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The Great War -- In Memoriam

The following information is extracted from "History of Islandmagee" by Dixon Donaldson (1927)

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It has not been found possible to enlarge upon the story of service and sacrifice that stands to the credit of Islandmagee in this brief notice. Over 200 men and boys served, in one capacity or another, at sea throughout the period of the Great War. Most of these were attached to the Mercantile Marine; a number saw more active duty on special services under the Admiralty, and several had the honour of being in action on H.M. Ships in various encounters with the enemy fleets in the North Sea and elsewhere.

The dogged perseverance of the British Mercantile Marine has been acknowledged as not the least of the .causes that contributed to the ultimate triumph of the Allies. Many hair-breadth escapes can be told by survivors of shipwreck by mine or submarine, but the details of such incidents would be beyond the scope of the present work.

Of about twenty-five who responded to the call to join the Army, sixteen, at least, are known to have made the supreme in action, or disease contracted during service.

As far as it has been found possible to get information, the following list is compiled to the memory of those who gave their lives for King and Country.

Pro Patria Mortui.

Browne, John. Age 39. Master of s.s. "Strathnearn" which was sunk by enemy submarine on the 12th or 13th June, 1915, on passage from Cardiff to Archangel, after making several successful runs with ammunition from North America. Son of the late Thomas and Mary Browne (nee M'Kee), of Loughford House; and husband of Lizzie Browne (Morton), Knock, Belfast; brother of William Browne, Loughford House, Islandmagee.
Busby, James. Age 32. Master of s.s. "Buffalo." Ship sunk by mine or torpedo on passage from Ayr to Dundalk, on 13th September, 1918. Son of John Connolly and Isabella Busby (Colville), of Kilcoan; husband of Margaret Wilson, Whitehouse (Kilcoan).
Busby, Samuel. Age 26. Mate of s.s. "Buffalo." Brother of the foregoing, and lost on the same occasion. Husband of Anna Matilda Quaite, Gransha.
Caldwell, Samuel. Master Mariner. Age 40. Second officer, s.s, "Teelin Head." Sunk by mine or torpedo on voyage from Belfast to France, on 21st January, 1918. Husband of Mary Davison, Ballykeel.
Cameron, James. Age 32. Fireman, s.s. "Bray Head," shelled by submarine in Atlantic Ocean, 14th March, 1917. In boat which perished with part of crew after leaving ship. Son of William and Ann Jane Cameron, of Blackhead (Castletown); husband of Lizzie Brennan, of Carrickfergus.
Cameron, William. Age 27. Fireman, s.s. "Glen Sheik," sunk by mine or torpedo in English Channel, 18th December, 1917. Brother of the foregoing, and husband of Rachel Haggan, of Carrickfergus.
Creswell, John Leonard. Age 23. Chief engineer, s.s. "Huntsmoor," sunk by mine or torpedo in the English Channel, 20th February, 1918. Son of the late William Creswell, Kirkliston Drive, Belfast, and Eliza Jane Creswell (Thompson), of Islandmagee.
Dick, William. Age 31. A.B., s.s. "Daleby," sunk by submarine action in the Irish Sea, 29th April, 1917. Son of the late Thomas and Elizabeth Dick, Mullaghboy; brother of Mrs. Hugh Wilson, Ballymuldrough, with whom he resided.
Donald, Edward. Age 25. A.B., H.M.T. "Adriatic," lost by enemy action in November, 1916. Son of Robert Henry and Mary Donald (Dick), Ballymoney; husband of Jessie Smith, Kilcoan.
Donald, Hugh. Age 25. A.B., s.s. "Nyanza," torpedoed in North Channel (position about ten miles opposite the residence of his parents), on 29th September, 1918. Brother of the foregoing, and husband of Alice Elizabeth Donald, of Cardiff.
Donnell, John. Age 26. Pte. R.I. Fusiliers, Machine Gun Section. Killed at Cambrai, 24th January, 1918. Son of Patrick and Annie Donnell, Templefin; and husband of Mary Wallace. Interred in Bt. Cemetery, St. Emly Valley, France.
Duff, James. Age 25. A.B., s.s. "Teelin Head," sunk by mine or torpedo on voyage from Belfast to France, on 21st January, 1918. Son of James and Elizabeth Duff (Wilson), Pebble Cottage, Ballykeel.
Donleavy. William Stephen. Age 26. A.B., H.M.T. "Bendigo," ex "Ben Lomond," sunk by submarine action off Kinsale on 7th July, 1918. Son of the late George and Cathleen Donleavy, Ferris' Point Lighthouse, and Ballylumford Cottage. Brother of Mrs. Barlowe, 24 Station Road, Larne.
Ferguson, George. Age 35. Leading-Signaller, R.N.R. Called up on the outbreak of war. A volunteer on the landing expedition to Antwerp. Taken prisoner, and interned for the duration of hostilities. On returning home his constitution was found to have suffered from confinement. After a rest he rejoined the Merchant Service, but health gave way and he was put into hospital at Wellington, N.Z., from whence he was sent to Greenwich Naval Hospital, where he died on the 13th January, 1922. Interred at Shooters' Hill Cemetery with Military Honours. Son of John Ferguson (master mariner), and the late Jenny Ferguson (nee Kane).
Hanvey, John. Age 25. L/c. 12th Batt. R.I.R. Killed at battle of the Somme, 1st July, 1916. Son of the late William and of Agnes Hanvey (M'Kay), Erection Cottage, Ballyharry.
Hawthorne, James. Age 30. Chief steward, M.F.A. "Whitehead." Killed in action with submarine in Mediterranean, 15th October, 1917. Son of John and Susan Hawthorne, Channel View, Mullaghdubh.
Hill, Nelson. Age 22. A.B., H.M.T. "Donegal," sunk by enemy action in English Channel, 17th April, 1917. Son of the late Thomas and Mary Hill (Ross) Bogside.
Hill, William. Age 39. Pte. Australian I. Force. Died, from the result of wounds received in action, at Sydney, N.S.W., on 21st April, 1919. Son of the late William and Mary Hill, Knowehead; husband of Alice Black.
Hill, Samuel George. Lieut. R.N.V.R. Killed in action in the Adriatic Sea on 12th April, 1917. Interred in the British Cemetery at Taranto. Son of the late Thomas Hill, formerly of Hillhead, Mullaghdubh; husband of Evelyn Sturgeon Mills. The last of the male line of the Hill family of Hillhead, Mullaghdubh.
Hill, James. Age 27. A.B. on M.F.A. "Divis," attached to the Grand Fleet. Died in hospital at Rosyth Naval base all 28th November, 1918. Son of John and Margaret Hill (Mann), Hillsport.
Hoy, John Curry. Age 41. Master of the s.s. "Bray Head." Ship shelled and sunk by submarine in the Atlantic, 580 miles west of Blasket Islands (Co Kerry) on 11th March, 1917. Son of the late Joseph and Mary Isabel Hoy (M'Larnon), and brother of the Misses Hoy, Port Davey. Husband of Margaret Brown Gibb, since deceased; survived by one son, now an apprentice on s.s. "Rathlin Head," and a daughter, who reside with their relatives at Port Davey.

The s.s. "Bray Head" was on voyage from St. John's, N.B., to the U.K., and was attacked on Wednesday evening of the date mentioned, at 6-30 o'clock. The only gun carried by the ship was a three-pounder, in charge of two marines, but Captain Hoy personally took charge and served the piece until the ammunition failed. The action lasted for two hours, when it was found the ship was on fire; and following a destructive explosion, officers and crew, numbering thirty-eight, took to the two life-boats and stood by until the ship went down. Making a course for the Irish coast, the boats kept in touch with each other until, on the second night, during a rising wind and sea, they became separated, and the captain's, with its complement of nineteen men, appears to have foundered, as it never afterwards was heard of. Besides the master of the ship, three others belonging to Islandmagee were lost in the ill-fated boat. The other boat, in charge of the chief officer, was picked up by the light cruiser "Adventure," on the following Sunday morning, after: drifting and sailing for almost four days, and landed at Galway. Two of the occupants of this boat had died from exposure. Amongst the survivors were the 3rd officer, William Henderson, of Cloghfin; and the boatswain, William Wilson, of Mullaghdubh.
Jackson, John M'Calmont. Age 22. Pte. 25th Batt. Australia I. Force. Killed in France on 11th January, 1918. Son of James Jackson (master mariner), Gransha, and his first wife, Esther Hill.
Jackson, James. Age 35. Pte. N.Z.E.F., in France. Severely wounded and gassed, from the result of which he died in the Military Hospital, Wellington, N.Z., on the 11th June, 1927. a brother of the foregoing
Johnston, Alexander. Age 16. A.B., s.s. "War Clover," lost by enemy action in the Mediterranean, on 19th October, 1917. Son of Mrs. Elizabeth Johnston (Holmes), Maple Cottage, Ballykeel, and the late George Johnston. (see next entry.)
Johnston, George. Age 47. Seaman. Accidentally drowned at Drogheda on 15th April, 1915. Son of the late William and Mary Johnston, Copeland View; Husband of Elizabeth Johnston (Holmes) Maple Cottage, Ballykeel. Father of the foregoing.
Jones, John. Age 34. Fireman, s.s. "Teelin Head," sunk by mine or torpedo on voyage from Belfast to France on 21st January, 1918. Son of Mrs. Mary Jones, Ballymoney, and the late Andrew Jones.
Kane, James Macaulay. Age 19. 4th officer, s.s. "Bray Head," sunk by submarine action in the Atlantic, on 15th March, 1917; in boat which foundered after leaving the ship. Son of John Kane (master mariner), "The Heughs," Mullaghdubh, and the late Kate Kane (nee Macauley). Grandson of Mrs. Sarah J. Macauley, Thornhill, Mullaghdubh, with whom he resided.
Kerr, David. Age 36. L/c. 18th R.I.R. Died in military hospital, Boulogne, on 17th December, 1916. Son of David and Mary A. Kerr (M'Calmont), "Vohmar," Mullaghboy.
M'Calmont, Alexander. Age 31. N.C.O., 18th Batt. Canadians. Died in hospital at Boulogne, from wounds received in action, 11th June, 1918. Son of Alexander M'Calmont, Portmuck, and the late Eliza Jane M'Calmont (Colville); husband of Rose M'Calmont (nee M'Manus), of Thamesville, Ontario, Canada.
M'Cafferty, Thomas. Pte. 12th R.I.R. (Ulster Division). Killed in action at the Somme, 1st July, 1916. Husband of Annie M'Cafferty, Drumgurland.
Macaulay, Robert. Age 43. Master of h.m.b. "Glenarm Head," torpedoed in the English Channel, 20 miles E.S.E. of Ower's Lightship, on 5th January, 1918. Captain Macauley remained alone on the bridge of the sinking ship after ordering the officers and crew to the boats. On seeing these safely launched and waiting alongside, he was about to leave his post when an explosion took place, taking ship and captain to their doom.

Son of Mrs. Sarah Jane Macauley (nee Johnston) and the late James Macauley; husband of Margaret Jane Matier, of "Thornhill," Mullaghdubh. Left six boys.
Macready, Oscar. Age 21. Captain, 16th Batt. (Pioneers) R.I.R. (Ulster Division) Killed at Bapaume on 2nd December, 1917. Interred at Grevillers Cemetery, near Bapaume. Twice mentioned in Dispatches for heroic services. Son of the Rev. H. H. and Mrs. Macready, The Manse. Left a widow and one boy.
M'Kay, Hugh. Age 42. Quarter Master on s.s. H.M.T. "Polandia," lost, supposed by mine or torpedo, on 10th March, 1917, on voyage from Birkenhead to Cherburg. Son of the late Andrew and Eliza M'Kay (Barron) of "Ferndene," Kilcoan.
M'Kay, William. Age 47. Chief engineer, s.s. "Sallagh," killed by gun-fire from submarine, off Bardsey Island (Wales), on 10th February, 1917. Son of William and Jennie M'Kay (Wright), "New Church," and husband of Margaret Jane Jackson, Erection Cottage, Ballyharry.
M'Larnon, Patrick. Age 36. Boatswain, s.s., "War Clover," torpedoed off Bizarte, Mediterranean Sea, on 19th December, 1917. Formerly of Cloghfin, Islandmagee. Husband of Catherine M'Larnon, Adelaide Avenue, Whitehead.
M'Master, John. Age 17. Seaman, s.s. "Innishowen Head," torpedoed in Bristol Channel on 14th February, 1917. The officers and crew had time to man the boats in safety, the only casualty occurring through the ship lurching as this young lad dropped down the "davit-fall" to reach his shipmates waiting in the boat below. Son of William M'Master (master mariner) and his wife, Jane Ross Jackson, Pointview House, Gransha.
Mawhinney, Andrew. Age 18¾. L/c. Irish Guards. Killed at Ypres on 31st July, 1917. Son of the late William and Abby Mawhinney (Orr), of Ballypriormore.
Nicol, Thomas Falconer. Age 23. Pte. 2nd H.L.I. Killed at Richburg on 18th May, 1915. Son of James and Agnes Nicol, of Knowehead House, Kilcoan.
Nicholson, John. Cpl., 9th Army Cyclist Corps. Killed in action at Loos, on 27th September, 1915. Only Son of John Nicholson, printer, Church Lane, Belfast. Husband of Margaret Duff, Gransha. Had resided at Islandmagee some years before joining the Colours
Ross, George. Age 31. Chief officer, s.s. "Teelin Head," torpedoed in the English Channel on 21st January, 1918. Son of Mrs. Mary Ross and the late Robert Ross, formerly of Gransha, Islandmagee. Husband of Eva M'Kee, Woodvale Avenue, Belfast. Brother of Mrs. Samuel Shanks, Redhall.
Ross, John. Age 85. Lc.-Cpl., 1st London Regiment. Killed in action near Arras on 28th March, 1918. Son of Robert and Mary Jane Ross, Ballymoney, Islandmagee.
Ross, William Samuel Baird. Age 23. Second-Lieutenant, 15th Batt (N. Belfast) R.I. Rifles. Fell leading his men against an attack of the enemy at St. Quentin on the 21st March, 1918. Son of James Ross (retired ship-master), and his wife Rebecca G. Baird, Gainsborough Drive, Belfast, and formerly of Portmuck, Islandmagee, where the subject of the memoir was born.
Steele, Robert George. Age 43. Lieut. R.N.R. In command of H.M.T. "Polandia," sunk by mine or enemy action on voyage from Birkenhead to Cherburg, France, on 12th March, 1917. Son of the late Samuel Steele, Belfast, and his wife Anna Hill, formerly of Hillhead, Mullaghdubh. Brother of Miss Lily Steele, Mountpleasant, Kilnton Lane, and of Samuel Steele, Millbrook. Husband of Lilian Smith, Dublin.
Steele, William Hancock. Age 37. Master of the London Missionary Society's vessel, "John Williams." Attacked by German raiders in the South Seas in December, 1914. After exciting and clever manoevouring to escape from the enemy, Captain Steele succeeded in getting assistance, "in the nick of time" by the use of the wireless installation on board his ship, with which he had equipped it shortly before at his own cost and presented to the Society. On reaching Sydney he was found to have broken down from the result of strain and exhaustion and was removed from his ship to hospital, where he succumbed to an attack of pneumonia on 14th January, 1915. A brother of the foregoing, and husband of Daisy Johnston, Sydney, N.S.W.
Stewart, Albert Davision. Age 16. O.S., s.s "Bray Head," which was shelled and sunk by shell-fire from submarine in the Atlantic on 14th March, 1917. Lost with the life-boat containing Captain Hoy and eighteen of the crew after leaving ship. Son of George Kane Stewart and his wife, Agnes Davison, Mullaghdubh.
Wilson, John. Age 17. Private 6th North Hants Regiment. Killed in action, France, on 18th April, 1918. Grandson of Marshall and Margaret Wilson, of Millbay.
Wilson, William Johnston. Age 26. 2nd officer on M.F.A. "Argus," lost, supposed by submarine attack, on voyage from U.K. to Archangel, on 22nd October, 1917. Son of Hugh Wilson, Ballymulldrough, and his first wife, Ellen Johnston. Brother of Mrs. Thomas Hill, Ballykeel, with whom he resided.
Woodside, David. Age 24. Leading stoker H.M.S. "Bacchante." Accidentally killed while coaling ship at Alexandra on Armistice Day. Son of the late James and Sarah Woodside, of Ballykeel, Brother of the following.
Woodside, Thomas. Age 32. R.N.R., one of the crew which perished by the capsizing of H.M.S. "Fisgard" off Portland Point, on 17th September, 1914. (The first to lose his life in war service from this district). Son of the late James and Sarah Woodside, of Ballykeel, and brother of the foregoing.
Wright, James. Age 37. Pte. 2nd Batt. Irish Guards. Killed in action in France on 9th February, 1916. Son of the late Robert and Mrs. Wright, Whitey's Hill; husband of Isabella Wright, Magheramorne, formerly of Islandmagee.

Faithful unto Death.

 

See also Roll of Honour for First Presbyterian and Second Presbyterian churches in Islandmagee.

 

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