November 27. First and last British WW1 fatalities rest in St. Symphorien. Roll of Honour

The first and last British casualties of WW1 were buried at St Symphorien Military Cemetery near Mons where there are British, Empire, and German graves. St. Symphorien Military Cemetery was established by the German Army during the First World War as a final resting place for British and German soldiers killed at the Battle of Mons. Among those buried here is Private John Parr of the Middlesex Regiment, who was fatally wounded during an encounter with a German patrol two days before the battle, thus becoming the first British soldier to be killed in action on the Western Front. Joseph Allen from Lurgan returned to Europe with the Australian Tunnelling Corps. He died in 1916 in France. In 1943 38(Irish) Brigade including the London Irish Rifles crossed the Sangro river in Italy. On this day in 1940, 1941, and 1944 the remains of three RAF men were brought home for burial in Belfast and Omagh. In 1944 Flight Sergeant William McClune died when a massive explosion hit his Lancaster bomber following a crash. The tail gunner, Sgt Ricky Dyson, despite extensive burns set about trying to rescue his crew. You will not read a more concise account of bravery than Dyson’s that is in William McClune’s entry in today’s Roll. Today’s veterans are both doctors. Alfred Dickey was the son of Rev. CCM Dickey, The Manse, Draperstown. James Watson was from Castlerock. Both were students at Campbell College and Queen’s University Belfast.

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