August 10. Part 1 – The UVF dry land sailors honoured by the Tzar. Roll of Honour

Royal Navy Armoured Cars – 111 Royal Navy personnel from Northern Ireland were involved in what is perhaps the most bizarre linking of Irish politics with the international relations of the First World War. 72 of the North Irish personnel were drivers and mechanics. These men from the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) armed with Canadian rifles which were most likely smuggled in avoiding the Royal Navy, served in the Russian empire in what has been dubbed “The Czar’s British Squadron” – an armoured car squadron of the Royal Naval Air Service. Three of the armoured cars in the squadron were christened ‘Ulster’, ‘Londonderry’ and ‘Mountjoy’. Lieut Walter Dorling Smiles, R.N.V.R. was awarded the DSO for his bravery in Russia. The Donaghadee born officer would later be a Westminster MP and was one of those lost in the Princess Victoria disaster in 1953. He is the great grandfather of Bear Grylls.Two Ballymoney men served – Edward Benson, son of the Rector, and John PInkerton, uncle of John PInkerton, DLL, President of Ballymoney RBL. Photo – Model of RNAS Armoured Car.

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