Retired Ballyclare High School teacher Richard Wallace officially launched his new book, ‘Lest we Forget’ at an event in Ballynure Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, May 20.
The book traces the lives of the 55 men from the church who fought in the Great War and whose names are recorded on the War Memorial there. It also includes information about the eight men from the nearby Methodist Church who also fought in the 1914 - 18 conflict.
Of these 63 men from Ballynure and its surrounding districts, nine made the ultimate sacrifice, while thirteen men, who had already emigrated to Canada, Australia and New Zealand, fought for their adopted Commonwealth country.
More than 60 people attended the launch, including relatives of the men featured in the book and Newtownabbey Mayor and keen military historian, Alderman Fraser Agnew.
“For the past 15 months, members of Ballynure and District Friendship Club have been involved in researching just who these men were, what they worked at before they went to war and what they did when they came back,” Mr Wallace explained. “There is a varying degree of information about the men, but each of the 63 records include where they lived, their date of birth, who their parents were, their occupation, the regiment they fought for and whether or not they survived the war. For others there are several pages of information about the men, including a will made by one of them in the field of battle.”
Research for the 100-page book has drawn on stories and information supplied by recognised First World War researchers and published writers, family members, various internet sites, the baptismal registers in Ballynure Presbyterian and Ballynure Methodist churches as well as the National Census of Ireland.
“Lest we Forget is first and foremost a tribute to the men, who, almost 100 years ago left this part of East Antrim to fight for their King and country. It has been designed to provide new information that will be more readily available to other researchers,” Mr Wallace continued. “Copies will be freely available in local public libraries, and an up-to-date electronic copy, which will be available to download free of charge, will be on a number of websites.”
The Friendship Club has thanked the Museums and Heritage department of Newtownabbey Borough Council for its “generous financial support” for the project.
Further information about the book can be obtained directly from Richard Wallace by calling 028 9332 3715.