August 12. Crew interned in Algeria after HMS Manchester sinks in Operation Pedestal. Roll of Honour

On this day in 1917, the Belfast Newsletter reported the death of Company Quartermaster Sergeant George Frank Newel, 15th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. He was educated at the Royal Academy, and before volunteering from the North Belfast Regiment, U.V.F. was in business with his father in Royal Avenue. He was formerly in the Boy’s Brigade and was a member of St. James Church. He was one of three brothers to die and a fourth was injured. In 1940 Gerald McElrea from Antrim was serving in Gosport with 930 Balloon Squadron and was at the Barrage Balloon Site at St Vincent Sports Ground, Forton Road when the site received a direct hit by a large Bomb. There is a stark account by an eye-witness survivor of the attack and its consequences in today’s Roll of Honour. Reports in the Belfast Weekly Telegraph in September 1942 stated that four men from Northern Ireland had been interned in Algeria which was then under the control of the Vichy French who collaborated with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. The four were crew members of HMS Manchester which was taking part in Operation Pedestal whose aim was to force a convoy through to beleaguered Malta. They were James Boyd from Newtownards, AW Rowe from Portadown, John Crymble, and W Rankin from Belfast. Photo – The Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium.

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