January 8. Three brothers from Belmont, Roll of Honour

Three brothers from Belmont served in WW1. They were the sons of the Reverend John MacDermott who was the Minister of Belmont Presbyterian Church during the war years and later served as Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. The three brothers, Robert, John, and William were educated at Campbell College and QUB. On this day in 1916, Robert, a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Irish Rifles, 8th Battalion, died in France. William, a graduate in medicine from Queens, served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps Corps. The third brother was John, a Lieutenant in the Machine Gun Corps. He was awarded the Military Cross. He was appointed Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, a post he held for twenty years from 1951 to 1971. One of the most poignant personal entries in diaries and letters from NI men in WW1 is that by John MacDermott on his last night in France when he went to visit the grave of his brother Robert. On this day in 1916, the evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsular was completed. In 1917 the Belfast Newsletter reported that “Rifleman Robert Quigg VC, 12th Royal Irish Rifles of Carnkirk, Bushmills who arrived home on a fortnight’s leave on Thursday and was given an informal welcome on Friday night received a telegram from the General Officer commanding the Belfast Headquarters asking him to report at Belfast as he was required to proceed to Sandringham to receive the V.C. from his Majesty the King. The hero left on Saturday and had an enthusiastic send off at Bushmills, Portrush, and Coleraine. He will be given a month’s leave after the decoration ceremony.”

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