This year’s Garden of Remembrance ceremony at Belfast Cenotaph. Today’s roll includes a Royal Irish Rifles officer killed in the Third Battle of Gaza, which liberated Jerusalem and three RAF fatalities from WW2
Representing their comrades who died on this day
Scots Guards, !st Btn. Guardsman. 8608. Died 11/11/1914. Born 23/05/1888 in Ballymena. Son of Robert James and Agnes Montgomery. By 1890, the family had moved to Cookstown. They lived in Killymoon Street. Charles was a worker in flax store. He enlisted in Glasgow, Scotland. Menin Gate, Ypres, West-Vlaanderland, Belgium. Cookstown WM, Molesworth St., Presbyterian Church RH
+COCHRANE, Thomas Hill
Canadian Infantry, 21st Btn. (Eastern Ontario Regt.). Lance Corporal. 59175. Died 11/11/1915. Age 24. Born 13/09/1891, Craigs, Cullybackey. Husband to Bertha. Ridge Wood Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Royal Irish Rifles. Second Lieutenant. Died 11/07/1917. In September 1914, he joined QUB OTC and received his commission with the 18th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, a home-based reserve battalion, in May 1916. He was posted to Egypt in September 1917, having been attached to the 2/5th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, which was part of the 31st Brigade, 10th(Irish) Division. Robert Wright was killed in action, at the age of 21, on 07/11/1917 during the Third Battle of Gaza, in which Jerusalem was captured by British forces under the command of General Allenby.
The battalion suffered over 120 casualties with 23 men being killed. The battalion war diary states the following about the day’s action:
“The battalion was ordered to attack the Hareira Tepe redoubt situated about 2 miles north of the Rushdi system. At 7am the attack was launched supported to the right by the 6th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and 4 Vickers Guns. The battalion came under heavy shell fire shortly after the attack commenced but casualties were few from this cause. About 1200 yards from the position, the battalion came under the most heavy concentrated machine gun fire and during its advance to the final position suffered many casualties. The right and centre portion of the line reached a position about 300 yards from the object from which further advance was impossible. The Turks retired and the battalion was able to charge the position; the Hareira Tepe redoubt was found to be a very strong position with two lines of fire and numerous machine gun emplacements. The redoubt dominates the surrounding positions: from information received from prisoners and from personal observation, it was defended by at least 30 machine guns and a garrison of about 300 men. The battalion camped on the occupied ground. The Divisional Commander personally congratulated the CO and the battalion on their magnificent performance.”
Robert Wright was born on 08/03/1896 at “Downan” in Ballantrae, Ayrshire, the third of four children (and the only son) born to David Wright and Marion Dunlop Wright (who later lived at “The Moat” in Dundonald). David Wright, a Justice of the Peace, owned a bottle manufacturing company on Stranmillis Road close to the family home at “Dunesk” (130 Stranmillis Road). The family moved to 11 Lower Crescent in 1912. Second Lieutenant Robert Wright is buried in the Gaza War Cemetery. His name is commemorated on Fitzroy PC WM, PCI RH, RBAI WM
+BELL, John Mercer Grimshaw
Royal Air Force, 7th Squadron. Lieutenant. Formerly of Royal Field Artillery. MC. Died 11/11/1918. Appointed Temporary Lieutenant 18/02/1918, London Gazette. Holywood WM, Helen’s Bay C of I WM.
+ADAMS, Herbert Charles Nigel
RAFVR. Pilot Officer.128851. Died on 11/11/1942, aged 24. On 11th November 1942 he was flying solo in Oxford I, N4596 doing circuits around the airfield at Wheaton Aston. The aircraft crashed at Lapley to the northwest of Birmingham and P.O. Adams succumbed to his injuries. Son of Benjamin Samuel and Emily Jane Adams of Newry. Newry (St. Patrick) Church of Ireland Churchyard
+MONTGOMERY, John Henry
RAF. Corporal. 631441. Died 15/11/1945. Aged 26. Son of Thomas William and Sarah Jane Montgomery. Dundonald Cemetery
RAFV. Gunner.1903432.115 Squadron. Died 11/11/1947. Aged 28. 115 Squadron. Moore was a gunner on Avro Lancaster B1 TW647 taking part in a fighter affiliation exercise from RAF Witchford, Cambridgeshire. This Lancaster was second last on the starboard side of the 6-plane formation. De Havilland Hornet F1 PX284 simulated an attack from the rear but misjudged the breakaway distance. The escort plane collided with the larger Lancaster bomber.
The Hornet lost its port wing causing the plane to lose control and come down near Stanford, Norfolk. The Lancaster went into a shallow dive that increased causing the nose to break off behind the pilot’s seat. This threw Flight Officer PE Clarke clear and allowed him to deploy his parachute. All other crew members on board Lancaster TW647 died in the crash.
John was the son of John Moore and Margaret Moore of Belfast. Carnmoney Cemetery, Newtownabbey.
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