Names of Great War fallen not included on Ballyclare Cenotaph

Ballyclare Cenotaph. INNT 25-809CON
Ballyclare Cenotaph. INNT 25-809CON

A historian has been left disgusted after names of men who died at the Battle of the Somme have not been included on Ballyclare Cenotaph.

Amateur historian, Edward Beck, has been campaigning since 2010 to have the names of deceased servicemen included on the town’s cenotaph in the War Memorial Park.

The Ballyclare man has raised the issue of missing names and spelling mistakes to the council on a number of occasions, but said the issue has yet to be addressed.

In 2010, Newtownabbey Borough Council invested £21,929 on the war memorial in the town.

Speaking to the Times, Mr Beck said: “I am aware of at least 10 more names of men from the Ballyclare area who died in the First World War and unfortunately they are not included on the cenotaph. Of these names, I know that three of the men died at the Somme. As we approach the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme, I am disgusted that these men have not had their names recognised.”

He added; “I also know that there are at least six names of men from the area who died in the Second World War and they have not been included. Some of the names included on the cenotaph have spelling mistakes and so the men are not actually being recognised, while some names appear to be made up from other peoples initials and surnames. When are these issues going to be addressed? The War dead should be recognised on the memorial.”

A spokesperson for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council said: “In recent months, council has been advised of some potential spelling mistakes and omissions on the war memorial. Council will investigate this further, and if any mistakes or omissions are found, council will correct them.”

Mr Beck has also raised the issue of servicemen from the Ballyclare area who perished in conflicts since the Second World War. These included servicemen who died in Korea, Suez and at the Crimean War. He also highlighted the issue of how people who had died as civilians during war incidents would be remembered.

Commenting on this, the council spokesperson added: “In November 2015, council received a request to consider a Korean War Memorial within the park in memory of William John McConnell, a local man who lost his life in the Korean War and also in memory of other local men who fought and suffered in this war. The council agreed to engage with the Royal British Legion in Ballyclare to investigate this request. Council officers have met with representatives from the Legion and will report back to the council in due course. The council has no plans at this time for further commemorations in Ballyclare.”