March 7. Major step towards WW2, the Rhineland invasion. Roll of Honour

This day in 1916 Samuel Beattie from Ballymena, a member of the Harryville Company of the Ulster Volunteer Force, was killed by a sniper’s bullet when serving with the Royal Irish Rifles. Letters to his widow from his platoon commander and a Methodist Chaplain bring home the reality of war. Hugh McHugh from Coleraine, a driver with the Royal Army Service Corps also died. A major step was taken on the way to WW2. On this day in 1936 Hitler sends German troops into the Rhineland, breaking the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact. The family of Bryan “Mick” Kane, an RHA officer from Belfast who died in Egypt in WW2, had major diplomatic links with the Solomon Islands. David Nicholl from Newtown Hamilton served with the RAF and is remembered in Malta where he died this day in 1945. Today’s veterans are augmented by drawing from Remembrance NI research on NI men in the Royal Navy in WW1. Eleven men signed up on this day for service, and nineteen were discharged. The ships each served in are noted and those who fought at Jutland are identified as well as those who signed on for further possible service with the RFR – the Royal Fleet Reserve. Photo – Gouzeaucourt British Cemetery.

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