September 1. First Ulsterman to win VC in WW1. Roll of Honour

On September 1, 1914, Gunner David Nelson, of L Battery, RHA won Ulster’s first VC of the war. His award was for helping to bring the guns into action under heavy fire at Nery about 35 miles north-east of Paris, on 01/09/1914, and while severely wounded remaining with them until all the ammunition was expended, although he had been ordered to retire to cover. For a whole morning Nelson’s L Battery, held up a considerably larger force, the German 4th Cavalry division. Though of short duration, fighting was bitter and highly destructive. LBattery fought to the last gun and the last shell. L Nery Battery today is one of the most prestigious Gunner units. Nelson was promoted and rose to the rank of Major. He died of wounds in April, 1918, in France. Also in 1914, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers had a horrendous day. The Entry for George Browne contains an account from Frank Fox’s excellent record of the Inniskillings in the Great War. Matthew Callanan also died that day. He was the North Irish Horse’s first casualty of WW1. This day in 1916 was a harsh one for the Royal Irish Rifles as 16 entries in today’s Roll attest. Tribute was paid to James Barr in his home congregation in Londonderry. Another Foyle College and QUB student, he is named on the College’s memorial which was made of old battleship teakwood from H.M.S. Britannia. In WW2 Henry Bolt, a former Limavady Tech student, died in South Africa. Among today’s veterans is Thomas Witherow who survived WW1, and served with the Indian army in Afghanistan, Turkestan, and the NW Frontier. He became a Presbyterian Minister and lived until he was 99.

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