November 7. The Unknown Warrior – Bangor officer’s pivotal role. Roll of Honour

On this day in 1920 in strictest secrecy, four unidentified British bodies were exhumed from temporary battlefield cemeteries at Ypres, Arras, the Asine, and the Somme. None of the soldiers who did the digging were told why. An amazing piece of footage was rediscovered from the UTV archive. It was of Major Ernest Fitzsimon sitting in the family garden in Bangor in 1966, casually discussing his pivotal role in one of the greatest mysteries of the First World War. He speaks about how he submitted a scheme for the operation, which was accepted and implemented under his supervision. He was filmed in 1966 as part of the commemorations of the Battle of the Somme. In today’s Roll for 1914 five members of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers from N Ireland are remembered – Robert Averall from Dungannon, Fred Davidson from Belfast, John Newell from Stewartstown, Patrick O’Connor from Londonderry and William Parker from Enniskillen. There were almost 30 men from the regiment killed on this day. Most entries in the CWGC roll do not include their home addresses. All are named on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium. They died in the First Battle of Ypres, the last major battle of the first year of World War I, which ends the Race to the Sea. In 1944 Three NI men were lost on the Landing Craft LST- 420 which sank within sight of Ostend when she hit a mine that immediately broke the ship in two parts. Robert Dinsmore of Claudy, Samuel Foreman of Belfast, and John Rosborough of Londonderry were among the 14 officers and 224 other ranks who were lost. 31 were saved.

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