In WW2 Ronald Orr, also a former QUB student, was awarded a posthumous George Cross for his service in mine disposal on this day in 1944. Two men were lost in HMS Walney, a former US coastguard cutter, during Operation Torch landings in French NW Africa. Their commanding officer was awarded the VC. Photo – Burma Star Association memorial, Belfast Cathedral

Representing their comrades who died on this day


+SEMPLE, William
RN. Stoker 1st Cl. K34978. HMS Juno. Died in Hospital 08/11/1916. Dunarnon, Magherafelt. Suez War Memorial Cemetery. First Magherafelt – PCI RH


+McCULLOUGH, Frederick James

RNAS. Petty Officer. Mechanic. F10028. Armoured Car Division. Second Lieutenant. RFC. 53rd Squadron. – Secondary Unit Royal Garrison Artillery. Died 08/11/1917. After Inst, he attended Queen’s University Belfast, where he studied engineering and was a member of the Officer Training Corps. On 15th November 1915, he was appointed to the Royal Naval Air Service (Russian Armoured Car Division) as a Petty Officer. He served in Russia under Commander Locker-Lampson before returning home to be commissioned to the Royal Garrison Artillery on 13th October 1916, where he served with the Brigade Head Quarter’s staff in France. He subsequently transferred to the 53rd Squadron Royal Flying Corps, as an observer. Frederick was killed in action on 08/11/1917. A report received from the officer commanding the 10th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment stated that on 15th November: “when in the lines my unit found the bodies of 2 British airmen in “no-man’s land”, they were recovered and buried in the Northern end of Hollebeke Church. A chequebook and letters were found on one of the bodies which showed it to be that of 2nd Lt L W Middleton RFC”. Frederick was born on 27/09/1897, the son of F W and Sara McCullough of Longford Villa, Antrim Road, Belfast, later of “Belgravia”, Ulsterville Avenue, Belfast. His father was the chief engineer for the city of Belfast and president of the Institution of Water Engineers. Frederick’s remains were re-interred in Voormezeele Enclosure Number 3, Flanders, Belgium. RBAI WM, Fitzroy – PCI RH, QUB WM, and QUB Training Corps RH. ADM 188/580/10028


RNR. Trimmer. 487/SJ. HMT Nellie Dodds. Died 08/11/1918. Aged 35. Husband to Rose Ann Coard, Garston St., Belfast. Carnmoney Cemetery

+COWAN, Matthew
RMLI. Private. PO/13739. Plymouth Division (Blake). Died 08/11/1918. Accidentally killed. Enlisted Belfast 04/07/1906. War service in HMS St Helena. Born St Anne’s Ward, Belfast 13/10/1888. Husband to Frances Cowan, Tobergill St., Belfast. Dunfermline Cemetery. ADM 159/154/13739

Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 6th Bn. Lance Serjeant. 12760. Died 08/11/1918. Age 26. Son of Alfred V. and Margaret Hewitt (nee Kidd), of Moira. Served at Gallipoli, Salonika, Egypt, and Palestine. Premont British Cemetery, Aisne, France

North Irish Horse. Private. 71563. Died 08/11/1918. Rocquigny – Equancourt Road- British Cemetery, Manancourt, Somme, France


+ERWIN, Thomas Harold
Royal Army Service Corps. Driver. T/160200. Died 08/11/1941. Aged 26. Son of Andrew and Mary Erwin, of Park St., Ballymena. Ballymena New Cemetery. High Kirk Presbyterian Church RH

+McCOMBE, George Marshall
RAFVF. Pilot Officer (Pilot). 104492. Died 08/11/1941. Aged 25. 78 Sqdn. Son of George and Mary McCombe; husband of Eileen McCombe, of Castlerock. Gaasterland (Nijemirdum) General Cemetery. Friesland, Netherlands. 502 (Ulster) Squadron WM, St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast

1942                                                        HMS WALNEY

On This Day –  Capt. Captain Frederick Thornton Peters DSO, DSC, in command of sloop HMS Walney, a former US coastguard cutter, led his ship and HMS Hartland through the boom defences of Oran Harbour in Algeria. Under heavy fire he put Walney alongside and disembarked troops, earning a Victoria Cross. Both his brothers were killed in WW1 and ‘Fritz’ Peters himself died when the aircraft which was repatriating him to Blighty, crashed on arrival. This was 3 days after his release from captivity following this action for which he was awarded the VC. Aged 53.

Walney was sunk by gunfire within Oran Harbour after first ramming both the outer and inner booms during Operation Reservist. Walney was accompanied by her sister ship HMS Hartland in their attempt to capture the harbour. On board the Walney when she was sunk were 200 men of the 6th US Armoured Infantry Division and a 35-strong US Naval contingent under the command of Lt.Cdr. George Deane Dickey USN aboard, and 6 US Marines. There were only 14 survivors from the crew of the Walney itself, two officers ( Captain Frederick Peters and Lt. Wallace Dempsey Mosely RN) and 13 ratings. 81 of Walney’s crew went down with the ship along with all but a few of the troops carried aboard. Lt.Cdr. Peter Capel Meyrick, RN, was blown to bits on the bridge by a shell, which also killed fifteen other officers and ratings gathered there. The only one to survive on the bridge was A/Captain Frederick Thornton Peters.

+CHERRY, Patrick
RN. Yeoman of Signals. C/JX 133062. Died 08/11/1942. Age 29. HMS Walney. Patrick Cherry had 13 years’ service. Nephew of Mr and Mrs Daniel Brown, Antrim Place, Lisburn. Husband of Clare Mary Cherry, Finchley, Middlesex. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 25/12/1942). Chatham Naval Memorial

+FITZPATRICK, William James Joseph
RN. AB. C/JX 192062. Died 08/11/1942. Age 22. HMS Walney. William had three years’ service. Son of William and Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, Hillview St., Whiteabbey. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 18/12/1942). Chatham Naval Memorial


+KENNEDY, William T
The King’s Regiment (Liverpool), 2 Btn. Private.5382483. Died 08/11/1944. Aged 24. Son of William and Minnie Kennedy, of Moat Terrace, Ballymena; husband to Elizabeth Jane Kennedy. Forli War Cemetery, Italy

+MEADEN, Keith Thomas Stratton
RN. Leading Motor Mechanic. D/MX573544. Died 08/11/1944. Age 18. HMHDML1077. Sister serving with WAAF in Cairo. Son of Thomas William Hazel and Dorothy Isabel Meaden, Whitewell Drive, Whitehouse. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 24/11/1944). Freetown (King Tom) Cemetery.

+ORR, Ronald Mervyn
RNVR. Sub-Lieutenant. GM. Sub-Lieutenant 04/08/1944. Posted 28/02/1944 – 10/1944 to Department of Unexploded Bomb Disposal, Admiralty (HMS President) for duty outside Admiralty. 08/11/1944 HMS Royal Edward (port party, Dieppe – borne on the books of HMS Odyssey, accounting base for naval parties. (There is little in public provenance about HMS Odyssey. Some sources claim it was a hotel in Devon for Combined operations. It is not included in the normal list of ships, nor was it a regular shore establishment.) G M gazetted 13/03/1945. Awarded for port clearance, “for gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty. Conducted underwater clearance of hospital ship berth Avant Port, Dieppe on 12/10/1944.” Died 08/11/1944. Age: 22. His George Medal was posthumously presented to his next of kin. Educated at Belfast High School and QUB. Elder son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Orr, Armoy. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 30/03/1945). Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery, Hautot-sur-mer. Ap Sci, QUB 1939. QUB WM

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