Northern Ireland

Memorial commemorates 72 soldiers who died in world wars

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe unveiling ceremony took place on Sunday

A new war memorial in memory of 72 soldiers from Fivemiletown, County Tyrone, has been unveiled.

They were killed in both the First and Second World Wars.

Until now, there has never been a memorial in the town.

But a community group helped raise funds for a memorial to coincide with the centenary of World War I. Some of the names appear on rolls of honour in local places of worship.

However, almost half of the men did not have their sacrifice acknowledged on any memorial.

The names of the 60 men who were killed in the First World War and 12 in the Second World War were read out at a service of dedication on Sunday.

Image caption Iain Lendrum said he was "immensely proud" of the local community

Iain Lendrum, chairman of Fivemiletown Community War Memorial Project, said the men came from all backgrounds, Protestant and Catholic, gentry and working class. They were all united in a common cause.

"I am immensely proud of what we have done here and I am proud of the local community," he said.

"But I am more proud of the names on the memorial. They are the people who deserve the recognition - who gave their lives.

"It has also sparked an interest in the community about the people who came back as well and we are delighted to have had a number of WW2 veterans involved in this."

Image caption Jim Jennings was among those who helped unveil the new memorial

Normandy veteran Jim Jennings was one of those who helped to unveil the new memorial outside Fivemiletown Royal British Legion.

Image caption Mark Byers researched the book on Fivemiletown's fallen soldiers

The group received a number of grants but more than 80% of the money for the memorial was raised by the local community.

Mark Byers spent three years researching the lives of the 72 men for a book, Fivemiletown's Fallen.

He said the centenary of World War I had revived interest in the community.

About 500 people had attended a concert to launch the book, he said.

"Families had been very bad at passing down information from generation to generation and a lot of things have been discovered that had been forgotten," he said.

Image caption Sgt John Irvine was awarded the military medal for bravery

"We've got it all recorded in this book, Fivemiletown's Fallen, and it is worthy remembrance of the men who paid the supreme sacrifice."

The book includes the story of Sgt John Irvine from Fivemiletown who was awarded the military medal for bravery during the attack on Messines Ridge on 7 June 1917.

He was killed on 6 December 1917. He was 28 years old and has no known grave.