WELCOME to the first website devoted to Ballymena and District in the First World War. The website has now been expanded to contain all functions on one easy to use site.
We hope that it will help you to understand the magnitude of the sacrifice made by the fine young men of this district, and we trust you will find yourself increasingly proud of them as you see their story unfold. This is not a perfect telling of their tale but the site is modified to correct errors as information becomes available. When you see a mistake, for we know there are many, contact us so that the record can be adapted. Use GUESTBOOK for the purpose.
USING THIS SITE
Researching a soldier from the Great War period can be a daunting task, but this site should make the job a lot easier. Have a look at the 'buttons' at top of your screen. You will see a list of options.
For those who wish to know more about an ancestor who died during the war, simply search the alphabetical listings, the 'Virtual Memorial'. These will give you the man's rank, unit and army service number. A date of death and the nature of his demise is also provided along with cemetery or memorial details. That's the really easy part!
NOW, you will also see a section called 'The Weekly War'. This is a collection of pictures and reports from the files of the Ballymena Observer newspaper of the period. By cross referencing dates of death with the appropriate 'Weekly War' section, you SHOULD be able to find out a great deal more about your ancestor.
TRACKING DOWN SERVICE DETAILS
BE aware that not all soldiers' deaths were reported in the local press but fear not, there are other methods to learn more about them.
For instance, by using the on-line search facility for First World War medal index cards at the National Archive, you can open up a whole new avenue of exploration.
The 'Weekly War' is almost unique in that it contains a vast amount of detail and pictures about men who served, when they enlisted, wounds and gallantry awards.
It is fair to say that tracking down a man who died is much easier than finding out about a man who served. Hopefully, the 'Weekly War' will make that task a great deal easier.
The website of John Hoy and Des Blackadder
Please note: The casualty lists and the old press reports are not error free. Mistakes were made at the time of the war and we have probably made mistakes too. You can correct those mistakes, add new details, supply digital photographs, etc. We would much appreciate your help. Use the Guestbook for the purpose.
Special Thanks to all the following for their contributions:
Des Blackadder, though he is no longer directly involved with this enterprise, for the vision he had in creating this site. It has been since its inception helping Ballymena's people around the world to learn their story of their kith and kin.
John Hoy for painstaking work on the Virtual Memorial research pages, his listings of Australian, New Zealand and Canadian soldiers, and his on-going interest in this project.
Ralph J. Whitehead for vital insights into the 'other side of No-man's Land' and loads of other stuff!
Paul Reed for answering Somme queries with enthusiasm and promptness despite his busy schedule.
Andy Pay for some truly generous help with research on the 12th Royal Irish Rifles.
All the troops on the Great War Forum for their enthusiasm and interest. Special mentions to the 'Irish Brigade' (north and south)!
Cheers to you all.