Eight brothers from Downpatrick served in WW1, four survived. In WW2 one of Fermanagh’s military families lost a Gunner son who was awarded the Croix de Guerre. His father served in WW1 winning the DSO. A veteran of the North Irish Horse recalls a changed society and an Inniskilling wins MM in Burma. Another veteran died in the Belfast Docks blitz. Photo – Gaza War Cemetery.
Representing their comrades who died on this day
+LOVE, Samuel Abiah
Royal Engineers, 26th Field Company. Sapper. 28462. Died 08/04/1915 when hit by shell-shrapnel. Aged 23. Eight brothers served, four died. The seventh son of Robert James and Rachel Love, of Scotch Street, Downpatrick, Co. Down. He was a member of Loyal Orange Lodge No. 1464. St Patrick’s Cemetery, Loos, Pas de Calais, France
Royal Irish Rifles. A Coy. 12th Bn. Rifleman. 641. Died 08/04/1916. Aged 20. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Knox, of 19, Greenwall Street, Ballymena. Forceville Communal Cemetery and Extension, Somme, France
31st Canadian Battalion. 79540. Died 08/04/1916. Aged 21. Third son of William and Mary Orr, of Old Race Course, Downpatrick, Co. Down. Brother of Tom, also on active service. Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
+SAVAGE, Joseph Wardle
RAFVR. Leading Aircraftman.1109070. Died 08/04/1941. Aged 20. Son of John and Mary Thompson Savage, of Belfast. Dundonald Cemetery
+BARTON, John Charles
Royal Artillery. 23 Field Regt. Captain. 74517. Chevalier de la Legion D’Honneur, Croix de Guerre avec Palme. Died 08/04/1943. Aged 25. Croix de Guerre awarded when with 138 Field Regt. RA. Son of Lt.-Col. William Hugh Barton, DSO, and Ardyn M. Barton, of Waterfoot, Pettigo, Co. Fermanagh. Medjez-el-Bab War Cemetery, Tunisia
Royal Artillery. 365 Coast Bty. Serjeant. 842382. Died 08/04/1943. Aged 27. Son of Alexander Buchanan, and of Elizabeth Buchanan, of Eglinton. Bone War Cemetery, Algeria.
+IRWIN, James Alexander
Reconnaissance Corps, 56th Regiment. Trooper.7013808. Died 08/04/1943. Aged 22. Son of Charles and Margaret Jane from the Shankill Road area of Belfast. Beja War Cemetery, Tunisia.
Private First Class Agnew became part of one of World War Two’s most infamous US Army units but the paratrooper was born in Belfast, Co. Antrim. He died on 08/04/2010.
William Copeland was born on 30/10/1889 at Clougheuramer, Newry, County Down, the sixth of ten children of cellarman Robert Copeland and his wife Sarah Jane (nee Lowry). His father died when he was just 15 years old. By 1911 he was living at Clougheuramer with his mother and five siblings and working as a farmer.
On 22 April 1914 he married laundry maid Annie Matilda Anderson at the Presbyterian Meeting House, Newry. He recorded his occupation as a railway porter. The couple had seven children over the following two decades.
Copeland enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Newry on 30/10/1909 (No.427). He embarked for France with a small group of reinforcements for A and C Squadrons on 20/01/1915.
Later that year Copeland fell ill and on 29 June he was evacuated to the UK. He was due to return to duty from sick furlough on 11/09/1915, but he failed to turn up. It was not until 12 November, two weeks after his term of service had expired, that he surrendered himself at the regiment’s base depot at Antrim.
Copeland was discharged as time expired from 29/10/1915, but had to forfeit 48 days’ pay for the time he was absent. His record of service was marked as ‘good’.
William Copeland died at Belfast on 08/04/1954.
Joseph Lambert was in the vicinity of Belfast Harbour on the night of 7th-8th April 1941. The Luftwaffe attacked the city in what would become known as The Docks Raid of the Belfast Blitz. Joseph died at Mater Hospital, Belfast, on 08/04/1941 aged 53 years old.
During WW1, Joseph served with 10th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. He was the husband of the late Lila Lambert of 57 Rowland Street, Belfast. His grave is in Hillsborough C of I Churchyard , Hillsborough.
On the night of 7th-8th April 1941, the Belfast Blitz began. 3 more attacks would occur in April/May. 900 lives would be lost and thousands of properties destroyed.
08/04/1940 – Destroyer HMS Glowworm sank off Norway (109 dead) after receiving heavy damage during a tenacious and valiant attack on German battleship Admiral Hipper. Her CO Lt Cdr Gerard Broadmead Roope was posthumously awarded the first VC of #WW2 for this action.
In April 1943 – Fusilier Patrick Maguire, 1st. Btn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was captured in April 1943 and subjected to a rough interrogation. He was made to carry food and ammunition for enemy front-line troops. During a heavy rainstorm, he slipped away from his captors. After wandering for two days in the jungle he was captured again. As before, he was roughly treated and made to carry supplies. Determined to escape again, just before dark he persuaded a sentry, on the pretence of needing to relieve himself, to take him to a secluded spot. Once there, he attacked the soldier, knocked him to the ground and gave him a severe kicking about the head. He slipped away into the jungle and walked about three miles to the British lines. For his initiative and determination, Patrick Maguire was awarded a Military Medal.
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