January 30 – Roll of Honour

The Newfoundland Escort Force Bell honours the sacrifices made protecting merchant convoys during World War II. Three bells were commissioned by Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy veteran associations. The bells are housed in Derry, Halifax, Nova Scotia and St John’s, Newfoundland.

Representing their comrades who died on this day

1917

+JONES, Samuel
Mercantile Marine Reserve. Trimmer. HMS Oratava. Died 30/01/1917. Age 19. Son of James and Annie Jones, Ballymagreehan, Castlewellan. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 25. Castlewellan – PCI RH

+QUINN, John
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 11th Btn. Private. 16411. Died 30/01/1917. Berks Cemetery Extension, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium. Dungannon WM

1943

+PATTERSON, Thomas
RAFVR. Sergeant. 073685. Died 30/01/1943. 40 Sqdn. Alamein Memorial, Egypt. 502 (Ulster) Squadron WM, St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast

1944

+BRODIE, William James Totten
RAFVR. Sergeant. 1795365. Died 30/01/1944. Aged 21. 622 Sqdn. Son of Andrew D and Christine A Brodie, Lisburn. Runnymeade memorial, Panel 225

+HAWTHORNE, Joseph
RN. Able Seaman. D/JX 417579. Date of Death: 30/01/1944. Age:19. HMS Hardy. Son of Thomas and Mary Hawthorne, Belfast. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 86

+IRWIN, Wallace John Talbot
Royal Artillery. 178 Heavy AA Reg. Major. 101667. Died 30/01/1944. Aged 47. Son of William and Gwendoline Mary Irwin; Husband to Elizabeth Gladys Irwin of Knock, Belfast. Dundonald Cemetery.

+JOHNSTON, William Samuel
Irish Guards. 1st Btn. Lance Corporal. 2722971. Died 30/01/1944. Aged 28. Son of William J. and Jeanie Johnston, of Ballymoney. Anzio War Cemetery, Italy. Ballymoney WM

+McCONNELL, Andrew Leslie
RAFVR. Sergeant. 1137800. Died 30/01/1944. Age 23. 463 Sqd RAAF. Son of John A. Mcconnell and Jenny Mcconnell, of Ballymoney. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany

VETERAN

MAJURY, James
James Majury was born on 14/05/1895 at Doagh Grange, Ballyclare, the first of nine children of bread-server James Majury and his wife Elizabeth. He served in the North Irish Horse and following injury was discharged from the army on this day in 1919.

Although he grew up in Ballyclare, by 1911 he was living with his family at 45 Farnham Street, Belfast, and working as a bread-packer. The following year the family moved to 36 Raby Street.

James Majury enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 08/11/1915. He embarked for France in 1916, where he was posted to E Squadron, which from May that year was one of the three squadrons of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps.

In February and March 1918 the 1st NIH Regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps for the remainder of the war.

V Corps was on the Somme front on 21/08/1918 – the day the Advance to Victory offensive began in that sector. V Corps’ 21st Division were to attack north of the Ancre, with its 1st and 2nd Lincolns in front. To assist them, two officers and sixty-seven other ranks of the North Irish Horse cyclists were attached, taking with them all nine of the regiment’s Lewis guns.

The eve of the battle found the 2nd Lincolns, with their North Irish Horse Lewis gunners, positioned east and south-east of Beaumont Hamel. That evening the Germans opened an intensive mustard gas bombardment on the reserve positions. The 2nd Lincolns sustained many gas casualties. Among them were four North Irish Horsemen, including Private Majury, who also sustained a shrapnel wound to his left eye.

Majury was evacuated to the UK for treatment, where he was admitted to King’s College Hospital in London, remaining there for three months. On 30/01/1919 he was discharged, being no longer physically fit for war service and surplus to military requirements.

Majury’s brother Samuel also served in the war, as a private in the motor transport branch of the Army Service Corps.

NOTES

The Newfoundland Escort Force Bell honours the sacrifices made protecting merchant convoys during World War II. Three bells were commissioned by Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy veteran associations. The bells are housed in Derry, Halifax, Nova Scotia and St John’s, Newfoundland.

The Tower Museum in Derry permanently houses the Newfie-Derry Run Bell, the second of the three bells. It was consecrated in the Anglican Cathedral of St John the Baptist in St John’s Newfoundland and transported to Derry in 2007.

As wartime ports, the three cities formed what was known as the ‘Triangle Run’ during the Battle of the Atlantic. This bell was consecrated in St Columb’s Cathedral in 2018. The first of the three bells was consecrated in 2005 and is now on display in St Brendan’s Church, in the Canadian city of Halifax.

The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign of WW II and was fought for the control of vital supply routes, beginning as war broke out in 1939.

More than 66,000 Allied merchant seamen, sailors, and airmen died, with 175 Allied warships and 5,000 merchant ships destroyed by German U-boats.

The naval base at Derry – shared by the Royal Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy and the United States Navy – was vital to the protection of convoys in the Atlantic and, at one time, 140 Allied escort ships were based on the River Foyle.

On This Day

1916 – Zeppelin raid on Paris.

1939 – Adolf Hitler threatens Jews during his speech to the German Reichstag

1945 – A Soviet sub torpedoes the German ocean liner Wilhelm Gustloff in the Baltic. An estimated 9,300 people (mostly refugees) drown. With 6 times as many dead as were lost on the Titanic, it remains the deadliest ship sinking in history.

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