April 26 – Roll of Honour. Irish VC at Gallipopli

Today in 1915, an Irishman won the VC as the Allies land at Gallipoli and two men from Londonderry died. The objective was to seize Istanbul and knock Turkey out of the war. Resistance is heavy and the invaders fail to advance more than a few hundred yards. 58,000 British, Australian and New Zealand soldiers died in the nine-month campaign. WW2 Roll today reflects conflict in Greece, Italy, and Germany where in 1945 the Royal Ulster Rifles were at the sharp end.


1 Comment

  1. Gnr Tommy Porter, of 25 Bty 9th (Londonderry) HAA Regiment, was from the St Johnston area of County Donegal. He had enlisted in 25 Bty before the war using the address of a relative in Londonderry, a subterfuge his good friend George Lapsely also adopted, as did some others.
    On 25 April 1941 the Battery was at Mersa Matruh as part of Matruh Fortress, Italo-German forces having crossed into Egypt several days earlier. At 6.30pm that day the alarm sounded and E and F Sections prepared for action. A Heinkel 111 was identified and fourteen rounds were fired at it. The 111 dropped a stick of bombs, one of which exploded close to the GL (radar) site, injuring six men.
    One of the injured was Tommy Porter, a driver, who had just driven his lorry into the site. He died of his injuries in the Field Hospital next day and was buried at Mersa Matruh British Military Cemetery that afternoon. The interment service was conducted by the Revd David Henderson, a Presbyterian chaplain who had studied at Magee College, Londonderry. Padre Henderson, later a Queen’s Honorary Chaplain, was by Tommy Porter’s side as he lay dying in the Field Hospital.


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