January 20. Indebtedness to local journalism and an Irish nun. Roll of Honour

Local journalists have left insights of two servicemen in today’s Roll of Honour. On this day in 1916, a Ballymoney paper recorded the birth of Jane Verner, the daughter of James, and Annie Verner of Dunsevrick. Less than 6 months later James would make the ultimate sacrifice at the Somme. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial and in Dunluce Parish Church, Bushmills. Jim Donaghy a NW journalist recorded the story of Jack Cochrane from Londonderry. In 1917 in Plug Street wood (Ploegsteert, Belgium), Jack shared his 20th birthday gifts of chocolate and biscuits from home with his close friends who had signed up the same day. Soon afterward Jack and two others were killed by a shell. In 1916 Alfred Lennox a former Royal School Dungannon student was injured serving with a Scots regiment. An Irish nun heard his accent amongst the Scotsmen and got a message to his parents via the convent in Armagh. In 1943 in Tunisia a total of 250 London Irishmen of 38(Irish) Brigade were killed, wounded, or captured on the 20th and 21st January. George Atkinson from Armagh and William McDowell from Belfast are remembered in Tunisia. The taking of a well-defended German position at Hill 286 was necessary and costly.

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