February 12. Belfast WRNS and ‘The Cruel Sea’. Roll of Honour

Two women are among the WW2 fatalities for this day in 1944. Army nurse Beatrice Dowling from Bessbrook died in England. Ethel Hunter, a Wren from Belfast, and Gunner William Allen from Ballymena were lost in a troopship sinking which Nicholas Monserrat later used in his novel “The Cruel Sea”. In WW1 submariner Robert Reid was taken POW and died later in Baghdad. He is named on the Printing Trades WM in Belfast Cathedral. Robert Cambridge from Carrickfergus served with the Irish Horse in the Boer War and emigrated to New Zealand. He served in the NZ training unit. He died this day in 1917 as a result of an incident. In 1918 Reginald Collier from Bangor, a former member of Queen’s University Training Corps, died in training with the Royal Flying Corps. James Gracey from Lurgan was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal, the second highest British award for gallantry, serving with the North Irish Horse in WW1. His service in the war and with the police in New Zealand are featured in today’s Veterans section of the Roll of Honour.

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