Captain Alfred Maurice Thomson – died 7/7/1916
Royal Army Medical Corps – attached 7th Royal Sussex Regiment
Alfred was born on 8th July 1885 in Brussels, the son of Alfred and Florence C Thomson of 9 Osborne Mansions, Northumberland Street, London, and later of "Breowra", Marlborough Avenue, Belfast.
He lived in Belgium until the age of 7. After Inst, he attended Queen's University, Belfast, Kings College London and the University of Manchester. He was working as a physician and living at Napsbury, St Albans, when he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was later attached to the 7th Royal Sussex Regiment.
Alfred was killed in action, the day before his 31st birthday, on 7th July 1916. He had stopped to attend the wounds of the battalion adjutant, some 80 yards in front of his own lines in Mash Valley, just north of the village of La Boiselles. He was using a waterproof sheet to drag the adjutant back to within a few feet of the trenches, when he was fatally wounded by shrapnel. He was recommended for the Victoria Cross for his actions that day, having previously been mentioned in dispatches.
Alfred is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial (pier and face 4C), Somme, France
Private Earnest Victor Todd - died 4/10/1917
3rd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (Wellington Regiment) - service number 37020
Victor, the son of John Todd, worked as a motor mechanic, before enlisting. He sailed from Wellington, New Zealand on 19th January 1917 and was killed in action on 4th October 1917.
Victor is buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery (ref XXVIII C 20), Flanders, Belgium. At the time of his death, his next of kin was Miss Florence Todd, Clonavon, Antrim Road, Belfast.
Second Lieutenant Alexander Miller Turnbull – died 25/4/1917
12th Squadron Royal Flying Corps
Alec was the son of Martin Harper Turnbull, a governor of Inst, and Agnes Edgar Turnbull of Belfast
He was killed on 25th April 1917, as part of the Battle of Arras, while flying a BE2d/e biplane over the village of Avesnes Le Conte, south west of Boulogne.
Alec is commemorated in the Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery, Haucourt (ref IV F 16), Pas de Calais, France. He is also commemorated on the Solicitor's Memorial, Four Courts, Dublin.
Captain John Marcus Tyrrell – died 20/6/1918
Royal Air Force, secondary regiment 3rd Royal Irish Fusiliers
Marcus was born on 27th March 1895, the son of John Tyrrell, JP, and Jeanie Tyrrell (nee Todd) of Fairview Buildings, Crumlin Road, Belfast, and later “The Cairn”, Ballyholme, Bangor, and brother of Alexander, below. He was a member of the Queen's University Belfast Officer Training Corps and studying as a medical student, when he the 3rd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers.
Marcus was granted two months medical leave on 15th November 1916 on account of "debility and anaemia". He subsequently transferred to the Royal Air Force.
He was killed on 20th June 1918, aged 23, during the course of an attempt to bring his aircraft back to the aerodrome after he had been shot.
Marcus is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery
(ref VII B 51), Pas de Calais, France
He is also commemorated on the Bangor Memorial, County Down.
Captain Walter Alexander Tyrrell MC – died 9/6/1918
32nd Squadron Royal Air Force
Alexander was born on 23rd August, 1898, the son of John Tyrrell, JP, and Jeanie Tyrrell (nee Todd) of Fairview Buildings, Crumlin Road, Belfast, and later “The Cairn”, Ballyholme, Bangor, and brother of Marcus, above. He attended Inst and the Belfast Municipal Technical Institution and served in the Royal Naval Air Squadron (Armoured Car Section) as a Petty Officer from 26th December 1914 to 24th November 1915. During this time, he spent 8 months in France and suffered an injury, when an armoured car crushed his foot. Subsequently he used a specially made boot.
He was a member of the Queen's University Belfast Officer Training Corps and was working as an apprentice motor engineer when h
e commissioned into the Royal Flying Corps in July 1917.
Alexander was Ireland's fourth ranked air ace, with 17 victories. The first was on 30th October 1917 over Passchendaele, the last two being at 1845 and 1850 on 6th June 1918. He was awarded the Military Cross, the citation for which read:
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On one day this officer attacked two enemy triplanes, destroying one and driving down the other out of control. After this he was attacked by two other machines, one of which he forced to land, taking the occupants prisoners. On various other occasions, he has destroyed or driven down out of control enemy machines."
One particular victory, his second, on 11 November 1917 is described here:
"Three 32 Sqn DH5s flown by 2nd Lts Howson, W A Tyrrell and Claydon, were engaged on an OP. At 1000 over Westroosbeke, Clayton & Tyrrell first intercepted an Albatros with a yellow and green fuselage and yellow nose. Clayton was forced to pull out of the fight with a gun jam, but Tyrrell carried on the attack. The German began a staggering flutter in a downward direction. As the pilot attempted to pull the stricken Albatros out of the dive, Tyrrell fired again, his bullets striking the pilot's head and the instrument panel in front of him. The Albatros reared upwards before spinning down again. Tyrrell lost sight of his quarry at 300 feet as it fell through and below other circling German aircraft - it was too dangerous to follow. There no German pilot fatalities on this day. Nevertheless, Tyrrell added this `out of control' to his score."
Alexander was killed, at the age of 19, while flying his Fouquerolles SE5a biplane. He was brought down by enemy machine gun fire from the trenches.
Alexander is buried in Beauvais Communal Cemetery
(ref 17.558), Oise, France. He is also commemorated on the Bangor War Memorial, County Down.
The memorial plaques awarded to the family of the Tyrrell brothers
The grave of the Tyrrell family in Belfast City Cemetery