Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Carrickfergus Roll of Honour for May 1914 - 1918

My apologies for not getting more onto the blog for the last couple of months, I have been flat out and have working tirelessly on the book.  I want to thank the scores of people who have sent me information or made comments on recent posts, this all helps.

12 men from Carrickfergus perished in May during the Great War on land and at sea:

Thomas Spence
James Kyles
Robert Gorman

Jerome Walker
Bernard Chambers
Richard McMaw

Jack Weatherup
George Powter

Andrew Adamson
Robert Blair
Robert Harris
H McCullough


NAME; Spence, Thomas
RANK; Rifleman
SERV. NO; 9385
UNIT/SERVICE; 2nd Battalion
REGIMENT; Royal Irish Rifles
BORN; Carrickfergus
LIVED; Lancastarian Street, Carrickfergus
ENLISTED; Carrickfergus, 1915
FATE; Killed in Action 7th May 1915 aged 23
CEMETERY; Body never Recovered
MEMORIAL; Ypres – Menin Gate – Panel 40
REMARKS; Thomas was the youngest son of Sarah Spence and a brother to Charles Spence, the family lived in Lancastarian Street, Carrickfergus.   Thomas was killed in action during the 2nd Battle of Ypres near the infamous Hill 60.  Hill 60 is the wartime name for the high ground close to the village of Zillebeke created when a railway cutting was made here in the nineteenth century. By the conclusion of the First Battle of Ypres in 1914 it was on the front line, with positions held on the slopes by French troops and the high ground largely in the hands of the Germans. During the Second Battle of Ypres in April and May 1915 the Hill saw heavy fighting, with four Victoria Crosses being awarded for one day alone.  On May 5th 1915  the Germans retook Hill 60, using gas again.  Most of the trenches on either side of the hill were immediately regained by counter-attack, but not the high ground itself.  The casualties of the British had been very heavy, and two battalions of the 7th Brigade - the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles, and 2nd South Lancashire - were put at the disposal of the 5th Division.

On the 6th the 2nd Battalion R.I.R was ordered to march to a point north of Hill 60 and relieve the Bedfords of the 13th Brigade.  The relief was carried out amidst considerable confusion.  The guides led the Battalion from the ill-famed Shrapnel Corner, on the Ypres - Wytschaete road, along the side of the Zillebeke Lake, in single file, amid falling shells, by a path littered with the wounded and gassed, whose stretcher-bearers had been forced to set them down for a few moments' rest to their aching arms. Having lost their way more than once, they reached Dormy House, the Battalion headquarters, at 1.30 a.m. on the 7th.   And for 2.30 a.m. a bombing attack to clear a communication trench held by the enemy had been planned. Father Gill, the Battalion's chaplain, who describes the relief, states that he saw the scheme on the back of an envelope.  The men were not in position till ten minutes before that hour, utterly wearied already.  Moreover, the barricade, which was supposed to have been mined, did not "go up," and the bombers were met by heavy fire from it.  The attack failed with heavy loss, Captain Burgoyne and Lieutenant Leask being wounded, and of other ranks 9 killed and 16 wounded. It is understood Rifleman Thomas was one on those 9 killed on the 7th May 1915.


NAME; Kyles, James
RANK;Private / Fusilier
SERV. NO; 11096
UNIT/SERVICE; Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
REGIMENT; 2nd Battalion
BORN; Shankill, Belfast 1987
LIVED; 74 Irish Quarter South, Carrickfergus
ENLISTED; Carrickfergus
FATE; Killed in Action, France and Flanders – 16th May 1915 aged 18
CEMETERY; Body never recovered
CHURCH; Roman Catholic
MEMORIAL; Le Touret Memorial – Panel 16 and 17
REMARKS; Son of James and Agnes Kyles and brother to Mary and Cornilius. James was an employee at Barn Mills before enlisting, he is remembered on the Barn Mills Memorial plaque in Carrickfergus Town Hall.  


NAME; Gorman, Robert
RANK; Private
SERV. NO; 3443
REGIMENT; Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
BORN; Carrickfergus -  c.1895
LIVED; Upper Woodburn, Carrickfergus
FATE; Killed in Action, Gallipoli, May 22nd 1915 – Aged 20
CEMETERY; Body never recovered
MEMORIAL; Helles Memorial (Turkey) – Panel 97 - 101
REMARKS; Son of Mrs. Mary Gorman, of Upper Woodburn, Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim

Helles Memorial Turkey


NAME; Walker, Jerome Lennie
RANK; Lieutenant
UNIT/SERVICE; Royal Irish Rifles
REGIMENT; 14th Battalion
LIVED; Carrickfergus/ Whithead / Belgium
FATE; Killed in action 6th May 1916  aged 27
REMARKS; Jerome Lennie Walker Son of F. Manderson Walker and Helen Lennie Walker of Mount Royal, Whitehead, Co. Antrim.  He attended Campbell College in Belfast between Sept 1903 and July 1905. His address whilst at the school was given as 31 Boulevard Vandenpeereboom, Courtrai (Belgium), where he was based when the War broke out. The school magazine, (The Campbellian Vol.III, p.256) adds "The family escaped during the first week, but [Jerome] remained behind and joined the Red Cross Society with his motor, and drove it until the Germans took possession of the town. He went to see the British troops enter Roulers [now Roeselare] and was unable to return to Courtrai, the Germans having blown up the railway. He managed to reach Ypres and stayed there during the three months of the bombardment, at one time living in a cellar for a fortnight". He then travelled to Belfast via London and obtained a Commission in 14th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles on 31 December 1914.  His father was a wealthy and successful flax merchant originally from Holland, I can only assume he must have done some work with Barn Mills Flax Mill during his time in the area given that his name appears on the Barn Mills Memorial Plaque.


NAME; Chambers, Bernard
Portsmouth Naval Memorial
RANK; Stoker
SERV. NO; 3353 S
UNIT/SERVICE; Royal Naval Reserve
REGIMENT;  HMS “Invincible”
BORN; Carrickfergus – 28th March 1892
LIVED; 86 Irish Quarter South, Carrickfergus
FATE; Killed as result of enemy action 31st May 1916 aged 24 (Battle of Jutland)
CEMETERY; Body not recovered for burial
CHURCH; Roman Catholic
REMARKS; Son of William and Catherine Chambers, brother to William, Thomas, Robert, John, Elizabeth, Mary Anne and Bridford. Bernard was an employee at Barn Mills flax mill in the town.  Bernard was one of 1026 crew killed on board HMS Invincible when it was sunk during the Battle of Jutland, only 6 crew survived.
The following Obituary from one of his sisters appeared in Carrick Ad. June 16th 1916:
“Although he now at anchor lies

With many of the fleet

He will another day set sail

                                                                His plot, Christ to meet” 


NAME; McMaw, Richard
RANK; Stoker
SERV. NO; 25695 or 35695
UNIT/SERVICE; Royal Naval Reserve
REGIMENT; H.M.S. “Queen Mary”
BORN; Carrickfergus circa 1889

LIVED; Eden Village, Carrickfergus

FATE; Died at Sea 31st May 1916
CEMETERY; Body Never Recovered
CHURCH; Church of Ireland

MEMORIAL; Portsmouth Naval Memorial Panel 23
REMARKS; Son of Walter and Annie McMaw, brother to Lizzie, William, Walter, Robert and Samuel.  Husband to Elizabeth McMaw.  According to the 1911 census Richard was a labourer before enlisting with the Royal Naval Reserve. 
Richard was one of 1266 Crewman who were lost on board H.M.S Queen Mary when it was sunk during the Battle of Jutland 31st May 1916, only 18 of the crew survived.  

H.M.S Queen Mary with torpedo nets folded against her side


NAME; Weatherup, Jack

RANK;  Private

SERV. NO;  907326
UNIT/SERVICE;  “A Coy”, 56th Battallion
REGIMENT; Canadian Infantry
BORN; Carrickfergus circa 1894
LIVED;  Unknown
FATE; Died 24th May 1917 in France
CEMETERY;  Petit-Vimy British Cemetery, Pas de Calais,  France – B7
REMARKS; Son of James and Emily A Weatherup, of 13, Trym Side, Sea Mills Park, Bristol, England.According to the Commonwealth War Graves, Jack was a native of Carrickfergus, his family had moved to England and presumably he had moved on to Canada in search of work where he enlisted with the Canadian Infantry.  I can find out no other information about his connections to Carrickfergus at this stage.

Petit - Vimy British Cemetery

NAME; Powter, George
RANK; Sergeant


REGIMENT; Nigeria Regiment, W.A.F.F.
BORN; Whitehead, Co. Antrim


FATE; Killed in Kenya 27th May 1917
CEMETERY; Body never recovered

MEMORIAL; Mombasa British Memorial
REMARKS; Son of Mr H Powter of King’s Amore, Whitehead. Of all the men I have looked into this one intrigued me as much as any other.  How did a young man from Whitehead end up fighting and dying with a Nigerian Regiment in Kenya.  As yet I have no answers but I hope someone or something with provide an insight soon. 

Mombasa British Memorial Kenya


NAME; Adamson, Andrew Elliott
RANK; Fireman

UNIT/SERVICE; Mercantile Marine
BORN; Eden, Carrickfergus
LIVED; 7 Fairymount, Carrickfergus

FATE; Lost at Sea presumed drowned  - 06th May 1918 aged 23
CEMETERY; Body never recovered
REMARKS; Son of Robert and Jane Adamson: husband of Jane McDonnell Adamson of 7 Fairymount, Carrickfergus.  Born in Eden. He died at sea on or about 6 May 1918 when his ship, the S.S Eveleenwas torpedoed by a German U-Boat, probably U-Boat 72. The ship had sailed from Ayr, Scotland the same day bound for Belfast with a cargo of coal.Two other Carrick men, Robert Blair and Robert Harris were only onboard and they too perished.  

S.S Eveleen


NAME; Blair, Robert
RANK; Fireman
UNIT/SERVICE; Mercantile Marine
REGIMENT; S.S “Eveleen” Belfast
BORN; Ballyclare - 1888
LIVED; Tate’s Avenue, Carrickfergus
FATE; Lost at sea presumed drowned  6th May 1918 aged 26
CEMETERY; Body never recovered
CHURCH; Unknown
MEMORIAL; Tower Hill Memorial - London
REMARKS; Robert's ship "S.S Eveleen" set sail from Ayr to Belfast with a cargo of coal 4th May 1918.  The ship was lost and no wreckage was ever recovered.  German U-Boat 72 was in the area and did record the sinking of a ship on the 6th May, but no claim for the Eveleen was ever made.  Robert was the son of Robert senior and Jane Blair.  


NAME; Harris, Robert
RANK; Trimmer
UNIT/SERVICE; Mercantile Marine
REGIMENT; S.S “Eveleen” (Belfast)
BORN; Ballymena
LIVED; Taylors Row, Carrickfergus
FATE; Died / Lost at Sea  6th May 1918 aged 32
CEMETERY; Body Never Recovered
CHURCH; Unknown
MEMORIAL; Tower Hill Memorial
REMARKS: Son of Robert Harris, husband of Mary Harris (nee Blair) of Taylors Row.  Robert's ship "S.S Eveleen" set sail from Ayr to Belfast with a cargo of coal 4th May 1918.  The ship was lost and no wreckage was ever recovered.  German U-Boat 72 was in the area and did record the sinking of a ship on the 6th May, but no claim for the Eveleen was ever made - All 12 men on board perished. Looking at Robert family tree is looks entirely possible that Robert Harris was the cousin of Robert Blair who was also lost on board.  

Tower Hill Memorial


NAME; McCullough, Hugh
RANK; Rifleman
SERV. NO; 1206
UNIT/SERVICE; 2nd Battalion
REGIMENT; Royal Irish Rifles

LIVED; 17 Fairymount, Carrickfergus

FATE;  Killed 10th May 1918 aged 35
CEMETERY;Duhallow A.D.S Cemetery Belgium - I.V. D. 14


REMARKS; Son of Mrs McCullough of Belfast and husband of Mary McCullough.  

Duhallow A.D.S Cemetery


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