Ernie Cromie has provided a comprehensive and interesting account of a part of our history.

When the United Kingdom declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939 there was only one military airfield in Northern Ireland. By 1943 there were twenty-seven, four of which were located in what is now Lisburn Borough, at Long Kesh, Maghaberry, Blaris and Sandy Bay on Lough Neagh. Each of the four was used for a variety of purposes but Long Kesh, Maghaberry and Blaris had a common origin which is of particular interest in these days of professed Anglo-Irish accord!

Wartime photograph of aircrew taken at Royal Air Force Long Kesh and signatures of wartime aircrewIn drawing up plans for airfield development in Northern Ireland, the Air Ministry planners were influenced by a number of considerations, one of which was the possibility of a German invasion of the United Kingdom via the 'back door', i.e. the Republic of Ireland. In that event, the immediate British response would have been to counter-attack by sending the army across the border with appropriate air support. Airfields were therefore required in Northern Ireland to accommodate the RAF component of this counter-invasion force and four were developed with that initial purpose in mind. They were Sydenham, Long Kesh, Maghaberry and Blaris. Two RAF light bomber squadrons, Nos. 88 and 226 were identified as the Air Component and in June 1940 they arrived with Fairey Battle aircraft at Sydenham. Being the pre-war civil airport as well as the site of a rapidly expanding aircraft manufacturing industry, Sydenham was not the ideal location. Due to shortage of space, and the airfield's vulnerability to air attack (as demonstrated on 15 August 1940 when Short & Harland's aircraft factory was bombed by the Luftwaffe and five Stirling bombers were destroyed on the production line), there was an urgent need for an emergency landing ground to which the 'planes could be rapidly dispersed. This was obtained by the simple expedient of taking over two large fields at Blaris, opposite the old graveyard, which had been used occasionally in pre-war days for air displays or private flying. Being a flat, firm, well-drained site with largely unobstructed approaches, it was brought into use immediately as a grass airstrip by the simple expedient of removing a few hedges and fences, aircraft being dispersed in the open and personnel being accommodated in tents. Records indicate that Fairey Battles and Anson aircraft from No 24 Elementary Flying Training School at Sydenham used Blaris in 1941, and in due course the site came under the administrative control of Long Kesh, being used for gliding instruction by the Air Training Corps from 1942 until the end of the war, under the direction of Wing Commander Delap.

In comparison to Blaris, the development of Long Kesh and its satellite airfield at Maghaberry proved considerably more troublesome. Construction work on both sites did not begin until November 1940, and although excellent progress was made with the erection of buildings, runway construction was delayed by the large amount of drainage and excavation work required, with the result that both airfields were not officially opened until November 1941. Contractor for the erection of buildings in both cases was H & J Martin, while construction of runways was entrusted to the Royal Engineers at Long Kesh and the firm of Sunley & Co. at Maghaberry. It is of interest to note that on the dissolution of Sunley around 1942/43, the firm's Northern Ireland interests were bought by Mr Sam Taggart and became Farrans Ltd. of Dunmurry, who were involved in the construction of Aldergrove, Toome, Maydown, Cluntoe and Bishopscourt airfields. After the war Farrans obtained an aircraft hangar from Maghaberry and subsequently re-erected it at their Dunmurry site where it stands to this day.

The importance of Long Kesh was underlined by the visit of Field Marshal MontgomeryWhile Long Kesh and Maghaberry were being constructed, Nos. 88 and 226 Squadrons had meanwhile returned to England to re-equip with Blenheim and American Boston aircraft. No.226 Squadron arrived with Blenheims at Long Kesh in early October 1941, but returned again to England at the end of November, their place at Long Kesh being taken by No.231 Squadron which arrived from Newtownards with Lysander and Tomahawk aircraft. On 15 January 1942, No.231 Squadron moved to Maghaberry where it was based until the following November, being replaced at Long Kesh by No.88 Squadron which arrived with Bostons for three weeks intensive training. This included low-level close support of army exercises, during which some of the more enthusiastic pilots succeeded in damaging several of their new aircraft in low flying encounters with overhead cables! Other army co-operation units in residence at Long Kesh for short periods during the first half of 1942 included No.1494 Target Towing Flight with Lysanders and No.651 Air Observation Post Squadron with Taylorcraft (Auster) aircraft. On 24 January 1942, aircraft not normally associated with the army co-operation role arrived in the shape of Spitfires of No.74 Squadron, but at Long Kesh during a cold spell of heavy snow and sleet tactical co-operation with the army was the order of the day. In addition, long-range fuel tanks were fitted to the Spitfires and the squadron spent long hours escorting the convoys bringing American troops to the United Kingdom by sea. No.74 Squadron left Long Kesh on 24 March 1942, taking with them unfortunate memories of bad weather, and one particular event involving the Commanding Officer's Spitfire that seemed to confirm their pre-conceived notions about the intelligence of the local population. One day, when the Commanding Officer was at lunch, a labourer employed in airfield construction dug a trench under the Spitfire's fuselage with the result that it had to have its tail lifted across the trench before it could be taxied away!

King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Elizabeth at Long Kesh in 1945By now it had become reasonably clear that there was little prospect of a German invasion through the Republic, and new roles were being found for Long Kesh and Maghaberry. On I April 1942 the United States Navy commenced a thrice-weekly scheduled service between Elginton and Hendon airfield in London, calling at Long Kesh to drop and collect passengers, light freight and mail. The service was maintained until the end of the war, initially by Lockheed 12 aircraft and subsequently by Douglas Dakotas. The next development was a much more spectacular affair which was however frequently interrupted by bad weather. This was a towed glider service from Netheravon in Wiltshire to Long Kesh via the shortest sea crossing from Portpatrick to Orlock Head, the aim being to give glider crews and personnel of the Airborne Division experience in long distance navigation and to test airborne equipment. The aircraft generally used were Whitleyor Stirling aircraft towing Hotspur or Horsa Gliders and the operations were not without incidents. On 11 August 1942, for instance, a Hotspur being towed by a Whitley had to be abandoned in bad weather, the glider being damaged beyond repair when it was forced to land in a small field near Lisburn.

On 26 August 1942 Long Kesh chalked up a novel achievement when the first Stirling bomber produced by the Short & Harland assembly plant, which had constructed the airfield some months previously, took off on a trial flight piloted by HL `Pip' Piper. The second Stirling to be produced was test-flown on 10 October and others followed in due course. Stirlings were also test-flown from Maghaberry where another assembly plant had been constructed. In fact, Short & Harland used premises at various locations including Lisburn and Aldergrove in connection with aircraft manufacture. Altogether 1,213 Stirlings were manufactured in Northern Ireland out of a total of 2,371 built and flown in the United Kingdom as a whole. Ironically, in the immediate post-war period, several hundred Stirlings were stored on the airfield at Maghaberry prior to being scrapped and melted down. Tragically, not a single Stirling survives anywhere in the world (although one hears persistent rumours about a number of them which are reputedly buried in the Egyptian desert) � an unforgivable end to the career of the first four-engined heavy bomber to be built for and operated by the RAF in the Second World War.

At the end of 1942 came a new role for Long Kesh and Maghaberry when they were taken over by Coastal Command's No.17 Group for use by No.5 Operational Training Unit. Its function was to instruct pilots and crews in the operation of Beauforts and Hampden aircraft. The unit's initial establishment was thirty-three Beauforts which were based at Long Kesh, and eleven Hampdens which were based at Maghaberry. No.5 OTU stopped using Maghaberry in August 1943 and Long Kesh in February 1944 by which time, in fact from October 1943, the Beauforts had been replaced by Hudson, Ventura and Oxford aircraft. This was a welcome development for the Beaufort's flying characteristics posed considerable problems for inexperienced pilots and Beauforts based at Long Kesh were involved in fifty-six serious accidents during 1943. In more than thirty of these cases the aircraft were actually destroyed either as a result of crashes at various locations throughout the Province, or failing to return from navigation exercises over the sea.

Robert crossey (back right) together with one WAAF and five airmen beside the boiler house and cookhouse at Long KeshFollowing the departure of No. 5 OTU, Coastal Command had no further use for the two airfields which were destined to fulfil different roles for the remainder of the war. At Long Kesh, in March 1944, aircraft bearing unfamiliar markings began to appear in the shapes of Seafires, Swordfish, Wildcats and Hellcats belonging to a number of Royal Navy Squadrons. The Navy Squadrons were in residence for relatively short periods of no more than three months duration at different times up until February 1945. They were on temporary absences from aircraft carriers to enjoy a spell of rest or to exercise with army units and practise anti-shipping or bombing strikes in the Lough Neagh and Strangford Lough areas. One of the Royal Navy Squadrons based at Long Kesh from October 1944 to February 1945 was No. 1882 Squadron, with American Wildcat aircraft. During its time there, this particular squadron was allocated responsibility for the air defence of Belfast against the unlikely possibility of V 1 flying bomb attack. However, it is perhaps best remembered for the flying skill of one of its 19-year old pilots, Sub. Lt. Peter Lock who successfully ditched his Wildcat in Portmore Lough on Christmas Eve 1944 after the aircraft had an engine failure while en route to the bombing ranges in Lough Neagh. Readers of the Star may recall that the aircraft concerned, JV482, coded `60', was recovered from the Lough on 30 April 1984 in a combined salvage operation involving the Ulster Aviation Society, the Ulster Sub-Aqua Club, the Heyn Group, Belfast and No. 655 Squadron Army Air Corps based at Ballykelly. The Wildcat has been restored by the society and was inspected by Peter Lock and his wife Marjorie in January 1985 during the course of Peter's first visit to Northern Ireland since leaving Long Kesh in 1945.

In March 1944, No.290 Squadron, RAF, arrived at Long Kesh from Newtownards equipped with Martinets, Oxfords and Hurricanes. Its commitment was to provide all the anti-aircraft co-operation training for the whole of Northern Ireland for the navy, army, RAF regiment and gunnery school at Greencastle airfield near Kilkeel operated by the United States Army Air Force. This kept the aircraft extremely busy although the work-load eased considerably after the Normandy invasion, and in August 1944 the Squadron was transferred to Turnhouse near Edinburgh leaving only a small detachment at Long Kesh which rejoined the squadron in Scotland in Februry 1945.

Thereafter the airfield went into a period of relative inactivity, punctuated by short-lived diversionary and social visits involving aircraft rarely seen at Long Kesh, including USAAF Mustangs, Thunderbolts and B-17 Fortresses which were considerably in evidence during the summer of 1945.

But the event which attracted most attention was the arrival from Hendon on 17 July of three Dakotas bearing their Majesties the King and Queen, HRH the Princess Elizabeth, their entourage and accompanying press corps, for the first royal visit to Northern Ireland by air. Their Majesties stayed at Government House in Hillsborough for two days before continuing their journey by air to Eglinton on 19 July. Other distinguished visitors who passed through Long Kesh included General Eisenhower and Field Marshal Montgomery, in August and September 1945 respectively.

Local people always called this area Halftown, and it was the government who named it Long Kesh. Thompson Crossey recalls this period.

When the Second World War broke out the Air Ministry decided to build an aerodrome at what was to be known as Long Kesh. Building started in 1941 and the aerodrome was used until approximately 1947. This gave a great deal of employment to the local people. Most of the concrete was wheeled in barrows to make the runways. Extra money meant that the local men could meet more often in the pub (Annie Ritchie's) and it was always said that they brought more cement into the pub than would have built another runway. An old saying developed among the men at the 'Corner', "Rough Concrete ".

The aerodrome also provided many other interests. Annie Berry, Madeline McNally, Sarah Hewitt and Norah Higginson all married airmen. The picture house at the aerodrome was also very welcome. Mary of the locals went to the pictures on Wednesday night and Sunday night. There were also sports days between the army and airforce.


Thompson and Dolly crossey outside their first home at 'Tin Town' This photograph gives a clear idea of what the houses were like

The advent of the Second World War made its mark on the area and major changes ensued. The people who lived in the area now known as Long Kesh had their property and land compulsory acquired. The building of runways began, homes were demolished, top soil removed, land drained to River Lagan and loads of stones from local quarries arrived by lorry. From the employment provided to build an airfield, the erection of a railway halt, to temporary housing, life was different. To accommodate the military personnel temporary housing, in the form of `huts', was built down the Dummies (Eglantine Road). To the local people it was `Tin Town', portraying the materials used in building. This enclave became the starter homes for most young people in the aftermath of the War, but also

housed large families. Along the avenue to Eglantine church, huts were built, as well as a de-contamination centre and a hospital. The inevitable air raid shelters were also in this area. At Spratt's farm there was a Kitchen, Canteen, Cinema and Sports Centre. To recall `tin town' will bring happy memories to many people.

Delivery men had some trouble when Coronation Gardens housing estate was built beside Long Kesh Aerodrome, constantly confusing it with Long Kesh `huts' (some 2 miles away) beside what is now Lisburn Golf Club.

This road goes east to Warren Gate Bridge at Sprucefield. History shows that armies camped in this area, on the sandy soil and near the River Lagan. Blaris Old Graveyard, an ancient burial ground, is on this road.

Demiville House
During the 19th century most of the people living on Long Kesh were farmers. There was also a tradition of hand-loom weaving. With changing economic circumstances the weavers found employment in the quickly established linen industry and in the expanding building trade. The farmers who remained on the land adapted to market gardening to supply the demand for vegetables from the rising number of new urban dwellers who worked long hours. Hence Demiville became established as a market gardening centre, providing employment. The soil of the Lagan Valley was easily worked, and the proximity to Belfast Market was an added advantage. The people in charge of operations exploited every opportunity as The Northern Whig records in September 1836:

Messrs. Moreland, Robinson & Co., of Hillsborough, in conformity with their proposal of giving as a premium a cask of whiskey to the farmer who produced the greatest quantity of mange/ wurtzel to the acre, had sent home to Mr William Shaw of Demiville, a ten-gallon keg of good old Hillsborough spirits. We look upon this praiseworthy act in the givers as by making the offer they promoted the .farmers in the neighbourhood to deeds of honourable emulation in cultivating a crop with which now has been nearly unknown to them and which, we have no doubt, will in a short time introduced a new. feature in agricultural science in this party of the country.

We congratulate Mr. Shaw on his success, assured that the keg could not have fallen into hands more deserving or to one who would make a better use of its contents; and we proceed to trust that this speculation of manufacturing sugar from beet-root may equal the expectations of Messrs. Moreland, Robinson & Co., its spirited projectors in Ireland, not only on account of its being a benefit to themselves individually but also on account of the advantage which will be derived from this new crop by the tillers and cultivators of the soil.

Millers the Pig Killers and their victims' at the turn of the twentieth centuryIn the 18th and 19th centuries this area was where turf was cut for fuel. Buchanan's brick works was approached off this road, whilst

Braithwaite's brick works was on the Halftown Road. When the Second Word War started all the accumulated stacks of bricks were requisitioned immediately.

One person always associated with the Bog Road was Mr William (Billy) Miller `the pig killer'. In every district there was `pig killer' and Mr Miller served the area well. Not only did he kill pigs, but he also dressed the male piglets and cut the tails of all the piglets. When the pig was fat the owner sent for the `pig killer'.

In days gone by killing pigs was a savage operation, not for the faint hearted. When the pig killer arrived on the premises there had to be plenty of boiling water. There also had to be a beam, suspended on two upright poles, at least 12 to 15 feet above the ground. The pig killer entered the shed where the pigs were kept and snared a pig, using a short rope and brought it to a spot beside the beam.

The owner held the rope tight, holding the pig's head up, and the pig killer then hit it on the head with a small hammer causing it to fall on its side and proceeded to cut its throat ('stuck the pig'). Hot water was then poured all over the pig and it was scraped with a razor sharp knife until it was white. The pig was then hung on a beam by its hind legs and the `pig killer' then slit its stomach from top to bottom. As the entrails fell out he caught them in his arms and set them on the ground. He then sorted out the different bits and pieces.

People in the village were able to buy fresh liver and other pig meat from the owner. It was common practice for the boys of the village to get the pig bladders and blow them up with a bicycle pump and make footballs with them. When the pigs had been hung for three days they were taken to market or to the bacon curers.

During the eighteenth century and halfway through the nineteenth century it was customary for people living the country to feed the pigs on `swill', which was the leftovers from the tables of the village houses. It was collected every morning and boiled in a large pot and then a little meal was added.


Looking at places in a village gives us some idea of the context in which people lived, worked and played. At the end of the day it is really the people who make a place, whether they strove to achieve great things, or simply left their mark by quiet devotion to family, friends and work. Culcavey and Halftown, just like anywhere else, have seen a fair share of people involved in the tragedy of war, those involved in maintaining the traditions of past generations and those who, quite simply were `characters'.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission registers make painful reading, reminding us of the futile waste in various parts of the world of young lives. At the beginning of the twentieth century the people of Europe really still had little idea of the universal destruction which war could bring. All that was to change with the horror of the First World War (1914-18). Historians would dispute the numbers killed in this war, but few would deny that there was not a corner of Britain which was not touched by the bitter taste of loss. Culcavey and Halftown are no exceptions. The memorial plaque in All Saints' Eglantine Church and the war memorials in Hillsborough and Lisburn record the loss of the following local men:

James Andrews, a native of Culcavey, served in the 13th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles. He died on the first day of the Somme, l st July 1916, at the age of 18, and was laid to rest in Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval, France. James was a sister of Sophia Smyth (nee Andrews) who lived at Glen Cottage and Grey Row, Culcavey.

William John Berry, son of Mary and James Berry served in the 13th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles. He was 27 years old when he was killed on 29th June 1916. WJ Berry was buried in Forceville Cemetery at the Somme.

Oliver Crossey was the son of William and Susan Crossey of Thompson's Row. Like so many young men he had joined the army believing that he was fighting for king and country and had entered the 13th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles. Far from the familiar scenes of little Culcavey, he was to lose his life on Friday, 30 June 1916, on the eve of the infamous Battle of the Somme. He was just 20 years old.

His grave is in Puchevillers British Cemetery at the Somme. In June 1916, before the Battle of the Somme, the 3rd and 44th Casualty Clearing Stations came to Puchevillers and began to prepare grave plots. Even General Haig, one of the architects of the British offensive at the Somme, had anticipated great losses, and this creation of graves suggests that this feeling was widespread. By 1918 the cemetery at Puchevillers had 2,000 plots. To the British army Oliver Crossey was Private 16353, but in Culcavey he was a young local man, known to many. Even amidst the awful carnage of this war, this is still a sobering thought.

Thomas Henry Emerson served with C Coy., 14th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles. He died on Wednesday 20th June 1917 at the age of 23. A son of William and Agnes Emerson of 11 Zetland Street, Belfast, he was a native of Culcavey.

Samuel Kane served in 13th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles and lost his life on Saturday l st July 1916, at the Battle of the Somme. His death is recorded at the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

Another soldier in the Royal Irish Rifles, he was only 24 when he was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme (1st July 1916). Samuel Lyttle's death is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme. He was the son of Arthur and Mary Lyttle.

Private SJ Macauley served in the 15th Batallion Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment). He died on Sunday 20th October 1918 and is buried at Auberchicourt British Cemetery Nord, France. Auberchicourt is a village 11.5 kilometres east of Douai on the road to Valenciennes. The cemetery is one kilometre west of the village on the northside of the road to Erchin, 300 yards away from the Communal Cemetery. The village was occupied by British troops in October 1918 and the cemetery was begun at the end of that month and used until February 1919, while the 6th, 23rd and 1st Canadian Casualty Clearing Stations were in the neighbourhood. The original graves are in Plot 1, but the cemetery was enlarged after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from the surrounding battlefields and from smaller burial grounds. The following Canadian graves were taken to Auberchicourt British Cemetery: Auberchicourt Churchyard in which one Canadian soldier was buried in 1918; Montigny British Cemetery (Nord, East of Douai) near the south-west angle of the Bois de Montigny, 20 Canadian soldiers; Somain Communal Cemetery which contained the graves of seven Canadian soldiers who fell in October 1918; and Wallers Communal Cemetery Extension in which nine Canadian soldiers were buried in October 1918.

Robert McCarthy served in the 2nd Battalion of the Irish Guards and was killed on Friday 15th September 1916. His death is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme. Robert was employed as a Printer by the Lisburn Herald and was a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary prior to joining the army. He was posthumously awarded the Military Medal in recognition of his bravery. By leaving the safety of the trenches he attempted to rescue awounded officer and was bringing him to safety when a German shell exploded killing both men.

Thomas Mercer was the husband of Margaret Mercer of Culcavey and he served in the 13th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles. He was killed on 28th June 1916 at the age of 34, and was buried in Martinsart Cemetery at the Somme.

A. Neill served in 20th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles and died on Thursday 10th August 1916. He is buried at Blaris (Old) Graveyard where there are 5 Commonwealth burials of the 1914-18 war.

William Nelson served in 11th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles and lost his life on Saturday 1st July 1916. His death is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme.

Joseph Pentland served in 6th Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers and died on Sunday 15th August 1915 aged 35. He was the husband of Agnes Graham Pentland of Lisburn Street, Hillsborough and served in the South African War. His death is recorded on the Helles Memorial, Turkey.

Isaiah Singleton served in 1st Battalion of the Irish Guards and died on Sunday 1st November 1914 at the age of 23. He was the son of Isaiah and Mary Ann Singleton of Halftown, Maze. Death is recorded at Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

Joshua Singleton served on H.M.S. "Cressey", Royal Navy. His death at the age of 37 is recorded on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent. Joshua was the son of David and Eliza Jane Singleton of Halftown, Maze, and husband of Elizebeth Singleton of the same address.

The sinking of the Cressey marks one of the largest losses of crew in naval combat in World War One. During the early months of the war the Royal Navy maintained a patrol of old Cressy class armoured cruisers, known as Cruiser Force C, in the area of the North Sea known as the Broad Fourteens. There was an understanding that the ships were very vulnerable to raid by modern German surface ships and the patrol was nicknamed the "live bait squadron". They were maintained because the destroyers were not able to patrol in the frequent bad weather.

In the early hours of September 20th 1914 the cruisers Euryalus, Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy prepared to go on patrol under Rear Admiral Christian in HMS Euryalus. The weather was bad and the Euryalus dropped out due to lack of coal and weather damage to her wireless. Command was delegated to Captain Drummond in Aboukir, although it was not made clear to him that he had the authority to order the destroyers to sea if the weather improved, which it did at the end of 21st September.

Patrols were supposed to maintain 12-13 knots and zigzag, but the older cruisers were unable to maintain that speed and zigzagging was widely ignored. Early on 22nd September 1914 the German submarine U9 under the command of Commander Otto Weddigen sighted the Cressy, Aboukir and Hogue steaming NNE at 10 knots without zigzagging. U9 manoeuvred and at about 6.25 a.m. fired a single torpedo at Aboukir, striking her on the port side. Heavy flooding, listing and loss of engine power caused Captain Drummond to abandon ship. He thought the Aboukir had been mined and signalled the other two cruisers to assist, realising too late that it was a torpedo attack. Half an hour later two torpedos hit HMS Hogue amidships, rapidly flooding her engine room. Captain Nicholson of Hogue had stopped the ship to lower boats to rescue the crew of Aboukir. The ship was attacked from a range of only 300 yards. Ten minutes later the Hogue sank and the same fate was meted out to the Cressey. Cressy, under Captain Johnston, had also stopped to lower boats but got underway after sighting a periscope. At about 7.20 a.m. two torpedoes were fired, one missing and the other hitting the Cressy on her starboard side. The Cressy returned fire with no avail, and although the damage was not fatal the U9 turned round and fired her last torpedo that sank the Cressy within a quarter of an hour.

Survivors were picked by several merchant Dutch and British trawlers before the Harwich force of light cruisers and destroyers arrived. In all 837 men were rescued but 1459 died, many of which were reservists or cadets.

John, the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Smith of Eglantine, served in C. Coy. 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. He lost his life on Thursday 29th June 1916 at the age of 20. His grave is at Forceville Communal Cemetery and Extension, Somme, France.

T. Thompson served in 13th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles. He died at the age of 27 on 10th October 1917 and is buried at Wimereux Communal Cemetery Pas de Calais, France. His parents were Thomas and Mary Thompson of Hillsborough.

Rifleman Thomas VernerThomas Verner, the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Verner, Halftown, lost his life on Monday 28th October 1918 aged 27. He served in 12th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles and is buried at Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimillepas de Calais, France.

William Watson served in 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment. His death is recorded at the Thiepval memorial, Somme. He died on Sunday 3rd September 1916. One other local man, T. Watson, who served in the Royal Irish Rifles is also recorded. Unfortunately no information on him has come to hand. The Roll of Service in Eglantine Church names those who survived the action:

George Acheson William George McCoy
James Acheson George McLorn
Joseph Cheshire William Magill
Edmund Freel John Morgan
Francis Freel Robert Pentland
Stephen Gray Adam Pentland
Robert Hanna John Presha
William Hanna Alexander Robinson

Other local men known to serve King and Country were Jimmy McNally, Tom Kane, Nelson Hewitt, Herbert Lowry, Thomas Singleton and Wilson White, Snr.