January 14 – Roll of Honour

The WW2 entries today reflect the retreat to Dunkirk by an Ulster searchlight regiment and the war waged from the air over occupied Europe in 1944. Today’s WW1 veteran is Sam Anderson of Coleraine who lived to 80 years of age. Today’s photo whilst not from NI, tells more than enough about family service – the epitaph – “Eight of my sons answered duty’s call. Goodbye, Tom. The first to fall. Mother”

Representing their comrades who died on this day


+HUNTER, Andrew
RNR. Leading Seaman. 3341/C. SS Karnak. Died 14/01/1918. Aged 35. Husband to Nelly Hunter, Nicholson St., Glasgow. Son of Andrew and Annie Hunter, Carrickfergus. Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 31


+MILLAR, Alexander
Royal Artillery. Gunner.1487471. Died 14/01/1940. Aged 34. 3rd (Ulster) Searchlight Regt. Beuvry Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas de Calais, France. See Note below


+COLBERT, Sydney
RAFVR. Flying Officer. 148102. DFC. Died 14/01/1944. Age 23.156 Squadron. His Lancaster III Bomber JA975 took off at 1649hrs on 14th January 1944. The crew was part of a bombing raid to the city of Braunschweig in Lower Saxony, Germany. During the raid, their Lancaster suffered damage from anti-aircraft flak and to the guns of German night-fighters. The plane came down at Bockernweg, about 40km south-west of its target city.

Also killed were Flying Officer Edward Hone, Pilot Officer Denzil Meecham Davies, Flight Sergeant Granville Cyril Johnson, and Flight Lieutenant Clifford Robert Stannard. The crew of five were buried near the crash site on 17/01/1944. Sydney Colbert was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service to the RAF.

Born in Belfast. Son of Alexander Colbert and Jane Colbert of Belfast. Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, Sage, near Oldenburg. Family headstone in Dundonald Cemetery

+McLAREN, Robert Charles
RAFVR. Sergeant.1515312. Died 14/01/1944. Aged 20. 626 Sqdn. Son of Thomas J. Mclaren And Emma Mclaren, of Six Mile Cross, Co. Tyrone. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany

+STEVENSON, Samuel Brown
RAFVR. Flight Sergeant. 1480507. DFM 97. Died 14/01/1944. Sqd 22. Son of S. B. And Helen I. Stevenson, of Belfast. Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery, Netherlands



Gunner, Royal Garrison Artillery. A native of Coleraine, he and his wife, Kathleen (Kate) Elizabeth (nee Hamilton), lived at Coleraine Road, Portstewart. Samuel was a bricklayer by trade. He was still living at Coleraine Road when he died on 14/01/1966, aged 80 years. He was buried in Agherton Cemetery. Some references: Coleraine Chronicle of 19/01/1918, 14/12/1918 and 26/06/1919.


3rd Searchlight Regiment, R.A. (S.R. – Supplimentary Reserve)
HQ, 10th, and 11th Batteries: Belfast
9th Bty: Clonaver, Strandtown
12th Bty: Lurgan

The regiment was formed in Northern Ireland on 01/09/1939 and mobilized at Londonderry. After the outbreak of war, it moved to Portstewart to train. From there it was called into Belfast under 3rd (Ulster) AA Brigade to operate the searchlights. It left Ulster in November 1939 and was sent to Borden, Hampshire. It sailed from Southampton on 25/12/1939 for France as part of 2nd Anti-Aircraft Brigade. It was retitled 3rd (Ulster) Searchlight Regiment, R.A. (S.R.) on 08/05/1940. It served in France and Belgium in the May 1940 campaign under 5th Searchlight Brigade. At the start of the fighting, 9 Battery was at Lens, 10 at Carvin, 11 at Richarderie and 12 Battery was in the Dunkirk area. After the opening attack, 9 Battery moved to Arras. On 21 May the regiment had 9 and 11 Batteries deployed on the canals and defences in the front line from Bergues to Gravelines. 12 Battery remained at Dunkirk. The regiment, as infantry, under ‘Usherforce’ with 6th Green Howards defended Gravelines and then withdrew to Bergues on the 24th. It arrived at the beaches of Dunkirk on 27 May. 12 Battery helped to defend Furnes. The regiment was evacuated from Dunkirk by the end of May. After returning to the United Kingdom, the regiment was deployed in Hampshire and Wiltshire in the air defence of England. It served under 64th AA Brigade in February 1941.

It was converted to 4th (Ulster) Anti-Aircraft Regiment, R.A. (S.R.) on 21/01/1942 with 7th, 8th, 10th and 11th Batteries. It was soon designated as a Light AA Regiment. 11th Battery became independent on 19/06/1942. The regiment landed in Normandy under command of 101st AA Brigade in late August 1944. It then moved to Cherbourg. It left Cherbourg under the brigade and deployed at Brussels on 14/09/1944 under the brigade. On 14/04/1945 the brigade left Brussels and moved to take over the Rhine and Maas bridges. 8th Battery was detached under 74th AA Brigade of 1st Canadian Army.

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