Promoted to Glory – The Salvation Army’s Supreme Sacrifice in the Great War

Salvationist Great WarThe Salvation Army, like the YMCA and other societies, provided support functions for troops in theatres of war. The first mechanised ambulances to be used on the Western Front were provided by the Salvation Army and members served as ambulance drivers. The Salvation Army also provided rest and recreation huts where soldiers could meet and get news from home. Salvation Army bands provided concerts to entertain the troops. However, members of the Salvation Army also enlisted with the armed forces and three members were awarded the Victoria Cross. So far, I am only aware of only one war memorial tablet for a unit of the Salvation Army in Ulster – for No. 1 Corps (Ballymacarrett and Mountpottinger) whose premises were located at the corner of Mountpottinger Road and Calton Street.

Salvationist Great WarThe memorial tablet records the names twenty-four members of this corps who served with the armed forces and five of the men died on active service overseas. The memorial tablet, now located at the Belfast Temple on the Cregagh Road, was made by David Mairs of Great Victoria Street and unveiled by Captain Herbert Dixon. The latter was the fourth son of Sir Daniel Dixon and represented the Belfast Pottinger constituency (later Belfast East) at Westminster. He was made 1st Baron Glentoran in 1939 and became the Third Baronet of Ballymenock in 1950, a few months before his death. In addition to the memorial tablet, there is also a pictorial parchment memorial dedicated to the Comrades of Ballymacarrett No 1 Band. The portraits of the fatalities in this article are drawn from the parchment commemoration.

Salvationist Great WarGeorge Brankin was born on 3rd March 1888 at North Street in Newtownards to James Brankin and Agnes Anna Savage and his father died of tuberculosis at Thistle Street in Belfast on 6th July 1896 at the age of 40. In 1901, Agnes Brankin, now a draper, was living at Marymount Street in Ormeau Ward with five children ranging in age from 10 to 19 and a seven-year-old grandson. George Brankin was living at Carnan Street in Shankill Ward when he married Mary Jane Rowney on 31st March 1905 at Trinity Church of Ireland in Belfast. George and Minnie had five children between December 1906 and January 1916, with one child dying 24 days after being born. George Brankin was working at the Sirocco Works and living at Seventh Street when he enlisted with the Royal Irish Rifles and held the rank of Corporal when he was deployed to France with 14th Battalion in October 1915. George Brankin was wounded during the Battle of Albert in July 1916 and this photograph, in which he is wearing hospital blues, was taken whilst he was convalescing. He was subsequently stationed with a reserve battalion at Ballykinlar Camp before returning to his battalion on the Western Front in early May 1917. Sergeant George Brankin died of wounds at No 1 New Zealand Stationary Hospital on 8th June 1917, aged 29. He is buried in Hazebrouck Communal Cemetery in France and commemorated on the Rowney family memorial in Belfast City Cemetery. He is also commemorated on the Newtownards and District War Memorial, and on the memorial tablets for Davidson & Company and St Mark’s Church of Ireland in Newtownards. Mary Brankin, who had four children under the age of eleven, was awarded a pension of thirty-one shillings and three pence from December 1917. She also received a War Gratuity of fifteen pounds and ten shillings in November 1919.

Robert Burton was born around 1893 at Pollockshaws in Renfrewshire to Andrew Burton and Agnes Cameron and the family was living in Govan in 1901. The family was living at Hornby Street in 1906 when Andrew Burton, a coal trimmer, died in the Royal Victoria Hospital. He had fractured his skull after falling into the hold of Steamship Empress on 17th April 1906 and died three days later. In 1911, Agnes Cameron Burton was a linen weaver and living at St Leonard’s Street in Victoria Ward with six children, ranging in age from four to nineteen. Her two eldest children, Agnes and Robert, were both employed at Belfast Rope Works – Agnes as a netter and Robert as a machine boy. Robert enlisted with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and was posted to the 5th Battalion, part of the 10th (Irish). The division departed Liverpool on 7th July 1915, bound for the Eastern Mediterranean and Robert Burton signed his army will on 22nd July on the Island of Lemnos. Lance-Corporal Robert Burton landed with 5th Battalion at Suvla Bay on 7th August 1915 and was killed in action eight days later at the age of 22. He is commemorated on the Helles Memorial on the Gallipoli Peninsula. His mother was awarded a pension of ten shillings per week from March 1917 and received a War Gratuity of three pounds in December 1919. On the 50th anniversary of his death, the Burton family donated a Bass drum and side drum to the Ballymacarrett and Mountpottinger Salvation Army Band in memory of Robert. A simple plaque adorns each drum.

Henry Dowds was born on 30th March 1886 at Banoge near Waringstown to James Dowds, a weaver, and Rachel Mercier. Henry Dowds was a weaver when he married Minnie Bertha Lawton, a Salvation Army Officer, on 11th May 1906 in Scarva Street Presbyterian Church in Banbridge. In 1911, Henry was a docks labourer and living at Jonesborough Street with his wife and their first son, Horace Henry (3). Their second child, Norman Harold, was born at Jonesborough Street in May 1913. Henry Dowds enlisted with the Royal Irish Rifles and was posted to the 17th (Reserve) Battalion before being deployed to the 15th Battalion on the Western Front after December 1915. Henry Dowds was killed in action on 1st July 1916, aged 30, and is buried in Connaught Cemetery at Thiepval. Minnie Bertha Dowds was awarded a pension of twenty-one shillings per week from February 1917 and received a War Gratuity of £3 in October 1919.

Albert Parker was born on 25th August 1898 at Jocelyn Avenue to George James Parker, an engine fitter, and Jane Thomson who lived at Frank Street in 1911 and at Castlereagh Street in 1918. Before the war Albert Parker was employed at McCaw, Stevenson and Orr Limited (printers, publishers, and chromo lithographers, Loop Bridge Works, Castlereagh Road). Albert Parker enlisted with the Royal Irish Rifles and was deployed to France with 14th Battalion in October 1915. He was Killed in Action on 16th November 1916, aged 18, and is buried in Pond Farm Cemetery in Belgium and commemorated on a family memorial in Carnmoney Church of Ireland Graveyard. Jane Parker was awarded a pension of five shillings per week and George James Parker received a War Gratuity of eight pounds and ten shillings in October 1919. His brother, John Parker, served with the same battalion and was transferred to the Class Z Army Reserve on 9th April 1919. He was subsequently awarded a 20% Disablement Pension in respect of gunshot wounds to the left hip at the rate of eight shillings per week. John Parker is also commemorated on the memorial tablet.

Arthur Paton (or Patton) was born on 28th March 1898 at Spruce Street in Cromac Ward to Arthur Patton, a baker, and Jeannie Galbraith and the family lived on the Woodstock Road before moving to Reid Street by 1911. Arthur Patton enlisted with the Royal Irish Rifles and was posted to the 14th Battalion on the Western Front after December 1915. Sergeant Arthur Patton was Killed in Action on 27th June 1917, aged 19, and is buried in Messines Ridge British Cemetery in Belgium. Locally, he is commemorated on a family memorial in Dundonald Cemetery and on the memorial Roll of Honour for Ravenhill Road Presbyterian Church. His mother was awarded a pension of five shillings per week from December 1918 and received a War Gratuity of thirteen pounds and ten shillings in October 1919.

Nigel Henderson, member History Hub Ulster

The lost lives of the Battle of the Somme

Belfast City Council event with History Hub Ulster member Nigel Henderson.

The lost lives of the Battle of the Somme

Date: 21 Jun 2016

Time: 6.30pm – 9pm
Venue: Banqueting Hall, Belfast City Hall

Over 200,000 Irishmen fought in the Great War, and it’s estimated that up to 25,000 – 30,000 Irish soldiers from the Irish Divisions and others in British based Divisions died between 1914 and 1918. The most iconic Battle involving Irish soldiers was the Battle of the Somme, which began on 1 July 1916.

Nigel Henderson and Philip Orr will deliver a presentation on some of those who lost their lives, focussing on the impact that this had on communities in Belfast. The presentation will also include poetry written in Ulster and in France during the period of the Battle of the Somme.

The presentation will be followed by a dramatised reading of the Halfway House, which looks at two women who met in 1966, the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme, hearing of the experiences of their fathers who were on different sides in 1916.

Light refreshments will be served at 6.30pm.

Booking is essential, email goodrelations@belfastcity.gov.uk or call 028 90270 663 to register.

http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/events/Event-61893.aspx

Call to Action: Share your stories of people who were at the Battle of Jutland

National Museum of the Royal Navy launches an innovative digital project to map stories of the people at the Battle of Jutland

The National Museum of the Royal Navy today launched an interactive map to create a record of the individuals involved in the Battle of Jutland. Following responses from descendants of Admirals Beatty and Jellicoe amongst others, the Museum is calling on the public to share, discover and remember stories of those connected with the battle. The platform has been made live in anticipation of the blockbuster exhibition ’36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle that Won the War’ opening 12 May 2016 at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The site is at http://jutland.org.uk/

The interactive map will provide an innovative way of charting the impact of the Battle of Jutland. It will convey the ‘human’ story of the battle, highlighting its scale and significance to the First World War, by demonstrating the involvement of people from all over the British Isles and further afield. The project launched with over 6,000 entries from across Britain, already showing the national impact of The Battle of Jutland. To provide a comprehensive record the Museum is calling on members of the public to share more information.

Nick Jellicoe, grandson of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, commander of the British Grand Fleet, said: “This is one of those moments where engaging with the interactive map and what the museum is image007providing is a real opportunity to fill in some parts of a jigsaw, a family jigsaw you’ve never been able to solve. It’s nice to think about stories from your father, grand-father or great-grandfather, and be able to pass them on. Always one of my biggest regrets is that I never talked to my father more in detail about his father. I never did, and I hope other people don’t make the same mistake.”

Nicholas Beatty, Grandson of Vice Admiral Sir David Beatty said of the project, “I am delighted to add my grandfather’s story to the Jutland Interactive Map, and am sure that the legacy of his and his brave fellow seamen will continue to live on and be better understood by current and future generations. I thoroughly recommend that all descendants whose relatives fought at Jutland do the same to ensure that those who fought to maintain our naval supremacy and retain the lines of supply to the United Kingdom, all giving so much, are never forgotten.”

The Battle of Jutland was the defining naval battle of the First World War, fought over 36 hours from May 31st to June 1st 1916. It is often considered a German victory due to the number of British lives lost; the British lost 6,094 seamen and the Germans 2,551 during the battle. However these figures do not represent the impact upon the British and German fleets. At the end of the battle the British maintained numerical supremacy; only two dreadnoughts were damaged, leaving twenty-three dreadnoughts and four battlecruisers still able to fight, whilst the Germans had only ten dreadnoughts.

The interactive map provides a platform for living history, and the data collected will offer a richer and more accurate history of the Royal Navy. All data is mapped and linked geographically providing a clear picture

Nick Jellicoe uploading his grandfather's details onto the Jutland interactive map

Nick Jellicoe uploading his grandfather’s details onto the Jutland interactive map

of those involved, where they served and where they came from. Memories of sailors can be shared within the messages section and icons with categories including sailors, memorials, places and schools provide key information through an immersive browsing experience. The map offers layers of information, integrating a historical overlay provided by the Scottish Archive, to show the country as it was in 1916.

Public response via a social media campaign has already been strong and contributed to the 6,000 entries already documented. Entries have also been assembled in collaboration with Trevor Penfold at the Imperial War Museum, and further research has been compiled by a team of 12 volunteers at the National Museum of the Royal Navy and Portsmouth Grammar School, and Karen O’Rawe of History Hub Ulster. Portsdown U3A has kindly granted access to their research project, in conjunction with a team from Portsmouth University and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The NMRN will also partner with The Royal Hospital School, Marine Archaeologist Anthony Firth and Nick Jellicoe, the grandson of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, 1st Earl of Jellicoe.

If one of your ancestors was Irish, involved in the War at Sea and you would like to be considered to attend the Commemoration of The Irish Sailor event on 31st May at HMS Caroline, don’t forget to fill in the form at http://historyhubulster.co.uk/irishsailor/

 

Titanic People: The First World War Roadshow

Did a member of your family serve in the First World War? Were any from East Belfast? Bring along your artefacts and stories to the Titanic People First World War Roadshow in East Belfast Network Centre on Saturday 6 June 2015, from 10am – 3pm.

10.30am Launch of Row on Row, East Belfast Remembers

11am The Shipyard and the Home Front during the First World War – Philip Orr

1.30pm Researching East Belfast and the First World War – Jason Burke

2.45pm Playing of the Last post – The Hounds of Ulster

History Hub Ulster member Nigel Henderson will be available all day to provide tips and pointers on conducting your own First World War family research.

Titanic People

Letters of 1916 Belfast Launch

EXPLORE life in Ireland a century ago, CONTRIBUTE to a crowdsourced history project, LEARN about how a digital archive is created, DISCOVER hidden stories of 1916.

Bring your family letters written between 1 November 1915 – 31 October 1916 to digitize and add to the Letters 1916 archive:

WHERE: PRONI
WHEN: Thursday 28th May 2015, 5.30pm to 9.00pm

5.30pm – 6.30pm Open Session – Letters 1916 – Meet the team demo, transcribe, digitise.
6.30pm- 7.45pm A year in the life: A series of talks exploring life in Ireland a century ago highlighting letters from PRONI’S collection, including Professor Susan Schreibman (Maynooth University), Ian Montgomery (Public Record Office of Northern Ireland), Stephen Scarth (Public Record Office of Northern Ireland), Jason Burke (East Belfast & The Great War)
7.45pm – 8.30pm Reception

Admission is FREE, Please contact PRONI to secure your place

letters1916

WW1 Centenary: The Irishmen lost on HMS Goliath

HMS_Goliath_(1898)_in_1907The Gallipoli campaign resulted in the deaths of over 100,000 Allied and Turkish servicemen in just eight months. Serving both at sea and on land, the Royal Navy and Royal Naval Division lost many men in what was to become an unmitigated military disaster of poor planning that resulted in the loss of more than 44,000 Allied lives. In contrast, the defence of Gallipoli was the Ottoman Empire’s most successful military operation of the war.

One example of the local losses during the Gallipoli campaign is the loss of HMS Goliath on 13 May 1915. In total 73 men from Ireland were lost on this ship. In 1911, Coonagh, a small village in Limerick was recorded as having only 48 households of 202 people. Of these 98 were male and only 48 men were between the ages of 18 and 49 in the village. Of these men, 8 died on HMS Goliath.  Seven of these men were fishermen like their fathers, the other an agricultural labourer. The impact of this loss is still felt today as Mick Cronin from Coonagh is currently fundraising for a memorial to these lost men.

The ages of the men lost on the ship ranged from 17 to 55 years old, the average age being over 30. Despite the myth that World War One was a ‘young man’s war’, there were many very experienced seamen who died at sea.  This includes Armourer Michael Meyler from Wexford who was 55 years old when he died, and noted as a pensioner, and Petty Officer James John Beauchamp who was 48 when he died. Following in his coastguard father’s footsteps, James was a coastguard in Castleblaney.  The youngest Irishman to die on Goliath was Boy (1st Class) Philip Duffy, a Monaghan lad. His service record notes his full enlistment on 23 August 1915, however he never made it to that date and his death date precedes his enlistment date.

The 73 Irish casualties who died during the sinking of HMS Goliath were from the following areas: 16 from Cork, 9 from Waterford, 9 from Belfast, 8 each from Dublin and Limerick, 6 from Wexford, 3 from Derry, 2 each from Monaghan, Down and Carlow, 1 from Antrim, Donegal, Wicklow, Kerry, Tipperary, Meath, Sligo and Louth.

Another Irishman, Signaller Frederick Parnell Waterson was severely wounded in action on HMS Goliath on 3 May 1915 during operations in the Dardanelles, died on 1 June 1915 of pneumonia. Previously a plumber, Frederick is buried at the Royal Naval Cemetery in Capuccini, Malta.

HMS Goliath was a pre-dreadnought battleship built by the Royal Navy in the late 19th century. Having been mothballed prior to the outbreak of the First World War, she was returned to full commission. Goliath was part of the Allied fleet supporting the landing at X and Y Beaches during the landing at Cape Helles on 25 April, sustaining some damage from the gunfire of Ottoman Turkish forts and shore batteries, and supported allied troops ashore.

On the night of 12th May, Goliath was anchored in off Cape Helles, along with HMS Cornwallis and a screen of five destroyers. Around 1am the Turkish torpedo boat destroyer Muâvenet-i Millîye eluded the destroyers and closed on the battleships firing two torpedoes which struck Goliath almost simultaneously causing a massive explosion. Goliath began to capsize almost immediately, and was lying on her beam ends when a third torpedo struck.  She then rolled over and sank taking 570 of her 700 crew to the bottom, including her commanding officer. Although sighted and fired on after the first torpedo hit, Muâvenet-i Millîye escaped unscathed.

Goliath was the fourth Allied pre-dreadnought battleship to be sunk in the Dardanelles. For sinking Goliath, Turkish Captain of Muâvenet-i Millîye, Ahmet Saffet Bey was promoted to rank of Commander (Major) and awarded the Gold Medal. The German consultant, Kapitänleutnant Rudolph Firle was awarded the Gold Medal by the Ottoman sultan and the Iron Cross (1st class) by the German General Staff.

HHU Turkish Warship and HMS GoliathTo read how History Hub Ulster remembered those Irishmen lost on HMS Goliath please click here.

Irishmen lost on HMS Goliath were: 

Seaman Richard Allen RNR, from Coonagh, Limerick

Seaman Maurice Cronin RNR from Coonagh, Limerick

Seaman Patrick Cronin RNR from Coonagh, Limerick

Seaman Patrick Darby RNR from Coonagh, Limerick

Seaman John Davis RNR from Coonagh, Limerick

Seaman Thomas Davis RNR from Coonagh, Limerick

Seaman Thomas Grimes RNR from Coonagh, Limerick

Seaman Michael Hickey RNR from Coonagh, Limerick

Leading Seaman Michael Coleman RN from Aghada, Cork

Stoker Thomas Webb RNR from Bantry, Cork

Seaman Patrick Sweeney RNR from Castletown, Cork

Petty Officer James Crowley RN from CastleLyons, Cork

Seaman Robert Arnopp RNR from Kinsale, Cork

Seaman Daniel Collins RNR from Kinsale, Cork

Seaman John Mahony RNR from Kinsale, Cork

Seaman John Mahony RNR from Kinsale, Cork

Seaman Patrick Regan RNR from Kinsale, Cork

Able Seaman William Geoghean RN from Queenstown, Cork

Petty Officer John Keane RN from Templerobin, Cork

Gunner Charles McCarthy RN from Aghada, Cork

Stoker (1st) Jeremiah Kearney RN from Nackbrown, Cork

Shipwright (2nd) Richard Ahern RN from Youghal, Cork

ERA John Joseph O’Flaherty RN from Cork

Chief Stoker Denis O’Neill RN from Cork

Seaman William Dempsey RNR from Blackwater, Wexford

Stoker (1st) Patrick Murphy RN from Fethard, Wexford

Seaman Patrick Kavanagh RNR from Kildermot, Wexford

Seaman Michael Joseph Allen RNR from New Ross, Wexford

Seaman William Barron RNR from Ballyhack, Wexford

Armourer Michael Meyler RN from Wexford

Stoker John Garvey RNR from Bray, Wicklow

Stoker Myles Doran RNR from Carnew, Wicklow

Cooper Michael Cunningham RN from Clashmor, Waterford

Seaman James Flynn RNR from Corbally, Waterford

Seaman Michael Flynn RNR from Corbally, Waterford

Able Seaman James Mason RN from Passage East, Waterford

Seaman James Walsh RNR from Passage East, Waterford

Stoker (1st) Michael Power RN from Tallow, Waterford

Petty Officer Michael Gyles RN from Tramore, Waterford

Seaman Thomas Keohan RNR from Tramore, Waterford

Seaman William Power RNR from Tramore, Waterford

Able Seaman Richard McClatchie RN from Clonmel, Tipperary

Stoker (1st) Peter Carroll RN from Clontarf, Dublin

Chief ERA Robert Byrne RN from Dublin

Stoker John Larkin RNR from Ringsend, Dublin

Stoker Thomas Lee RNR from Dublin

Able Seaman Frederick William McDowell RN from Dublin

Seaman William McGee RNR from Rush, Dublin

Stoker (1st) John Steel RN from Dublin

Able Seaman George Edwin Upton RN from Dublin

Stoker Francis McKeown RNR from Dundalk, Louth

Able Seaman John Kearney RN from Slane, Meath

Chief Yeoman of Signals Robert Kilcullen RN from Waste Gardens, Sligo

Able Seaman George Wood RN from Valentia, Kerry

Stoker Samuel Gibson RNR from Carlow

Stoker (1st) Class Hector Hiles RN from Belfast

Stoker Robert Jones RNR from Belfast

Stoker John Jones RNR from Belfast

Stoker John McAnally RNR from Belfast

Stoker Robert John McDowell RNR from Belfast

Stoker Thomas Warnock RNR from Belfast

Seaman Gordon Douglas Simpson RNR from Belfast

Stoker (1st) Class Hugh O’Donnell RN from Belfast

Stoker Charles Holland RNR from Belfast

Private Alexander Harkness RMLI from Ballygarvey, Antrim

Able Seaman James Kelso RN from Kilkeel, Down

Stoker (1st) Class William Ernest Beringer RN from Portaferry, Down

Private Robert Hutchinson RMLI from Derry

Leading Seaman John Doherty RN from Derry

Seaman John Joseph Dennis RNR from Waterside, Derry

Able Seaman Philip Wright RN from Ballyarnett, Donegal

Petty Officer (1st) James John Beauchamp RN from Castleblayney, Monaghan

Boy (1st) Class Philip Duffy RN from Clones, Monaghan

 

Research by Karen O’Rawe, Chair History Hub Ulster.

Photo by Aurora 

 

WW1 Centenary: The loss of RMS Lusitania 7th May 1915

On 30 April 1915, the Lusitania was in New York, being loaded with food and medical supplies. She was also secretly loaded with munitions for Britain for the war.  On the same day, Kapitänleutnant Walther Schwieger was ordered to take U-boat 20 into the Irish Channel to destroy ships going to and from Liverpool.

Lusitania at the end of the first leg of her maiden voyage, New York City, September 1907.

Lusitania at the end of the first leg of her maiden voyage, New York City, September 1907.

On 1 May 1915, the Lusitania embarked on its crossing of the Atlantic with 1257 passengers and a crew of 702 under the command of Captain William Turner.

On 5 May, U-20 tried to destroy but missed several ships, including several neutral ones.  That day, he destroyed the Earl of Lathom.  The next day he fired two torpedoes at the Candidate, a steamer from Liverpool. The same day he destroyed another ship, the Centurion.

cunardOn 7 May the Lusitania entered the Irish Channel.  Contrary to orders to travel at full speed in the submarine war zone around Great Britain, Captain Turner slowed the ship down because of fog.  As a precaution, Captain Turner posted extra lookouts and brought the lifeboats out.  Meanwhile U-20 was travelling west in the Irish Channel and sighted the Juno, a cruiser. It’s zigzag path made it difficult for a submarine to fire at and so it escaped.  Captain Turner of the Lusitania did not do this because he felt that it wasted time and fuel.

At 1:20pm British time, Schwieger sighted something of note.

‘Starboard ahead four funnels and two masts of a steamer with course at right angles to us’

He submerged and waited until at 1:40pm when the ship turned towards him, and fired a single torpedo.

The 18 year old lookout on the Lusitania grabbed his megaphone and shouted to the bridge:

‘Torpedoes coming on the starboard side.’

memorialThomas Quinn, a lookout in the crow’s nest, saw the torpedo’s wake and sounded the alarm.  There was a large explosion at the side of the ship just ahead of the second funnel.  Then there was a larger, muffled explosion from the bottom of the ship.  The ship tilted to the right and although the power failed, Captain Turner attempted to steer the Lusitania toward land in an attempt to beach her.  Without power the rudder and engines did not respond and the watertight doors could not be closed.

Although the Lusitania had adequate lifeboats for all on board, most lifeboats simply could not be launched.  Due to the list, the lifeboats on the port side could not be launched.  The starboard side boats swung out so far that many passengers had to jump from the deck to the lifeboats, risking falling into the water far below.  A few lifeboats were launched that contained only crew members.  Other lifeboats capsized and some were damaged when the torpedo hit the ship.

The Lusitania sank below the waves shortly before 2pm.  It sank in only 90 metres of water, and since the ship was 239 metres long, the bow hit the bottom of the ocean while the stern was still up in the air.

Norman Wilkinson - The Illustrated London News, May 15, 1915.

Norman Wilkinson – The Illustrated London News, May 15, 1915.

Captain Turner jumped into the water as the bridge was about to go under.  He swam for 3 hours until he finally found a nearby lifeboat.

The distress signals sent from the Lusitania reached Queenstown, where the Vice Admiral Sir Charles Coke gathered up whatever ships were available and told their captains to sail to where the Lusitania was.  They arrived 2 hours after the sinking.  They picked up any people still alive in the water and only 6 lifeboats.

761 survivors were collected by boats from Queenstown.  1198 people died.

Some Ulster passengers lost on the Lusitania were:

Thomas McAfee

Thomas McAfee

Frank Houston, the only son of Mr and Mrs Houston of Fernbrook Cottage, Carnmoney Road.

Frank Houston

Frank Houston

Thomas McAfee, originally from Belfast, who had moved to Toronto was coming home to enlist.  He had worked at the York Street Spinning Mill and his sisters lived at Summer Street, Belfast. Also lost was his friend Robert McCready who had emigrated to Canada a few years before.   He was a photographer employed by Charles ad Russell photographers, Royal Avenue, Belfast.  His father was William McCready of Oldpark Road, Belfast.

Some crew with Ulster addresses who died on the Lusitania were:

Robert McCready

Robert McCready

Isaac Linton, aged 48, and Michael Corboy, aged 49 both fireman from County Down. Michael Rice, aged 60 and Patrick Campbell aged 35 both firemen from Newry.  Another Newry man lost was Patrick Loughran, a trimmer aged only 19 from Queen Street in Newry. Kenneth Mackenzie, aged 25, a waiter from Belfast. Trimmer William Field from Ship Street in Belfast was also lost, aged 31.  Edward Finnegan, aged 22, a trimmer from Castleblaney in Monaghan.  Sadie O’Hale aged 29, a ship’s typist from Ballymena.

Edward J Heighway an able seaman from Strangford was saved.  Also saved were Able Seaman James Hume from Canmore Street, Belfast and Fireman Stephen Rice from Armagh.

Research: Karen O’Rawe, Chair, History Hub Ulster

Newspaper Pictures: Nigel Henderson, Member, History Hub Ulster

Victoria Cross commemorative paving stones

In August 2013, the government announced a campaign to honour Victoria Cross recipients from the First World War.

As part of this, commemorative paving stones will be laid in the birth place of Victoria Cross recipients to honour their bravery and provide a lasting legacy of local heroes within communities.

A total of 628 Victoria Crosses were awarded during the First World War, of which 145 were awarded to servicemen who fought for Britain, but were born overseas.

The first Ulster paving stone will be laid in April 2015 to commemorate Private Robert Morrow, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Click on the map for the location of commemorative paving stones and information on the recipients. The map will be updated as more paving stones are laid.

Centenary of the loss of HMS Bayano

On 11 Mar 1915 HMS Bayano was torpedoed by U27 off the Firth of Clyde. 

The Bayano was an Elders & Fyffes merchant ship launched in 1913. She was requisitioned on the 21st of November 1914 and became HMS Bayano, Pendant No M78, an armed merchant cruiser. She displaced 5948 tons, carried 2 x 6 inch guns, and had a maximum speed of 14 knots.

Bayano pre conversion

Bayano Pre-conversion

Just after 0500 hrs on 11 March 1915, Kapitanleutnant Bernd Wegener in U27 was positioned a few miles off Corsewall Point at the entrance to Loch Ryan, where the ferries from Cairnryan to Belfast and Larne now pass several times daily.

HMS Bayano was steaming fast out of the Firth of Clyde heading south for Liverpool after taking on coal in Glasgow. Wegener spotted Bayano and manoeuvred himself into an attack position. U27 fired a torpedo which hit Bayano causing her to sink rapidly taking down 194 of the 220 man crew. Some survivors were picked up around 4 hours later by the Balmarino a vessel operated by Kelly’s Colliers of Belfast. The Castlereagh, another vessel operated by Kelly’s, reported siting the wreckage and being pursued by a submarine, possibly U27, for some time around dawn the following morning.

Bayano Post-convertion

Bayano Post-conversion

Bodies began to wash up on the East Coast of the Ards Peninsula between Ballyquintin Point near Portaferry and Cloughey. Four of the men were collected by a lorry operated by Messrs Elliot merchants of Portaferry and taken to Ballyphilip Parish Church.  The oval shaped war grave headstones can be found for Royal Marine A G Bain of Portsmouth, Seaman W A Wellstead of Lydd in Kent and two unidentified sailors. Other men are buried in cemeteries in Whitechurch outside Ballywalter, and St Andrews Balleysborough near Ballyhalbert.

There were at least ten Irish sailors lost on HMS Bayano.  Ulster men who perished were:

Mercantile Marine Reservist Fireman John Alexander McQuigg from Derry, who died aged 26 years old and is remembered at Plymouth Naval Memorial.

Royal Naval Reservist Seaman John Todd from Belfast who died aged 35 years old and is remembered at Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Royal Naval Volunteer Reservist Ordinary Seaman Patrick Worke from Belfast who is remembered at Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Research by Karen O’Rawe, Chair and Mark McCrea, Member History Hub Ulster

History Hub Ulster is a research group based in Belfast, but working on projects across Ulster.

Creative Centenaries Resources Fair

Do you have a role to play in the Decade of Anniversaries?

This Creative Centenaries Resources Fair will open up opportunities for those planning and organising events that explore and share our history and heritage.

The day-long, free conference at Titanic Belfast on 5th March will include:

• keynote addressunnamed

• exhibition stalls

• digital resources

• project presentations

• workshops

• funding information

• artistic expressions

• networking and partnership opportunities

This event is aimed at community and heritage groups, councils and good relations officers, arts and community organisations and others who are organising events across Ireland in the coming years.  Delegates will have the chance to hear from a range of projects and exhibitions, take part in engaging workshops, learn about funding opportunities and establish connections and partnerships with others.

When registering for the event, delegates will have the opportunity to select which workshops they would like to attend, including: What is Commemoration?, Ethical and Shared Remembering or Creative Responses.

What is Commemoration?: This panel based workshop will explore issues such as the purpose you hope to achieve and the long term legacies attached to commemorative events within the Decade of Anniversaries and how this may impact on planning.

Ethical and Shared Remembering: This workshop will examine approaches to commemoration including inclusive and ethical remembering and how interpretations of history shape modern society.

Creative Responses: This workshop will look at artistic and creative approaches to commemorating and remembering events with the Decade of Anniversaries including theatre, poetry, music and more.

Click here to book your place