The year of mud and blood
By 1917, much of the bravado and jingoism which had dominated the earlier years of the war had been swept away. It was to be a year of mixed fortunes on the Western Front. At Messines in June, the British army used mines to blast away the German strongpoints and secured a relatively easy victory. It was also the first battle in which the 36th (Ulster) Division and the 16th (Irish) Division fought side by side.
Yet, just two months later, the same two formations were badly mauled at the Battle of 3rd Ypres, in part of the Passchendaele action commonly known as the Battle of Langemarck. It began on the 16th August 1917 and was another day of heavy casualties for the Ballymena area.
In November, Ballymena men were amongst the Ulster Division troops who fought at Cambrai. Early success there was short-lived as the German army's counter-attacking skills enabled them to regain most of the lost ground.
On the home front, people raised money for soldiers' comforts or the Red Cross Funds. There were shortages but nothing on the scale of the Second World War.
And every week, the Ballymena Observer continued to publish the lists of dead and wounded. It was growing longer all the time.
McALLISTER, John, 6343, Private, 6th Connaught Rangers, was killed in action on the 11th January 1917. Aged 26, he enlisted in Ballymena and lived at Duke Street. He was the son of John and Charlotte McAllister of 11 Emily Street, Belfast. He is buried in Pond Farm Cemetery, Belgium.
Ballymena Observer, March 2, 1917 - Mr. John McAllister, Duke Street, Ballymena, has been officially notified by the authorities that one of his three soldier sons, Private John McAllister, Connaught Rangers, has been killed in action. Private McAllister joined the forces in January 1916 and had been at the front for five months. He was formerly in the employment of Mr. T. N. Millar, Broughshane Street, Ballymena.
His two soldiers brothers are Gunner David McAllister, Royal Garrison Artillery and Private Thomas McAllister, Royal Engineers. (Royal Engineers is a mistake. As stated in the photograph caption, Thomas was in the Connaught Rangers. The other brothers mentioned are 6343 John McAllister, 6th Connaught Rangers, killed in action 11th January 1917 and probably 5630 Gunner David J(oseph) McAllister, Royal Garrison Artillery. He was gassed near Ypres in 1917 but survived the war.)
GREGG, Charles, 476832, Gunner, Canadian Field Artillery, 2nd Divisional Ammunition Column, aged 32 years, died on the 1st January 1917. He was the son of John and Rose Gregg, of Ballymena, Ireland. He is buried Barlin Military Cemetery, France.
STEWART, Samuel, 12440, Rifleman, 15th Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 10 January 1917. Aged 34, he was the son of Matthew and Catherine Stewart of Ballymena and husband of Annie Stewart, Lower Urney Street, Belfast. He is buried in Quentin Military Cemetery.
Second Lieutenant W. Perry, Royal Field Artillery, who has been slightly wounded in action - but was able to continue with his duties - is a son of Mr. Samuel Perry, Ahoghill, Ballymena. He received his commission in June 1915 and has been at the front for fifteen months. He was previously gassed.
Rifleman Robert Quigg, VC of Carnkirk, Bushmills, of the 12th Royal Irish Rifles (Central Antrim Volunteers) was the recipient of congratulations from the inhabitants of Ballymena on his return home for a well merited month's additional holiday.
As the 4.20 pm train steamed into Ballymena Station, carrying the gallant hero home after receiving his award at Buckingham Palace, it was met by a large contingent.
As the VC, accompanied by Capt. Thompson, stepped out of the carriage he was cheered enthusiastically and congratulated on his magnificent and conspicuous bravery.
Mr. Huston Lancashire JP, on behalf of the inhabitants of the township said: 'I am very proud to have the pleasure of meeting such a brave man. I heartily congratulate you on the honour you have done County Antrim and the Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles to which you belong - our own 12th Battalion in the Ulster Division (cheers).
We in Ballymena are justly proud of this battalion as hundreds upon hundreds of our townsmen are connected with it both as officers, non-coms and privates. When we heard of your great bravery we felt still greater pride.
Rifleman Quigg briefly thanked them all for their kindness adding that he had only done a man's part and was prepared to do the same tomorrow (cheers). He said that men in the army were not good at speech making and what he had passed through within the past few days was to him more difficult than what he had gained his distinction over.
He declared: I am glad to be back in the land I love so well and I know and hope that many more of my countrymen will come forward and join the colours for their assistance is much required.
As the train steamed out, fog signals and station detonators were discharged.
Ballymena Observer, January 12, 1917
The following recruits joined the colours from the town and district in the past three weeks (January 1 - 19, 1917)
18th Royal Irish Rifles - Thomas Taggart, Alfred Street; Andrew Carson, Craigs.
19th Royal Irish Rifles - S. H. Perry, Lisnafillan, Galgorm; Archibald Craig, Bridge End, Galgorm; Kennedy Bamber, Moneydollogh, Ahoghill.
20th Royal Irish Rifles - William Whiteside, Glenleslie, Clough; William David Rainey, Waring Street.
Army Service Corps - William James Lynas, Linenhall Street.
Lance Corporal John Wylie, formerly managing clerk in Mr. Robert Boal's Office, High Street, is at present home on leave and we understand he has been transferred to a Cadet Corps for officers. He was six months at the front with the Liverpool Scottish and was wounded slightly in the head.
Ballymena Observer, January 19, 1917
PORTER, Archibald, 28611, Private, 1st Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in action on the 27th January 1917. He was born in Ballymena, enlisted in Kilsyth and lived in Glasgow. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
GRAY, David, Private, 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in action on the 28th January 1917. Aged 21, he was the youngest son of Robert Gray of William Street, Ballymena. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial and in Wellington Street Presbyterian Church.
Ballymena Observer, February 16, 1917 - Mr. Robert Gray, William Street, Ballymena, received notification from the War Office Authorities last week that his youngest son, Private David Gray, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, has been killed in action.
2nd Lieutenant James S. Boal, LL.B.
BOAL, James Spence, 2 Lieutenant, 109th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA), died of wounds on January 29, 1917. He is buried at Dernaucourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme. Aged 26, he was the son of John and Margaret Boal, Tullygarley. He is commemorated in Wellington Street Presbyterian Church.
Ballymena Observer, February 2, 1917 - The sad intelligence of the death of 2nd Lieutenant James S. Boal of the Royal Garrison Artillery came as a great shock to the inhabitants of Ballymena on Wednesday last.
The information was conveyed by an official wire to his relatives from the War Office, informing them that he had died of wounds on January 29th. He was the only son of Mr. John Boal of Tullygarley and nephew of Mr. Robert Boal, High Street. He was educated at the Ballymena Academy where, gaining distinctions as a student, he displayed marked ability. After leaving the Academy, he took up the law as his future profession and served his apprenticeship with his uncle. In nearly all his legal examinations, he took first place gaining the gold medal in the preliminary.
At his final he took first place in all Ireland. Shortly after entering practice with his uncle, with whom he was connected for over a year, he took his LLB degree with honours at London University. He went to the front almost a year ago but was at home on leave for a few days at Christmas. He was a member of Wellington Street Presbyterian Church and a familiar figure in the Mid-Antrim Hunt Club.
DUNLOP, David Lynn, First Engineer, SS Essonite. His ship was torpedoed and he drowned on the 1st February 1917. He was the eldest son of James and Mary Dunlop, Carnlough. He was born at Carncairn, Broughshane.
Ballymena Observer, March 16, 1917 - News has been received in Carnlough that Mr. David Linn Dunlop, who was chief engineer of a steamer which was torpedoed without warning by an enemy submarine last week, went down with the ship. Deceased was the eldest son of Mr. James Dunlop, Carnlough.
Private W. A. Fulton
FULTON, W A, 418938, Private, 42nd Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment), died of wounds in accidental rifle discharge on the 4th February 1917. His mother lives at Casement Street, Ballymena. He is buried in Ecoivres Military Cemetery, France and commemorated in Harryville Presbyterian Church.
Ballymena Observer, March 2, 1917 - News has been received by Mrs. Fulton, Casement Street, Harryville, Ballymena, that her son Private W. A. Fulton, Canadian Infantry, has died of wounds accidentally received. It appears that a comrade of the deceased was handling a loaded rifle when it went off with the fatal result stated. Prior to enlistment, deceased was employed in a lumber camp in Canada and before emigrating was for a number of years in the employment of Mr. George Graham, Bridge Street, Ballymena.
DUNN, Thomas, 2323, Private, 44th Australian Infantry, died of pneumonia on the 7th February 1917. Aged 44, he was the son of Charles and Margaret Dunn, Ballymena. He is buried in Durrington Cemetery, Wiltshire.
McCONNELL, Daniel White, 48905, Airman 2nd Class, Royal Flying Corps, 37th Reserve Squadron, died of pneumonia 9th February 1917. He was the son of William McConnell of Colleen, Broughshane. He is buried Ballymena Old Churchyard, Church Street and commemorated in 1st Ballymena Presbyterian Church.
Ballymena Observer, February 16, 1917 - We regret to announce this week the death of Mr. Daniel White McConnell, Royal Flying Corps, which took place in the Lily Lane Military Hospital, Manchester.
The deceased, who was a son of Mr. William McConnell of Colleen, Ballymena, was educated at the Ballymena Academy and was studying engineering prior to his enlistment about three months ago. He was stationed in a military training centre in England and was engaged for some time in the works of the Crosley Car Company. Contracting an illness about three weeks ago, pneumonia set in and proved fatal. His brother, Mr. George McConnell is in the Motor Transport Service.
Deceased was buried in the Old Churchyard, Ballymena.
STEWART, James Andrew, 19861, Rifleman, 14th Royal Irish Rifles, died of wounds on the 15th February 1917. Aged 24, he was born in Ballymena and was the son of James and Jane of Virginia Street, Belfast. He is buried in Bailleul Military Cemetery Extension, France.
Joined since the outbreak of war
Royal Scots - Thomas Foster, Patrick Place; William Lynn, Castle Street.
The following two recruits joined recently but were not included on our lists:
19th Royal Irish Rifles - Matthew Smith, Knockahollet;
20th Royal Irish Rifles - James Swann, Carmegrin.
Lieutenant John C. McDowell of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, who was awarded a Military Medal for bravery when he was a sergeant, visited his relatives in Kinhilt Street.
Ballymena Observer, February 9, 1917
Private Sandy (Alexander) Bartholomew, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who has been made a recipient of the (Russian) medal of St. George 3rd class, is the youngest son of Mr. George Bartholomew, Antrim Road, Ballymena.
Private Bartholomew, who was awarded the Military Medal in December last for conspicuous bravery in the field, enlisted shortly after the outbreak of war and took part with his regiment in the landing at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli. He has two brothers with the colours, Private Wm. Bartholomew, Army Service Corps and Private Jack Bartholomew, serving with the Canadian Forces.
Ballymena Observer, February 23, 1917
McMICHAEL, J, 11689, Private, 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died on the 26th February 1917. He lived at Linenhall Street, Ballymena and is buried in Fouquescourt British Cemetery.
Mrs. Knox of 19, Greenvale Street, Ballymena, has been officially informed that her son, Lance Sergeant James Knox, Royal Irish Rifles, has been seriously wounded. Lance Sergeant Knox enlisted in September 1914 and proceeded to the front with the Ulster Division in the autumn of 1915. Prior to joining the army he was in the employment of Mr. John McNiece, Mill Street. He was a member of the Ulster Division recruiting party which visited Ballymena last year. His brother, Private John Knox was killed in action on 8th April 1916.
Official intimation has been received by Mr. James Laverty of Alexander Street, Ballymena, that his son, Private D. Laverty has been wounded in action and is now in hospital. Another son, Private James Laverty has been at the front since the outbreak of war and his eldest son, Private John Laverty was killed in action at Gallipoli.
Ballymena Observer, March 2, 1917
Private James Gordon
GORDON, James, 799154, Private, 15th Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment), died on the 2nd March 1917. Aged 23, he was the son of William and Martha Gordon, Ballymarlow, Ballymena. He is buried in Fosse No. 10 Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais and commemorated in 1st Ballymena Presbyterian Church.
Ballymena Observer, March 23, 1917 - Mr. William Gordon, Ballymarlow, Ballymena, has been officially notified that his son, Private James Gordon, Canadian Highlanders, has been killed in action. Private Gordon, who enlisted in Toronto about two years ago had a brother, Private Charles Gordon, Canadian Contingent, killed at the front some time ago and another brother, Rifleman William Gordon is on active service with the Royal Irish Rifles.
SMYTH, Alfred John, 49714, Private, 14th Durham Light Infantry, was killed in action on the 6th March 1917. He was the son of Thomas and Margretta Smyth, Ballymena. His wife Edith C. Negus (formerly Smyth) lived at Sea Bank South, Bognor, Sussex. He is buried in Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe, France.
Lance-Corporal William Blair
BLAIR, William, 10938, Lance Corporal, 1st Royal Irish Rifles, died of wounds March 8, 1917. He is buried Boulougne Eastern Cemetery, France. He was born and enlisted Ballymena. Aged 21, grandson of Mary Blair, 7 Galgorm Street, Ballymena. He is commemorated in 2nd Ballymena Presbyterian Church.
Ballymena Observer, March 16, 1917 - Mrs. Blair, Galgorm Street, Ballymena, was officially notified on Friday last that her grandson, Lance Corporal William Blair, Royal Irish Rifles, was wounded in action and was in No.3 Canadian General Hospital, Boulogne. Further intimation on Saturday contained the fatal news that he had succumbed to his wounds, peritonitis having set in. The deceased joined the forces at the outbreak of war and took part in the Dardanelles Expedition, being wounded at Suvla Bay. On recovering, he was transferred to another theatre of war where he had been on active service up to the time of receiving his wounds on 8th inst. He was formerly employed by Messrs. Carson and Giffin, confectionery manufacturers, Ballymena.
McMULLAN, George, 12/19119, Lance Corporal, 12th Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action, on the 8th March 1917. Aged 21, he was the son of Hugh McMullan of Carniny. He is buried in St. Quentin Military Cemetery.
Ballymena Observer, March 23, 1917 - Mr. Hugh McMullan, Carniny, Ballymena, has received notification that his youngest son, Lance Corporal George McMullan, Royal Irish Rifles, has been killed in action. Deceased formerly served in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, and, in September 1914 he enlisted with the first batch of recruits from this district. He was 21 years of age and prior to joining the colours was in the employment of Mr. A. Thompson, Coachbuilder, Ballymena. His brother Hugh is serving at the front in the Royal Irish Rifles and both were members of the UVF.
The following recruits from the Ballymena District joined the colours during the past month:
North Irish Horse - Hugh McCahon, Moneyleck; George Killough, Rasharkin; John Johnston, Rasharkin; John Scott, Parkmore.
17th Lancers - Robert Robinson, Ballinacaird, Broughshane.
Ballymena Observer, March 16, 1917
Rifleman George E. Fullerton
FULLERTON, George Edmond, 58, Rifleman,13th Royal Irish Rifles, died at home on the 19th March 1917 from illness incurred at the front. Aged 21, son of Ellen, 9 Clonavon Road, Ballymena. He is buried in 1st Ahoghill Presbyterian Church.
Ballymena Observer, March 23, 1917 - Rifleman George Edmund Fullerton, Royal Irish Rifles, who succumbed to an illness contracted at the front, has died in the Foster Green Hospital, Belfast. He was a son of Mrs. Fullerton, Clonavon, Ballymena. Deceased enlisted in December 1915 and went to the front in August last where he remained for three months being subsequently invalided home. He was the fourth son of the late John Fullerton and was formerly engaged in the Bridge Street Bakery, Ballymena. His brother, Private Herbert A. Fullerton is serving at the front with the Royal Army Medical Corps.
DARRAGH, Matthew Sloan, 2nd Lieutenant, 6th Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment, was killed in action leading patrol on 20th March 1917. He was the son of late Sam and Jane Darragh, Ballycraigy, Ballymena. He is named on Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France. He is commemorated in 1st Ballymena Presbyterian Church.
Rifleman Robert Magee
MAGEE, Robert, 19219, Rifleman, 12th Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 22nd March 1917. He was born in Belfast and enlisted in Ballymena. Aged 24, he was the son of David Magee, 60 Queen Street, Ballymena. He is buried Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension and commemorated in 2nd Ballymena Presbyterian Church.
Ballymena Observer March 31, 1917 - Mr. David Magee of 60 Queen Street, Harryville, Ballymena received a telegram on Friday last stating that this son Rifleman Robert Magee, Royal Irish Rifles, was seriously wounded in both legs. He has now received an announcement of his son's death due to these wounds.
Mrs. John Wylie, Mount Street, Ballymena, has been informed that her husband Corporal John Wylie, Royal Irish Rifles, has been wounded in the shoulder, right thigh and right foot. Corporal Wylie enlisted in September 1914 and went to the front with the Ulster Division prior to which he carried on a remunerative business as a house painter in Ballymena.
Mrs. Smith, Warden Street, Ballymena, has received news to the effect that her husband, Rifleman David Smith, Royal Irish Rifles, is at Dulmen, Germany, as a prisoner of war. Rifleman Smith has been in the army about two years and was employed prior to enlistment in the Braidwater Spinning Mill.
Mrs. Henry, Leighinmohr, Ballymena, has been notified that her son, Seaman James Henry, who was on a mine-sweeper which was recently sunk, was saved. He joined the navy in November 1915 prior to which he was an employee at Messrs. Kane Bros. Foundry. Seaman Henry is at present home on leave.
Ballymena Observer, March 23, 1917
HOUSTON, David, 28883, Private, 2nd Canterbury Regiment, NZEF was killed in action on the 29th March 1917. He was the son of Thomas and Sarah Houston of Carmacmoin, Ahoghill. He is buried Berkshire Cemetery Extension, Ploegsteert, Belgium and commemorated in 2nd Ahoghill Presbyterian Church.
Military Medal for Ballymena soldier
The Military Medal has been awarded to Corporal J. Cameron, Canadian Infantry, for gallantry during a recent raid on the enemy's trenches.
The Brigadier General of the Canadian Brigade has written on behalf of the brigade to Corporal Cameron, congratulating him most heartily on the honour which has received in recognition of his courage and gallant conduct.
Corporal Cameron was born in Ballymena and is a son of Mr. James Cameron who was for a long number of years in the employment of the Braidwater Weaving Company. He is 26 years of age and prior to emigrating to Canada about six years ago, was on the staff of the Clyde Shipping Company, Belfast. He joined the army in Canada where he was working on the Canadian Pacific Railway and has been on active service since August last.
Information has been received by Mrs. Agnes McMaster, Ahoghill, to the effect that her son Private John McMaster, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers has been admitted to hospital suffering from shell shock and that he is on the road to recovery.
Ballymena Observer, March 30, 1917.
Honour for Ballymena man
The following order has been issued by the Commander of the 16th (Irish) Division:
Corporal J. McCartney, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers -
I have read with much pleasure the report of your regimental commander regarding your gallant conduct and constant devotion to duty in the field in 1916 and have ordered your name and deeds to be entered in the records of your division.
W.B. Hickie, Major General, 16th (Irish) Division.
Corporal McCartney is the third son of Mr. James McCartney, a machine man in the 'Observer' office and Corporal McCartney served his time also as a machine man in this office. He enlisted at the outbreak of war and took part in the landing at the Dardanelles where he remained for nine months.
Some time afterwards he was transferred to another theatre of war where he has seen active service for the past year. He was a prominent footballer in Ballymena and played for South End Rangers. He has two brothers with the colours, Private John McCartney, Seaforth Highlanders and Private Robert McCartney, Sherwood Foresters, both of whom are on active service.
His father, who resides at Bridge Street, has received the white parchment with the General's order printed on it.
Ballymena Observer, March 30, 1917
Private Samuel McFadden
McFADDEN, Samuel, 772240, Private, 1st Canadian Infantry (Western Ontario Regiment) died of wounds on the 4th April 1917. Aged 25, he was the son of William and Nancy McFadden, 27 Herbert Street Larne. He lived at James Street, Ballymena before emigration. He is buried in Ecoivres Military Cemetery, France
LOGAN, Joseph, 17/786, Rifleman, 8th Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 5th April 1917. Aged 20, born in Cullybackey and enlisted in Ballymena. He was the son of James and Mary Logan of Station Road, Cullybackey. He is buried Pond Farm Cemetery, Belgium and commemorated in the Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church, Cullybackey.
CAIRNS, John, 302942, Private. 1/8th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, was killed in action on April 9, 1917. He is buried Highland Cemetery, Roclincourt, France. He was born in Ballycastle, Co. Mayo. Aged 18. His parents lived at Alexander Street, Ballymena and his home address/wife was at 8 James Street, Ballymena.
Ballymena Observer, May 11, 1917 - Mrs. Cairns, who resides at Alexander Street, Ballymena, has been informed that her husband, Private John Cairns, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, was killed in action on April 9th 1917. Prior to his enlisting, deceased was employed in the Braidwater Mill, Ballymena. He was married last Autumn. Much sympathy is felt for his young widow in her sad bereavement.
Lieutenant A. W. Duncan
DUNCAN, Andrew Warwick, MC, Lieutenant, 38th Canadian Infantry (East Ontario Regiment), was killed in action on the 9th April 1917. Aged 25, he was the son of Archibald and Margaret Duncan, Carnearney, Kells. He is buried Villers Station Cemetery, Viller Au Bois, Pas de Calais. commemorated in Connor Presbyterian Church.
Ballymena Observer, April 27, 1917 - Lieutenant Andrew Warwick Duncan, Military Cross, Canadian Infantry, who has been officially reported killed in action, was the seventh son of Mr. Archibald Duncan of Carnearney, Kells, Co. Antrim. Lieutenant Duncan was officially reported missing, believed killed and later information from the War Office Authorities intimates that he had been killed in action on 9th April, 1917.
The deceased had been awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of a raiding party. He gallantly led his men into the enemy trench in spite of heavy fire and carried out the task allotted to him with success.
He was on a visit home on the outbreak of war and enlisted in the ranks on his return to Canada. He was later given a commission and came to England in November 1916 going to the front early in December. His two brothers, James and Hugh are at the front with the Canadians.
DAWSON, Eveline Maud, Matron, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Nursing Service, drowned in sinking of hospital ship 'Salta' on the 10th April 1917. She is buried Etaples Military Cemetery, France. Aged 49, she was the 3rd daughter of Albert Dawson, Ballymena. Her sister lived at 27 Queen's Road, Bromley, Kent.
McCLINTOCK, Robert, 3622, Private, 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers (Formerly 5766 RGA), was killed in action on the 11th April 1917. Aged 19, he was born in, enlisted at, and lived in Ballymena. He was the son of late Patrick and Sarah. He was the brother of David, also killed. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
Private David Robinson
ROBINSON, David, 40140, Private, 1 Royal Irish Fusiliers (formerly 24784 Hussars), was killed in action on 11th April 1917. He was born and lived at Ballynacaird, Broughshane and he enlisted in Ballymena. He is buried Brown's Copse Cemetery, Roeux, Pas de Calais. He is commemorated in Buckna Presbyterian Church.
Rifleman Hugh Nicholl
NICHOLL, Hugh, 40941, Rifleman, 2nd Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on 18th April 1917. Aged 25, he was the husband of Ellen Nicholl, 16 Bridge Street Place, Ballymena and he had three children. He was the son of John Nicholl, 18 Jubilee Street, Larne He is buried in St. Quentin Military Cemetery and commemorated in 2nd Ballymena Presbyterian Church.
Ballymena Observer, May 11, 1917 - Keen regret has been occasioned in Ballymena by the official announcement of the death in action of Rifleman Hugh Nicholl, Royal Irish Rifles. Rifleman Nicholl, who belonged to Prospect Place, enlisted in July 1916 and was formerly employed in the firm of Messrs. Wm. McClelland & He was the son, Church Street, Ballymena. He was a staunch member of the Ancient Order of Free Gardeners and was also a well known Association Football player. On numerous occasions he played for Galgorm and Foundry Thistle and Ballymena Junior Combination.
He leaves a wife and three children to mourn his loss and with these three children to mourn and these the utmost sympathy is extended in their sad bereavement.
Kerr Gravestone in Newtowncrommelin Presbyterian Churchyard
KERR, Isaac, 276045, Private, 7th Royal Scots, was killed in action on the 19th April 1917. Aged 27, he was born in Glenravel and enlisted Edinburgh. His parents were Alex and Sarah Kerr, Skerry East, Newtowncrommelin. He is buried at Gaza War Cemetery, Israel and commemorated in Newtowncrommelin Presbyterian Church.
KERR, William, 352450, Private, 9th Royal Scots, was killed in action on the 21st April 1917. Aged 30, he was born at Ballyweaney and enlisted in Edinburgh. His parents were Alex and Sarah at Skerry East (see above). He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France and in Newtowncrommelin Presbyterian Church.
Ballymena Observer, May 25, 1917 - Mr. Alexander Kerr, Newtowncrommelin, Ballymena, has received official notification that his two sons, Privates Isaac and William, both of the Royal Scots, have been killed in action, Isaac on 19th April in France and William on 21st April while serving with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. Our sympathy goes out to Mr. Kerr in his double sorrow.
McLAUGHLIN, Peter, 192631, Gunner, Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery, was killed in action on the 23rd April 1917. His grandfather was Francis McKeever at Kilcurry, Ahoghill and his parents lived at Dumbarton. He is buried at Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery.
Private Joseph Nelson
NELSON, Joseph Henry, 201868, Private, 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles (Central Ontario Regiment), died on the 23rd April 1917. Aged 30, he had emigrated in 1913 and lived in Toronto. He was the son of Joseph and Sarah Nelson of Kildrum. Shankbridge, Ballymena. He is commemorated on the Vimy memorial.
AGNEW, John, 42593, Private, 12 Highland Light Infantry (formerly 28614 Royal Scots Fusiliers), was killed in action on the 11 April, 1917, He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France. He was born Crumkill/Tannaghmore and he enlisted and lived in Glasgow.
DCM for Ballymena soldier
Private James Campbell, Garrison Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for bravery in the field. Private Campbell, who was wounded in France, was serving with the 12th Royal Irish Rifles when he won his distinction and is now serving in another war theatre with the Royal Irish Fusiliers. He had a brother who served in the South African War and his brother, Private Joseph Campbell, Royal Scots, was wounded twice in the present war.
Corporal William Leetch, 18th Royal Irish Rifles, son of Mr. James Leetch, 80 Queen Street, Ballymena, has been promoted to the rank and pay of sergeant.
Ballymena Observer, April 13, 1917
The following recruits from the town and district have enlisted during the past three weeks:
4th Royal Irish Rifles - Samuel Lorimer, Broughshane Street;
16th Royal Irish Rifles (Pioneers) - Samuel Graham, Galgorm Street;
20th Royal Irish Rifles - David Thompson, Clarence Street, Thomas Wasson, Ballycraigy;
Army Service Corps, Mechanical Transport - Frank McAteer, Greenvale Street, Robert McCrea, Ballycraigy;
Royal Engineers, Quarry Company - William Marcus, Carncoagh.
Presentation to Private James McGall, DCM
A pleasant little ceremony took place at Portglenone when Private James McGall, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Durham Light Infantry, was presented with a handsome clock and ornaments by some friends in his native village to mark their appreciation of the gallant action which won him the medal for distinguished conduct.
The following official account of his brave deed will be read with interest:
Private McGall was one of a party which, when going to occupy a listening post, met with heavy rifle and grenade fire at close range. The suddenness of the attack caused confusion but he at once crawled forward with his grenades and threw them into the listening post, whence the fire proceeded, causing the enemy to retire.
We may add that Private McGall is one of three brothers who have all been wounded - one of them severely - in the great cause.
Commission for Trooper Healey
Trooper A Healey, D.L.O.Y. (Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry), has received a commission as 2nd Lieutenant. He joined the army soon after the war broke out and has been on active service with the BEF since early May 1915. He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. P. Healey, Martinstown, Ballymena, where he is now spending his holidays.
Ballymena Observer, April 6, 1917
SERGEANT Major J. H. Carson, Rifle Brigade, who has sustained dangerous gunshot wounds on the upper jaw, is the fourth son of the late Mr. Henry Carson, Crumkill, Ballymena,. Sergeant Major Carson was serving with the Inniskilling Dragoons in India at the outbreak of war after which he was posted to the Western Front. He is a brother of Mr. George Carson, Carnaughts and Mr. Henry Carson, draper, late of Church Street, Ballymena.
SECOND Lieutenant Eric Jean Bradshaw, King's Own Lancaster Regiment, officially reported wounded and admitted to hospital with gunshot wounds to the knee, is the eldest son of Mr. James Bradshaw, district inspector of national schools, who resides at Glendaragh, Ballymena.
Educated in Brussels, he afterwards went to the Royal School, Dungannon from which he joined the army. He enlisted in the ranks of the Chemist Corps of the Royal Engineers early in the war and was wounded and gassed at Loos, Later he was given a commission in the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.
Mrs. J. Ferguson, Clonavon Road, Ballymena, has been officially informed that her brother, Corporal W. Spence of the Highland Light Infantry has been wounded in the side. Corporal Spence was employed in Glasgow prior to the outbreak of war and joined the forces shortly after hostilities began.
Rifleman John Millar, Royal Irish Rifles, is at present home on leave after recovering from a wound in the right arm received at the front on 30th September 1916. He is a member of Tullygarley LOL and of North End Unionist Club and was for many years President of Ballymena and Harryville Flute Band. His wife and family reside at Moorfields, Ballymena.
Ballymena Observer, April 20, 1917.
MANN, Robert, 27233, Private, 11th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in action on the 27 April 1917. Aged 35, he was born in Ballymena and enlisted in Belfast. He was the son of Samuel Mann, 58 Esmond Street, Belfast. He is buried Pond Farm Cemetery, Belgium.
BLEAKLEY, James Alexander, 624781, Private, 10th Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment), was killed in action on April 28, 1917. He is named on Vimy Memorial. He was the former Principal of Tardree and Cushybracken National Schools.
Ballymena Observer, May 18, 1917 - Private James A. Bleakly, Canadian Contingent, was killed in action on 28th April. Before enlisting he was Principal of Tardree National School and later the Cushbracken National School near Ballymena.