February 21. The Battle of Verdun starts. Roll of Honour

Alex Hill from Whiteabbey was lost in HMS Princess Alberta in 1917 when she hit a mine in the Agean Sea. William Bell from Moneymore served five years in the Royal Irish Constabulary before emigrating to New Zealand. He fell serving with the Otago Regiment in France in 1918. Archie Grant had played football for Linfield in the inter-war years. He died in a motor accident in Scotland in 1942 where he was training with the Belfast Gunners. Another Gunner, William Barr from Londonderry, died in Jakarta. John Gray was mentioned in despatches in WW1. After the war, he worked for the Belfast Water Commissioners, rejoining the army in 1939. He died in a Belfast military hospital in 1943. Eric McClean from Dunmurry and Hamilton Walker from Belfast both died serving with the RAF 14 Sqdn in 1943 and are named on the Alamein Memorial. James Kane from Fivemiletown was one of thirty-seven soldiers of the Irish Guards, 3rd battalion to die near Nijmegen. Today’s Veteran had a somewhat chequered military career. His son James Ford Cairns became a well-known Australian politician who was for a while Deputy Prime Minister. Photo – Welsh Cemetery (Caesar’s Nose) is located to the North of Ypres.

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