Korean War victim to be commemorated

The memorial will be located in Ballyclare War Memorial Park.
The memorial will be located in Ballyclare War Memorial Park.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has approved plans for a memorial to honour a local resident who died as a result of the Korean War.

William John McConnell will be remembered on a memorial stone in Ballyclare War Memorial Park.

Mr McConnell, who grew up in Cogry, died in a prisoner of war camp in Korea in 1951 after being captured by enemy forces.

Local military history enthusiast, Eddie Beck has been campaigning for a number of years to have a memorial for Mr McConnell erected in Ballyclare.

Mr Beck said: “William John McConnell fought in World War Two, landing in Normandy and serving at the Battle of the Bulge. He again enlisted to fight in Korea and gave his life in service.

“I’ve campaigned with Etta Mann for this memorial stone and it is only right that he will now be remembered with this fitting tribute.

“I’d like to thank the councillors who backed the campaign and helped to have William John commemorated.”

It is understood the memorial stone will be located in the vicinity of, but separate from, the war memorial which sits in the centre of the council owned park in the Ballynure Road area of the town.

Council estimates state that the cost of the memorial will be approximately £1,800.

During Monday night’s council meeting, UUP representatives attempted to amend the motion to allow for names of residents from the borough who died in service to the Crown in conflicts from 1945 to be included in future council protocol, but this was defeated.

Following the council meeting, UUP representative, Cllr Stephen McCarthy said the party remains committed to the development of post 1945 memorials across the borough.

Ballyclare UUP representative Cllr Vera McWilliam added: “I would have preferred a policy that covered people who died in subsequent conflicts from 1945 onwards, but I am very happy to support the motion that went through last night.”