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16 October 2014
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World War I:
Soldiers of Down

Many men marched off to war, but few returned. The situation in County Down was no different to other counties in Northern Ireland .....

Downpatrick man, Lance Sergeant Samuel Craig
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Susan Cunningham - Mar '08
I am writing a book about Sir Crawford McCullagh and would like some information regarding his affiliation with the 'B' specials and the UVF - photos, press clippings, if anybody has anything that would be of interest please contact.

Anne Leinster - February '08
I have been trying to access the web site at but it doesn't appear to be working correctly. Is there a phone number for the South Belfast Friends of the Somme Assoc.

David Donald Lewis - Dec '07
Looking for any records...My grandfather, Andrew K. Lewis must have been one of the 87. He was from Belfast, and served Britain in WW1, I was told as a child a "sharp-shooter." He was a POW of Germany and survived, moving to America in 1927 with his 7 yr old son David Taylor Lewis, and wife Minnie. As a child I played with the group of 3 medals: the Star, Britain, and Victory. I have not been able to find any records, but family photos show him in British uniform, wearing Clan MacLeod of Lewis Dress Kilt (yellow) with Bagpipes.

Can anyone help me? Grandson, David Donald Lewis

Kim Randall - Mar '07
I am looking for any imformation on the 4th rgiment of the sommerset light infantry that fought in the battle of somme in world war one trying to find my grand fathers regiment and war history i would like to learn more heis name was frederick gilbert derrick and was a private in this infantry and was wounded twice

Terence Nelson - Feb '07

on 29 Dec 2006

The correct address is:
Royal Ulster Rifles Museum , 5 Waring Street, Belfast BT1 2EW because NI War Memorial Bldg is another block with a different street number.

The website is and the Curator is Captain (Retd.) Jaki Knox . She is my line manager.

Ellie - Feb '07
Bill McGrath June 05. Message. My grandfather attested for the RUR in Newry, Co. Down in 1913 and was in France and Somme. I wonder if you had any luck in your search? I have started on mine recently and you are the first person I have come across with this link. I live in England. Would you like to share anything? Thanks.

John Mackin - March '06
My mothers' brother, James Chambers died on his 18th birthday at the battle of the Somme. He therefore must have enlisted under age. I'm sure other boys were also under age. Your comments welcomed.

Bill Mc Grath - June '05
Very interesting article, but is Downpatrick the only town to have boys who were in the Ulster Rifles who served in World War 1 in France and in the Somme campaign ??What about Newry Co. Down?? I would be happy to know if anyone has any info on this. I am living in Canada now. Born in Newry County Down.

M Lunnon (nee Craig) - April '05
It was lovely to hear about Samuel Craig in the war and hear the voice of Samuel Craig junior. My late father was a relative. How proud Samuel and family must feel.

Roy McKie - November '04
Being an ex-soldier, I admire your bravery, courage, going through the most worst time on earth, serving your country.

Bernie - July 04
I'm trying to trace a Great Uncle who was in WW1 - Patrick McNeill from some part of Banbridge district, and a Great Grand Father who fought in the battle of the Somme - Hernnson from Gilford. I would be ever so greatful if you can help in any way.

John O'Sullivan
My maternal grandfather, James Jess from Dromore Co. Down, joined Royal Irish Rifles (Ist or 2nd Batt?) in 1909. He served in Aldershot, Burma, India, Aden and arrived in France in November 1914. He was wounded in Feb/March 1915 (Neuve Chapelle?) He was sent to England and later to Ireland to recover from his wounds. He arrived in Tipperary (1916?) He remained in the regiment until the Irish Free State was established. He lived in Tipperary until his death in 1973. He was then in his eighties. I remember during the 1960s he travelled by train to Belfast about once a year en route to Dromore.

Although not in France with the BEF at the earliest stages of WW1 he was proud to be part of that "Contemptable Little Army"

Is there more data in the musuem about the regular battilions of the RIR from that period?

Down County Museum
We do not have information on the RIR here but recommend trying the Royal Ulster Rifles Museum in Belfast (NI War Memorial Bldg, 5 Waring Street, Belfast BT1 2EW). They would have information on their forerunner RIR battallions, including army lists, casualty rolls, medal rolls, regimental journals and histories.

E-mail or try website at The Curator is Captain John Knox, assistant T. Nelson (tel 028 90232086).
(The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites)

Billy Bittles:
Visit the SOUTH BELFAST FRIENDS OF THE SOMME ASSOCIATION website at WWW.BELFASTSOMME.COM to discover through text photographs music and digital video the story of the 36th (Ulster) Division. The Primary objective for the site is to allow the visitor to gain some understanding into the role of the 36th (Ulster) Division in the Great War of 1914-1918 and in particular to expose the awful reality of that tragic and bloody summer of 1916 on the fields of the Somme and the devastating impact it had on a tight-knit community

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