DONACLONEY, Co. Down.
The FALLEN 1914 - 1918.
Thos. J. Hylands
Robert J. McMullan
Donaghcloney War Memorial is located on a site immediately in front of the former National School in Main Street (B26). On 21st July 1923 the memorial was unveiled by Miss Liddell, daughter of Lady and Sir Robert Liddell, of Banoge House. The Prayer of Dedication was offered by Rev. T. Martin, Loughbrickland, late Lieutenant in the Royal Irish Fusiliers.
It takes the form of a soldier in full marching order surmounted on a pedestal of silver Cornish granite, which, in turn, rests on a solid concrete base, from which to the extreme top is 16 feet (5.1m) high.
The idea of erecting a memorial in honour of the villagers, who took part in the Great War was conceived by wounded soldiers who had returned from the war, and who had contributed to its cost by a system of regular weekly subscriptions. When the war was over the object was steadily carried on, and, thanks to the liberal support of Sir Robert Liddell, the necessary sum was completed. There are 200 names inscribed on the pedestal, and of this number 157 returned home, whilst 43 made the great sacrifice. The majority of these soldiers were in the 13th and 16th Battalion R.I.R., but practically every arm of the service was represented.
IMPOSING VILLAGE MEMORIAL
UNVEILED BY MISS LIDDELL.
SIR WILLIAM ALLEN PAYS GLOWING
TRIBUTE TO THE DEAD.
A beautiful War Memorial, designed to perpetuate the memory of their fallen, has been erected by the residents of Donacloney.
The unveiling took place on Saturday last by Miss Liddell, who, performed the ceremony in the presence of a large gathering.
Sir William Allen paid glowing tribute to the excellent services rendered by Donacloney soldiers in the great war, and said he was satisfied that the men who volunteered from that village had done their work nobly and well.
He felt ashamed that the town of Lurgan, which especially deserved a memorial, had as yet done nothing to honour the memory of their brave dead, and expressed the hope that somebody with a heart and spirit worthy of the occasion would come forward to make good the deficiency.
In beautiful weather on Saturday last, and in the presence of a large assemblage of people, Donacloney’s beautiful War Memorial was unveiled by Miss Liddell, daughter of Lady and Sir Robt. Liddell, of Banoge House. The ceremony aroused considerable interest throughout the village and neighbourhood, and everyone who could possibly make it convenient to do so made a point of being present to participate in the ceremony of paying homage to the gallant heroes who had laid down their lives for King and Country. Sir Robert Liddell took a prominent part in the proceedings. It was, of course, only in keeping with his practical interest in the village that he, with Lady Liddell and the members of their family, should be identified with a movement that would stand for all time as a memento of Donacloney’s loyalty and devotion to the Empire. For upwards of a generation the Liddell family have stood behind the advancement of Donacloney. Its commercial progress and its social advancement bears the imprint of their generosity and wholehearted support, and every conceivable movement that has aimed for the improvement and the welfare of the village has found in them strong and worthy advocates.
The casual visitor to this charming little village, with its clean streets and healthy homes, is at once struck with its pleasant surroundings. Beautifully situated in Nature’s own garden, it breathes a calm and freshness that is fanned by the cooling breezes of the Lagan, a majestic river that wends its way through the district in paths of enchanted scenery. At the lower end of the village, adjoining the playing fields, stands the magnificent Liddell factory. This imposing building, with world-wide reputation for exquisite and valuable damask productions, affords lucrative employment to the entire neighbourhood, and it is common knowledge that while encouraging the best craftsmanship amongst the employees, the esteemed owner never overlooked the social comfort and the physical enjoyment of his army of workers. Indeed, wherever one looks through this pretty part of County Down, there are signs of health, happiness, and prosperity, and it is in no small measure due to the sympathetic interest of the Liddell family that the village enjoys the reputation of being the most contented and homelike spot in the country.
In the year 1903 Donacloney had a typical example of Sir Robert’s generosity, when a memorial National School was erected to the memory of his father, the late Mr William Liddell, the respected founder of the present firm of Messrs William Liddell & Sons, Ltd. This building stands in the centre of the main street, and with its elevated and beautiful clock tower is a chief source of interest to all travellers.
In every other matter Donacloney is splendidly up-to-date, and the life of the village is, comparatively speaking, as bright, and as entertaining as in the big town or city. To all its modern acquirements the Liddell family have contributed unstintingly, and we accept it as a compliment to the latter that the residents appreciate their beautiful surroundings, and value the practical interest which Lady and Sir Robt. Liddell have at all times manifested towards them.
The present memorial has been erected on a suitable site immediately in front of the National School. It is an imposing structure, and in every way worthy of the cause which it is designed to perpetuate. It takes the form of a soldier in full marching order surmounted on a pedestal of silver cornish granite, which, in turn, rests on a solid concrete base, from which to the extreme top is 16 feet high. Viewed from the roadway it is of a handsome appearance, and its attractive design, coupled with its elegant finish, fits it to fill a worthy place in the minds of the people while serving to adorn and enhance the picturesque main street of the village.
The idea of erecting a memorial in honour of the villagers, who took part in the Great War was conceived by wounded soldiers who had returned from the war, and who had contributed to its cost by a system of regular weekly subscriptions. When the war was over the object was steadily carried on, and, thanks to the liberal support of Sir Robert Liddell, the necessary sum was completed some time ago, and Saturday’s ceremony adds the finishing touch to a well conceived scheme. There are 200 names inscribed on the pedestal, and of this number 157 returned home, whilst 43 made the great sacrifice. The majority of these soldiers were in the 13th and 16th Battalion R.I.R., but practically every arm of the service was represented.
The unveiling ceremony was fixed for 3-30 p.m., but long before that hour the people began to assemble in front of the Memorial, which was draped with a Union Jack. The ex-service men assembled at the Comrades Hall under the command of Mr Harvey Towell, late Lieut. 13th R.I.R., assisted by Corporal W. J. Finlay. A large contingent Donacloney and Banbridge Boy Scouts, under the respective commands of Scout
Masters R. G. Armstrong and Wm. Gordon, also added to the throng at the Comrades Hall, and four buglers of the Seaforth Highlanders in full uniform added a touch of colour to the assemblage.
The whole parade, under the command of Lieut. Towell, headed by the Blackscull Flute Band, moved off at 3-30 sharp and proceeded through the village to the solemn and soul-touching strains of Chopin’s Funeral March. On reaching the place of ceremony the ex-servicemen, (all of whom wore their war medals), and Boy Scouts formed up in the school grounds and were inspected by Lieut.-Col. Sir. William Allen, D.S.O., M.P. The scene at this stage was a memorable one, and will not soon be forgotten by those who had the privilege of being present. In the grim-set faces of the ex-servicemen one could discern heroes who had passed through great suffering and trial, and at the same time recall deeds well and faithfully performed. The smartly-dressed Boy Scouts, who formed the left of the line, told by their smart and soldierly bearing that they were prepared to do, if necessity arose, the same as their fathers had done for their King and Country. Outside the roped-in enclosure were assembled the older men, also women and children, who looked on those gallant men and boys with feelings of regard, love and affection, and who in their hearts hoped that they would not have again to make the sacrifice of sending their loved ones to war and to bear the great strain of waiting in silence for news of those they hold most dear.
On the platform were Sir R. M. Liddell and Lady Liddell, Mr W. Liddell and Miss Liddell, Sir Wm. Allen and Mrs. Allen, The Rev. Wesley and Mrs. Lec, The Rev. J.R. and Mrs. McDonald, Mrs. and Miss Turner Browne, Mrs H. Cosby, the Misses Whaley, Rev. T. Martin, Loughbrickland, Miss Waddell, Mr and Mrs. R. B. Page, Mr. and Mrs. F. Baxter, Captain James Johnston, Mr D. Pedlow, J.P., and Dr. and Mrs. Boucher.
Dr Boucher read a telegram from Mrs. Coombe stating that Mr. Coombe was in England, and regretting that he could not be present.
It was proposed by Mr. Armstrong and seconded by Mr. W. Kerr that Mr. Wm. Liddell take the chair.
Mr. William Liddell, on taking the chair, said he felt it was the greatest honour that could be shown to him to be asked to take the chair on the occasion of the unveiling of a memorial which would be to them and to those that would come after them an everlasting memorial of the pluck and self sacrifice of those men who went into a far land to defend their country. Surely it was not so much a stone monument. It was a symbol of thanksgiving to the men who left that village who answered to the call of King and country. Addressing the soldiers, he said there were some of them who went away and who had come back, Thanks to God for same. Some of them underwent terrible hardships, were wounded and suffered untold agonies, and some of them were maimed by the terrible machine of war. The people of Donacloney were proud of their soldiers, who had proved themselves to be good men. And there were others who would never come back, but who were with them that day in spirit, and their hearts were with those brave men for ever. To you mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters of those men had come the comfort, great honour, and the great glory in knowing that you belong to them. Men and women of Donacloney and district, let this memorial be ever before you as a token of what those gallant men did for you. Never forget the sacrifice they made, and you of the younger generation let it ever be before you as a symbol on which to fashion your lives that you may grow up to be such men. Continuing, Mr Liddell said that there were never greater men than they (the fallen) were, and might the sacrifice that they had made, and the deeds that they had accomplished, pave the way to everlasting peace (applause).
The Rev. T. Martin, Loughbrickland, late Leiut. In the R.I.F., then proceeded with the religious portion of the ceremony. The assembled church choirs sang the beautiful hymn, “Peace, Perfect Peace,” after which appropriate prayers were said. The Rev Martin then dedicated the memorial “to the glory of God, and to the honour, sacred and affectionate memory of the men of Donacloney and district who sacrificed their lives on the altar of sacrifice, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
Lieut.-Col. Sir William Allen, D.S.O., M.P., then delivered a stirring address. He said there were many reasons why it was a pleasure that he should be in Donacloney that afternoon. First and foremost he was glad to be there because their chairman (Mr. W. Liddell) was presiding. When he was invited to come and take part in that unveiling ceremony, and when he heard who was to preside, he came with all the greater pleasure in order to support Mr Liddell on that memorable occasion. Those of them who were perhaps a little older knew a good deal about the hospitality, generosity, and the kindness of the Liddell family in the past, and while the chairman might not think it, everyone of them was following his career. He never lifted up a newspaper but he looked out for news about Donacloney at the week-end, and almost invariably he hoped to see, and did see, their chairman’s name mentioned in connection with the welfare of their village. Their chairman was the type of man they wanted in their neighbourhood, and it was that type of man they had got in their chairman (applause). He was a man who had grown up amongst them, who was prepared to take part in sport with them, a man who was prepared to take a leading part in that memorial to those who had gone (applause). They had been accustomed in the war, and in their training to keep their heads up when they were marching. One of the things which an officer of any rank, or N.C.O. who served did not like was to see men marching along with their heads down. They were trained to keep their heads up, and to look straight in front. He fancied that was the type of man they had in Mr Liddell. He was also glad to be there that afternoon because of memories of the past. He remembered so well when, with their chairman’s distinguished father they held a recruiting meeting in Donacloney, and he remembered so well the recruits coming forward at that meeting. Indeed, he might almost say that they were today in
THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE BATTALION,
which eventually he had the honour to command (applause), and the success of the formation of that unit was in no little degree brought about by Sir Robt. Liddell, and he wanted to tell them that that battalion was a success throughout the war (loud cheers). He wanted them all to know that, and they need have no hesitation about believing it. But he was not there to sing the praises of the battalion that was so dear to all their hearts as a unit, but if the singing of any praise was necessary it was due to that great division of which they were all so proud. He wanted to say a word or two about that division. The Ulster Division was formed, as everyone knew, from the volunteer forces of Ulster in those days, and when the call to arms came that volunteer force volunteered just as willingly for the sake of Europe as it did for the sake of Ulster, and for the sake of Ireland. And whilst they all recognised that the volunteer force of 1912, 13 and 14 was organised for the immediate purpose of maintaining this portion of the Empire intact, at the same time their outlook was broader, their vision was wider, and it was not confined to the Six County or Nine County Area, or to the shores of Ireland, or of the United Kingdom. The vision was broader and wider to the extent of the Empire itself. That, they knew, was world-wide. That was what they volunteered for-for the maintenance of the integrity of the Empire, and whilst volunteering for that object they carried it further. When the call came those volunteers entered his Majesty’s Forces without hesitation.
THEY RUSHED TO THE COLOURS.
He wished some of the members of Parliament whom he heard speaking occasionally in that first assembly of the world could see a little gathering like that. A small village with hearts full of loyalty, undivided and undismayed. He was in the House of Commons on Monday night last. He heard one man in the House, who was supposed to be a Britisher, say with regard to the Union Jack, “That rag-the Union Jack.” He wished he could bring that man to see that little scene that day; to show him what their little village could do, and had done; to see those who were left standing there at that meeting of honour to their comrades who had fallen-surely that man would hang his head in shame. And he wanted to pay
A TRIBUTE TO THE ENTIRE DIVISION,
which he would desire to pay to his own battalion, for after all the division itself was one great loyal unit in co-operation with all the divisions of the British Army, and it was a division of which any man might well be proud. One of the battalions of that division had upwards of 20,000 casualties. They could realise what that meant. They could realise that that battalion- he did not speak of a regiment-but of a battalion in one of those Count Down regiments that had fought from 1914 to the end of the war had its ranks filled over more than a score of times. That regiment was not at the base, or on lines of communications, or at home, but fought in the front lines right through from the beginning to end of the war. Yes, and if the “call” came today the Ulster regiments would come to the flag just the same as they did then. Some people said No, but he said Yes. They loved their Empire, and they loved their flag, and that great division which went out into
THE GREAT FIGHT FOR THE EMPIRE,
came back covered with honour and glory. There were some present that day who lost some of their sons, brothers, or husbands. Yes, they were sometimes inclined to say they had lost a son or had lost a brother. That word was wrong-they were not lost. The death that brought about that monument, the death that brought about that assembly, was not lost, and as that monument pointed towards heaven, so the death of their friends pointed them in that direction. And every one of them assembled together that day must be influenced by noble aspirations as they looked upon that monument and other memorials. Memorials were things of thousands and thousands of years ago. As long as they had any history of the world they had memorials, and he wanted to congratulate them and all connected with the village of Donacloney that they had raised a memorial to their fallen heroes. They had felt, perhaps, the loss from their homes of those noble fellows. They knew perfectly well that they were with them still, though not in the flesh. They remembered their cheery smile, their quick footstep, and their happy laugh, and this memorial ensured that all those things were with them all the time. To the citizens of Donacloney he said that if at any time they felt inclined to think a mean thought, much less to do a mean action, all they had got to do was to look up at that memorial that had been prepared and erected there for the dead, and he had no doubt that when they did they would forbear, and as long as it stood there everyone present would be directed to a rectitude of life that perhaps they had not hitherto appreciated or enjoyed. Again he was glad to be there that day because that monument represented some of his old comrades. After all anyone who had charge of a unit in the army, if they thought anything of the army at all, they all thought their unit was the best, and there were representatives of many units in that crowd today, and everyone of them that represented a unit was, he felt sure, proud of that unit. They were, convinced there was no other unit like it, and he not give a fig for the soldier who did not think his particular unit, and all that appertained to it, was the best in the Army. He always thought his battalion the, 16th,was the best (applause). He was satisfied that the men who came from
DONACLONEY AND DISTRICT DID THEIR DUTY.
Yes! They did it in most difficult circumstances, in circumstances they had got to see, for they could not be described. Perhaps it was as well that those present did not see those circumstances. He was glad to be there with men who did come back to give his word of praise to the men who did not come back. He was glad to be there just to see some of his old comrades again. It was a pleasure to see them and to congratulate them on being home again. And now might he tell those who would never see their loved ones that those men made the great sacrifice for the cause of the Empire, a sacrifice that could never be lost. Sacrifices were things which were demanded of every generation, as generations passed year by year, decade by decade. There never was anything got worth having in this world without sacrifice, and that was the history of the human race right from the foundation of the world. Everything that was worth having was paid for by blood. If they thought anything of the history of the world, as they knew it, they would realise what he said was true. The greatest sacrifice the world had ever seen was a sacrifice of blood. It had been so from the beginning. So far as they knew from the reading of history the first memorial was a sacrifice of blood, when the lintels of the doorposts were sprinkled with blood, and the people of Israel were told, “these things will be a memorial unto you.” And the world itself was dotted with such history, and if they could read today the memorials of the world they would have a history of the world. And now he wished to accord his heartiest congratulations to all those who had taken part in the erection of the Donacloney Memorial. They had done honour to themselves in honouring their dead. When he looked at that memorial, and at the memorials in other villages, he always felt, ashamed, and he had no hesitation in saying it, that the town in which he was born had as yet done nothing to erect a memorial to its dead, and if there was a town in this world that desired a memorial to those who had gone, it was the town of Lurgan (hear, hear). He hoped that some day somebody with a heart and spirit worthy of the occasion would
GIVE LURGAN A MEMORIAL SUCH AS THEY HAD AT DONACLONEY.
He did feel ashamed, because he knew that the men of Lurgan had done good work, and they deserved recognition. He thought they would see it some day. Meanwhile Donacloney and all the villages round about had shown the way, and he thanked them for so doing. And let that memorial be a memorial not only to the dead, but a memorial of guidance to the living, that when the call of the great flag came, and when the mother country appealed to them once again, they would be ready, because they were Britishers to the core and were imperialists to the very end (applause). Finally he was glad to be with them to say those few words, and to take part in that ceremony which would stand in memory of that great cloud of witnesses who had shown the path to duty and to glory (loud and prolonged applause).
Miss Liddell then severed the cord that held the Union Jack in place over the memorial, and, as the figure was revealed, said she unveiled the status “To the glory of God and in honour of the men of the village of Donacloney who had served and fell in the Great War.”
Dr. Boucher then read the following names of the men who fell in the war:-
Wm. Alexander, John Barrett, James Bingham, Robert Cairns, Joseph Collins, S.B. Combe, Robert Dennison, Moses Dickson, Ernest Douglas, William Douglas, Joseph Dowds, Thomas Grattan, Robert Gregg, Thomas Greyson, Robert Hamilton, George Harrison, James Hylands Jervis Hylands, Robert Hylands, Thos. J. Hylands, R. Irwin, Joseph King, James Lavery, H. Lyness, William Lyttle, Jas. McCartney, John McKeown, Rbt. J. McMullan, Samuel Moffett, William Moles, William Molloy, George Morgan, William Morgan, Christie Ogle David Pedan, Thomas Shields, W.H. Swain, Robt. Watson.
The buglers then sounded the last post, after which the ex-service men placed a beautiful wreath at the foot of the memorial.
Sir R. M. Liddell proposed a vote of thanks to Col. Sir William Allen for his address. He (Sir Robert) was associated with others with their great leader, Sir Edward Carson, and he was honoured in being asked to do a good deal of work at the beginning of the war. One of the first duties was that of getting recruits for the Ulster Division. Sir Edward Carson told them how many men they were expected to raise. They had started in that end of County Down by raising the 13th Battalion R.I.R., and afterwards he accompanied that battalion on their first march to Clandeboye camp. After some further experience in recruiting he was asked by Sir James Craig to find a suitable house in the locality with proper accommodation for a new battalion. There was some difficulty in procuring it, but on the suggestion of Lady Liddell he called on Sir William Allen, who ultimately was able to place Brownlow House at their disposal. When Sir James Craig was informed of this he gave the curt order, “Then fill it,” and that was really the start of the 16th Battalion. From that day Col. Allen took hold of affairs; he developed into a brilliant soldier, and was a real comrade to every man in that battalion (cheers). He again thanked Sir William Allen, on behalf of himself and the residents of Donacloney for his presence there that afternoon.
Lieut. H. Towell briefly seconded the vote of thanks, which was passed with acclamation.
Sir William Allen, in suitable words, acknowledged the compliment.
Mr James Clarke proposed a vote of thanks to Miss Liddell for the gracious manner in which she had performed the unveiling ceremony.
This was seconded by Mr R.J Bell and passed with acclamation.
Mr Wm. Liddell proposed a vote of thanks to Dr. Boucher for the great assistance he had given in helping with the work of erecting the monument, and he would also like to say that this memorial was thought of by the Comrades of Donacloney even before the war was over. He also considered they owed the Comrades a vote of thanks for their thoughtful action.
This was duly seconded and passed and suitably replied to by Dr. Boucher.
The proceedings terminated with the singing of the National Anthem by the assembled choirs, accompanied by the Blackskull Flute Band.
At the conclusion of the proceedings a large number of guests enjoyed the hospitality of Lady and Sir Robert Liddell at Banoge House, while Mrs and Dr. Boucher entertained the representatives of the Press.
The Lurgan Mail 28-07-1923 page 2
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