March 25 – Roll of Honour

The 1918 entries in today’s Roll continue to reflect the cost of resisting the German Spring offensive – the Kaiserschlacht. Other WW1 entries include a Dungannon medic with Indian forces who died in Iraq. In WW2 an Old Portoran medic from Coleraine is lost at sea, and two men die closer to home in local military hospitals. Photo – Kaiserschlacht: German soldiers advancing through Etricourt in March 1918. This village had been a British rest area prior to that.

Representing their comrades who died on this day


+TACKABERRY, John Bailey
Indian Medical Service. 83rd Combined Stationary Hospital. Captain. Died 25/03/1917 from cerebral-spinal meningitis. Youngest son of Thomas and Mary Tackaberry. John was born in early 1883 in Dungannon, County Tyrone. His father was master of the local workhouse. John attended the Royal School Dungannon between 1894 and 1900 and went on to study at Trinity College, Dublin. He was further educated at Middlesex Hospital. He enlisted in the Indian Army as Lieutenant on 30/07/1910. John married Alice Jane Harrhy in London in 1911. They had one child. By the time war broke out, Captain Tackaberry had served in both India and China. In 1914 Captain Tackaberry was serving as the medical officer with the 31st Punjabi Regiment when he died from cerebral-spinal meningitis in 83 Stationary Hospital, Nasiryah. Basra War Cemetery, southern Iraq. Dungannon WM, St Ann’s C of I WM


+ADRAIN, Andrew
Royal Irish Rifles, 12th Btn. Rifleman.17128. Died 25/03/1918. Ballyclare. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France

+BEATTY, David
RNVR. RND. Second Lieutenant. Drake Battalion. Died 25/03/1918. Aged 23. David Beatty was a Civil Servant working at the Board of Trade in Tilbury when he enlisted, receiving his commission as a Temporary Sub Lieutenant on 27/06/1917. He was transferred to the British Expeditionary Force as a Qualified Revolver Instructor on 13/02/1918 and joined Drake Battalion on 06/03/1918. Born 01/04/1895. Eldest son of David and Mary Beatty, Ballyearl, Carnmoney. Arras Memorial. Carnmoney Masonic Lodge RH. Carnmoney – PCI RH. ADM339


Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 1st Btn, after disbandment of 11th Btn. (Donegal and Fermanagh Volunteers). Private. 28196. Died 25/03/1918 during the German Spring Offensive. John enlisted late in 1915 and saw action at Messines, Langemarck, and Cambrai in 1917. He was survived by a wife and three children. Pozieres Memorial to the Missing, Diamond WM Londonderry, Londonderry Methodist City Mission RH

Royal Irish Rifles, 2nd Btn. Rifleman.188. Died 25/03/1918. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France

+JOHNSTON, James Frazer

Royal Irish Fusiliers, 9th (North Irish Horse) Btn. Private. 41126. Died 25/03/1918. During the battalion’s retreat from St Quentin in the German Spring offensive of March 1918, he received a head wound. Aged 20. Eldest son of Joseph and Mary Jane Johnston. Born in Clogher on 19/05/1897. He was first of five children, all sons. His father was a constable in the Royal Irish Constabulary. By 1898, the family had moved to Carrickmore. His father retired in 1910 and the family moved to Blacklion in County Cavan, where they opened a drapery shop. James Johnston enlisted in Enniskillen in March 1915. Roye New British Cemetery, Amiens, Somme, France. Roye is a commune in the Department of the Somme 40 kilometres south-east of Amiens. Roye was in German hands from 30/08/1914 until the French retook it on 17/03/1917. The town was recaptured by the Germans on 26 March 1918 but was evacuated by them on 26 August.

+McKENNA, John

Royal Garrison Artillery, 128th Heavy Bty. Bombardier. 5870. Died 25/03/1918. Aged 40. Son of Bernard and Bridget McKenna. John was born about 1878 in Glasgow. Husband to Jane McKenna. John McKenna enlisted in Dungannon. Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France. Dungannon WM


+MARKS, Hugh
RNVR. Surgeon Lieutenant. Died 25/03/1941. Age 34. HMS Liverpool. Portora RS. M.B., Ch.B. He was a passenger on the Steamship Britannia travelling from Freetown to Bombay when the ship was attacked and sunk by the German Auxiliary Cruiser Thor with the loss of 122 Crew and 127 Passengers. Son of Hugh and Eliza Ann Marks, Coleraine. Chatham Naval Memorial, Panel 50


+DEWAR, Percy Charles Thomas
RAFVR. Flying Officer. 87115. Died 25/03/1942. Aged 58. Dromore, County Down. Belfast City Cemetery, Glenalina Section

+JAYE, Alan Gordon
RAFVR. Sergeant (Air Gunner). 1043669. Died 25/03/1942. Aged 19. 83 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Avro Manchester Mark 1. Flying from Scampton on an operation to Essen was attacked and crashed at Lichtaart (Antwerp), 12 km SSW of Turnhout, Belgium. Aircraft claimed by Lt Kurt Loos 2./NJG1 – Between Lichtaerts & Herentals at 23:44. The seven members of the crew died and are interred at Heverlee. Son of John Alan and Evelyn Lancaster Campbell Jaye, Downpatrick. Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium

Royal Ulster Rifles, 30th Btn. Rifleman. 25089. Died 25/03/1942 at at No. 24 British General Hospital, Campbell College Military Hospital, Belfast. Husband to Anna Mina McFarland of 5 Ceylon Street, Belfast. Dundonald Cemetery


+ROBINSON, Francis
RN. Able Seaman. D/SSX 22722. Died 25/03/1943. Age 24. HMML 466. Son of Elizabeth Robinson Newtownards; husband to Ivy Robinson. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 80. Newtownards WM

+STARRETT, Richard
Royal Ulster Rifles, 30th Btn. Rifleman. D/25132. He served in both World Wars and died 25/03/1943. He was born on 30/09/1885 in Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire. On 31/03/1901, the Irish census showed 15-year-old Richard living with 19-year-old sister Ellen and 13-year-old sister Margaret on Bright Street, Belfast, with their 48-year-old mother Mary Ann Starrett. By 1911, Starrett aged 25 lived with his younger sister Margaret (Maggie) boarding with the Thompson family. The Thompsons were a Methodist family residing at 7 Mount Street, Belfast.

On 28/09/1914, Richard enlisted for three year’s service with 8th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. Aged 29 years old, he was Rifleman 491 T/4160320. Twice during training, he suffered epileptic fits. These incidents occurred on 13/04/1915 and 04/05/1915. The Royal Irish Rifles dismissed him from Ballykinlar Camp on 21/05/1915 being unfit for service. Friends had noticed epileptic fits before Starrett enlisted. Seeing no action at the front during World War One, he left the army after 236 days.

He was the husband of Annie Starrett of 18 Bright Street, Belfast. The couple had three children. A second son called Richard survived for only 6 months, dying from pertussis and broncho-pneumonia on 21/01/1918.

Only days after the declaration of World War Two, Richard Starrett joined 200th Territorial Army Reserve Group “Home Service Only” National Defence Companies. The date was 04/09/1939, and the 53-year-old Starrett was by then a widower. These men were older, had military experience but were unfit for frontline service. They became 6th Btn. Royal Ulster Rifles. On 24/12/1940, they became 30th Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles, becoming an infantry battalion rather than a Home Defence battalion.

His enlistment papers contain several contradictory elements. He states a World War One military service from 16/08/1914 to 01/07/ 1919. Military records also contain a false date of birth for his son James. As a widower, he claimed for his daughter as a housekeeper. Cause of death was a cerebral haemorrhage. At the time of death, Rifleman Starrett had served 3 years and 203 days in service. A funeral service took place on 29/03/1943. Dundonald Cemetery


+HALCROW, James Leonard
RAFVR. Flying Officer. 165457. Died 25/03/1945. Aged 42. 27 Sqdn. Son of Robert John And Leonora Hornsby Halcrow; Husband to Florence Halcrow, Belfast. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Myanmar

Royal Ulster Rifles. 1st Btn. (Airborne). Rifleman. 4442976. From Clandeboye Place, Bangor, County Down, he joined the Battalion in 1943. Took part in Operation Varsity, died of wounds received on Sunday, 25 March 1945. Aged 19. His brother Samuel served with the 1st Airborne Division and was taken prisoner after Operation Market Garden. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery



Private Joseph Milligan. 19798 9th (Service) Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (Tyrone Volunteers). Joseph, from Castlederg, Co. Tyrone, was a 36 years old father of seven when he enlisted in January 1915. Served with 9th Battalion throughout the war being wounded three times. Discharged with the Silver War Badge in March 1918 and returned to live in Castlederg.

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