January 23 – Roll of Honour

The Lochnagar crater – created by an underground explosive charge in a mine south of the village of La Boisselle in the Somme département. The explosives were secretly planted by the British during the First World War, to be ready for 1 July 1916, the first day on the Somme. In today’s Roll is Thomas Heriott, a veteran who served with the RNAS during the war and played for Ulster v The All Blacks in 1919. He served with the RAF Pathfinder Force in WW2.

Representing their comrades who died on this day


+CAMPBELL, William Henry
RMLI. Gunner. PLY/13623. SS Baykerran. Died 23/01/1918. Aged 30. Lost off Nova Scotia. Enrolled 13/01/1906. Served to 14/11/1913. Joined RFR 20/11/1913. War service 23/11/1913 – 23/01/1918 in Plymouth Division, Charybdis, Alsatian and President III. Born Belfast 10/03/1888. Son of late John and Margaret Campbell. Fingall St., Belfast. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 1. ADM 159/153/13623


+HOLMES, Arthur Peter Buckley
RAFAAF. Flying Officer. 90038. Died 23/01/1941, Aged 32. 502 Sqdn.
Died on 23/01/1941, aged 32. B.A. Son of Buckley Holmes and of Ethel Maud Holmes (Nee Wensley); Husband to Dorothy Margaret Probert Holmes (Nee Newman), Belfast. Drumbeg Parish churchyard


+MAHOOD, Samuel
RN. Able Seaman. D/SSX 25513. Died 29/01/1943. Age: 23. HMS Avonvale. Five years’ service. Served two and a half years in HMS Rodney during which he was in several trans Atlantic convoys. He was also at Narvik and served in HM patrol boats. Two brothers serving. One with Calgary Highlanders and another, a veteran of WW1, also with the Canadian army. Youngest son of James and Sarah Mahood, Banbridge. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 26/02/1943). Seapatrick Parish WM. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 79

+MAXWELL, William Ernest Norman
RAFVR. Flying Officer (Pilot).118505. Died 23/01/1943. B.A. Hons. (Queen’s University, Belfast). Son of William Norman Maxwell and of Edith Maud Maxwell (nee Morrell), of Belfast; husband to Vivienne Isobel Maxwell (nee Draper). Dundonald Cemetery. QUB WM



RAFVR. Sergeant (Air Gunner).1481596. Died 23/01/1944. Age 21. 104 Sqdn. Son of Adam and Sarah Johnston of Clough, Ballymena.
Belgrade War Cemetery.


BROSNAN, Martin Joseph
RNVR. Surgeon – Lieutenant. MBE – awarded for bravery and initiative during loss of ship. London Gazette 23/01/1945. MB, DPH, QUB 1942

HERRIOT, Thomas Hunter
RN. Flight Officer. MBE. DSC.( Heligoland and Zeebrugge). Mercantile Marine Medal. Croix de Guerre (Belge).  Gained pilot’s licence 04/06/1917. On Ulster XV v. All Blacks, 1919. 1939-45: Squadron Leader, Pathfinder Force, RAF. Born in 23/01/1894. Son of J. S. Herriot, Beaconsfield, Belmont Church Road, Belfast.  Campbell College. Queen’s University. B.Sc. (Engin.) A.M.I.A.E. M.Inst. B.E. Inspector, Ministry of Commerce, Transport Division.Victoria House, Armagh.


23 Jan 1917 – Armed merchant cruiser HMS Laurentic (ex-White Star SS Laurentic) struck German mines off NW Ireland and sank. 354 people died, many of exposure in her lifeboats. Laurentic carried a cargo of gold: not all has been recovered.

23 Jan 1917 – Destroyer HMS Simoom was torpedoed by German destroyer S-50 during a night engagement between British and German destroyer flotillas in the Flanders Bight. She was wrecked by a magazine explosion and was scuttled the next day. 47 of her 90 crew died.

23 Jan 1944 – Destroyer HMS Janus was sunk by a German glider bomb off Anzio while operating in support of Allied landing operations. 158 of her crew were lost.

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1 Comment

  1. HMS Laurentic went down almost in the mouth of Lough Swilly. She had made an unscheduled stop at HMS Hecla II, the naval base at Buncrana in Lough Swilly, and was on her way out to sea again when she struck the mines laid by a U-boat. The ship had put into Buncrana to disembark passengers who were ill with a suspected contagious disease.


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