August 16. Second worst day of WW1. Seven Instonians die. Roll of Honour

On this day in 1917 The Battle of Langmarck began. It was fought in horrendous ground and weather conditions. Enemy machine gunners caused heavy casualties to 36th Ulster and 16th Irish Divisions. It was their second worst day of the war – the most costly battle to that of July 1916 on the Somme. No community in NI escaped loss. At 04:45 am in 1917 the 36th (Ulster) & 16th (Irish) Divisions commenced an attack on a series of strongly fortified German Positions east of Ypres in what became known as The Battle of Langemarck. This was one of the phases of the Third Battle Of Ypres. Between the 2nd August and the 18th August the total casualties for the 36th would mount to around 4,400. This would be the last time the two Irish Divisions would fight side by side. Walter Baker of Lisburn was a member of the Church Lads’ Brigade and the town’s Temperance Silver Band. He survived the Somme and got his first home leave five weeks before his death. William Boyd, 21-year-old, ex-Inst and QUB Training Corps, was killed by shellfire when leading his platoon into battle. His body was never recovered. Son of the Rev. RH Boyd and of Sarah Louisa Boyd of Carrickfergus, he was one of at least six former RBIA students to die. William Clements with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers took part in the landing at Sulva Bay and the fighting at Chocolate Hill in Gallipoli. An Ulster Bank official, he was later commissioned in the Royal Inniskillings Fusiliers. Harold Cowdy was a grandson of the founder of the well-known Portadown handkerchief manufacturers. An only son, he was killed in action. Samuel Smiles was one of three brothers to serve. His brother Captain William Alan Smiles, Royal Irish Rifles also died in the war. Another brother Walter Dorling Smiles served as Lieutenant-Commander with the Royal Naval Air Service and was awarded the DSO. He later perished in the Princess Victoria disaster. In this week of VJ Remembrance, two RAF aircrew from Carrickfergus and Larne are recalled. Trevor Boyd and David Nelson were killed in the air on a bombing mission to Sinde in Burma when the B-24 aircraft was lost in the sky due to an explosion. They are named on the Singapore Memorial, Malaya.

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