Private Sidney Johnston - died 13/6/1916
3rd Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regt) - service number 9928
Sidney was born in London on 31st January 1884, the son of John A Johnston, who was later the Superintendent of the Belfast Harbour Police Force, and Matilda H Johnston.
After Inst, he moved to Canada, and enlisted in the Canadian Infantry in Montreal. He had by this time married Elizabeth A Johnston, and was living at 971 Orleans Avenue, Maisonneuve, Quebec, and was working as a bricklayer.
He was killed at the age of 32 during the 1st Canadian Division attack on Mount Sorrel.
Sidney is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial (panels 18-24-26-30), Flanders, Belgium.
Second Lieutenant James Kennedy - died 21/3/1918
8th Royal Irish Rifles attached 1st Battalion
James was killed in action on 21st March 1918, the opening day of the German Spring Offensive, when the battalion were heavily bombarded while in the trenches. He is buried in Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery (ref II F 13), Aisne, France.
Rifleman William Kennedy - died 7/6/1917
14th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles - service number 14/16657
William, the son of the Reverend S G Kennedy of Cromwell House, Cromwell Road, Belfast, was born in Wishaw, Lanark, Scotland and enlisted in Belfast. In the June 1917 edition of School News, it was announced that he had been awarded a certificate for gallantry in the field.
He was killed in action on 7th June 1917 and is buried in Spanbroekmolen British Cemetery (ref C1), Flanders, Belgium.
Second Lieutenant Edwin Blow Kertland - died 16/6/1915
3rd Royal Irish Fusiliers attached 2nd Royal Irish Rifles
Edwin was born on 29th January 1896, the son of Edwin Happer Kertland and Meta Blow Kertland of Dunnimarle, Knockdene Park, Belfast. As well as Inst, he also attended Campbell College, Belfast from September 1909 to July 1912, where he was a member of the Officer Training Corps. He was living at 8 Mount Pleasant, Belfast, and working as an apprentice manager in the linen trade, when he enlisted in the Royal Irish Fusiliers. He was gazetted Second Lieutenant in August 1914, and later mentioned in dispatches. The June 1915 edition of School News reported that he had recently been ill with pleurisy.
Edwin was killed in action, at the age of 19, on 16th June 1915, during the attack on Bellewaerde, near Ypres, a day on which the battalion was reported as being subjected to a terrific artillery bombardment from early morning to nightfall, and made repeated attacks on the German lines. Over 300 men of the battalion were killed, missing or wounded by the end of the day.
A report dated 3rd August 1915 from Rifleman McConville, C Company, 2nd Royal Irish Rifles stated "Lt Kertland was hit by machine gun fire and fell - he must have been mortally wounded as I lay beside him for seven minutes and he did not move."
His uncle, Edwin Blow, later wrote that he had "unofficially heard of his being as far as the 4th German Trench and in the attack on a house from there have not been able to get any further news".
Edwin is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial (panel 42), Flanders, Belgium.
Lance Corporal William King - died 1/7/1916
14th Royal Irish Rifles - service number 18030
William was the son of the late Mr James King and Mrs Mary J King, Bentinck Street, Belfast. After Inst, he was working as a journalist when he enlisted initially with the Young Civilian Volunteers on the outbreak of war, subsequently joining the 14th Royal Irish Rifles.
William was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916, aged 33, while serving with "B" company of the battalion. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 15A and 15B), Somme, France.
Captain James Lowry Lees MC - died 23/8/1918
6th Tank Corps
James was born on 1st March 1894, the son of Mr James Lees of Drumadoon, Old Cave Hill Road, Belfast. He was working as a building contractor for Messrs Gregg and Co. of Exchange Street, Belfast, when he enlisted with the 6th Black Watch on 4th January 1915, in Hawick, Scotland. After proceeding to France in February 1915, he was wounded in June 1916. While convalescing in England, he transferred to the Tank Corps, and received his commission on 1st September 1916. His elder brother William served with the Royal Air Force from 1916 until the end of the war.
Earlier in the month in which he died, he is reported as having made several daring reconnaissances, leading to the award of the Military Cross. His commanding officer, Colonel Wist wrote : "In the fighting we had on the 8th, 9th and 10th August, he was with me the whole time, acting as reconnaisance officer, and no one ever did better. Always cool and collected, and using his head all the times under very heavy fire, on one occasion fighting a "whippet" when its commander was knocked out, and another time crawling up to a derelict "whippet" and working the Hotchkiss guns and knocking out some enemy machine guns that were worrying our infantry. I promoted him to section commander and also recommended him for immediate award of the Military Cross, which I think he is certain to get as his name heads the list in order of merit."
The citation reads for his Military Cross reads-
"For conspicuous gallantry and initiative. When one of his Tank commanders became a casualty (near Guillaucourt) he at once took command, though employed as reconnaissance officer, and captured two machine guns. Later on he crawled out to a Tank that was lying derelict in No-Man's Land (near Parvillers) and though heavily shelled he effectively manned the gun and silenced the enemy snipers. His skill and daring greatly contributed to the success of his company".
James was killed in action on 23rd August 1918, during an attempt to outflank the village of Ervillers, between Bapaume and Arras. The infantry advanced to a position 200 yards in front of the village, but James' tank (Whippet A 287) received a direct hit while patrolling on the far side of the village. The whippet was burnt out, but the crew got clear and caught up with the infantry.
James discovered that his driver, Corporal Heddon, was missing and knowing that he was wounded, returned for him, even though he was wounded himself. He was killed almost immediately by a shell.
He is buried Bienvillers Military Cemetery (ref XX F 4), Pas de Calais, France.
There is also a memorial to him in Carnmoney Cemetery, County Antrim.