Greyabbey 1

St. SAVIOURS' Church of Ireland, GREYABBEY, Co. Down.

The FALLEN 1914 - 1918

Armour James, Rifleman Royal Irish Rifles

Bell James, Private Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Birney George, Rifleman Royal Irish Rifles

Craig Joseph, Private Canadians

Cumming William F., Sergeant Royal Scots Fusiliers

Hamilton James, Private Canadians

Hill Ernest L., Private Australian Imperial Force

Holland James, Corporal

McCallum Hugh, Company Sergeant Major, Royal Irish Rifles

McCullough Hugh, Private Cameron Highlanders.

McGimpsey James, Private R.L. Scots.

McKay Robert, Rifleman Royal Irish Rifles.

Regan Robert, Rifleman Royal Irish Rifles.

The FALLEN 1939 - 1945.

Able-Seaman James Bailie, Royal Navy.

Corporal John Mawhinney, Royal Irish Rifles.

                                                                       St. SAVIOUR’S CHURCH of IRELAND, GREYABBEY, Co. Down

Dedication of War Memorial.

On Saturday afternoon, 2nd  April, 1921, a war memorial stone to the man from Greyabbey and district who fell in the war was dedicated by the Lord Bishop of Down and Connor. The stone, which has been constructed by Messrs. Purdy & Mallard in Peterhead granite is placed in the outer wall of the parish church, facing a main road, and bears the names of the men from the locality who gave their lives for the Empire. The tablet is the gift of Major-General W. E. Montgomery D.L. The service on Saturday was of an impressive nature. After the opening prayers, read by the rector of the parish, Rev. Canon Whatham, an inspiring address was given by Rev. J. H. Simms, c.B., C.M.G. The hymn “O Valiant Hearts” having been sung, the congregation reassembled outside the church. The names on the memorial tablet were then read by Major-General Montgomery, who in the course of a short address, bore testimony to the gallantry of the man from the district who volunteered for service during the war, and referred to the courage and self-sacrifice both of the fallen and of those who had been spared to reach home again. The tablet was unveiled by Mrs. Montgomery. The Lord Bishop dedicated the memorial, the benediction was pronounced by Rev. J. H. Simms. The proceedings concluded with the singing of the National Anthem. Numerous wreaths and other floral tributes were placed at the foot of the memorial tablet on Sunday, forming, with the background of the church and the stately ruins of the old abbey and the great trees of the park around a beautiful picture which was lit up with the glory of spring sunshine.

Belfast News-Letter, April 5, 1921.

Many thanks to Elma Wickens for the following information.


James Armour, Rifleman, Royal Irish Rifles, 11th/13th Battalion.  Date of death 28th March 1918.   Pozieres Memorial.    Member of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Greyabbey.  Service No. 1036.  Unable to find any family details.

James Bell, Private, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 2nd Battalion.  Age 26.  Date of death 27th September 1915.  Service No. 9885.  2nd son of the late Hugh Bell and Ellen (nee Stewart).   Brother of Robert S. Bell, Church Street, Greyabbey. Cemetery – Cambrin Churchyard, near Arras.  Killed at Battle of Loos.  Sisters – Mary E. Bryce, Maggie Filson, Harriette Bell, Agnes L. Adair.

George Birney, Rifleman, Royal Irish Rifles, 12th Battalion.  Service No. 18877.  Date of death 19th April 1918.  Tyne Cot Memorial.  Unable to find any details.

William Francis Cumming, Corporal, Royal Scots Fusiliers, 1st Battalion, Ayrshire Yeomanry.  Age 28.    Service No. 40964.  Date of death 5th June 1917.  He was serving with the British Expeditionary Force in France. Only son of John Cumming, Greyabbey, and the late Isabella Cumming.  Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

Sergeant William F. Cumming, Royal Scots Fusiliers, of Grey Abbey.  Killed in action in France on 5th June 1917.  He joined the Ayrshire Yeomanry in Sept. 1915 and was promoted to the rank of sergeant ten months afterwards.  He passed very creditably as 1st class machine gunner, and also 1st class in musketry, being afterwards appointed as instructor at the school of musketry.  On learning that his regiment was not going to France, he got transferred to the Royal Scots Fusiliers in Dec. 1915 and volunteered for active service the same month.  He was wounded in April 1917 by a shell at Arras, and had only rejoined his regiment a short time when he was killed.  For about 7 years before joining the army he was employed as a gardener in Scotland, in which business he was very successful, having obtained a large number of prizes and medals for essays on horticultural subjects.  He was 28 years of age, and his bright and cheery disposition, his Christian principles, and intellectual qualities won for him the respect and admiration of all who knew him.  He is the only son of Mr. John Cumming of Grey Abbey, for whom the greatest sympathy is felt in the great loss he has sustained.

Joseph Craig, Private, Canadian Infantry (Eastern Ontario Regiment), 2nd Battalion.  Age 24.  Date of death 26th April 1916.  Service No. 81186. Eldest son of Robert and Margaret Craig of Greyabbey (father Sergeant, R.I.C).  Interred – Woods Cemetery. [See below for additional information from Jo-Anna Osgood (nee Craig).]

James Hamilton, Private, Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment), 58th Battalion.  Date of death 28th August 1918.  Service No. 249365.  Cemetery – Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery, Harcourt.   Son of Samuel Hamilton, Mountstewart, and the late Margaret Hamilton.  Member of Trinity Pres. Church, Greyabbey.  Name on family grave in Greyabbey Old Graveyard.

Ernest Ludgate Hill, Private, son of Marshall Hill, Master of Greyabbey PE School, and his wife Sarah Louisa (nee Ludgate), killed in action.  Member of St. Saviour’s C of I, Greyabbey.  Service No. 5048.  Died 14th Nov. 1916 age 21.  26th Battalion, Australian Infantry A.I.F.  Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.

James Holland, Lance-Corporal, 8th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps.   Age 20.  Killed in action in France 3rd August 1915.  2nd son of William Holland, Greyabbey.  Ypres (Menin Gate).  Service No. A/189.   Mr. Wm. Holland, of Grey Abbey, has received official notification that his 2nd son, Lance-Corporal James Holland, 8th Batt. King’s Royal Rifles, aged 20 years, was killed in action in France on 23rd Aug. 1915.  He was previously wounded by a shell, and had only returned from hospital to the firing line about a fortnight when he met his death, which happily was instantaneous.  He enlisted at the outbreak of war at Llanelli in South Wales, where he had resided about 3 years, and was employed at the tinplate works.  He was a very promising young man, and received promotion on the field, where doubtless further promotion was in store for him only for his premature death, which is deeply regretted in his native village of Grey Abbey.  (Scrapbook – photo).

Henry Cooke Lowry, Captain, Army Veterinary Corps.  Date of death 11th July 1916 at Mesopotamia.  Age 32.  Only son of the late James Lowry, J.P., of Magheramorne, Co. Antrim (formerly Ballycastle House, Mountstewart).  Cemetery – Basra War Cemetery. Not on Greyabbey War Memorial as family had moved toMagheramorne, though his name is on headstone in Greyabbey Old Graveyard.

Hugh McCallum, Company Sergeant-Major, 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, killed in action 1st December 1917 aged 24.  Husband of C. McCallum.  Son of John and Charlotte (nee Dornan) McCallum, 1 Blacklands Row, Kilwinning Ayrshire (formerly Greyabbey).  Born at Greyabbey.  Member of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Greyabbey.  Grevillas British Cemetery.  Service No. 15/9211.

Alexander McClelland, Rifleman, 4th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, Machine Gun Section.   Age 19.  Date of death 27th April 1916.  Service No. 7610.  4th son of James and Agnes McClelland, Balligan.  Killed in Dublin during the Easter Rising.  Buried about the middle of Greyabbey Old Graveyard.

Hugh McCullough, Private, Cameron Highlanders, 5th Battalion.  Age 27.  Date of death 27th April 1918.  Service No. 3/5735.  Son of Margaret McCullough of Ballycastle, Mountstewart, and the late Alexander McCullough.  Cemetery – Arneke British Cemetery.

James McGimpsey, Private, 9th Battalion Royal Scots.  Killed in action 23rd April 1917.  Age 21.  Only son of Mrs. McGimpsey (nee Regan) and the late James McGimpsey, Main Street, Greyabbey.  Arras Memorial.   Member of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Greyabbey.  Service No. 351053.  His only child was also called James McGimpsey.  The family grave is in Movilla Cemetery, Newtownards.

Robert McKay, Rifleman. Born c.1884.  Was a prisoner and died in France.  Uncle of Robert Regan and brother of Harriet Regan (nee McKay).  Royal Irish Rifles, 12th Battalion.  Age 34.   Date of death 15th April 1918.  Service No. 19107.  Son of Robert and Jane McKay, Greyabbey.  Member of St. Saviour’s C of I, Greyabbey.  Interred – Tyne Cot, Belgium.

William John Pritchard, Rifleman, 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. Date of death 26th October 1914.   Son of Mr. and Mrs. William Pritchard, Ballywalter (originally from Greyabbey).  Buried in the middle of Greyabbey Old Graveyard – no headstone.  Service No. 19171.

Robert Regan, Rifleman, 12th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. Killed in action in France 1st October 1918.  Aged 19.  Son of Thomas Henry and Harriet Regan, Bowtown, Greyabbey.    Born at Gordonall, Greyabbey.  Interred in Dadizelle British Cemetery.  Service No. 488.

Joseph Craig, Private, Canadian Infantry (Eastern Ontario Regiment), 2nd Battalion.
Joseph Craig would have been my Great Uncle. My Papa being the naughty boy he has carved his name into a pew His name was James.
Joseph Craig was born on 6 September 1891 at 19 Ribble Street, Belfast and he was the eldest son of Robert and Margaret Craig (nee Mason) who were married on 11 November 1890 in Ballymacarrett Parish Church of Ireland, Belfast.  Robert Craig (aged 30), an RIC Constable from the Newtownards Road, Ballymacarrett, Belfast, was a son of Joseph Craig, a farmer.  Margaret Mason (aged 21) from 253 Hillman Street, Belfast was a daughter of Robert Mason, a farmer.

The Craig family lived in Belfast (1890); in Ferry Street, Portaferry (1901) and in Greyabbey (1911). For some years Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) Sergeant Robert Craig was stationed in Greyabbey and he and Margaret, who was born in Co Longford, had six children:

Joseph (born 6 September 1891 at 19 Ribble Street, Belfast)

Mary Anne (born 3 December 1892 at 19 Ribble Street, Belfast)

Margaret Florence (born 22 March 1895 in Scotch Street, Downpatrick, Co Down)

Robert Francis (born 26 December 1896 in Co Down)

Albert Ernest (born 28 December 1900 in Portaferry)

James Alexander (born 6 August 1907 in Greyabbey)

In 1911 Joseph Craig was working as a National School Monitor and he and Mary Anne, who worked as a dressmaker, were living in Greyabbey, separately from the rest of the family.

Joseph Craig left Greyabbey in October 1912 and went to Toronto, Ontario where he remained until March 1913.  From Toronto he went to Saskatchewan to take up a Government appointment as a school teacher.  On 16 December 1914, he enlisted in Winnipeg, Manitoba and in his attestation papers it was noted that he was 5 feet 8½ inches tall with a medium complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair.  After a period of training in Winnipeg he was posted to the Western Front in May 1915.

Except for a one-week furlough in February 1916 which he spent in Greyabbey, Private Joseph Craig (No. 81186) served on the Western Front continuously until he met his death in a front trench.  He was killed when an enemy mine exploded.  During the morning of the day Joseph died he wrote a letter to his parents.  He had returned at 4.00 am from a bombing expedition in a German trench and, in the letter, he told his parents that he had just heard the cuckoo for the first time that year.  At foot of this letter Joseph’s Sergeant added a note stating that Joseph had been killed in action later that very day.

In an article in the Newtownards Chronicle Private Joseph Craig was described as a devoted son and brother and an ‘extremely fine specimen of youthful manhood – mentally, morally and physically’.  He was 24 when he died, and he was buried in Woods Cemetery, Belgium.  There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:

                                                                                             HE WAS DUTIFUL AND GAVE HIS LIFE FOR LIBERTY OF THE EMPIRE

If you can supply additional information, photographs of War Memorials in the nine counties of Ulster, or wish to report errors, broken links, make comments, suggestions, requests, etc. please email
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