A WW1 record gives insight to the service of a NI man with the Australian Imperial Force in France. WW2 records include an officer of the Royal Ulster Rifles, commanding a Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers battalion in North Africa and a Fusilier from another Inniskilling battalion in Burma. A submariner from Kilkeel is posthumously Mentioned in Despatches.
Photo – Not far from VC Corner, is CWGC’s Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery. Surrounded by a moat and weeping willows, this site in France commemorates 350 Commonwealth soldiers of the First World War.
Representing their comrades who died on this day
+DORNAN, George Irwin
Australian Imperial Force (AIF). Lance corporal. Died 07/04/1918. Aged 32. Born in Belfast between May and September 1885 he was educated there before emigrating to Australia in about 1910 aged 25. This was also the year of his father’s death. A grocer (or dairy produce merchant according to his application to join the AIF) by trade, he was a single man aged 30 and living at 59 McCleary Street, Freemantle when he enlisted in the AIF at Perth Western Australia, on the 13/01/1916. Given his preliminary medical examination that day (although his military service is dated from the 12/02/1916), he had a dark complexion, grey eyes, and black hair. 5’ 5” tall, he had a 33” to 35” chest and weighed 139 lbs. Recorded as having been vaccinated in infancy his vision was 6/6 in the right eye and 6/9 in the left.
Having no military experience when he enlisted, he may have done at least part of his training at Blackboy Hill before being posted as a Private to the 1st Reinforcements for the 44 AI (1641) on 03/06/1916. Three days later he embarked for England from Freemantle, Western Australia on the “Suevic”.
Arriving at Plymouth on 21 July he was taken on strength on the 13 October and left Southampton for France on the 25 November. Placed on a charge for being absent without leave on the night of the 21/22 July 1917 he was given four days Field Punishment No. 2 and lost five days pay amounting to £1.5s.0d. His crime had been, “absenting himself without leave in that he was absent from his quarters from Tattoo 21/7/17 [9.30 p.m.] until Reveille [6 a.m.] 22/7/17. 81⁄2 hours”. Not that this appears to have been held against him. On 1 November that year, he was promoted to Lance Corporal and a note in his service record shows that he was due “two blue chevrons”.
Admitted sick to hospital on 13/03/1918 he was diagnosed as suffering from Scabies. Re-joining his unit a week later on the 20th, he was KIA at Saille-le-Sec on the Somme. His remains were buried about 800 yards east northeast of the village,. They were subsequently exhumed and re-buried in Villers Bretonneux Military Cemetery, France, plot 13, row D, grave 7. There is no headstone inscription.
His death is also commemorated on the family headstone in Cargycreevy Presbyterian churchyard where both his parents are buried. He was the son of James Dorn (born 1854, died 1910) and Minnie Dornan (born 1857, died 1921) of 30 Madrid Street, Belfast. The legatees in his will were his mother, sister Margretta (Greta) Sarah Dornan and brothers John and James. His uncle Frederick Ernest Dornan of South Terrace, Freemantle, was named as executor although he may have passed some of this responsibility onto his eldest nephew John with whom he lived.
His effects were sent to his mother in May 1918 and on 11/06/1918 she was granted a pension of 40 shillings per fortnight beginning on the 15th of the month. His brother John received his war medals in March 1922. Villers Bretonneux Military Cemetery, France. Family headstone in Cargycreevy Presbyterian churchyard.
+ALLEN, Charles Henry Belton
Royal Ulster Rifles, commanding Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 6th Btn. Lieutenant Colonel. 36245. Mentioned in Despatches. Former 2 I/c of London Irish. Son of Maj. Henry George Allen, O.B.E., R.A.V.C., and Rosamunde Elizabeth Allen; husband of Katharine Elizabeth Mary Allen, of Barnby Dun, Yorkshire. Son of Maj. Henry George Allen, O.B.E., R.A.V.C., and Rosamunde Elizabeth Allen; husband to Katharine Elizabeth Mary Allen, of Barnby Dun, Yorkshire. Beja War Cemetery, Tunisia. St Peter and St Pauls Church WM, Barnby Dun
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 1st Btn. Fusilier. 7014291. Died 07/04/1943. Age 22. Rangoon Memorial Burma, Face 11.
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 1st Btn. Fusilier. 6982776. Died Between 07/04/1943 and 08/04/1943. Aged 21. Born on 23/01/1922. Son of Hugh and Bridget O’Neill, Chapel Street, Cookstown. He had worked as a message boy prior to enlisting with the Inniskillings on the 26/06/1940 at Omagh. The 1st Battalion RIF were stationed in India prior to the outbreak of World War Two. On 7th / 8th April 1943 Hugh O’Neill was part of a patrol which engaged a Japanese force in Padana Chaung area, Burma. Rangoon Memorial, Myanmar. Cookstown WM
+QUINN, Michael Joseph
RAF. Leading Aircraftman. 538203. Died 07/04/1943. Aged 24. Son of Michael and Mary Josephine Quinn, of Londonderry. Burlington (Holy Sepulchre) Cemetery, Ontario, Canada
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 6th Btn. Fusilier. 7044343. Died 07/04/1943. Aged 29. Son of John and Susan Trimble; husband to M. Trimble, of Antrim. Medjez-el-Bab Memorial, Tunisia
+TELFAIR, John Macklin
Royal Artillery. 135 (M) HAA Regiment. 491 Bty. Gunner. 1524020. Died on 07/04/1944. Aged 50. Son of John and Jane Telfair of Belfast; Husband to Rachel Telfair of Belfast. Carnmoney Cemetery East
+BURNS, Robert Hugh
RNVR. FAA. 1836 Squadron . Sub Lieutenant (A). Died 07/04/1945. Age 22. In the carrier HMS Victorious which was operating in the East China Sea. Flying a Vought F4U-1A Corsair fighter while on a strike on Hirara airfield, it appears he lost his bearings and was obliged to ditch the aircraft. His body was subsequently recovered from the sea. Had been a member of QUB OTC and Troop leader in 13th Belfast Scout troop. Brother serving with RAF in India. His father served in WW1. Elder Son of Mr & Mrs R Burns, Colenso Parade, Belfast. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 25/05/1945). Lee -on- Solent memorial, Bay 6, Panel 3
Royal Ulster Rifles, 2nd Btn. Rifleman.14429341. Died 07/04/1945. Aged 19. Oldenzaal Protestant Cemetery, Overijssel, Netherlands
NI Submariner’s service in WW2 recognised on this day
Lieutenant Henry Walmisley an RNVR submariner from Kilkeel was mentioned posthumously in despatches on 07.04.1942.
He was lost in HM Submarine Tetrarch off Sicily. Age 27.
After a period of intense action, Lt. Walmsley was hitching a lift from Malta to the UK on the submarine Tetrarch.
He was Mentioned in Despatches (posthumously), in the London Gazette of 07/04/1942…
He had completed seventeen Central Mediterranean War Patrols with HM Submarines Unbeaten, Upholder and Ursula.
He served in actions which:
Torpedoed three large escorted Italian transports off Tripoli 18/09/1941. Sank the Italian Torpedo Boat Albatross off Cape Rascolmo, north Sicily on 27/09/1941.
Tetrarch sailed from Alexandria on 17/10/1941 for Malta to adjust complement before proceeding to refit in the USA. The submarine arrived at Malta on 24/10/1941.
Tetrach sailed from Malta on 26/10/1941 for a refit in Britain, via Gibraltar. She failed to arrive in Gibraltar on 2 November and was declared overdue. Her route passed through a known minefield. On Monday 27 she communicated with P34, which was in the same area.
This was the last contact with the submarine. She is presumed lost to Italian mines off Capo Granditola, Sicily, Italy in late October 1941.
Henry was the son of James Charles and Margaret Walmsley, Kilkeel. He is commemorated on the Valetta WM.
07/04/1940 – The RAF spots units of the Kriegsmarine steaming North towards Narvik and Trondheim loaded with troops and equipment.
07/04/1943 – 17 members of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 1st Btn died in Burma. They are commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial. None have CWGC records showing a NI address.
07/04/1944 – a member of Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 2nd Btn died. His grave is in the Beach Head Cemetery, Anzio, Italy
07/04/1945 – 38 (Irish) Brigade – Forli: Individual training carried out by 2 LIR and 1 RIrF. 2 Innisks relieved on Senio floodbank by elements 1 Surreys and 56 Recce. Relief completed by 2100 hrs without incident.
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