March 5. Barossa Day in WW2. Roll of Honour

On March 5, 1881, Irish infantry captured a Napoleonic Eagle standard at the Battle of Barossa. Depite hard fighting in WW2 the Irish Brigade celebrated Barossa Day in North Africa and in Italy. Notes made by a Major indicate it was quite a party and parade. A Church Service was conducted by C of I cleric, the Reverend Victor Pike OBE, Assistant Chaplain General, 8th Army. Two Gunners, George Banks from Dollingstown and Robin Coleman from Ballymena, died in 1943 and are named on the Singapore Memorial. In 1945 two Irish Guardsmen, Arthur Brown from the Sandy Row area of Belfast and Robert Devine from Londonderry died in Germany and the Netherlands. Gordon Kerr, a past pupil of Lurgan College, died when his bomber crashed this night in 1945 on an operation to Gelsenkirchen targeting a Benzol Plant. His entry describes the ongoing honour paid to him and other servicemen. The local community around Heverlee War Cemetery in Belgium has had major international acts of remembrance marking the service of him and his colleagues. Photo – The Spitfire prototype made its first flight On This Day in 1936.

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