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Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers killed in Ards Airraid


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#1 ww2ni

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 02:58 PM

Hi,

During a german air raid on the Airfield at Newtownards on 15/16 April a number of boy soldiers from the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were killed.

Their accommodation received a direct hit.

These were boy soldiers who were too young for front line service and were deployed to protect the airfield.

I have some information on my website at Second World War in Northern Ireland - Home however I am attempting to learn more in the hope that I can make representations for some form of memorial to be erected by the local council.

I have found one grave at Dundonald cemetry which is the correct regiment and date however, interestingly, there is no date of birth which would lead me to think this may corroborate the idea that any news about this bombing was suppressed so as no damage was caused to morale.

I would like very much to learn the identities of the yound soldiers who gave their lives on home soil.

Any information would be very much appreciated.
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#2 ramacal

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 04:07 PM

Hi WW2ni

You did not mention the year, but I came up with 12 Casualties, one of whom is buried at Belfast (Dundonald), which you mention. Not all are youngsters and some have no ages shown. There are 16 to 18 year olds amongst them. No age shown on CWGC is not uncommon.

Hope this helps kick start your search.

Regards - Rob

BELLAMY, WILLIAM Initials: W Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Fusilier Regiment/Service: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Unit Text: 70th Bn. Age: 28 Date of Death: 16/04/1941 Service No: 6983155 Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. C. Grave 7629. Cemetery: SUTTON-IN-ASHFIELD CEMETERY

BURKE, SAMUEL Initials: S Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Fusilier Regiment/Service: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Unit Text: 70th Bn. Age: 18 Date of Death: 16/04/1941 Service No: 6982708 Additional information: Son of George and Annie Burke, of Braehead, Londonderry. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. S. Class B. Grave 1218. Cemetery: LONDONDERRY CITY CEMETERY

CARLISLE, ALEXANDER Initials: A Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Lance Corporal Regiment/Service: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Unit Text: 70th Bn. Date of Death: 16/04/1941 Service No: 6984668 Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 11. Column 2. Memorial: BROOKWOOD MEMORIAL

COPLING, ANDREW Initials: A Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Fusilier Regiment/Service: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Unit Text: 70th Bn. Age: 16 Date of Death: 16/04/1941 Service No: 6984669 Additional information: Son of Ernest Victor and Jane Copling, of Dromore. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Grave 26. Cemetery: DROMORE CATHEDRAL CHURCHYARD

FULTON, HUGH Initials: H Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Fusilier Regiment/Service: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Unit Text: 70th Bn. Age: 17 Date of Death: 16/04/1941 Service No: 6984727 Additional information: Son of William Moffet Fulton and Julia Fulton, of Markethill. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Cemetery: BALLEEK (ST. LUKE) CHURCH OF IRELAND CHURCHYARD

GRAHAM, GEORGE Initials: G Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Fusilier Regiment/Service: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Unit Text: 70th Bn. Date of Death: 16/04/1941 Service No: 6982035 Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. E.1. Grave 490. Cemetery: BELFAST (DUNDONALD) CEMETERY

HIGGINS, DANIEL Initials: D Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Fusilier Regiment/Service: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Unit Text: 70th Bn. Date of Death: 16/04/1941 Service No: 6980100 Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. 28. Prot. Plot. Grave 81. Cemetery: NEWTOWNARDS (MOVILLA) CEMETERY

LOVE, LESLIE Initials: L Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Fusilier Regiment/Service: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Unit Text: 70th Bn. Age: 34 Date of Death: 16/04/1941 Service No: 6984566 Additional information: Husband of Frances Gertrude Love, of Nottingham. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. B. Row M. 6. Grave 8. Cemetery: CARLTON CEMETERY
McFARLAND, SAMUEL Initials: S Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Fusilier Regiment/Service: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Unit Text: 70th Bn. Age: 19 Date of Death: 16/04/1941 Service No: 6984390 Additional information: Son of Alexander and Elizabeth Margaret McFarland, of Clogherney. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Cemetery: CLOGHERNEY CHURCH OF IRELAND CHURCHYARD

McNEILL, ERNEST Initials: E Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Fusilier Regiment/Service: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Unit Text: 70th Bn. Age: 17 Date of Death: 16/04/1941 Service No: 6982560 Additional information: Son of John and Margaret McNeill, of Craigmore. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Grave 4B. Cemetery: MULLAGHGLASS (ST. LUKE) CHURCH OF IRELAND CHURCHYARD

PENFOLD, ALFRED Initials: A Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Warrant Officer Class II (C.S.M.) Regiment/Service: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Unit Text: 70th Bn. Age: 36 Date of Death: 16/04/1941 Service No: 6392875 Additional information: Husband of Annie Penfold, of Waterside, Londonderry. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. H. Grave 846B. Cemetery: GLENDERMOT CHURCH OF IRELAND CHURCHYARD AND NEW CEMETERY

POTTS, ARTHUR Initials: A Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Fusilier Regiment/Service: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Unit Text: 8th Bn. Age: 22 Date of Death: 16/04/1941 Service No: 4458933 Additional information: Son of James and Lilian Potts, of Edgeley, Stockport. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. J.B. Grave 139. Cemetery: STOCKPORT BOROUGH CEMETERY

PS - One is from the 8th Battalion, whilst the other 11 are 70th Battalion.
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#3 ramacal

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 04:28 PM

Checked for casualties up to the 30th April to allow for any that may have died of wounds and found 2 for the 17th April 1941.

McMURRAY, WILLIAM Initials: W Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Company Quartermaster Serjeant Regiment/Service: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Unit Text: 70th Bn. Age: 27 Date of Death: 17/04/1941 Service No: 6983653 Additional information: Son of George and Annie McMurray, of Bessbrook; husband of Susan Elizabeth McMurray, of Bessbrook. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Grave 19. Cemetery: BESSBROOK METHODIST CEMETERY

WRIGHT, MATTHEW Initials: M Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Fusilier Regiment/Service: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Unit Text: 70th Bn. Age: 18 Date of Death: 17/04/1941 Service No: 6984533 Additional information: Son of Matthew and Mary A. Wright, of Coleraine. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Grave 462. Cemetery: MACOSQUIN (ST. MARY) CHURCH OF IRELAND CHURCHYARD
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#4 Drew5233

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 04:32 PM

This was the night of a major raid on Belfast.

Luftflotten 2 and 3 put 180 aircraft over the target dropping 203 tonnes of HE and over 29,000 incendary bombs. It was originally intended to put 327 Bombers over the target but 147 were diverted to other targets including 51 aircraft to Liverpool.

The nearest target listed in the Belfast area that resembles an airfield is the Sort and Harland aircraft works if that helps?

Civilian War Dead Roll lists 675 dead in the city itself but the total figure of dead from the raid is thought to be nearer 900.

My book has a bit of detail including a break down of the type and quantities of bombs dropped and the smaller aircraft units involved etc. but not mention of Newtownards I'm affraid.

The Blitz Then and Now Vol. 2
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#5 KevinBattle

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 06:39 PM

Geoff's Search Engine has these 20 casualties for the 70th Battalion, although 2 are in 1942.
The rest may be worth reviewing in case Died of Wounds in hospital....

001 BELLAMY W 6983155 70TH BN 16/04/1941 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
002 BOYLE D 6985092 70TH BN 26/07/1941 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
003 BURKE S 6982708 70TH BN 16/04/1941 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
004 CARLISLE A 6984668 70TH BN 16/04/1941 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
005 COPLING A 6984669 70TH BN 16/04/1941 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
006 CRAIG WJ 6984364 70TH BN 21/05/1941 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
007 FOX W 6985086 70TH BN 16/06/1941 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
008 FULTON H 6984727 70TH BN 16/04/1941 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
009 GRAHAM G 6982035 70TH BN 16/04/1941 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
010 HEGERTY WJ 6982937 70TH BN 07/10/1942 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
011 HIGGINS D 6980100 70TH BN 16/04/1941 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
012 LOVE L 6984566 70TH BN 16/04/1941 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
013 MCFARLAND S 6984390 70TH BN 16/04/1941 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
014 MCMURRAY W 6983653 70TH BN 17/04/1941 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
015 MCNEILL E 6982560 70TH BN 16/04/1941 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
016 ORR EHE 6985377 70TH BN 23/04/1942 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
017 PENFOLD A 6392875 70TH BN 16/04/1941 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
018 PURVIS VG 6985550 70TH BN 03/06/1942 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
019 SCULLION J 6983742 70TH BN 28/11/1941 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS
020 WARD D 6984974 70TH BN 19/09/1941 ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS

Hope this helps ensure none are forgotten!
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#6 ww2ni

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 11:54 AM

Hi Folks,

I left my first posting yesterday and am very pleased with the response from members who obviously have a keen interest in helping others.

Thanks very much.

I look forward to being able to assist others whenever I can.
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#7 ramacal

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 07:55 PM

Hi WW2ni

Here is the war diary I promised you. Confirms the incident and the number of casualties, but not the ages, as this sort of detail does not normally appear.

Posted Image

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#8 ww2ni

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 05:38 PM

With the assistance of your contributors I have now included a dedicated section in my website to the deaths of these Young Soldiers at Newtownards.

Today I have also written to Ards Borough Council, The Royal British Legion and The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Museum.

My letter gives details of the incident including full details of the victims as provided by yourselves, quotes from various books which illustrate the lack of knowledge regarding these deaths and an appeal to right a wrong and have some form of memorial erected.

These young men did not die in the corner of some far off field but on their home soil in County Down!!

I hope my appeal will be successful.

Will keep you informed.

Thanks again for your help.:poppy:
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#9 ww2ni

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 10:23 AM

Hi Folks,

Update on my campaign for a memorial to these young lads.

I have received a reply from the Northern Ireland President of Royal British Legion who is keen on the idea however, as I expected, the main stumbling block is finance.

I will be making some enquiries today re fundraising ideas in the hope that I can get back to him with how to progress this matter.

These young lads gave everything and to date have got nothing in return for their sacrifice.

If any of you have some influence on the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Museum or Ards Borough Council any assistance you can give would be very much appreciated.

I have no connections to the victims but think it is shameful that there is no memorial to them.

As I said in my letters "Dont do it for me .....Do it for them"
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#10 KevinBattle

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 04:11 PM

Is there some local industrial company that either one or more of these lads was employed by, or some "famous" local employer that might be approached?
Pardon my ignorance, but what things could be considered quintessentially "Newtownards"? Pottery, metal working or whatever, could the memorial be made locally and therefore "less expensively" than elsewhere. Something that has the "essence" of the Town, or the Regiment.

I don't suppose it has to be grandiose or cost thousands, but something suitable, if "only" a plaque.
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#11 ww2ni

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 05:46 PM

Good Idea.
Will have to give it some thought.
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#12 ww2ni

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 07:29 PM

Folks,
When I sent my letter to the 3 various parties regarding this venture - Royal British Legion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Museum and Ards Borough Council I had said that I would have liked to be kept informed of developments.

Having received a positive written reply from R.B.L. I was upbeat and tried to E-Mail the Skins Museum but the E-Mail address does not work.

I telephoned today and asked if my letter had been received as I had not received any acknowledgement.

I was told my letter WAS received and that they are in favour however they are in no position to take the lead (Money again) and would be referring to Ards Council.

The reason why my letter was not acknowledged was because it has to be discussed at the next Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Association meeting which is in .....MAY (They only meet twice per year)

Looks like its back to me to get something done.

Disappointed :frown:
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#13 KevinBattle

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 12:31 PM

Don't be disheartened. You have put a lot of effort in, but other organistaions have a different pace to many of us!
In the meantime, talk to the RBL to see if they have ideas as to what might be appropriate. Don't forget that they probably commission a lot of memorial Plaques etc, so they may be able to source something with a good discount, or one of their members may have useful contacts, so use what is offered or available in a bid to keep costs down for any "sponsors". Don't forget that if the Council stumps up, the money has to come from the Community, so perhaps involving a local paper or radio station just to float the idea that a fitting memorial to these young lads (stress the "young" if that's appropriate as you may get Scouts etc involved if deemed worthy enough of support). You can also judge by the feedback whether the Community at large share your views and would accept that the Council spend their funds on a Memorial. Failing that, a local employer (probably the Job Centre!!) might be interested. if there is a porcelain factory, they might be able to make something suitable with attribution to them as they might get more orders.... I'm sure you can think of other avenues to explore while you're waiting and when convened you will have ideas, costings and a good idea of what support you will have. All they then have to do is decide what of the options you offer to adopt!
Good luck!
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#14 ww2ni

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 04:18 PM

UPDATE
I am very pleased to report that I have got an article about my quest printed on the front page of the local "Newtownards Chronicle" Newspaper which I am sure will be most helpful.

I have also received a letter showing support from the Royal Inniskillings Museum trustees who have been in contact with the Northern Ireland War Memorial.

Still no reply to either my letter of 3rd March or E-Mail from the Mayor though.

I hope he reads the Chronicle and gives me a call.

Onward and Upward!!
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#15 Wesley Wright

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 05:20 PM

Daniel Higgins was from Larne -Co.Antrim
Wesley Wright.
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#16 ww2ni

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 02:48 PM

Folks,
I am very pleased to report that a Memorial IS being constructed to these 13 young Soldiers who were killed in 1941.

The granite memorial is going into the Garden of Remembrance in Newtownards and will be dedicated on Barossa Day - Monday 5th March 2012.

I have been attempting to find contacts with any relatived of those who gave their lives so they can receive an official invitation to the dedication from Ards Council.

The names are shown above and if anyone can help with contact details for any such relatives can you please contact me via email to ww2ni@btinternet.com which is my website email address.

It would be brilliant to have some families present.

Thanks.
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#17 ww2ni

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 12:01 PM

I am very pleased to be able to say that the Memorial is being unveilied and Dedicated in the Garden of Remembrance at Court Square, Newtownards at 12 Noon on Monday 5th March 2012.

This would not have been possible without the help I received from all of you who passed me details through this thread and for that I am very thankful.

Much appreciated guys!
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#18 skyhawk

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 07:45 PM

Here is a copy of 231 squadron records covering the Air raid and the bombing of Newtownards Airfield which they were stationed at the time. It mentions that incendiaries were dropped on Scrabo Hill situated close to the airfield with the intention of setting it ablaze. This could, if done with specific intent, have been a way of using this prominent structure as a navigational aid for other flights of bombers. Once at this point the bombers could easily set a fixed course that would lead them directly over Belfast Lough and the docks.

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#19 spanner

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 07:53 AM

Hi folks , I just stumbled on this forum whilst researching another matter about the Skins .
My auld fella was in the 70th (ysb) (young soldiers battalion) Skins , and was stationed in Ard's on the night of the Air Raid . The Bn where moved up from Omagh Training Depot not long before the attack (iirc)
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#20 ww2ni

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 09:55 AM

Spanner I suggest that a trip to Newtownards Memorial Garden on Monday is in order!

Looks like it will be a special day. - I have been contacted by a man from Houston, Texas who would have been a nephew of one of those who were killed and both he and his son are attending.

Really looking forward to it.
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#21 ww2ni

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:01 PM

Excellent Day.

Super Memorial complete with Honour Guard, Piper, Veterans and family members of those who were killed.

Pioctures on my website.
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