CREGAGH ATHLETIC CLUB. Belfast.
FINE RECORD IN WAR.
PUBLIC DEDICATION OF GROUNDS.
There was a large attendance at Cregagh Athletic Club on Saturday afternoon, when the gates and grounds were declared open, and dedicated to the members of the club who had served with His Majesty’s forces during the Great War.
Rev. D. D. Boyle, M.A., president of the club, occupied the chair, and the gates were declared open by Lieut.-Colonel R. J. Knox, D.S.O., late Royal Inniskillings.
The chairman said they had met under very favourable circumstances, so far as the weather was concerned. It was a historic occasion, not only to the relatives of the men who had served, but also to all those who had known them. Prior to the war, there were many who declared that our young people had gone out from such associations as they were degenerating, but, thanks to those who Cregagh A.C., they had vindicated themselves.
Continuing, he said that insufficient publicity was given to the fact that men who went out from this island were all volunteers. (Hear, hear.) He thought that this made their services unique. Sunday would be the anniversary of that memorable morning at Thiepval, and the men who took part in that engagement had prepared themselves for it on the playing fields at home. (Applause.)
Rev. Mr. Boyle then read the names on the Roll of Honour in the following order:—
CREGAGH ATHLETIC CLUB.
ROLL OF HONOUR.
P. Ballantine, W. Barr, G. Barr, W. Carmichael, V. Donaldson, C. Ervine, A. G. Ervine, John Gowdy, Joseph Gowdy, F. C. Grant, A. Gallagher, J. Hamilton, E. Hamilton, J. Higgins, W. Jeffrey, W. Keown, J. Lowry, T. Mayberry, G. Mitchell, D. Mitchell, T. M’Dowell, R. M’Dowell, W. M’ Keown, R. M’Connell, H. Noble, J. Nicholl, F. Porter, H. Steenson, R. J. Whitley, W. G. Whitley.
50 PER CENT, SERVED.
Mr. Gordon Mitchell, hon. secretary of the Cregagh A.C., recalled the part which the members of Cregagh had played during the strenuous years of the war. Thirty members had joined the fighting forces—about 50 per cent of the total, and 75 per cent, of the number available for service. Eight of the thirty had paid the supreme sacrifice:—C. Ervine, E. Hamilton, W. G. Whitley, R. M’Dowell, J. Lowry, W. M’Keown, J. Mayberry, and F. C. Grant. In addition to the numerous decorations awarded, the following distinctions might be added—Two Military Crosses, five Military Medals, and two Meritorious Service Medals.
It was significant of the esteem in which from those men were held that, within nine months from the inception of the scheme to buy the grounds, the sum of £800 had been of the scheme to buy the voluntary subscription and a sale of work. After purchasing the then existing holding and adjoining field, it was found possible to lay aside £120 to erect the gates which were now completed.
Lieut.-Colonel Knox said he had served with the 36th Ulster Division and also with the 109th Brigade. A commanding officer of that brigade had once told him that “They always played the game, they always attained their objective, and they never lost a trench.” That success was due to the recreation clubs. During the Great War there were many decorations deserved which were not awarded. In many cases witnesses were killed and in other instances seriously wounded, so that it was months before the news could be obtained regarding the deeds.
Colonel Knox said it was with the greatest pleasure that he unlocked the gates and declared the grounds open.
Rev. Boyle then said a prayer of dedication, following which a cordial vote of thanks to Colonel Knox was proposed by Mr. Robert Ervine, chairman of the committee.
The motion, which was conveyed by the chairman, was seconded by Mr. W. Mateer, hon. treasurer of the club.
Colonel Knox was presented with a solid silver key, suitably engraved, as a memento of the occasion, and the proceeding closed with the singing of the National Anthem.
Belfast Telegraph, July 2, 1923.