Six from N Ireland were lost when three RN ships were attacked and sunk off Sri Lanka in WW2. A 17 year old Boy 1st Class. from Strabane, is possibly the youngest from County Tyrone to die in action. Four RAF from Coleraine, Dungannon, and Belfast are remembered today. Photo – Abeele Aerodrome Military Cemetery, Belgium.
Representing their comrades who died on this day
+LANYON, William Mortimer
Royal Irish Rifles, 5th Btn. Captain. Died 05/04/1915. Shortly before his death, he was Adjutant of the 5th R.I.R., and on the 15/03/1915, he took out a draft to the front. He entered the Rifles’ trench about midnight on Easter Sunday and early the following morning, [05/04/1915] as he was standing against the parapet, he was hit in the head by a sniper’s bullet and killed instantly. Son of Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Lanyon; husband to Helen Baird (formerly Lanyon, nee Blizard), c/o The Westminster Bank, Canterbury. His wife and their two young children lived at The Villas, Downpatrick.
+GORDON, Thomas Edward
Canadian Infantry,13th Btn.(Royal Highlanders of Canada). Private.1031162. Died 05/04/1918. Aged 29. Born on 05/11/1888 in Dungannon, son of James and Mary Gordon. The 1901 census shows the large family living at Cromac, County Antrim. (This could be in Belfast). Thomas was 15 years old and was working as a Messenger in a ‘Pinafore and Apron Manufacturer’. Thomas moved to the USA. He was married. Thomas Gordon was one of five brothers who died in WW1. Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun, Pas de Calais
RAFVR. Aircraftman. 2nd Class. 1126104. Died 05/04/1941. Aged 40. Son of Samuel and Annabella McClements, Coleraine; Husband to Anne McClements, Coleraine. Liverpool (Kirkdale) Cemetery
Wiltshire Regiment, 4th Btn. Corporal. 5570858. Died 05/04/1941 as a result of an accident. Aged 22. He had enlisted in July 1939 before the outbreak of the war. He was the son of Maggie Stewart (formerly Reynolds) of Pound Cottages, Ballymena. Brother of Leading Aircraftman Walter Reynolds who served in the RAF during WW2. A funeral with full military honours took place at St. Patrick’s Church, Ballymena. Ballymena New Cemetery.
1942 HMS DEVONSHIRE and HMS CORNWALL
HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Cornwall were south of Sri Lanka (Ceylon) when attacked by Japanese aircraft. Dorsetshire was hit by ten bombs and sank in about eight minutes with 234 men lost.
RN. AB. D/JX 164784. Died 05/04/1942. Age 27. HMS Dorsetshire. 12 years service. Son of John and Wilhelmina Margaret Bradley, Oldpark Rd., Belfast. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 22/05/1942). Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 64
+JACKSON, William Hugh
RN. AB. D/JX156447. Died 05/04/1942. Age 29. HMS Dorsetshire. His brother James was killed in action in HMS Galatea. Born Longshot, Ballyclare. Son of Peter and Eliza A. Jackson, Ballyclare. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 65
+JORDAN, Herbert Mason
RN. Leading Seaman D/J19351. H.M.S. Dorsetshire. Died 05/04/1942. Aged 46. Husband to Lilian Gertrude, Belfast,. Plymouth Naval Memorial. St Jude’s Church, Ballynafeigh, Belfast, WM. Fitzroy PC WM
RN. Stoker First Class. D/KX 93801. Died 05/04/1942. Age 27. HMS Dorsetshire. 4 years service. Cousin of Mr. Matthew Hall, Osborne St., Belfast. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 22/05/1942). Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 70
+McCORKELL, Edward Stanley
RN. Boy 1st Class. D/JX 180584. Date of Death: 05/04/1942. Age:17. Possibly the youngest from County Tyrone to die in action. Son of Charles and Anna McCorkell, Strabane. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 67
RN. Boy 1st Class. D/JX 184634. Died 05/04/1942. Age17. HMS Cornwall. Son of Archibald and Annie E. Millar, Newmarket St., Coleraine. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 67
RN. AB. D/JX206075. Died 05/04/1942. Age 19. HMS Kingston. After taking part in the battles of Sirte, on 04/04/1942, whilst the destroyer was in dock at Malta repairing the damage from this encounter there was an air raid. A bomb fell directly at the entrance of the Corradino tunnel, where part of her crew was taking shelter. Fourteen crewmen were killed by the blast including Commander Philip Somerville DSO., Lieutenant P. Hague, and Yeoman of Signals John Murphy, who was at their side, whilst directing the men into the safety of the Corradino tunnel. All 14 crewmen are buried at either the Mtarfa Military Cemetery or the Capuccini Naval Cemetery. Approximately 35 dock workers were also wounded. Son of Samuel and Mary Ann Barr, Townsend St., Strabane. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 15/05/1942). Mtarfa Military Cemetery, Malta
RAFVR. Flight Lieutenant (Pilot). 74708. Died 05/04/1942. Aged 26. 258 Sqdn. Son of James and Elizabeth M Lockhart; husband to Morwenna Burt Lockhart, of Chelsea, London. Columbo (Kanatte) General Cemetery, Sri Lanka. 502 (Ulster) Squadron WM, St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast
+COFFEY, John Bracken
RAFVR. Flight Sergeant. 1062192. Died 05/04/1945, aged 27, in a Lancaster crew from 153 Sqdn. at Scampton, Lincolnshire, laying mines over the Kattegat. From LIsnaskea. When he returned on leave to Fermanagh he took off his tunic flight wings, telling his mother he was Ground Crew so she would not worry. Son of John and Lily Coffey; husband of Edith Sybil Coffey, of Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Dungannon WM
RAF. Leading Aircraftman. 623905. Died 05/04/1946. Aged 24. Died at Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. Last address was 34 Roxburgh Street, Belfast. Dundonald Cemetery
CAMPBELL, Wilfrid Ayre Boyd
RNVR. Surgeon-Lt. 1942-46. MiD. Born 10/04/1919. Died 05/04/1998. Son of SB Boyd Campbell, Wellington Park, Belfast. Campbell College 2462. MB BCh BAO, QUB 1941
05/04/1918 – Ballymena Observer – Notification has been received from the Red Cross by Mr. James Pryde, Leighinmohr, Ballymena, that his son Captain R. M. Pryde of the Royal Irish Rifles, is a prisoner of war at Karlsruhe, Germany, and is well. Captain Pryde was unofficially reported as missing last week. He is the third son of Mr. J. O. Pryde and was married last summer to Rose, second daughter of Mr. James Caruth, the Grange, Ballymena. He joined the forces at the outbreak of war and has seen much fighting. Captain Pryde was a lieutenant in the Ballymena Company of the Church Lads’ Brigade and a prominent Ulster Volunteer.
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