AN appeal has been made for information regarding the War Memorial in Ballynure Presbyterian Church.
Richard Wallace, a former Clerk of Sessions, is compiling a book about the role of the 55 local men who served in World War One and whose names are inscribed on the monument.
Mr. Wallace explained: “For a number of years now, I have looked in amazement, awe and wonder at the War Memorial in Ballynure Presbyterian Church.
“As I have done so, many questions flooded my mind. Why are the names in such a random order. They’re not alphabetical and they’re not in order of rank? Did all of those men, eight in total, die at the Battle of the Somme? Were they all baptised in the church and regular attenders at worship or did they just live in the locality? Are any of their relatives still with us?
“When I counted the others who had fought and survived, I realised that there were fifty-five names in total on the list and many of them had the same surnames, so they must have been related and gone to war as brothers or cousins.
“So my quest to get behind the names began and to find out something about the people that were involved. I have been greatly encouraged by the information and artefacts that relatives of the men have supplied and by the help I’ve received from Nigel Henderson and David Truesdale. Eddie Beck and Graham Baird’s long detailed study and ‘Roll of Honour’ of all the men who went to war from the Ballyclare area has also been an invaluable source of information. I am indebted to them for supplying me with some of the pictures you will see in their book.
“At the moment I have detailed information for more than half of the men and hope to put this into a book to commemorate the centenary of the war.
“I have been able to find at which battles the eight men died and even have pictures or some of their graves as well as a copy of the ‘informal’ will of Robert Moore who was killed at the battle of Tigris in Mesopotamia.
“I’ve got a Bible, seen some of the Christmas cards from the trenches, got a number of pictures and heard many stories about what they did during and after the war. I have a long, detailed account from Col Robert McCreary MC about his experiences building the transport network in both World Wars.
“I’m now appealing for help with a few others about which I know so little - men like John Scott Adair, from Headwood, who fought with the Cameronians, William Geary (RIR), from Ballyboley, Thomas John Gettinby (RIR) from Lismenary, John Jenkins, an Engineer, from Dunturkey, two brothers Elgred Merwin Montgomery, (Indian Army Guides) and Capt Calvin Versus Montgomery (Royal Army Medical Corps), from Ballyboley and Capt Robert Woodside (Royal Army Medical Corps) from Lismenary. Of course I’d also like to hear from anyone else who has pictures or other information about any of the 55 men.”
If anyone can assist Mr. Wallace, he can be contacted by ringing 028 9332 3715.