December 12 – Roll of Honour

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In today’s Roll – A former Bangor Grammar school student and member of Queen’s OTC died serving with the Royal Flying Corps over enemy lines in 1917. Another member of the OTC serving with the RN died on this day a year later in Greece. Entries for WW2 reflect the war in North Africa and Italy. A Fleet Air Arm ace is recalled among today’s veterans.

On this day, 12 December 1939 the Royal Navy destroyer HMS DUCHESS, collided with the Battleship HMS BARHAM in heavy fog off the Mull of Kintyre. DUCHESS was escorting BARHAM back from the Mediterranean when the accident occurred. DUCHESS capsized, detonating her depth charges killing 124 men.

Representing their comrades who died on this day

1915

+HILL, George
RMLI. Private. CH/430S. Chatham Division. Died 12/12/1915. Age 21. Enrolled 19/10/1914. RM Brigade RND 27/01/1915 – 12/12/1915. Born Belfast 25/04/1894. Son of George and Sarah Hill, Dundee St., Belfast. Redoubt Cemetery, Helles. ADM 159/143/430
1916

+MAGEE, James Joseph

Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 11th Btn. Private. 26910. Died 07/12/1916. Aged 27. Son of Henry Magee, of Gortgonie, Coalisland. Hyde Park Corner (Royal Berks) Cemetery. Hainaut, Belgium. Dungannon WM
1917

+McELMURRAY, Henry Archie
RN. Stoker 2nd Class. K42019. HMS Partridge. Died 12/12/1917. Age 21. Convoy protection in the North Sea. Enrolled 24/03/1917 for hostilities. In Victory II and Greenwich (Partridge) 28/08/1917 – 12/12/1917. Born Lisburn 15/05/1894. Son of Charles and Maggie McElmurray, Mullaghglass, Stoneyford, Lisburn. Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 26. ADM 188/951/42019

+JOHNSTON, William Vincent
RAMC. Captain. Died 12/12/1917. Aged 44. Son of Ronald Johnston. Born in Donaghmore, County Tyrone about 1873. Husband to Elizabeth Carr Johnston of Portstewart. They were married about 1898. William became a doctor and lived with his family in Rathmines, Dublin. He died suddenly of heart disease. The death took place Military Hospital at the Curragh while he was acting as orderly officer on Tuesday evening of 11th December and was found dead in his bed early the following morning. He was 44 years old. Curragh Military Cemetery, County Kildare. Dungannon WM

+SCOTT, David Harden
Royal Flying Corps, 65th Squadron. Lieutenant. MC. Died 12/12/1917. Age 21. Educated at Bangor Grammar School. On 08/09/1914 he joined the QUB Training Corps.  Prior to the outbreak of the Great War he was employed by the County Down Weaving Co Ltd which he entered from the Trade Preparatory School of the Municipal Technical Institute.

Harden Scott joined the Army in October 1914 and shortly afterwards received his commission in the 16th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (County Down Pioneers).  For a time he served with the Army Cyclist Corps before being transferred to the Royal Flying Corps.  Lieutenant Scott was awarded the Military Cross on 28/08/1916 and the citation stated that, along with Second Lieutenant Herbert H Turk as pilot, he attacked seven hostile machines flying in formation and brought down one as a wreck.  When turning to engage another machine the rudder controls were shot away and his machine went into a spinning nose-dive.  After falling 5,000 feet the pilot partially regained control and, although the machine kept on turning, he managed to land safely.  Lieutenant Scott was injured and required a lengthy period of convalescence; Second Lieutenant Turk was subsequently killed in action on 03/11/1916. Harden received his Military Cross from the King on 29/08/1917 and on 27/10/1917 he returned to France as a scout pilot.  Two weeks later, on 12/11/1917, he was killed in action whilst on patrol over the German lines.  His machine was brought down by a direct hit from an enemy anti-aircraft gun.  Major Cunningham described it as ‘cruel luck for it is only once in many thousand or even million times that a direct hit is obtained’.

Memorial services were held in four Ballynahinch churches – Presbyterian, Church of Ireland, Congregational and Methodist. Harden Scott presented a gold medal to Ballynahinch Boy Scout Troop to be used as a competition trophy. Born on 24/11/1895 in Abbey Street, Bangor and he was the eldest son of Matthew and Elizabeth Craig Scott (nee Lemon). Matthew Scott was the railway station-master in Bangor. At the time of Harden’s death, the Scott family was living at 43 Railway Street, Ballynahinch where Matthew Scott was the station-master. Post du Hem Military Cemetery, La Gorgue Nord France. Lieutenant David Harden Scott is commemorated in Bangor Masonic Lodge No. 746 and as J H Scott in both First Bangor Presbyterian Church WM and Bangor Grammar School WM.

1918

+FETHERSTON, John McDonald

RNVR. Sub-Lieutenant. HMML 218. Died 06/12/1918. Age 21. Died of pneumonia on board Hospital Ship Kara Para in the East Mediterranean. Son of John William Fetherston, Montono, Malone Park, Belfast. Photo in Belfast Telegraph 10/12/1918. Campbell College 1026. Member of QUB OTC c.1916. QUB WM. Royal Portrush Golf Club RH. East Mudros Military Cemetery, Lemnos, Greece. IMR

1939

+McMEEKIN, Harold
RN. Seaman. C/SSX 27721. Died 12/12/1939. HMS Duchess. Bangor. Chatham Naval Memorial, Panel 33, 2

1941

+CARDWELL, Robert John
Royal Engineers, 2 Field Coy. Sapper.1873670. Died 09/12/1941. Aged 23.Born on 28/07/1917. Prior to enlistment Robert Cardwell worked on the family farm at Gortfad Glebe, Sandholes. Son of Alexander and Mary Cardwell, of Gortfad, Sandholes, Co. Tyrone. Alamein Memorial, Egypt. Cookstown WM

+WILTON, Alexander
Royal Artillery. Gunner. 1471621. Died 12/12/1941. Aged 39. 6 Indep. Lt. A.A. Bty. He served in the Royal Navy in the 1914-18 war, and re-enlisted a few months before the outbreak of WW2. Husband to Mary Jane Wilton, of Heatherlea Avenue, Portstewart. Tel El Kebir War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt

1942

+LUTTON, Frederick David
RNVR. Acting Sub-Lieutenant (E). Died 12/03/1942. Age 26. HMS St Briac. He was rescued from HMS Dunvegan Castle when it was torpedoed earlier in the war. Son of Joshua and Mary Elizabeth Lutton, Drumgold, Dungannon. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 10//07/1942). Liverpool Naval Memorial, Panel 4. Moy WM

+OWEN, Thomas Richard
Pioneer Corps. Lance Corporal. 4193783. Died 12/11/1942. Aged 26. Son of Richard and Jane Owen; husband to Martha Owen, of Lisburn. Llanfachraeth (St. Machraith) Churchyard, Anglesey,

1943
+BLACKER, David
Corps of Military Police. 508 Provost Coy. Corporal. Died 12/12/1943. Aged 27. Son of Jonathan and Elizabeth Blacker, of Ballymena. Ramleh War Cemetery, Israel and Palestine

1944

+AIKEN, William
Royal Artillery. Lance Bombardier. 1456605. Died 12/12/1944. Aged 33. 8 H.A.A. Regt. Son of Alexander and Sarah Aiken; husband to Margaret Aiken, of Belfast. Brookwood 1939 – 45 Memorial Surrey, Panel 2

+McLERNON, Frederick Lindsay
Royal Ulster Rifles. 2nd Bn. The London Irish Rifles. Lance Corporal. 14617699. Died 12/12/1944. Aged 32. Son of Francis John and Martha Ann McLernon; husband of Jean McLernon, of Aughnacloy, Co. Tyrone. Santerno Valley War Cemetery, Italy

VETERANS

HUNTER, Hugh

Gunner. 1250752. Canadian Field Artillery. Hugh enlisted in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force on 24 April 1917 at Regina, Saskatchewan, and served initially with the 77th Depot Battery, Canadian Field Artillery. He was born on 12/12/1892 in Portstewart and as a young man emigrated to Canada. Prior to joining up he was employed as a traveller for the McDonald and Crawford Company, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. His parents, Mr. Hugh and Mrs. Mary Hunter, lived at Coleraine Road, Portstewart. He is commemorated on Portstewart Presbyterian Church’s Roll of Honour and the Roll of Honour of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

TORRENS – SPENCE, Frederick Michael Alexander
RNAS/FAA. Captain. DSO, DFC, AFC and Greek DFC. Born Whiteabbey, County Antrim 10/03/1914. Mourne Grange School, at the age of 13 he attended Dartmouth RNC. Husband to Rachel. One of their sons Brigadier Edward John (Johnny) Torrens-Spence CBE, was British Embassy military attaché to the United States. Died 12/12/2001, Laurelvale House, Laurelvale.

 

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