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

One of the most famous Batteries in the Royal Regiment of Artillery is L Nery Battery. David Nelson was the first Ulster soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in the First World War and one of the first in the entire armed forces during that conflict for helping to bring the guns of L Battery into action under heavy fire at Nery, 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. He went to France as an N.C.O., and died of wounds there in April 1918, having risen to the rank of major. Néry is about 35 miles north-east of Paris. James Barr a former student at Foyle College, Londonderry, died this day in 1918 serving with the Royal Irish Rifles. With the support of the Irish Society, a memorial prize in classics was created at Foyle College. He is named on Foyle College’s war memorial which was made of old battleship teakwood from H.M.S. Britannia. Edward Leslie Marshall from Bangor fell on the same day. He is named on the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Memorial Plaque. In 1942 Henry Bolt from Limavady died serving with the RAF in South Africa. Francis Berry from Portadown served with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders seeing action in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. He is remembered at Florence War Cemetery, Italy and at Portadown WM. Today’s veterans include Petty Officer Norman Matson who was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his actions in a five-hour running battle with a German cruiser off Brazil. Norman was a keen bellringer and was a member of St. Thomas’ Bell-Ringers Society. In 1914 Thomas Witherow was a student for the ministry of the Presbyterian church at Magee College, Londonderry. He enrolled when war broke out. He was commissioned and served as a captain in the Ulster Division in tough places.. He was then sent to India where he saw action in Afghanistan, against Bolshevists in Russian Turkestan, in Persia, and on the Indian frontier. Having resumed his studies, he was licensed by Belfast Presbytery on 16/05/1923 and became an assistant minister in First Derry the same year. He was ordained as a minister of the congregation on 03/02/1926.

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