April 22. North Irish Horse Trooper’s Military Medal and Bar. Roll of Honour

In 1915 the Second Battle of Ypres began and saw the first major gas attack by the Germans. Sons of clergy died in both wars. William Clayton, son of the Methodist minister in Downpatrick, died of wounds this day in 1916. Robert Martin, Campbell College, TCD and Trinity, Cambridge, an Irish rugby trialist, died in 1943 with the RAF in Egypt. He was the son of Revd. Hamilton Martin. In 1940 Ernest Beggs from Carrickfergus and William Wallace from Belfast were lost in HMS Pelican off Narvik. In 1943 Trooper Samuel Johnston of the North Irish Horse won the Military Medal and Bar within eight weeks for his courage in the unit’s Churchill tanks. He took part in the celebrated tank action at Longstop Hill in North Africa. Today’s Veteran is William Leighton from Portstewart. The UVF member was serving with the Royal Irish Rifles. He was wounded on two occasions and was discharged from the Army in August 1918 after losing the sight of an eye. He is commemorated on the Roll of Honour in Agherton Parish Church.

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