Belfast Co-Operative War Memorial
Erected by the Belfast Co-Operative Society, Limited, in memory of those members of the staff who took part in the Great War.
Robert J. Bell,
These Also Served.
Albert E. Baxter,
William H Burnett,
William A. Cooke,
Joseph P. Connor,
Patrick G. Cunningham,
William J. Foy,
Thomas J. Frazer,
Ernest E. Gowdy,
Nathan B. Griffen,
Samuel C. Hamill,
William J. Harte,
Thomas H. Irwin,
William H. Johnston,
Robert J. M’Connell,
Alexander S. Milne,
William A.P. Reid,
James D. Stewart,
William J. Stewart,
Robert D. Wasson,
James D. Willis,
John C. Wood.
WAR MEMORIAL UNVEILED.
War Memorial unveiled.
Interesting Ceremony in Central Premises.
In the central premises of the Belfast Co-operative Society, York Street, last evening, there was unveiled a war memorial to commemorate the names of those employees of the society who fell, and those who survived, in the great war. There was a large attendance of the employees and their friends, and of the members of the Society; and on the motion of Mr. J. M’Comb, convener of the War Memorial Committee, the unveiling ceremony was performed by W. J. M’Guffin, J.P., Major-General Sir E. J. G. Bainbridge, K.C.B., commanding 1st Division, Competent Military Authority, Belfast, was unable to be present, and was represented at the ceremony by Lieutenant-Colonel Duffield and Colonel Hobbs.
The memorial takes the form of an island pedestal, facing the main entrance, and is four feet square at the base, and stands about eleven feet high from the floor level. At the angles of the base are four circular Corinthian columns with panelling between each of the four sides, whilst the upper portion above this base is of octagonal form with cherub heads, winged and carved, with festoons below them at the angles. On the front panel at the base is carved the inscription; – “In memory of those who fell, in honour of those who served.”
Three engraved brass tablets, set in oak moulded panels are fixed to the front and two side panels of the middle portion of the memorial. The front panel bears the following inscription: – “Erected by the Belfast Co-Operative Society, Limited, in memory of those members of the staff who took part in the great war,” and the names of those who fell, viz: – John Alexander, Robert J. Bell, Joseph Donnelly, Charles Elder, Arnold Hayden, Thomas Magowan, Alexander Morrow, Thomas Moore, James Ruddick, Robert Wallace, Thomas Wardlow, Thomas Watson, whilst the two side panels contain the names of sixty-four survivors. The top of the memorial has placed on it a half-hemisphere set inside a carved cresting, on which is surmounted a bronze figure representing “Victory,” bearing in one hand a lighted torch, and a wreath in the other.
Mr. M’Guffin, addressing the assembly, said he esteemed it a great honour to have been asked to unveil the memorial. They were convened for the purpose of recognising the stupendous services that had been rendered to them and their country through the exertions of men, who were formerly employed by the society, and who voluntarily undertook the duty of joining the army and doing what in them lay to defend the country, in the quietude of the times in which they were living at present it was almost impossible to realise the agony of spirit and the searching of heart which must necessarily have been present in the minds and consciences of the men before they joined the forces, but they realised that an enormous antagonism was arrayed against them, and that they were confronted by an unscrupulous foe, and if their country was to be kept free from invasion it was essential to meet the foe. That, they would all agree, had been done very effectively, and the men who returned were entitled to all the recognition that it was possible to give them. (Applause.) They who represented the Committee of Management of the Belfast Co-operative Society, had done what they could to restore them to their places and give them all the emoluments that they would have had had they been present in their service during the period of the war. (Hear, hear.) In that small service they did not think they were doing anything on which those assembled would not put their imprimatur. (Hear, hear.) They were convinced that the service rendered by the men who had gone to the front could not be too highly recognised. They were glad to have those who were spared to return, and in a formal way they extended to them that evening the right hand of fellowship. All who had gone to the war had rendered a stupendous service to the country. (Hear, hear.) There were some who did not return, and no tribute that could be paid could adequately represent the feelings in regard to the memory of those who had made the supreme sacrifice. Their hearts were sad because they were not present that evening.
The audience then stood in respectful silence as the President read the names of those who had given their lives. Afterwards the “Last Post” was sounded by buglers of the1st Norfolk Regiment.
Mr. M’Guffin then unveiled the memorial which was inspected by the large company in attendance.
Following the unveiling ceremony there was a tea and musical entertainment in the Co-operative Hall, Frederick Street, those who contributed to the programme being Miss Dot Devlin, the Mayfair Glee singers (Messrs. W. J. Clarke, G. Orr, T. M’Alpin, and D. M’Alpin), and Messrs. Clem Seath, H. Belshaw, M. Cook, S. M’Dowell, and F. Doherty.
The whole memorial is well proportioned in design, with carved embellishments, the style of architecture being that of the Elizabethan Renaissance period. It is executed throughout in fumed and waxed oak, and is one of the most handsome in the city.
The Belfast Evening Post, September 23, 1920.
ADAMS, JOHN, Rifleman Royal Irish Rifles, is in hospital overseas suffering from wounds received in action. He is 26 years of age, and a son of Mr. James Adams, 37 Agnes Street, Belfast. He is a member of the North Belfast Regiment U.V.F., and prior to enlistment was employed at the Belfast Co-operative Society, York Street, Belfast.
ALEXANDER, JOHN, Second Lieutenant, Leicestershire Regiment. Born in Belfast he was educated at Drumbeg National School from which he won a scholarship for Dundalk Educational Institute, “gaining first place in all Ireland”. After completing his education, he was employed in Harland & Wolff’s and later at Belfast Ropeworks. He subsequently took first place (from 100 candidates) in a competitive exam for a position in the Belfast Co-operative Society. He received his commission through Q.U.B., O.T.C. and served in the 8th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. Killed in action on the Somme on the 15th July, 1916, aged 24, only twelve days after going to the front, his death is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France. He was the son of Thomas and Maria Alexander of Drumbeg, Dunmurry, and brother of Robert Alexander below. Mrs. Thomas Alexander, Drumbeg, has received the following letter with reference to the death of her son, Second-Lieutenant John Alexander, Leicestershire Regiment: – ‘I have been asked by the officers of his battalion to write and express our deepest sympathy for you in your sad bereavement. It was in the attack on ——- put your son met his death. He led us men most gallantly, and it was while bombing a German trench that one of their grenades fell near him. He did not suffer any pain. The colonel was most shocked and went to his assistance, and unfortunately met his death. His platoon simply adored him, and only the day before made the remark that they would go anywhere with their new officer. John was in the same company as myself, and we were great friends, which makes it very hard, but I have the satisfaction of knowing that he died a hero’s death. No officer could have done more than he did. Once again we express our deepest sympathy.’ -Yours sincerely, Norman W. Greaves.
ALEXANDER, Rifleman Robert. Born in Lisburn, he lived in Dunmurry, enlisted at Lisburn and served in 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (17134). Killed in Action on the Somme on the 1.7.16 aged 19, his death is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France, pier 15, face A and B. He was the son of Thomas and Maria Alexander of Drumbeg, Dunmurry, and brother of John Alexander above. He was listed in the 1911 census as a dyer’s apprentice.
BELL, ROBERT JOHN, 361, Rifleman 9th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles was killed in action on 1st July, 1916. Rifleman Bell has no known grave and is commemorated on Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B. Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.
AMALGAMATED UNION OF CO-OPERATIVE EMPLOYEES-BELFAST BRANCH.
BELL-The members of above branch deeply regret the death of their esteem Comrade, Rifleman R. J. Bell, Royal Irish Rifles, killed in action on July 1, 1916. John Davidson, President, A. Kirk. Secretary.
DONNELLY, JOSEPH. Mr. Thomas Donnelly, 77, Alexandra Park Avenue, Belfast, received official intimation from the Admiralty today that his second son, Joseph Donnelly, Royal Naval Air Service Petty Officer Motor Mechanic (armoured car section) was accidentally drowned in Russia on 11 June, 1916. Deceased was one of many Belfast men in this unit who went out via Archangel, and whose great reception at Moscow was reported during the present week. Before enlisting, deceased was in the employment of the Belfast Co-operative Society, Ltd. He was a member of L.O.L., No. 6 District, and St Paul’s Church. His brother, Fred is serving at the front with the Life Guards.
ELDER, CHARLES, North Irish Horse. Charles Elder, Private Charles Elder, ‘A’ Squadron, V Corps Cyclist (North Irish Horse) Regiment, Service No. 71585 (Corps of Hussars). Enlisted Antrim. Residence 25 New North Queen Street, Belfast. Son of James Elder of Mullartown, Annalong, County Down. Killed in action on 7 November 1918, aged 23.
HAYDEN ARNOLD, 14866, Rifleman 14th Bn., Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on 4th May, 1916, age 23 years. He was in the original Y.C.V.’s, and before joining the army was in the employment of the Belfast Co-operative Society. He served his time with Messrs. McComish & Shaw, Mill Street, Belfast, and was a brother of Second-Lieutenant W. A. Hayden, 20th (R).) Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. He was the second son of Thomas and Louisa Hayden, of 4, Ashley Avenue, Belfast, and is buried in Grave Reference E. 14. Beauval Communal Cemetery, Somme, France.
WARDLOW THOMAS, Driver T4/124969, 1st Horse Transport Company, 36th Divisional Train, Army Service Corps. Died 18th June 1915 aged 31. He was the son of Thomas Wardlow and he was the husband of Elizabeth Wardlow, of 155, Beersbridge Road, Belfast. Born at Belfast. He is at rest in Dundonald Cemetery, Dundonald, County Down, Northern Ireland.
HILLIS, JAMES, Private, Royal Army Medical Corps, has received the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery on the field. He went to Canada five years ago, and was employed in Belfast with the Co-operative Society, Ltd. He has two other brothers serving with the colours. His mother, Mrs. Hillis, resides at 60 Richardson Street, Belfast.
IRVINE, DAVID, Signaller, Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 8th August, 1917. He was home on leave a few weeks ago. Before enlisting he was an apprentice in a Co-Operative Society and his workmates there described him as “one of the best.” He is the son of Mr. Adam Irvine, Low Road, Lisburn.
LOWRY, SAMUEL, 1139, Sergeant, B Coy., 8th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (East Belfast Volunteers), is the first man of his battalion to be mentioned in dispatches by Sir Douglas Haig. He is well known in city football circles as captain of Willowfield United F.C., a member of the Ravenhill Road Volunteers, L.O.L. 580, and Willowfield Unionist Club, and before joining the Ulster Division he was employed in the Bakery Division, Ravenhill Avenue, of the Belfast Co-Operative Society. He is well known in junior football circles as the captain of Willowfield United Football Club. He was missing in action on 2nd July, 1916, age 30, and in September, 1917 was declared to have died on that date. He had been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal ‘For conspicuous gallantry in action. He led his platoon right up into the enemy’s line, where he collected stray men near him and reorganised them under very heavy fire. Before he retired, he gathered many wounded and put them into places of shelter. He has always set a fine example of coolness, cheerfulness, and pluck. He has been wounded. ‘He was the husband of Harriet L. Lowry, 36, Powerscourt Street, Belfast. He is commemorated on Panel Reference Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B, on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.
M’INTOSH, JAMES, 13087, Lance-Corporal, 8th Bn., Royal Irish Rifles who was reported as missing on the 2nd July, 1916 is now declared to have been killed on that date. Prior to rejoining the colours, he was employed by the Belfast Co-Operative Bakery, Ravenhill Avenue, Belfast. He was a member of the Willowfield Battalion of the East Belfast Volunteers. His parents live at 61 Rosebery Road, Belfast. -Corporal M’Intosh is commemorated on Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B. Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.
MURRAY, DAVID, Signaller, Royal Irish Rifles (East Belfast Volunteers), has been wounded in action. Before enlisting he was in the employment of the Belfast Co-operative Society, Ravenhill Avenue, Belfast. His relatives reside in 567, Des Erables Avenue, Montréal, Canada.
REID, SAMUEL, Corporal, is reported wounded and admitted to hospital. Before entering the army he was in the service of the Belfast Co-operative Society, Ltd. He is a son of Mrs. Reid, 68 Roseleigh Street, Belfast.
REILLY, ALFRED, Rifleman, No. 9393, 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action at Neuve Chapelle on October 27, 1914. Deceased was a reservist, employed by the Belfast Co-Operative Society, and a member of the Orange Order. He was one of the crack shots of his battalion. His parents resided at 9, Avoniel Street, Belfast.
ROWNEY, EDWARD, Rifleman Royal Irish Rifles, who was a reported missing on the 16th April, 1917, is now official reported killed on that date. Deceased was wounded in July, 1916. Previous to his enlistment he was in he was employed in the United Co-operative Bakery, Ravenhill Avenue, Belfast. His brothers and sisters reside at 46 Westmorland Street, Belfast.
SCOTT, FREDERICK, No. 20098, Signaller, 12th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, aged 21 years, has died on 30th September, 1915, of wounds received in France. Prior to enlisting deceased was employed by the Belfast Co-Operative Society, York Street. His parents, Robert and Abigail Scott, reside at 45, Spencer Street, Belfast. Frederick is buried in Grave Reference I, D, 24, Lapugnoy Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.
STEWART, Lieutenant, Royal Fusiliers, who was an assistant manager of the drapery department of the Belfast Co-operative Society when the war opened, has been in invalided from the trenches, and is presently at Dover. He originally joined a Scottish Territorial corps, and after some months’ service was transferred to the Royal Fusiliers.
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