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Photograph appeal for local WWI book

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AN Antrim man needs your help in finding photographs of six local soldiers who fought in the First World War.

Alvin McCaig, a member of Antrim Historical Society, is writing a book about the town and district during the 1914-18 conflict.

Hundreds of local men joined the colours before going into the trenches of the western front and other battlefields of the Great War.

Many made the ultimate sacrifice, including three young men who rose through the ranks to become lieutenants.

Edward Rupert Clarke was the of son Rev. Canon John Clarke of St Catherine’s Parish Church in Killead. The 24-year-old student was serving with the 9th King’s Royal Rifle Corps when he was killed in action during the Battle of Arras in April, 1917.

Albert Whiteside, the only son of High Street grocer Samuel Whiteside, took the path taken by most local UVF men in joining the 11thRoyal Irish Rifles (South Antrim Volunteers), which was part of the 36th Ulster Division.

Albert moved to 14th Royal Irish Rifles after becoming a lieutenant and he was just 21 when he was killed while leading his men at the Battle of Cambrai in December, 1917.

Muckamore man Jack Caton worked in the village’s York Street mills before moving to Railway Street in Antrim with his wife.

Jack also enlisted with 11th Royal Irish Rifles and was a sergeant in ‘C’ company along with Albert Whiteside.

He went on to serve with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a commissioned officer and was killed in March 1918 after the Germans launched their massive Spring offensive on the western front.

The other three soldiers survived the war and they include two men from Dunadry who won gallantry medals.

Joseph Cunningham was a sergeant with the 12th Royal Irish Rifles and he received the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions at Thiepval on 1 July, 1916.

John McAdam, a lieutenant with the Black Watch, was awarded the Military Cross after being wounded in the Third Battle of Ypres in July, 1917.

Music teacher Charles Lindop was organist at All Saints Parish Church and a popular performer on the piano at local events and also for English tourists who flocked to the town each summer.

Not surprisingly, he joined the 11th Royal Irish Rifles as a band-sergeant and he peformed a recital in a French cathedral when the battalion arrived at the front.

“I have information on all these six men but a photograph adds so much to their individual stories,” said Alvin.

“Most soldiers had a photograph taken when they enlisted and I’m hoping these are still in the possession of their families.

“Indeed, it can be any photo of the men, before they joined up or after the war for those who survived.

“I would also widen my appeal for photographs to all soldiers from the district who served, along with any photos or information relating to Antrim during the war.”

These men include: Antrim town -Andrew McKillop, James Ramsey, Robert Gordon, Arthur Clarke, Francis Lyttle, John Thompson, James Swann, James Adams, Alfred Molloy, George Moore, Hugh Duffin, James Millar, Hugh Parker, Hugh Lowry.

Muckamore: William Beattie, Henry Renshaw, Joseph Harvey, Thomas Jeffrey, Frederick Williamson, Samuel McIvor, David Glover, David McGrath, William S. Campbell and William Kirkwood.

Dunadry/Loanends: John McIlwaine, Thomas McIlwaine, Robert Bell, George Green, Robert Devlin.

Dungonnell/Killead: Thomas Cummings, Robert Adams, James Megarry.

Milltown/Edenduff: Joseph Cunningham, Hugh Hannon.

If you can help please phone Alvin on 07525 841600 or email: alfylfc@hotmail.co.uk

 

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