The Great War - Ballymena Information
"Ballymena Borough & the Great War" is
the working title of an exhibition which is a labour
of love for two Ballymena men. John Hoy (Lecturer) and
Des Blackadder (Editor of The Ballymena Times) got together
to collate an enormous database of information in relation
to those men from the Ballymena area who fought and
died in the 1914-18 war.
Des Blackadder (standing) and John Hoy study some
of their Great War statistics.
It was an enormous amount of work spanning
over a year. They then put the information on display
at the Local Studies Library on Demesne Avenue in Ballymena.
Lots of people came along and gave more information
in return for receiving new information relevant to
their own families. It is this exchange of information
which is the most striking aspect of the venture.
Pay-in books, medals and old photographs,
like the ones below, were brought down to the library
to the delight of Des and John who were able to match
up the memorabilia with the names of soldiers on their
lists. In return the public got a chance to discover
the last known movements of their relatives and discover
where, and in some cases, how they met their end.
Some of the old photographs unearthed thanks to the
work of John, Des and the Ballymena public.
Hilda Sullivan ne Vance - Apr '07
My grandfather Joseph Vance was with the Inniskillen
fusiliers in world the great war. He was captured and
held as a prisoner of war. He was also wounded he was
shot in the arm, He used to tell us all about it -When
we listened. I wish we had have listened more but when
we were kids we only wanted to have fun and now in our
later years we struggle to remember what we were told.
Des Blackadder - Mar '07
It is with great sadness I must report the recent death
of Mr John Hoy on 4th March 2007. He was diagnosed with
Alexander disease in May of last year (2006) and it
slowly progressed. Everyone who knew him agreed it was
a release for him in the end.
He is survived by a son of 16 and a wife of 67.
Johnny McBeggs - Mar '07
In 1918 my great grandfather John Hoy died in the the
war.. personally i think the man in the picture is an
imposter.. He has cheated my great grandfather out of
any dignity he had left!
Alan Rutherford - Nov '06
Would be very grateful for any information on my grandfather,
John Rutherford, who claimed he was in the Inniskillen
Fusiliers, see only reference I have below...
You ask about our grandfather and as one of the older
grandson's (64) I may be able to help you. Our great
grandfather, as far as I can ascertain, came from the
Selkirk area and moved to Ireland to work in a paper
mill at Ballymoney, lived in Balnamore. His first wife
died and he re-married - the 3 stepsons did not get
on with his new wife. They fled to Milngavie (nr Glasgow)where
they worked in the Ellangowan Paper Mill. This was about
1906 and the brothers were George, James and our grandfather,
John. Our grandfather eventually became nightshift foreman
and he and his family moved into Mansefield, which was
a mill house. He left his wife, family and job to go
to Ireland and join up in the first world war, he claimed
he was in the Inneskillen Fuseliers but Uncle Davie's
widow has his medals and cap badge, and the badge is
for the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He took part in the
2nd battle of the Somme and had a small piece of shrapnel
embedded in his forehead.
Jean Scott - Oct '06
Great site, Jean Scott and Ted Dickey grandfather was
killed in action 1917, Adam Craig bridgend thanks for
Laurine Potter - Sep '06
Hello I wonder if you can help me? I have for some time
been trying to trace my great grandfather with no success.
I don't know if he served in the forces in either war
but I know his son my grandfather served in the Royal
Inneskillen Fusiliers. He fortunately survived. I am
researching my family history but keep hitting a brick
wall when trying to find my great grandad Samuel Ashe.
I have no idea what year or county in which he was born
the only information is from my grandad's birth certificate
he was Robert Henry Ashe from Ballymena so it is likely
that Samuel also came from Antrim?
Another question for you is would you have any records
of a soldiers marriage. As I don't know what year my
grandparents were married? This is probably not your
area I have been to the PRO NIi office but hav'nt a
clue what year to start looking.
Many thanks Laurine
Looking for Thomas Chesney Gourley
- December '04
Hi Des & John, I had emailed Des some weeks ago,
(Des replied with some information in November )
but I am still no further forward in my quest, which
is to trace any information on my great uncle Thomas
Chesney Gourley, born about 1890 in the Ahoghill area.
Father James mother Elizabeth nee Chesney. Thomas and
his family moved to Larne (date unknown) where he joined
the 12th battalion Royal Irish Rifles service No. 17742.
He was killed in action 1st July 1916. I always thought
Ahoghill was in the Ballymena area but I could be wrong,
if you could could come up with any information about
this young man who died so far from Ahoghill I would
be most greatful.
If you have any information about Ballymena soldiers
of the Great War you can fill in the form below. YPAM
will then pass it on to Des and John.