April 15. Belfast Blitz. Liberation of Bergen-Belsen. Roll of Honour

On 15/04/1941 Belfast was hammered in one of the largest and most devastating aerial bombardments of World War II. The Roll of Honour for today contains names of members of the forces serving in Belfast who were killled, and some like Gunner William Douglas abroad on service whose families were killed. The aircraft carrier HMS Furious aided air defence of the city. In Furious during the blitz was Fleet Air Arm, Chief Petty Officer, Sydney Waller who post-war was a teacher in Castlewellan and Dunluce as well as a keen dinghy sailor. In WW1 James Thompson from Ballymoney serving with the Royal Irish Regiment, was lost at sea on board the troopship SS Arcadian. It was torpedoed in the Mediterranean in 1917. Old Portoran Bernard Browne, a former medical missionary in China, died serving in Greece in 1918. Thomas Crosbie, MC and Bar, from Lurgan College and QUB died near Kemmel. Five members of the 12th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles also died that day and are named at Tyne Cot. The Veterans Roll carries the remarkable story of John Leishman. John was born in Falkirk in 1920 and served in the 153rd Infantry Brigade, 51st Highland Division. He later married in Moira and made his home in Belfast where he died on 15/04/2015. He escaped Dunkirk, took part in El Alamein and D Day.

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