February 8. Ballymena RAF medic and four Belfast Gunners die in Burma. Roll of Honour

On this day in 1917 Alex Caldwell from Londonderry was lost when HMS Gurka of the Dover Patrol hit a mine and sank in the English Channel. In 1942 Gerald Bell from Bangor died near Singapore serving with Australian Infantry. Hugh Given from Ballymena graduated from Queen’s University in medicine. He served with RAF 27 Squadron formed in India on 19/09/1942. While home on leave he had got married. He died on this day in 1943 only four months after his wedding to Helen Thompson of Broughshane who taught at Downpatrick High School. James Sheilds from Londonderry missed going to war with the Derry Gunners. He died in Myanmar (Burma) in 1944 serving with the Belfast Gunners – one of four to die on this date. They are named on the Regimental WM and RH at St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast. Today’s veteran Alex McKnight from Mallusk was wounded in action three times in WW1 and was discharged with the Silver War Badge on 08/02/1919. He died a week later in the Flu Pandemic.

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