Author Topic: South Belfast Volunteers in the Great War  (Read 88766 times)

acheux_rifleman

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Re: South Belfast Volunteers in the Great War
« Reply #165 on: July 01, 2007, 05:10:26 PM »

Those brave men....

Rfn William Sanderson, 17/710, was posted as missing in action on this date. William had been born at Ballymacarrett, County Down and had enlisted to the 17th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles at Belfast. His remains were never recovered from where he fell, and he was confirmed by the War Office in June 1917, as having been killed in action on the 1st July 1916. A notice from his family appeared in the Belfast Telegraph on the 30th June 1917. It read “Sanderson – in loving memory of my dearly-beloved son Rifleman William Sanderson (No. 17/710), killed in action on the 1st July, 1916. ‘Friends may forget him, but mother will never, he will dwell in my heart till life’s journey is done. Lord, teach us to live that when our days are ended, we’ll be met at the Gates by our dear hero son.’ Deeply regretted by his loving mother, 44 Tavanagh Street. Also his brother Martin, and sister and brother-in-law, Mary and J Thompson.” William is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, pier and face 15a and 15b.
Initially reported as having been wounded by the Belfast Telegraph on the 29th June 1916, Sjt Thomas Frankland Saye, 10/13533, was subsequently reported as having been killed in action on the 1st July 1916. The intial report stated “The following Belfastmen, most of whom are in the Ulster Divison battalions of the Royal Irish Rifles, are reported wounded in last evening’s official list, in addition to a large number already notified unofficially in our columns: Sergeant T. Saye.” Thomas must have recovered sufficiently from his wounds to return to his Battalion for the forthcoming offensive, with which he was then listed as having been killed in action. On the first anniversary of his death, the Belfast Telegraph of the 2nd July 1917, published a notice from his family. It reported “Saye – in loving memory of Sergeant T. F. Saye (No. 13533), 10th Batt. R.I.R. (Ulster Division), killed in action on the 1st July, 1916, third and dearly-beloved son of Edward and Mary Saye. Ever remembered by his loving father, mother, brothers, and sisters. 62 Donegall Pass.” Thomas had been born at Widnes, Lancashire, and had enlisted at Belfast. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, pier and face 15a and 15b.
Rfn David Shanks, 10/13477, is reported as having been killed in action, aged 35 years. He was the son of Mr. George and Mrs. Lizzie Shanks, of Ballyboley, County Down and the husband of Mrs Susan Shanks, of 215 Chambers Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. David had been born at Ballyboley and had enlisted at Belfast. His remains were never recovered from the battlefield and he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, pier and face 15a and 15b.
The death in action on this date, of Rfn Robert Skillen, 10/13491, is recorded in the Belfast Telegraph of the 2nd July 1917. The notice reads “Skillen – in sad and loving memory of my dear husband, Pte. Robert Skillen, 10th R.I.R., killed in action on July 1, 1916. Deeply regretted by his sorrowing wife and five children, Annetta Skillen. 59 Spruce Street.” Robert’s father, David, also included a notice in the same edition. It reads “Skillen – in loving memory of my dearly-beloved son, Rifleman Robert Skillen, who was killed in action on 1st July, 1916. ‘We little though when he left home, that he would ne’er return; that he so soon in death would sleep, and leave us here to mourn.’ Deeply regretted by his father, stepmother, sisters and brother (the latter on active service). – 18 Posnett Street.”  Robert had been born at and enlisted at Belfast. He is recorded as residing with Annette and his children at 10 Ebor Street, Donegall Avenue, Belfast. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, pier and face 15a and 15b. He was 26 years of age when he met his death in action.
Cpl George Smyth, 10/15952, reported as missing in action on this date, whilst attached to the the 107th Trench Mortar Battery. George was born at Shankill, County Antrim and enlisted at Belfast. On the first anniversary of George being reported as missing, an anonymous notice appeared in the Belfast Telegraph. Using the poignent words of Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘For the Fallen’ it reports “Smyth – in proud and loving rememberence of Corporal George Smyth (15952), 107/1 Trench Mortar Battery, missing since 1st July, 1916. ‘At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember him.” George was subsequently confirmed by the War Office as having fallen on the 1st July 1916. He has no known grave, his remains lying where he fell. He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, pier and face 15a and 15b.
Rfn Robert Thompson, 10/16017, was wounded in action on the afternoon of the 1st July 1916. He had excelled during the fighting and was recognised for his gallantry with the subsequent award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions. The award was notified in the London Gazette on the 26th September 1916, the citation reading “For conspicuous gallantry during operations. When his platoon had suffered severely by the explosion of a mortar shell, he rallied his men and led them forward with great gallantry. On the same afternoon he acted as a runner, and went backward and forwards over ‘No Mans Land’, a distance of 300 yds., three times under very heavy fire until he was eventually wounded.”
Sjt Samuel Torrens, 10/13741, is reported as having been killed in action on this date. Samuel was born at Shankill, County Antrim, and enlisted at Belfast. His remains were never recovered from the battlefield and he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, pier and face 15a and 15b.
Rfn William Totton, 10/13742, was reported as missing in action on this date, and was later confirmed by the War Office as having been killed in action on 1st July 1916. William was 21 years of age when he died and is recorded as the son of Mr. William and Mrs. Charlotte Totton, 13 Riversdale Street, Shankill Road, Belfast. He was born and enlisted in the town. On the first anniversary of his death, his parents posted a notice in the Belfast Telegraph. It reads “Totton – in ever-loving memory of Rifleman W. Totton, killed in action on July 1st, 1916, eldest and dearly-loved son of William and Charlotte Totton, and Grandson of the late Isaac Totton. ‘Good-bye, good-bye; parting was bitter pain; but courage bids us struggle on, until we meet again.’” William was a member of No. 5 District L.O.L., and is remembered on the District’s memorial chair in the Sandy Row Orange Hall. William has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, pier and face 15a and 15b.
Lieut Alexander Wallace, is reported in the Battalion War Diary as having been wounded in action. Further confirmation of Alexander’s wounding was reported by the Belfast Telegraph on the 7th July 1916. The notice reads “Wounded. Sec.-Lieut. A. Wallace, R.I.R., 79 Eglantine Avenue, Belfast (South Belfast Volunteers), wounded”. Further on in the same edition, biographical notes on Alexander report “Lieutenant A. Wallace. Lieutenant A. Wallace, who is suffering from shell shock is a son of Mrs. R. G. Wallace, 79 Eglantine Avenue, and is a nephew of Mr. James Wallace, of Kirk & Partners, Donegall Square North. He is an officer in the South Belfast Regiment, and is assistant adjutant of the Battalion.” Alexander was to make a full recovery, returning to the Battalion and subsequently being promoted to the rank of Captain in February 1918. He signed the Ulster Covenant at the City Hall, September 1912, citing 79 Eglantine Avenue as his residence at that time.
Rfn John Watson, 10/1427, was killed in action, aged 19 years. He was the son of the late Mrs. Sarah Jane and Mr. Edward Watson, of 46 Combermere Street, Belfast. John had been born at Shankill, County Antrim, and enlisted at Belfast. On the 2nd July 1917, the Belfast Telegraph recorded John’s death through notices from the family circle. The first reads “Watson – in loving memory of my dear son, Private John Watson (1427), 10th Batt. Royal Irish Rifles, killed in action July 1, 1916. Deeply regretted. Edward and Annie Watson, 46 Combermere Street.” Another notice, in the same edition records “Watson – in loving memory of our dear brother, Private John Watson (1427), 10th Batt. Royal Irish Rifles, killed in action in July 1, 1916; also our dear mother, who passed away July 1, 1901; and the latter was interred in Blaris Cemetery. ‘Blessed hope that in Jesus is given, in our sorrow to cheer and sustain, that soon with our Saviour in heaven, we shall meet with our loved ones again.’ Ever remembered by Jennie, Annie, Minnie and Edward Watson, 97 Donegall Road.” John’s remains were recovered and finally interred at Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval, in plot I, row A, grave number 18. His headstone inscription reads “He died that we might live.”
Rfn James Watson, 14/6604, was reported as missing in action on this date. He was subsequently confirmed by the War Office as having been killed in action, 1st July 1916. James’s remains were never recovered from where he fell, and he has no known grave. He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, pier and face 15a and 15b. James is recorded as having been born at Shankill, County Antrim and as having enlisted at Belfast.
Rfn Thomas Watson, 10/16083, was reported as missing in action, and then subsequently confirmed as having been killed in action on this date by the War Office, July 1917. Thomas lived at 17 Houston Street, Ballyhackamore, Belfast, and had previously been a member of the South Belfast Regiment, U.V.F. Confirmation of his death appeared in the Belfast Telegraph on the 13th July 1917, following the notification from the War Office. “Watson – missing since July 1st, 1916, now officially reported killed on that date, 16083, Private Thomas Watson, R.I.R., beloved son of Minnie and the late James Watson. ‘It is hard to be a mother and see her loved one go, to a distant land, to take his stand, against a cruel foe, it is hard to be a mother, yet though our poor hearts break, we’ll smile with the rest and give our best, for King and Country’s sake.’ Deeply regretted by his sorrowing mother, sister, and brothers. Isabella, Herbert, and Bobbie (the latter serving with A.S.C., M.T.) 17 Houston Street, Ballyhackamore.” The next notice, from his aunt and uncle reads “Watson – missing since July 1st, 1916, now officially reported killed on that date, 16083, Private Thomas Watson, R.I.R. ‘Sleep on, dear Tom, in your unknown grave, your life for your country you nobly gave; no loved one stood near to say good-bye, but in God’s keeping safe you lie.’ Deeply regretted by his aunt and uncle, Agnes and David McIlvenny (the latter serving with the Colours). 17 Houston Street.” Another aunt, who lived in the adjoining house, also remembered Tom in this edition; “Watson – missing since July 1st, 1916, now officially reported killed on that date,  16083, Private Thomas Watson, R.I.R. ‘Midst the battles awful din, with firm resolve to die or win, a credit to his uniform, our hero fell and so we mourn. For he who called him from the battle has given him his beloved sleep.’ Deeply regretted by his aunt and cousin, M. Skillen, Bella Galbraith. 15 Houston Street, Ballyhackamore. American papers please copy.” A photograph of Tom appears in a subsequent edition of the same newspaper, 23rd August 1917. The caption reads “Rifleman T. Watson, Royal Irish Rifles, 17 Houston Street, Ballyhackamore, killed.” Thomas had been born at Belfast and enlisted at Belfast, giving Ballyhackamore as his place of residence upon enlistment. His remains were never recovered from the place where he fell, and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, pier and face 15a and 15b. He is further remembered for making the ‘supreme sacrifice’ on the memorial chair in Sandy Row Orange Hall, where he was a member of No. 5 District L.O.L.
Rfn William Webster, 10/13827, is reported as having been killed in action whilst attached to the 11th (Service) Battalion (South Antrim Volunteers). William was born at Belfast and enlisted in the town. His remains were located and interred at the Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval, in plot II, row B, grave number 3.
2nd Lieut Eric Maurice Wilson, the son of the Reverend William and Mrs. Rosalie S. Wilson, of L’Abri, Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh, is reported as having been killed in action, aged 20 years. Eric had been commissioned to the 17th (Reserve) Battalion from the Queen’s Univerity O.T.C., and was attached to the South Belfast Volunteers. He had attended Queen’s University of Belfast’s Faculty of Arts from 1914 until 1915, and appears on the University’s ‘Roll of Honour’. Although Eric’s death had been witnessed, his remains were never recovered from the battlefield. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, pier and face 15a and 15b. Eric’s photograph appeared in the Belfast Telegraph on the 13th July 1916, with the caption “Sec.-Lieut. E. M. Wilson, Monaghan (South Belfast Volunteers), killed.”
Rfn George Wilson, 10/542, who was born at Armagh and who enlisted at Belfast, is reported as having been killed in action. Upon enlistment, George gave his residence as being Riverstown, County Sligo. He has no known grave and is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, pier and face 15a and 15b.
Rfn William Wilson, 10/13872, is reported as missing in action. William was subsequently confirmed as having been killed in action on this date by the War Office, August 1917. The Belfast Telegraph of the 13th August 1917, relayed the confirmation of William’s death. Notices were placed by the family circle and friends – the first one from his mother; “Wilson – missing since 1st July, 1916, now reported killed on or since that date, 13872, Private William Wilson, Royal Irish Rifles, second and dearly beloved son of Rebecca and the late William Wilson. ‘When alone in my sorrow and bitter tears flow, there stealth a dream of sweet long ago; unknown to the world he stands by my side, and whispers these words, “Death cannot divide”.’ Deeply regretted by his sorrowing mother, sisters and brother (the latter on active service). Rebecca Wilson, 12 Apsley Street.” A second notice appeared in this edition from the “Apprentice Boys of Derry – No Surrender Club – Belfast Branch. Wilson – The Officers and Members of above club deeply regret to learn of the death of our respected Brother, William Wilson, who has been killed in action. Chas. Curry, President. Val Harrison, Secretary.” William was 23 years of age when he died, the Imperial War Graves Commission recording him as the son of Mrs. Rebecca Wilson of 27 Dever Street. He had been born at Shankill, County Antrim and had enlisted at Belfast. William’s body was never found and he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, pier and face 15a and 15b.

Lest We Forget.

Acheux Rifleman.

We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further - it may be
Beyond the last blue mountain barred with snow,
Across that angry or t

acheux_rifleman

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1st July 1916
« Reply #166 on: July 01, 2007, 05:28:01 PM »
Amazing Acheux, thanks, put me down for a signed copy when the book is ready.
   My grand uncle John Copeland would have been thereabouts and aged about 30 at the time.I believe he was with the Inniskilling Fusiliers.
    Fabulous reading, and thanks for sharing it with us, G.

Hi G and many thanks for your comments.

Your Great Uncle, 11391, Sjt John Copeland, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, would have certainly been in the thick of it. The Skins were tasked to take A and B lines and consolidate with an attack on the heavily fortified 'Crucifix'.

Brave men all....

Acheux.

We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further - it may be
Beyond the last blue mountain barred with snow,
Across that angry or t

giannineo

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Re: South Belfast Volunteers in the Great War
« Reply #167 on: July 01, 2007, 05:34:14 PM »
Cheers Acheux, John Copeland are my christian names. and named after the great man himself.I believe his brother James was there as well.
    Thanks for the info , I did not realise he was a sgt.

acheux_rifleman

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1st July 1916
« Reply #168 on: July 01, 2007, 05:38:04 PM »
Hi G.

No worries.

Good to see his name lives on. James served as 7638, Fusilier James Copeland. Judging by his service number, he was with one of the Regular Battalions.

Best Wishes,

Acheux.

We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further - it may be
Beyond the last blue mountain barred with snow,
Across that angry or t

giannineo

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Re: South Belfast Volunteers in the Great War
« Reply #169 on: July 01, 2007, 05:55:52 PM »
Thanks again for info re James.James would come back to Belfast many times and my mother ,aunt and he laid wreaths at the City Hall Cenotaph in memory of the 36th. Ulster division.John later became a cavalry man with the Canadian Army,served on troop convoys to and from
 Canada, was on the Queen Mary(or maybe Elizabeth ) when it sliced  another ship in two,he trained men and horses for the Canadian Cavalry ...we have a very old photo in the family of him astride a horse with a uniform similar to the Household Cavalry. He was a well known and popular figure in Toronto for years when he was Commissionaire at Maceys or Etons store(Etons I think)..
    John had a commendation when a vessel he was on was torpedoed...he plugged the leak with his derriere long enough for the vessel to stop taking in too much water and rescue from another vessel arrived..
             

acheux_rifleman

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Somme anniversary.
« Reply #170 on: July 01, 2007, 10:00:38 PM »
I have posted most of my details on the 10th Rifles for the 1st July 1916.

As there is so much information, the thread extends back a couple of pages. Just making those who may be interested aware as the info is not apparent unless you go back.

Brave men. Lest We Forget.

Acheux.
We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further - it may be
Beyond the last blue mountain barred with snow,
Across that angry or t

acheux_rifleman

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Somme 1916
« Reply #171 on: July 02, 2007, 07:14:43 PM »
2nd July 1916

Out of the Battalion strength of nearly 900 that went 'over the top' the previous day, all that remained of the Battalion at roll-call on the morning of 2nd July, exclusive of Battalion Headquarters Company, was 2 Officers, 1 Company Serjeant Major, 3 Serjeants and 83 other ranks.

Lest We Forget.

Acheux.
We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further - it may be
Beyond the last blue mountain barred with snow,
Across that angry or t

twocoats

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Re: Somme 1916
« Reply #172 on: July 02, 2007, 07:31:53 PM »
2nd July 1916

Out of the Battalion strength of nearly 900 that went 'over the top' the previous day, all that remained of the Battalion at roll-call on the morning of 2nd July, exclusive of Battalion Headquarters Company, was 2 Officers, 1 Company Serjeant Major, 3 Serjeants and 83 other ranks.

Lest We Forget.

Acheux.

To the Fallen.


Keep up the good work Acheux.
Coats
Homophobia, racism, sexism, bigotry and sectarianism is still alive..

twocoats

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Re: Somme 1916
« Reply #173 on: July 02, 2007, 07:33:07 PM »
2nd July 1916

Out of the Battalion strength of nearly 900 that went 'over the top' the previous day, all that remained of the Battalion at roll-call on the morning of 2nd July, exclusive of Battalion Headquarters Company, was 2 Officers, 1 Company Serjeant Major, 3 Serjeants and 83 other ranks.

Lest We Forget.

Acheux.

I guess the Battle will go on for the next few days.
Homophobia, racism, sexism, bigotry and sectarianism is still alive..

acheux_rifleman

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Re: Somme 1916
« Reply #174 on: July 02, 2007, 08:56:02 PM »

To the Fallen.


Keep up the good work Acheux.
Coats

Hi TC and thanks for the continued support and interest.

We must remember that the 10th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles was only one of 12 Infantry Battalions that made up the Ulster Division. In addition, there was the 16th (Pioneer) Battalion, three Field Companies of the Royal Engineers, a Service Squadron of the Inniskilling Dragoons, the 36th Divisional Train of the Army Service Corps, the 36th Divisional Signal Company, the Divisional Cyclist Company, the three Brigade Field Ambulance's and the 76th Sanitary Section and the 48th Mobile Veterinary Section. These combined units formed the Ulster Division, and all, particularly the Infantry Battalions suffered the same fate as the South Belfast Volunteers on that day.

Lest We Forget,

Acheux.

We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further - it may be
Beyond the last blue mountain barred with snow,
Across that angry or t

Hendy

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Re: South Belfast Volunteers in the Great War
« Reply #175 on: July 07, 2007, 10:51:38 AM »
Hi all.

I am currently writing a book and compiling a nominal roll of all the men who either served with the South Belfast Regiment of the Ulster Volunteer Force, or the 10th (Service) Battalion (South Belfast Volunteers), Royal Irish Rifles, who fought in the Great War as part of the 107th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division.

Their recruitment area covered Lisburn Road up to Balmoral, Fountainville, Sandy Row, Donegall Road, Ormeau Road, Donegall Pass, Great Victoria Street, Broadway, Malone - although men did come into the Battalion from all over Ireland.

I have over 1400 names (original Battalion members plus alot of Englishmen who came over to the Battalion following the massacre at the Somme), with alot of photos and biographical notes.

This labour of love has taken over 4 years so far and I hope to publish next year. I don't want to miss any men out, so am after any recollections, photos, documents etc - either for loan, to have a look at or a copy of, or to buy (although would rather items stayed with the families - but end of the day, better off with an enthusiast than in the back of a drawer!!)

Both my Great Grandfathers served with this Battalion - only one came back.

The main reason I am compiling this roll is to preserve the memory of the men who fought, endured, suffered and made the ultimate sacrifice in the 3 years the Battalion existed. Most of their service records were destroyed during WW2 when the records office was hit by an incendiary bomb during an air raid, so no archive exists.

If you have anything at all, or even if you are unsure of your relatives service, feel free to get in touch and I'll do a quick check.

Many thanks for having a look at my first post!!

Lest We Forget....

Acheux Rifleman.

Acheux, not long back from my annual pilgrimage to the Somme but before I went I bought a book from a second hand shop. The book was called "The first Day on The Somme" by Martin Middlebrook first published in 1971. He did loads of interviews with survivors of the 36th Div, some them from the South, West & East Belfast Volunteers. Thought you might glean some info from it. ISBN 0-14-017134-7

acheux_rifleman

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Re: South Belfast Volunteers in the Great War
« Reply #176 on: July 07, 2007, 11:26:17 PM »
Many thanks for that Hendy. I'll certainly source a copy of this book as I don't recall having read this one yet. All info is greatly recieved.

Just like to take this opportunity to thank andy from the BF for all the additional info and the photographs that he sent on Robert Anderson M.M., 10th (Service) Battalion (South Belfast Vounteers), who was taken as prisoner of war. Remarkable man.

Also to Bamzooki for the cracking copy of the "South Antrim Volunteers - from Bordon to Thiepval". Forever indebted to you and will certainly get you one or four if we get the chance to meet in September.

A very many thanks once again.

Acheux.

We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further - it may be
Beyond the last blue mountain barred with snow,
Across that angry or t

RabRow

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Re: South Belfast Volunteers in the Great War
« Reply #177 on: July 08, 2007, 01:19:26 PM »
Acheux, not long back from my annual pilgrimage to the Somme but before I went I bought a book from a second hand shop. The book was called "The first Day on The Somme" by Martin Middlebrook first published in 1971. He did loads of interviews with survivors of the 36th Div, some them from the South, West & East Belfast Volunteers. Thought you might glean some info from it. ISBN 0-14-017134-7

I think there is a Leslie Bell mentioned in that book. I met him at the Somme. He was staying at the same hotel as us. Great wee man.

Sunnyhill

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Re: South Belfast Volunteers in the Great War
« Reply #178 on: July 29, 2007, 02:47:11 PM »
Hi there Sunnyhill.

Just wondering if any of your Cassell's lived on Donegall Avenue at any time?

I have a bit of info on my roll about a Rifleman, 17/1032, Samuel Cassells, who died as a result of wounds received in action, whilst serving with the South Belfast Volunteers in the Great War. His entry on the roll has alot of elaboration - also mentions William and Mary Jane Cassells - his parents - and the fact that he also had a brother (don't suppose this would be Francis's sibling??).

Alot more info available, including an account of his death, his funeral, his obituary and a photograph of the poor chap and one of his grave in France.

Let me know if you think he is one of yours and I'll post the additional information.

Best Wishes,

Acheux.


Thanks again for this - I sent your information to one of his nephews and is much appreciated despite my foggy memory.
David
CASSELLS [ANNALOISTE, LURGAN, DUNMURRY, BELFAST]
HAYES [KILLINCHY, DOWN, BELFAST]
CAMPBELL  
SAULTERS

Hendy

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Re: South Belfast Volunteers in the Great War
« Reply #179 on: July 29, 2007, 03:40:04 PM »
I think there is a Leslie Bell mentioned in that book. I met him at the Somme. He was staying at the same hotel as us. Great wee man.
Pte Leslie Bell was badly wounded, he was with the Derry Volunteers, he recovered and returned to live in Moneymore