April 06 – Roll of Honour

WW2 in North Africa is reflected in the records of three NI men who died serving with the guns of the Royal Artillery. Two were from the 9th Heavy AA Regiment from Londonderry. A WW1 Chaplain who died in Egypt had also links to the maiden city.

Representing their comrades who died on this day

1916

+EGAN, Pierce

Chaplain to the Forces. 4th Class. Attached to 1st Battalion British West Indies Regiment. Died of dysentery 06/04/1916 in Alexandria, Egypt. Listed in the 1901 Belfast/Ulster Street Directory as a curate assistant of Derry Cathedral. Husband of Jessie Helen Egan, Spencer Rd., Eastbourne. Chatby Military Cemetery, Alexandria. St Columb’s Cathedral Derry WM

+YOUNG, Henry
RMLI. Private. 1339 (S). Portsmouth Division. 2nd RM Btn. RND. Died 06/04/1918. Enlisted 11/01/1916. 2nd Royal Marine Battalion, BEF, 26/09/1916 – 06/04/1918. Born Ravarra, Ballygowan 14/08/1896. Next-of-Kin: Sister, Agnes McKee, Ravarra, Ballygowan. Pozieres Memorial, Panel 1, Somme. Ballygowan – PCI RH. ADM 159/205/1339

1918

+DONNELLY, John
Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 1st Btn. Private. 28679. Died of wounds on 06/04/1918. Aged 21. John Donnelly was the son of John and Annie Donnelly of Coleraine St., Kilrea. He was born on 12/10/1895 in Kilrea. He was one of eleven children. The family lived in Movanagher, Kilrea. Both John and his father were labourers. John enlisted in Edinburgh. In March 1918 he was badly wounded and was taken from the front and transferred by ship to Southampton hospital in England. His left leg was so badly injured and infected that it had to be amputated at the thigh. Southampton (Hollybrook) Cemetery, Hampshire, Kilrea WM

1941

+HAYES, Alexander
RNPS. Engineman. LT/KX 111106. HM Yacht Torrent. Died 06/04/1941. Aged 37. Son of Samuel and Sarah Hayes, of Belfast. Lowestoft Naval Memorial, Panel 6

1943

+McCARTER, Thomas James
Royal Artillery. 9 HAA Regt. Gunner. 1451870. Died 06/04/1943. Aged 31. Son of John and Margret McCarter, of Drumahoe, Co. Londonderry. Sfax War Cemetery,Tunisia. Derry Cathedral WM

+MURRAY, Neil
Royal Artillery, 9 HAA. Regt. 25 Bty. Bombardier.1457726. Died 06/04/1943, Battle of Wadi Akarit, Tunisia. Aged 35. Son of Neil and Mary Ann Murray; husband to Vera Murray, of Bridge St., Londonderry. Medjez-El-Bab Memorial, Tunisia

+WILSON, Daniel Martin
Royal Artillery, 64th (London) Medium Regiment. Captain. MC. 100950. Died 06/04/1943. Aged 37. On 02/09/1939, he gained promotion to 2nd Lieutenant. The post in The Gazette refers to him as a former Cadet Company Sergeant Major in the Junior Division of the Officer Training Corps at Shrewsbury School. A keen sportsman, he was awarded a Blue for athletics whilst a student at King’s College, Cambridge. The Gazette on 22/04/1943, announced the award of a posthumous Military Cross to Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) Wilson of Farnham, Surrey. A British paper carried news of Captain Wilson’s death. It suggests that family and friends may have known him as Tim. He was the only son of the late Honourable Mr. Justice Wilson and Eleanor Wilson of 11 Deramore Drive, Malone Road, Belfast, and husband to Isabella Mary Frothingham Wilson of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In 1943, the couple lived at New Acre, Great Austins, Farnham, Surrey. Medjez el Bab Memorial, Béja, Tunisia, North Africa. His name also features on one of two memorial stones in the Grand Hall of the Royal Courts of Justice, Chichester Street, Belfast.

1945

+KANE, David
Royal Ulster Rifles, 2nd Btn. Rifleman.7043667. Died 06/04/1945. Aged 38. Son of Samuel and Elizabeth Kane, of Tobermore, Co. Londonderry. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

+THOMPSON, Victor Arnold
RAFVR. Flight Sergeant. W. Op. (Air).1076295. Died 06/04/1945. Age 21. Son of Robert and Kathleen Thompson, of  Elsinore, Doury Road, Ballymena. Ballymena new cemetery

NOTES

06/04/1915 – Royal Navy ordered false bow waves to be painted on its ships in order to confuse enemy submarines as they prepared firing solutions for their torpedoes. The aim being to falsely indicate the ship’s speed.

06/04/1917 – US declares war on Germany, enters World War I

06/04/1942 – German troops invade Yugoslavia. After 11 days of fighting, Belgrade surrenders unconditionally.

05/06 April 1945 – London Irish Rifles – the start of Operation Grapeshot in Italy saw the 1st Bn LIR join the attack across the River Reno.. the final push to the Po.

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One Comment on “April 06 – Roll of Honour

  1. Bdr Neil Murray and Gnr Tommy McCarter were both killed during the Battle of Wadi Akarit in Tunisia. They were members of Mac Troop, equipped with German 88mm flak guns in a ground role. The Troop had been created from volunteers from 9th (Londonderry) and 51st (London) HAA Regiments in Tripoli to support 2nd New Zealand Division in Eighth Army’s advance into Tunisia. Mac Troop, named for Brigadier H.M.J. ‘Mad Mac’ McIntyre, commander of 2 AA Brigade, was attached to 4th NZ Field Regiment.
    The Troop was formed at the request of Brigadier Weir, CRA of 2nd NZ Division, and General Freyberg, its GOC, who had requested that 3.7-inch HAA guns be provided to the Division for the fighting in Tunisia; it was Freyberg and Weir’s intention that the guns be used in a ground role. No 3.7s could be spared but there were captured 88s with considerable stocks of ammunition and so 88s were issued. The request had come after Freyberg and Weir had watched a demonstration of anti-tank and field firing by 25 Battery at a training range at Azizia south of Tripoli (a spot famous for being where the hottest surface temperature ever recorded had been noted). During the demonstration Sergeant Jim Peoples’ gun had scored a direct hit on a tank at extreme range, blowing its turret off.
    During the opening bombardment at Wadi Akarit, the four guns of Mac Troop each fired over 200 rounds in support of 50th (Northumbrian) Division since the New Zealand Division was in reserve. While there was little counter-battery fire, German aircraft were active and one Jabo dropped bombs on Mac Troop’s positions. One gun took a direct hit, killing one man immediately while another died minutes later. Tommy McCarter was the gunner killed outright while Neil Murray died in Richard Mulhern’s arms. (Mulhern was the youngest soldier in the Regiment, having celebrated his 16th birthday after 9th’s arrival in Egypt.)
    Neil Murray had served in the Irish Defence Forces and enlisted in 25 Battery of 9th Regiment on formation. Tommy McCarter was also a member of 25 Battery.
    A New Zealand medical orderly, Bdr L.H. Shearer, dashed to help the wounded even as bombs were still falling.
    While the initial commander of Mac Troop was Captain Downing of 51st (London) HAA Regiment, he was succeeded by Captain Hume Stewart-Moore of 26 Battery.

    Like

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