February 8 – Roll of Honour

Winter sun at CWGC Ecoust-Saint-Mein Military Cemetery. Today’s Roll includes a Londonderry sailor who was lost in HMS Gurka in WW1, and from WW2, a Bangor educated soldier who died at Singapore serving in an Australian army unit, and a Ballymena RAF officer who died in Burma four months after his wedding. Today’s Veteran is a Templepatrick soldier who was discharged in 1919 only to die a week later in the ‘flu epidemic.

Representing their comrades who died on this day


Royal Irish Regiment, 5th Btn. Private. 5/2807. Died 08/02/1915. Aged 31. Thomas was a blacksmith. Son of William George and Margaret Patterson, of Drumreagh Hill; husband to Letitia Patterson (nee Wade), father of a 1 year old daughter, Violet, of Newmills, Dungannon. Tullaniskin (Holy Trinity) C of I Churchyard. Newmills Parish Church WM. Dungannon WM, Newmills LOL 183 RH


+CALDWELL, Alexander
RNVR. Stoker 1st Class. K32160. HMS Ghurka. Died 08/02/1917. Aged 33. Launched in 1907, the Tribal-class destroyer Gurka served as part of the Dover Patrol during WW1, playing a part in the sinking of the German submarine U-8 in 1915. She struck a German mine and sank in the English Channel. Born Longton, Londonderry 20/02/1884. Son of Joseph and Cathrine Caldwell, Calligan Lane, Londonderry. Brother of James, John, and Josephine. Portsmouth Naval Memorial. Londonderry, The Diamond WM. ADM 188/931/32160


+McNABB, Hugh Denis
RAF. Sergeant. 628246. Died 08/02/1941. Aged 21. 269 Sqdn. Son of Hugh and Sarah McNabb, of Downpatrick.Runnymede Memorial, Panel 48


+BELL, Gerald Mavor
A.I.F. 2/18 Bn. Australian Infantry. Private. NX41008. Died 08/02/1942. Aged 35. From Bangor. He emigrated to Australia in 1923. Having been an Agricultural Labourer he joined the Australian Army in June 1940. Son of Francis and Agnes Bell, of Bangor, Co. Down. Singapore Memorial, Singapore. Bangor Grammar School RH


+FIELD, Arthur Donald
RNVR. Signalman. P/LD/X 4414. MiD. Died 08/02/1943. Age 24. HMS Bredon. Son of Sidney Field and of Henrietta Field (nee Smith). Husband to Janette Kathleen Field, Belfast. Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 80

+GIVEN, Hugh MacIvor
RAF. Flight Lieutenant. 112706. Died 08/02/1943. Aged 28. 27 Sqdn. Ballymena Academy. MB, B.Ch. BAO. QUB 1940. Before the outbreak of war, he practiced in Belfast, Omagh, Dungiven, and on the Ards Peninsula. Hugh joined RAF 27 Squadron in 1941. This new RAF 27 Squadron formed in India on 19 /09/1942. They flew Bristol Beaufighters on ground-attack sorties over Burma and on anti-shipping strikes. While home on leave, Hugh Given married Margaret Helen Thompson of The Warrens, Broughshane, Co. Antrim in 1942. Known as Helen, she was from Yorkshire but lived in Broughshane and taught at Downpatrick High School, Co. Down. Hugh Given died only four months after his wedding to Helen. Son of Robert Given JP and Kathleen Given of Markstown, Cullybackey; husband to Margaret Helen Given, of  ‘The Warrens’, Broughshane, formerly of Cantley, Yorkshire. Ranchi War Cemetery, India. Ballymena WM. QUB WM


Royal Artillery. Gunner.1487581. Died 08/02/1944. Aged 43. 8 HAA. Regt. Son of Henry Shields, and of Jane Shields (nee Hawthorne); husband to Emma Shields, of Londonderry. Yaukkyan War Cemetery, Myanmar


McKNIGHT, Alexander
Rifleman. 6214 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. Alexander was born at Mallusk, Co. Antrim on 23 March 1898 and later moved to Templepatrick. He enlisted in the 12th Rifles aged 17 in May 1915 and embarked for France in October that year. He was wounded in action three times and discharged with the Silver War Badge on 08/02/1919. He died a week later in the Flu Pandemic. St Patrick’s CofI Templepatrick


08/02/1917 – the Royal Navy Tribal Class Destroyer HMS Gurkha is sunk by a mine off Dungeness. Only 5 of the 79 man crew survived.

08/02/1942 – Albert Speer is appointed as Reich Minister of Armaments and War Production. It was under Speer’s direction that Germany’s war production continued to increase despite massive Allied bombing.

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1 Comment

  1. Stkr 1st Cl. Alexander Caldwell: His place of birth was probably Long Tower, Londonderry. There never has been an area known as ‘Longton’. His family;s home address was Carrigans Lane and not ‘Calligan’ Lane.
    Gnr James Shields was originally a member of 25 Bty 9th (Londonderry) HAA Regiment. As the Regiment was preparing to deploy to Egypt in November 1939, Gnr Shields fell from a lorry and broke a leg. As a result he could not travel with his own unit and was transferred to 8th (Belfast) HAA Regiment when he recovered. His cousin Miles Stott, also 25 Bty, recalled that he had been told that James had suffered a severed hand in Burma, commented that the wound would see him repatriated but shortly afterwards died of shock, possibly due to blood loss. At 43 years of age he probably should not have been sent overseas.


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