August 17 – Tony Lovell, Portrush’s decorated air ace. Roll of Honour

On August 17 1914 the first mobilised squadron of the North Irish Horse sailed to France. George Graham from Dervock was killed in 1917 during the very difficult fighting at Passchendaele. In 1944 Lt-Col Desmond Woods from Newcastle was serving with the Royal Ulster Rifles in Italy when he won a Bar to the Military Cross.


1 Comment

  1. Desmond Woods joined 2 LIR as a captain and company commander. Shortly afterwards it was decided that company commanders should be majors and he was promoted to that rank.
    H Company’s attack at Cassino was not on a fortified village. Casa Sinagoga was the home of the Sinagoga family (it remains the family property although Franco and his family now live in a modern house on the other side of the road) and a working farm. It was the farm and outbuildings that were held by the Germans.
    In the course of the attack, the Shermans of 16th/5th Lancers supporting 2 LIR were engaged by a German anti-tank gun and the advance ground to a halt. At that point Cpl James Barnes from County Monaghan, but with a family address in Keady, led what was left of his platoon (his pln cdr and sgt had both been wounded) to attack the gun. However, it was defended by an MG42 which opened fire on the riflemen. One by one they were cut down until only Jimmy Barnes remained. With his last breath he hurled a grenade into the gunpit and the German gunners fled, allowing the Shermans and H Company to continue the advance.
    Desmond Woods recommended Jimmy Barnes for a posthumous VC but this was never awarded, nor was he Mentioned in Despatches, the only other gallantry award that could then be granted posthumously. Although Major Woods was awarded a Bar to the MC, he always felt aggrieved that Jimmy Barnes’ courage had not been recognised.
    Cpl J.A. Barnes is remembered on the memorials to those with no known graves in Cassino War Cemetery.


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