A special project is under way at St John’s Church of Ireland in Ballyclare to remember the men from the congregation who made the ultimate sacrifice during the First World War.
As 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, members of the church are trying to find out all they can about the 11 men from St John’s who gave their lives for King and country.
The names of Robert Beattie, John Forsythe, Samuel Hill, John Hill, Daniel McKenzie, Maurice Montgomery, David McCalmont, Jackson Surgeoner, Thomas Todd, Samuel Whelan and Walter Walsh are inscribed on the memorial tablet in the church. But members of the church are keen to produce a booklet containing more detail about the men and their lives before the war.
The man behind the project, Stephen Moore, started making efforts to find out more about the 11 men after discovering that his great uncle had died during the First World War.
“We would love to be able to write a short biography for each of the men; not just where and when they died, but where they lived, whether they were married, whether they had children etc.
“We would love to make contact with any relatives of the men or anyone else who knows anything about them.
“What we really want to do is remember them as real people who gave their tomorrows for our today,” he said.
With a bit of help from local military historians, Stephen has already gathered up some information about all 11 men and photographs of most of them. But he is keen to find out more about each of them, and to get hold of pictures of Daniel McKenzie, Maurice Montgomery, Walter Henry Walsh and Samuel Whelan.
“I would like to thank everyone who has helped me to date. The progress we have made has been tremendous,” Mr Moore continued.
“I know the names of the parents and siblings of some of the men and where they lived. For example I know that one of the men, Maurice Montgomery, had two brothers, Harry and Fredrick. I also know that Thomas Todd was the son of James Todd and that he left a wife and four children. I also know the Orange lodges that some of them belonged to.”
It’s hoped that the completed booklet will also include information about the men from the church who fought and died in the Second World War.
Anyone with information that could help Stephen in his search should contact David Brown at the church office on 028 9335 4814 or email firstname.lastname@example.org