April 16 – Roll of Honour

The Roll recalls the German bombings of Belfast and Londonderry. Photo – Ulster Tower and Mill Cemetery seen from the air. The Cemetery was constructed over the Schwaben Redoubt, a German strong point overrun by the 36th Ulster Division. Many of the stones are laid flat due to subsidence. There are 1304 burials, 815 unknown.

Representing their comrades who died on this day

1917

+REA, William
Canadian Infantry, 73rd. Private. 193913. Died 16/04/1917. Aged 37. Son of Thomas and Margaret Rea, Balteagh, Portadown. Wimereux Communal Cemetery, France.

1918

+McGRATH, James
Royal Irish Rifles, 12th Btn. Rifleman. 373. Died 16/04/1918. Aged 30. Son of Mary Ann McGrath, of 64 Connaught Street, Belfast. Canada Farm Cemetery, France

1940

+TURNER, Charles Henry
Royal Ulster Rifles, 6th (H.D.) Bn. Warrant Officer Class II (C.S.M.) MC. D/24706. Died 16/04/1940. Aged 64. Son of Thomas and Louisa Turner; husband to Ellen Turner, of Belfast. Carnmoney Cemetery

1941

+McFALL, Leo Carty
RAF. Aircraftman 2nd Class. 650035. Died 16/04/1941. Aged 19. 113 Sqdn. Son of Leo and Sarah McFall, Belfast. Alamein Memorial, Column 245, Egypt

+McGENNITY, William Henry
Royal Ulster Rifles, 70th Btn. Rifleman. 7015448. Died 16/04/1941. Aged 36. Based at Palace Barracks, Holywood. Son of William H. McGennity and Isabella McGennity, of Belfast. William’s wife, Bridget had begged him to come home to be with her and the children so he got a pass out of the Barracks for the night of 15 / 16 April 1941. William, Bridget (27) and their children Annie (4), Margaret (3) and Robert (16 Months) were all at home in 75 Holmdene Gardens, Belfast when it was hit by a bomb in a blitz on Belfast. Only Annie was pulled from the rubble and survived with her mother, father, sister and brother being killed. Belfast (Milltown) RC Cemetery.

+McLEAN, John James
Royal Artillery. 9 HAA. Regt. 24 Bty. Gunner.1455100. Died 16/05/1941. Aged 23. Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt. Derry Cathedral WM

+McNEILL, Ernest
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Fusilier. 6982560. Age 17. Died 16/04/1941. Age 17. Son of John and Margaret McNeill of Craigmore, Bessbrook. Mullaghglass (St. Luke) Church Of Ireland Churchyard, County Armagh. Bessbrook WM

+SLAVIN, Henry
Royal Ulster Rifles, 6th Btn. Rifleman.7018428. Died 16/04/1941. Aged 33. Belfast City Cemetery, Glenalina Extension.

1943

+WILSON, George Joseph
RAFVR. Sergeant (Wireless Op./Air Gunner).1383005. Died 16/04/1943. Aged 23. 460 (R.A.A.F.) Sqdn. Son of Spear and Catherine Caroline Wilson, of Portadown. Durnbach War Cemetery, Bayern, Germany

NOTES

16/04/1941 – The Bombing of Londonderry

On 16th April 1941, the City of Londonderry was bombed by the Luftwaffe.
After some flares were dropped 2 large parachute mines exploded at Messines Park in the Buncrana Road area of the City demolishing the houses at 55, 57, 59 and 61 Messines Park.

This small development is named after the First World war Battlefield at the Somme and was home to a number of Ex-Servicemen.

Thirteen people between the ages of 10 months and 60 years were killed and are listed here:
Ellen Collins, 21 years, 55 Messines Park
James Collins, 60 years, 55 Messines Park
William Alexander McFarland, 44 years, 57 Messines Park
Ita Murray, 13 years, 59 Messines Park
Kathleen Murray
Mollie Murray 39 years, 59 Messines Park
Philomena Murray, 10 years, 59 Messines Park
Sheila Murray, 10 Months, 59 Messines Park
William Murray, 50 years, 59 Messines Park
Bridie Richmond, 14 Months, 61 Messines Park
John Richmond, 53 years, 61 Messines Park
Owen Richmond, 18 years, 61 Messines Park
Winifred Richmond, 45 years, 61 Messines Park.

16/04/1945 – 38 (Irish Brigade). 2 LIR: 0600 2 PWs brought into Bttn HQ. Identification – 40 Jaeger Regiment, 42 Jaeger Regiment. 1800 Bttn warned to be at 1 hrs notice from 0430 hrs 17 April. 1900 30 reinforcements arrive to make up E Coy. Died on this Day: Rifleman William Devlin from Glasgow.

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1 Comment

  1. Neither of the aerial mines dropped by the Lufwaffe and aimed at the Royal Naval Maintenance Yard at Pennyburn landed in the city of Londonderry. Both came down outside the city, one in a sandpit close to St Patrick’s Church, Pennyburn, and the second exploded above the British Legion houses in Messines Park, demolishing five houses completely and damaging many more. Thirteen bodies were recovered from the rubble in the immediate aftermath and a fourth was found some weeks later.
    The only damage in the city was to the roofs of some buildings inside the city walls which were damaged by fragments of the shells fired by the four 3.7-inch guns that were the sole defence of the city at the time.
    A second attack on the city on the night of 4/5 saw the single bomber involved drop his mines in a field on a hillside outside Malin in Inishowen.

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