December 25 – Roll of Honour

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On Christmas Eve, at Lichtjes op Oorlogsbegraafplaats Jonkerbos in Nijmegen, as at many other War Cemeteries in the Netherlands, candles were lit on every grave to show respect and gratitude to those men who have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. Despite the rain and cold wind many people, including the Mayor of Nijmegen, Mr. Hubert Bruls, attended and helped children to place a candle on each grave, 1642 in total. We remember five who died on Christmas Days in Egypt, Canada, Hong Kong and at home.

Representing their comrades who died on this day

1918
+BOSTON, Thomas
Machine Gun Corps, 10th Btn. Lieutenant. Died 25/12/1918. Age 25. Born on 22/01/1893 in Belfast. Eldest son of John and Margaret Boston. He was born on 22/01/1893 in Belfast. The family lived in Ormeau, Belfast. His father was a Publican and Auctioneer. Thomas worked as an apprentice to Linen Trade. Thomas Boston was working in Upperlands at William Clark & Sons Ltd before enlisting. He was an adjutant in the South Derry Volunteers and was commander of Upperlands U.V.F. Thomas enlisted originally with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He later transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. Lieutenant Thomas Bolton was serving with the 10th Battalion of the Machine Gun Corps when he had influenza in Cairo after the war had finished. He developed pneumonia and died on Christmas Day 1918. Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Cairo, Egypt

1940
+AYRE, Robert Neilson
RNR. AB. P/X 19200. Died 25/12/1940. Age 28. HMS Newark. Son of Margaret Ayre, Wolff St., Belfast. His late brother served as a stoker in RN for 16 years. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 11/01/1941). Halifax (Camp Hill) Cemetery, Nova Scotia, Canada

1941
+HANDS, Samuel
Pioneer Corps. Private.13011402. Died Between 24/12/1941 and 25/12/1941. Aged 37. Son of Benjamin and Margaret Hands; husband to Barbara Ellen Hands, of Broughshane, Co. Antrim. Tel El Kebir Memorial Cemetery, Egypt

+PROES, Geoffrey Ernest Sullivan
Royal Artillery. Major. 23683. Died Between 19/12/1941 and 25/12/1941. Aged 39. Son of Colonel E. S. Proes and Mrs. E. Proes; husband to Nancy M. Proes, of Omagh, Co. Tyrone. Sai Wan Memorial, China, (including Hong Kong)

1944
+BLACK, Hector
Royal Artillery. Gunner.1472337. Died 25/12/1944. Aged 41. 447 Bty., 66 (4th Bn. The Gloucestershire Regt.) Searchlight Regt. Husband to Margaret Black, of Dundonald. Ballygowan Presbyterian Churchyard

VETERAN

McKINSTRY, Robert Noel
RN. Surgeon Lieutenant. 1914 – 1919. OBE 1945. Jersey’s Medical Officer of Health between 1939 and 1957. According to historian Louise Willmott, he was also involved with every major form of organized resistance in Jersey during the Nazi occupation. School Medical Officer State of Jersey. Born 25/12/1892. Son of Robert McKinstry, Bessbrook. Campbell College 1047. Elmwood – PCI RH. Bessbrook WM

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