Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
ff
Date Name Information
13/12/2019 Miss Bridget McErlean 01120
13/12/2019 Miss Bridget McErlean A list of 93 passengers of the Athenia, now officially reported missing, was issued on Monday – five weeks after the liner was sunk by a German submarine. Nine of the victims had Ulster connections. They are:- Miss Bridget McErlean (38) domestic, of Moneystaghan, Portglenone.
13/12/2019 Miss Bridget McErlean 01119
13/12/2019 Miss Bridget McErlean From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 14th October 1939:
13/12/2019 Miss Bridget McErlean The CWGC record Bridget McErlean as the daughter of Henry and Jane McErlean of Moneystaghan, Portglenone, County Antrim.
13/12/2019 Miss Bridget McErlean Bridget McErlean has no known grave. Her name is listed in the Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour at St. George’s Chapel at Westminster Abbey in London.
13/12/2019 Miss Bridget McErlean The Athenia was the first British ship sunk by Germany during World War Two. 117 passengers and crew died. Germany denied sinking the Athenia at the time.
13/12/2019 Miss Bridget McErlean Bridget McErlean was described as being a 38 year old domestic, a US citizen.
13/12/2019 Miss Bridget McErlean On 3rd September 1939 when it was attacked and sunk by a German U-boat in the Atlantic, 340 miles off the Donegal coast.
13/12/2019 Miss Bridget McErlean On 1st September 1939, SS Athenia left Glasgow for Montreal via Liverpool and Belfast. She carried 1,103 passengers, including about 500 Jewish refugees, 469 Canadians, 311 US citizens and 72 UK subjects, and 315 crew. Miss Bridget McErlean was a passenger on board SS Athenia.
13/12/2019 Miss Bridget McErlean The 1911 census lists Bridget as age 10, living with the family at house 20 in Moneystaghan Ellis, Clady.
13/12/2019 Miss Bridget McErlean Family: Henry McErlean, Jane McErlean, Henry McErlean (born 28th June 1899), Bridget McErlean (born 31st October 1900), John McErlean (born 14th May 1902), Joseph McErlean (born 18th June 1904), Patrick McErlean (born 4th July 1906), Susannah McErlean (born 16th April 1909).
13/12/2019 Miss Bridget McErlean The 1901 census lists Bridget as age 1, living with the family at house 28 in Moneystaghan Ellis, Claudy, County Londonderry. Henry McErlean was a farmer.
13/12/2019 Miss Bridget McErlean Bridget McErlean was born on 31st October 1900 in the Portglenone area. She was the second of six children.
13/12/2019 Miss Bridget McErlean Bridget McErlean was the eldest daughter of Henry and Jane McErlean. Henry McErlean and Jane Graham were married on 22nd September 1898 in the district of Ballymena.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston 01115
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston 01118
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston Aircraftman Robert Johnston has no known grave and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey, England.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston Aircraftman Robert Johnston was the first person from Upperlands to be killed in World War Two.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston Aircraftman (1st Class) Bertie Johnston was serving on board HMS Courageous when he was killed in action on 17th September 1939.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston On the evening of 17th September 1939, Courageous was on patrol off the coast of Ireland. The ship was stalked for over two hours by a U-boat. The carrier then turned into the wind to launch her aircraft. This put the ship right across the bow of the submarine, which fired three torpedoes. Two of the torpedoes struck the ship on her port side. Courageous capsized and sank in 20 minutes with the loss of 519 of her crew, including her captain.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston In August 1939, he was attached to the aircraft carrier Courageous.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston In August 1937, Robert Johnston joined the joined the Royal Air Force.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston He was a member of Culnady Presbyterian Church with which his ancestors head been connected for generations past.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston Robert Johnston was a member of Upperlands ‘Purple Marksmen’ L.O.L. No 817.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston When the Upperlands Pipe Band was formed, Bertie Johnston took a keen interest and was one of the band’s first drummers.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston He was a member of the Boy Scouts, and in 1932 dived into the water to rescue a fellow Scout, called R W Averill, saving him from drowning. He was awarded a Gilt Cross and Certificate for his heroism.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston Bertie was an exceptionally good footballer, and played for the local team.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston From about 1930 he was in the employment of Messrs William Clark and Son Limited, of Upperlands. He was an electrician.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston Robert ‘Bertie’ Johnston was the second son of Mr and Mrs Robert Johnston of Tergarvil, Upperlands. He was born about 1915.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston At the morning service in Culnady Presbyterian Church on Sunday, the Rev V M Corkey referred, in touching terms, to the death of A.C.I. Aircraftman Bertie Johnston. He said that it was learned that the Courageous had been sunk. There was great anxiety in the district about their late young friend’s safety, and everyone hoped he might be numbered amongst the survivors, but all their hopes were dashed when his father, on Wednesday morning, received a telegram conveying the grim and unwelcome news that his son had given his life in his country’s service. The Rev Mr Corkey spoke highly of the many splendid qualities of the deceased. He said that Bertie was a young man who always tried to improve his position and put his whole weight into everything he did, and referred to the gallant rescue he made a few years ago in saving the life of a comrade Boy Scout who was in peril of drowning. It falls the lot of this young man to be the first from their congregation and neighbourhood to sacrifice in the defence of right, liberty and freedom in the great struggle their country was waging against tyranny, oppression, aggression and might. Rev Mr Corkey concluded by expressing deep sympathy for the bereaved parents and family. The praise service embraced appropriate psalms and hymns.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston Keen sympathy is felt in the district for his sorrowing parents, brother and sisters, in the sudden bereavement they have been called on to bear. His father was for many years W.M. of Upperlands L.O.L. 817 and also W.M. of Upperlands ‘Star of the East’ R.B.P., and is also connected with the Murray Club Apprentice Boys of Derry, and gave valued service to the Special Constabulary.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston It is just two years in August last since he joined the Royal Air Force, and from the time of his enlistment he studied and worked whole-heartedly, as is evidenced by the fact that he was rated as an A.C.I. Aircraftman. About a month ago he was attached to the ill-fated aircraft carrier Courageous, and thus has had the high honour of being the first young man from this neighbourhood to make the supreme sacrifice for King and country in the present struggle of right against might.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston The tragic news on Wednesday of last week that Bertie Johnston (second son of Mr and Mrs Robert Johnston of Tergarvil), had perished when the Courageous was torpedoed by a German submarine, caused widespread sorrow in his his native district where he and his family are held in high esteem, the deceased young man being very popular in the district. Only 24 years of age, he was, for about seven years, in the employment of Messrs William Clark and Son Limited, of Upperlands, as an electrician. He was a keen athlete being an exceptionally good footballer, and played for the local team in many hard contested games. He was a patrol leader in the Upperlands troop of the Boy Scouts, being a much alive member. On 31st July 1932, while the Scouts were encamped beside one of Messrs Clark’s reservoirs he promptly, without waiting to divest himself of any clothes, jumped into the water and rescued a comrade, Mr R W Averill, from drowning. For this heroic action he was publicly honoured at a public meeting. Captain Scott, Commissioner for the North-West, attended and presented him with a Gilt Cross and Certificate. Mr A M Clark, J.P., presided, and numerous speakers expressed their appreciation of Patrol Leader Johnston’s plucky action. It should be mentio0ned that the young man whose life was saved joined His Majesty’s forces a short time ago. When the Upperlands Pipe Band was formed, the deceased took a practical interest in the project, and was one of the band’s first drummers. He was a member of Upperlands ‘Purple Marksmen’ L.O.L. No 817, and although he has been out of the district for over two years, he continued to be a liberal subscriber to the lodge funds. He was a member of Culnady Presbyterian Church with which his ancestors head been connected for generations past.
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston 01117
12/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 23rd September 1939: Obituary – Aircraftman Bertie Johnston, Tergarvil
11/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston Mr Robert Johnston of Tergarvil, on Wednesday received by wire official information that his son, A.C.I, (Aircraftman 1st Class) Bertie Johnston was amongst those who had made the supreme sacrifice when the Courageous was sunk by a German submarine. Fuller details and a sketch of this young man’s career will appear in the next issue.
11/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston 01116
11/12/2019 Aircraftman Robert Johnston From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 23rd September 1939: Upperlands
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant 01115
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant 01114
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant On the evening of 17th September 1939, Courageous was on patrol off the coast of Ireland. The ship was stalked for over two hours by a U-boat. The carrier then turned into the wind to launch her aircraft. This put the ship right across the bow of the submarine, which fired three torpedoes. Two of the torpedoes struck the ship on her port side. Courageous capsized and sank in 20 minutes with the loss of 519 of her crew, including her captain. The survivors were rescued by the Dutch ocean liner Veendam and the British freighter Collingworth. Corporal Grant was one of the survivors.
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant In 1939, Corporal Grant was on the British aircraft carrier Courageous when she was torpedoed by a German submarine.
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant The CWGC record Corporal Desmond Grant as the son of James and Ellen Josephine Grant of Toomebridge, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant In 1948, he was reinterred in the Commonwealth Military Cemetery, the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. His inscription reads ‘Sacred heart of Jesus, have mercy on him. loving father, sisters and brothers’.
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant German authorities buried him in the German Military Cemetery at Doberitz, Berlin. This cemetery had an area set aside for prisoners of war who died in captivity.
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant Corporal Desmond Grant died in a German POW camp on 20th September 1941, aged 23 years.
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant The remnants of 33 Squadron retired to Egypt by the end of May after the Battle of Crete.
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant Corporal Grant was taken prisoner on Crete on 24th May 1941.
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant The RAF and the ground personnel fought hand-to-hand with German paratroopers to protect the airfield. Many RAF ground crew were left behind on Crete when 33 Squadron was evacuated. It was a fighter squadron so there was no means of taking the ground crew with them.
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant 33 Squadron was involved in heavy fighting in Africa and had to be withdrawn to Crete on 27 April.
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant By 1941, it is thought he was part of the RAF ground crew either with 33 Squadron or based at Crete.
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant Corporal Desmond Grant served with the Royal Air Force in World War Two.
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant Desmond Grant was born about 1918.
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant Desmond Mary Grant was the son of James and Ellen Josephine Grant.
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant The inhabitants of Toome district were delighted when they heard the good news on Monday evening that Mr and Mrs James Grant had received a telegram stating that their son, Desmond Grant, was safe,. Mr Grant is on the Air Force and was on the British Aircraft Carrier Courageous when she was torpedoed on Sunday by a German submarine.
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant 01113
11/12/2019 Corp Desmond Mary Grant From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 23rd September 1939: Toome
    January     February     March     April     May     June     July     August     September     October     November     December
    January     February     March     April     May     June     July     August     September     October     November     December
    January     February     March     April     May     June     July     August     September     October     November     December