Category Archives: Remembrance

Portadown Soldier’s Ordeal: Home for VE Celebrations after 5 years as a Prisoner of War

Portadown Soldier’s Ordeal: Home for VE Celebrations after 5 years as a Prisoner of War

After having spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war in the hands of the Germans, Fusilier James Hughes of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers returned home in time to experience the VE Celebrations.

Fusilier Hughes returned to his home at 13 Fowlers Entry, Portadown. He was met at Watson Street Railway Station by Mr R J Magowan, Chairman of the Urban District Council, Mr Geo McGowan, Town Clerk, and Mr R Heathwood, B.E.M.

Fusilier Hughes’ widowed Mother, Mary, and other members of his family were of course overjoyed to see him.  Some of the younger members of the family had never met him.  Some of his younger siblings had only a handful of memories of him before the war and didn’t know what he looked like.

He was described as

“looking little the worse of his long period in German war prisoner compounds”.

First Visit

One of the first visits for Fusilier Hughes on his return was to the News Office.  There he requested a public thank you to be published to the local citizens for their support of the Red Cross Prisoners of War Fund.

“these parcels reached us regularly, though the Germans had been ghoulish enough to open them and merely hand over about half of what was intended for the men to whom they were dispatched”.

Fusilier Hughes

He also acknowledged parcels sent by Mr George Hughes, 13 South Street.  Although he never personally received the packages.

The Parcels

One of the main contributors to the parcels for local men being held in German prisoner of war camps , was Portadown Women’s Orange District.  They worked alongside Portadown Women’s Unionist Association.

Sister Louisa Shillington, was one of the main organisers and a driving force behind donations for the appeal.  It was something close to her heart as she had lost her son, Tom Shillington, and nephew, Geoffrey Shillington Cather, in the First World War.  Her Husband, David Graham Shillington had sadly died in 1944 and never saw the war come to an end.

Louisa Shillington (Nee Collen)
Image courtesy of Shillington Family records

David Graham Shillington was MP for the area and was District Master of Portadown Orange District LOL No 1 right up until his death.  He had been a company commander in the local Ulster Volunteer Force during the Home Rule Crisis and went on to become a Major in the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers during the First World War. He had also took over the family firm T A Shillington & Son (now Haldane and Fisher) after his father died suddenly when he was 16.

Enlistment

Fusilier Hughes, who in civilian life, had been employed by Mr Edward Cassells of Woodhouse Street, enlisted in 1936.

He was taken prisoner at Ypres, Belgium on 27th May 1940.  Some of the places he had been to in the course of his travels across Germany, some of them in forced marches, included Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Marienwerder and Danzig.

Dunkirk

Fusilier Hughes had been in Berlin when the Dunkirk Evacuation took place.  During his incarceration he had acquired a good understanding of the German language.

While a prisoner he was allowed one letter home per week, but since the Normandy Invasion correspondence ceased and at all times contact with German civilians was strictly  forbidden.

The bombing by the RAF and USAAF gave the Allied war prisoners cause for anxiety, as at times their camp had narrow escapes.

Experiences

Fusilier Hughes described the Germans as harsh. On one occasion he escaped from the camp and enjoyed four days of freedom.  He was caught by the Gestapo, taken to their headquarters and severely beaten.

He described the occasions of forced marches as gruelling.   The Supreme headquarters of the Allied Nations had dropped leaflets into Germany demanding more consideration to the welfare of their prisoners, but no improvement in camp conditions was noticed.

Liberation

Liberation came when the 8th American Army reached Hamburg.  The Russian Forces converged at the same time.  Another local man they set free was George McCarragher from Obins Street, Portadown.

Fusilier Hughes arrived by Lancaster at Croydon. There, liberated prisoners of war were met with crowds and fellow servicemen and women to welcome them back. James then continued to Stranraer and arrived back in Northern Ireland via Larne.

Home Thoughts

One thing that surprised Fusilier Hughes on his arrival home was the small extent of the damage by air raids.  In Germany, all the big cities he had passed through were completely flattened.

Fusilier Hughes was given 6 weeks leave with double rations which were to help towards his complete recovery from undernourishment.  He was to rejoin his unit on 28th June 1945.

His Father, the late Mr James Hughes Senior, had served in the 1st World War with The Royal Engineers and The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Scenes of unbound enthusiasm as Portadown Celebrates VE Day 1945

Scenes of unbound enthusiasm as Portadown Celebrates VE Day 1945

In 1945, the victory celebrations in Portadown were estimated to be far above those of any provincial town in Northern Ireland.

The VE Celebrations in the town lasted an entire week.  Each night throughout the week, large crowds gathered throughout the streets for games and dancing.

Saturday Celebrations with the Bands

During the day, from the roof of the air raid shelter on the Main Street, near St Marks Parish Church, Edgarstown Accordion Band played music for the crowds to dance to.  At the junction of High Street, Portadown Pipe Band played music for some ‘old time traditional dancing’.

On the Saturday evening, there was ‘open air entertainment’, in which Derrykeevin Pipe Band and Battlehill Pipe Band participated.

The ‘Bewitching Hour’

Just before the clock of St Marks Church chimed midnight, the large crowds gathered, sang the hymns ‘Abide with me’ and ‘Land of Hope and Glory’.  This was concluded with the National Anthem.

It was recorded, that during this particular period of rejoicing and celebrating, not a single unpleasant incident took place to ruin the harmony which was evident throughout the town and the community. This was something that the town took much pride in.

Sunday’s observance in the Churches

On the Sunday there was a United Thanksgiving service for the youth.

Morning Church services in the Protestant Churches were well attended. In the afternoon, more than 800 boys and girls, representing every youth organisation in the town including the Army Cadet Force and Air Training Corps, paraded to the ‘United service of Thanksgiving’ in Edenderry Presbyterian Church.

“The varied uniforms seen on parade made a colourful picture as the lengthy parade made its way along the main streets to the church”.

Weather Interruptions

As is normal with the unpredictable weather in Northern Ireland, the rain arrived which was not expected. The ‘United service of Thanksgiving’ was originally planned to take place as an open air service at Shamrock Park.  Edenderry Presbyterian church offered to host the service instead.

The following bands took part:

  • St Marks Old Boys
  • Thomas Street Old Boys
  • Salvation Army Silver Band
  • Seagoe Church Lads Brigade
  • Portadown Pipe Band

An estimated 1,200 managed to find a seat in the church and the many who had to remain outside had the service relayed to them by a loud speaker van. The service was led by the younger ministers of the town.  The first part was taken by the Rev Cecil Owens of Edenderry Methodist Church, the lesson was read by Rev D Bothwell of St Marks Parish Church and the act of remembrance was taken by the Rev H W Plunkett of Thomas Street Methodist Church.

The address was was given by the Rev P W Gowing, Senior Curate of St Marks, who spoke of the joy with which ‘they had received the news of the victory of the Allied Forces, yet many mourned the loss of loved ones who had sacrificed their lives for us’.

” Those people must never be forgotten.  The young boys and girls  gathered together today are the men and women of the future, from which great things are expected, and I know they will not let us down.  They have to try and make for a better world because that was why their men had died in battle”.

The Last Post and Reveille during the Act of Remembrance were sounded by the buglers from Seagoe Church Lads Brigade.

Evening Service

There was a Thanksgiving Service in Portadown Baptist Meeting House on the evening of VE Day. At the close of the service the King’s speech was relayed after which the congregation united in singing the National Anthem.

Historic Flag Flown at Drumcree

As part of the VE Celebrations, a Union Jack with a history was flown from a window in Drumcree Rectory.  The Flag is the one which the rector Rev F J Halahan carried with him when serving as a Chaplin in the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers in the Great War.

 

‘Our Loyalty is Not for Barter’ Festival Success

‘Our Loyalty is Not for Barter’ Festival Success

‘Our Loyalty is Not For Barter’

Portadown Heritage Tours hosted a very successful Orange Heritage Week in Carleton Street Orange Hall with ‘Our Loyalty is Not for Barter’ Festival.  The name of the Festival was taken from a quote in a letter that Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Ward William Blacker sent to the men of Seagoe Parish in the town on 4th September 1914.  Edward Carson first used the quote during a speech in Belfast a few days before.  The festival of events explored the transition of the 4thPortadown Battalion Ulster Volunteer Force into the 9thBattalion Royal Irish Fusiliers and their journey from enlisting at Carleton Street Orange Hall to fighting for King and Country.

Service of Remembrance

The Festival was officially launched on Monday 23rdSeptember with a Drumhead Service of Remembrance.  A plaque was unveiled by Grand Master Edward Stevenson, in memory of the men of the 4thPortadown Battalion Ulster Volunteer Force who enlisted into the 9thBattalion Royal Irish Fusiliers in Carleton Street Orange Hall in September 1914.

 

Exhibitions on Display

Every room in Carleton Street Orange Hall was transformed into a different exhibition.  Exhibitions included a Recruitment Office, Field Hospital, The story of Portadown men on the Western Front; which included personal stories and letters that had been sent home, Memorials to Sacrifice, The Blacker and Shillington families of Portadown, Women and the First World War; including Portadown Women’s Unionist Association and the members who went on to form the first Women’s Orange Lodges in the town between 1921 and 1923, The Home Rule Crisis, Unionist Clubs, Formation of the Ulster and Irish Volunteers and the story of the 36thUlster Division and the 16thIrish Division together at Messines in 1917 and also Portadown’s Memorial Arches.

 

Talks and Presentations

It was a busy week with living history displays and talks also taking place.  Mrs Carol Walker from the Somme Association delivered an excellent presentation and talk on the suffragettes and the role of women in the First World War.  Also, local Historian, Richard Edgar delivered an equally excellent presentation and talk on Portadown’s role in the First World War and explained personal stories and experiences about local men who went to fight for King and Country.

Bringing History to Life

In the early planning stages of the festival, Portadown Heritage Tours had looked at the events that happened in the hall after the volunteers had enlisted, but before they left to train and fight.  These events included tea dances for the soldiers and their families.  So, on Friday 27thSeptember, Portadown Heritage Tours hosted a Ladies Night with a Tea Party for the ladies of the local Women’s Orange Institution.  A ladies night was chosen to pay tribute to the local women who contributed so much towards the Home Rule Crisis and the War Effort.

Success

The festival was concluded on Saturday 28thSeptember with a family fun day, a more modern twist on the family events that where held in 1914.

The festival proved very popular with an excellent number of visitors recorded.  Local Schools and Boys Brigade also enjoyed the festivities.

Special Thanks

Portadown Heritage Tours would like to express their gratitude of thanks to everyone involved in the festival.

Star of David Accordion Band, Edgarstown Accordion Band, Pride of the Birches Accordion Band, Portadown Defenders Flute Band, Hilhaven Flute Band, Corcrain Flute Band, Colour Party Portadown Ex Servicemen’s LOL 608 and RBP 326, Royal Irish Fusiliers Association Portadown Branch, Piper David Hogg, Rev Maurice Laverty, Grand Master GOLI Edward Stevenson, Drew Rowan, Ashley Forbes WW1 Exhibits, The ladies of  Carleton over 50’s, David Weir and Craigavon Museum Services, Carol Walker Somme Association, Northern Ireland Historical Airsoft Society, Richard Edgar, Carleton Street Community Development Association, Brilliant Trails, Museum of Orange Heritage Belfast, Lodges and Individuals who kindly loaned artefacts, the Ladies of the local Women’s Orange Institution, Castle Kings Bouncy Castle Hire, Friendly Faces, Portadown District LOL No.1 and all our volunteers for all the hard work putting the exhibition together.

‘Our Loyalty is Not for Barter’ Festival of Events

‘Our Loyalty is Not for Barter’ Festival of Events

Portadown Heritage Tours are launching ‘Our Loyalty is Not for Barter’ festival of events.  This week-long festival is taking place during Orange Heritage Week.  The festival will explore the transition of the 4thPortadown Battalion Ulster Volunteer Force who enlisted into the 9thBattalion Royal Irish Fusiliers in Carleton Street Orange Hall in 1914.

 

Recruitment Office

The festival will run from Monday 23rdSeptember until Saturday 28th September. Every room within the hall will feature an exhibition or living history display.  One of the rooms will be converted into an army recruitment office, similar to the one that would have been used in the hall in September 1914.

 

Exhibitions

The festival exhibitions will create a timeline of events looking at the years before the outbreak of war covering the Home Rule Crisis, the Ulster and Irish Volunteer Forces, the Unionist Clubs and the Women’s Unionist Association.  Carleton Street Orange Hall was on standby to become an Ulster Volunteer Force Hospital if Civil War had been declared.   One of the rooms in the hall will be converted into a medical room to showcase what the rooms would have looked like if that had happened.

 

Women and the First World War

Also included is an exhibition on the Suffragettes and Women during the First World War.  There will be an exhibition exploring the famous Blacker and Shillington families of Portadown.  Both families were influential during the First World War, but we also look at the generations before them that paved the way for the development of the Orange Order in the local town.

 

Exploring both Communities

We are exploring the events of 1916 and how the Ulster and Irish Divisions came together to fight at Messines in 1917.  Also, on display will be ‘The Arches of Portadown’.  This exhibition will look at the local triumphal arches in the area including those that are memorials to those who died during the First World War.

 

Event details

The launch night is Monday 23rdSeptember, this is a closed event by invitation only. The festival will open to the public on Tuesday 24thSeptember.  Exhibitions are open Tuesday-Friday 10:30am – 4:00pm and also Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings 7:00pm-9:30pm.  On Tuesday 24thSeptember at 7:00pm there will be talk by Mrs Carol Walker MBE, Somme Association, on ‘Women and the First World War’.  On Thursday 26thSeptember at 7:00pm there will be a talk by local historian Mr Richard Edgar on ‘A Call to Arms: Portadown and the Great War’.

 

The Festival will finish on Saturday 28thSeptember with exhibitions open 10:30am-4:00pm and Portadown District LOL No.1 will also be hosting the Brew for Drew Coffee Morning and Family Fun day from 11am-3pm.  There will be lots to do for all the family at the fun day with Bouncy Castle, Face Painting, Play Area, Balloon Modelling, Games, Arts, Crafts and also special guests!

Portadown Arches: South Street

Portadown Arches: South Street

South Street Arch Unveiled

An Arch was unveiled in South Street on 11th August 1933.  Sir Knight and Brother R H Bell, District Master of Portadown Royal Black District Chapter, presided over the ceremony.  The Arch was described as “a beautiful piece of work carried out entirely by voluntary labour”.  The woodwork was made by Mr James R McCullough and the painting was completed by Mr John Rowe.  There was a team of volunteers who helped complete the Arch; Mr R Wright, Mr D Wright, Mr S Wright, (three brothers who served in the Great War), Mr James Flanagan, Mr Joshua Jones, Mr Sydney Black, Mr Alfred Hutchinson and Mr Albert Magee.

The Arch was painted to bear the words; ‘Death before submission: Derry, Aughrim, Enniskillen and The Boyne’ and ‘Fear God Honour the King.’

The Opening

The residents of South Street had decorated South Street and Hanover Street with flags and bunting.  A large crowd gathered around a platform which was beside the Arch.

A parade procession of Apprentice Boys, led by Corcrain Conservative Prize Band, marched from Carleton Street Orange Hall.  The parade was headed by Brother John Hughes (President of the Parent Club), Brother W J Johnston (President of the Mitchelbourne Club), Brother Thomas Shanks (President of the Browning Club), Brother R Barnes (Secretary of the Mitchelbourne Club), Brother W Wilson (Vice President of the Mitchelbourne Club) and Brother W J Cardwell (Past Master of Hamilton District, Ontario).

In a speech by Brother R Bell, he stated that the ‘Apprentice Boys were as determined as the men of 1688 to resist any attempt to put them under the rule of their enemies’ and he hoped ‘the younger generation would not be lacking when called to defend their father land, their faith and their king’.

The Arch was then unveiled by Brother W J Johnston, who was one of the oldest Apprentice Boys present. Brother Johnston congratulated the local people on the ‘Magnificent Arch’ and said he had ‘never seen anything more appropriate’.  Continuing his speech, he went on to say that; ‘The Arch is a credit to the District, and he greatly appreciated the honour they had done him in inviting him along that evening.  He hoped they would always have it to span that thoroughfare on each succeeding 12th August and 12th July’.

Act of Remembrance

The opening ceremony of the Arch was closed with the band playing the National Anthem.  The procession reformed and marched, via Thomas Street, to the War Memorial.  At the War Memorial a wreath was laid in memory of the fallen of the Great War.  It was laid by the Presidents of the three Apprentice Boys Clubs; Brother Hughes, Brother Johnston and Brother Shanks.

There was a large crowd present. An act of remembrance followed and Bugler R Wright, who had served with the Royal Irish Rifles in the Great War, sounded the Last Post and Reveille.  The band led the singing of the National Anthem.  The Bells of St Marks Church played ‘Abide With Me’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne’.  The Crimson Banner of the Apprentice Boys of Derry flew from the tower of the church.

South Street Arch- Children of the Street with A Billy Lundy

 

New Exhibition at Carleton Street Orange Hall

New Exhibition at Carleton Street Orange Hall

Portadown Heritage Tours are hosting the Memorials to Sacrifice Exhibition at Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre for the month of February.

The Memorials to Sacrifice Exhibition highlights Orange Halls, throughout Northern Ireland, that were built as memorials in the aftermath of the Great War.  ‘Memorials to Sacrifice’ is the latest initiative by the Museum of Orange Heritage marking the centenary of the Armistice, and the contribution of members of the Orange Institution on the front line.

Why the Exhibition is so important to Carleton Street Orange Hall.

Carleton Street Orange Hall and Heritage Centre has its own story to tell about it’s place in the Great War and the many Orangemen of Portadown District who paid the ultimate sacrifice and those who came home again.

Carleton Street Orange Hall is home to the Ex-Servicemen’s Lodge and Preceptory of Portadown District.  The Lodge was formed in 1946 after the Second World War and the Preceptory was formed a couple of years later in 1949.  Its members were made up of First and Second World War Veterans.  This year Portadown Ex-Servicemen’s RBP 326 will celebrate its 70th Anniversary.

The reasons these Memorial halls were built after the war reflect the same meaning behind the formation of the Ex-Servicemen’s Lodge.  It was a place ex-soldiers could socialise, reminisce and have a brotherhood after the armed forces.

 

History behind the Exhibition

It is estimated upwards of 20 halls owned or primarily used by Orange Lodges were erected as memorials to Orangemen who paid the supreme sacrifice during the First World War.  Such properties remain actively used by the Institution at locations across Northern Ireland, including Randalstown, Muckamore, Tullylish, Templepatrick, Dungannon and Ballymacarrett in East Belfast.

Accompanying Booklet

There is an accompanying booklet with the exhibition which can be purchased.  The Booklet states;

“The War Memorial Orange Halls were not just erected to provide a meeting place for Lodges and Preceptories, they also provided a place where Ex-Servicemen could meet to socialise and to reminisce.  They also provided a place in which the core values of the Orange Order could be presented to members of the local community”.

The halls were often built by the brethren or by Ex-Servicemen and often had facilities-for example, washrooms, toilets, central heating, electricity- that were still absent in many residential properties.

 

Commenting on the exhibition, museum curator Jonathan Mattison said “We are delighted to launch this educational national travelling exhibition and informative booklet, which underlines the extent and contribution of Orangeism to the Great War, and its lasting legacy for local communities.

Opening Times

The exhibition will be on show in the Heritage Centre of Carleton Street Orange Hall for the month of February.  It will be open Monday-Thursday 9:15am until 4:15pm and Friday 9:15am until 1:15pm.  For visitors who can’t make it during the day, it was also be open on Tuesday and Thursday evenings 7:30pm until 8:30pm.

Everyone Welcome!

For parents and guardians, there is also a Kids activity corner available with lots of  fun activities relating to the Great War.  This will keep the kids busy allowing the parents and guardians time to enjoy the exhibition.

 

Exhibition Information provided by Museum of Orange Heritage. 

Portadown Community Remembers 100 Years On

Portadown Community Remembers 100 Years On

The community of Portadown have come together to mark the Centenary of the 1st World War.

The end of October and the start of November has seen lots of events by the community of Portadown.  They have come together to mark the end of the Great War 100 years on.  Events have took place in Churches, Community Halls and Orange Halls throughout the town.  The rededication of the towns War Memorial has led the way.

Carleton Street Orange Hall

At Carleton Street Orange Hall Portadown Heritage Tours took a different approach. We have displayed an outside exhibition of flags of the countries of the the British Commonwealth along with Poppies and silhouettes of Soldiers in the windows.  Lights were added to give a night time feature.  On Sunday 11th November at 5:30pm there will be a short act of remembrance outside the hall.  The Last Post will be played by a Bugler from the top window. Then a silence will follow and the Pipers Lament.  We welcome everyone to join us.

Carleton Street Orange Hall

An excellent exhibition was also displayed inside the hall and hosted by RBP 25.  On Friday 2nd November the Dance Hall was transformed into a pop up museum by Lisbellaw and South Fermanagh World War One Society.  They were displaying lots of items of great significance from trenches and uniforms to badges and medical equipment.  An act of Remembrance and a wreath laying ceremony was also held in the Bell Room on the night by Portadown Royal Black District Chapter No.5.

Display in the Dance Hall at Carleton Street

Edenderry Orange Hall

Edenderry Community Development Association hosted a great evening in Edenderry Orange Hall on Friday 2nd November.  There was a World War 1 display, Children’s entertainment, war-time songs and a tea party.  The evening also included the presentation of ‘There But Not There Tommy’s to Seagoe Church Of Ireland, Edenderry 1st Presbyterian Church and Edenderry Memorial Methodist Church.

The evening was an absolute credit to the organisers and volunteers of Edenderry Community Development Association and was very well supported.  As a community group they have organised and gained funding for some excellent events throughout the years and continue to work very hard for their local area.

Members of Portadown Ex Servicemen’s LOL 608 and RBP 326 with members of the wartime re-enactment group who supplied the 1st World War display at Edenderry Orange Hall.

An evening enjoyed by everyone at Edenderry Orange Hall

It was a family gathering for the Partridge’s and Branyan’s at Edenderry on the night.

St Colomba’s Parish Church

St Columba’s Church have also held a series of events throughout the week to mark the Centenary of the 1st World War. A community day was held on Saturday 3rd November.  This was followed by a ‘Reflections Musical Evening’ then on Tuesday 6th, ‘Keep the home fires burning’ fashion show and entertainment also on Wednesday 7th, an ‘Air and Graces Musical Evening’ on Thursday 8th November at 7:30pm.  This will include music by Ballymoughan Purple Guards and Flute Band Church. Local WWI Historian Richard Edgar is also Speaking.

The Exhibition at the Church is open to Saturday 10th November at 5pm.  It is well worth a visit.  There has been lot of hard work and organising that has went into the exhibition and events. Well done to all involved.

A very unique part of the Exhibition in St Columba’s Church, Portadown.

Remaining events at St Columba’s Church

Thomas Street Methodist Church

Thomas Street Methodist Church are hosting a series of events ‘A Time to Remember and Reflect’.  The Church will be open for prayer and reflection on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th November, from 10:00am to 3:00pm. There are displays of memorabilia which will be in place around the Church to aid your Remembrance and Reflection.

On Friday 9th November, Wesley Hall in Portmore Street will be hosting an evening of music and song.  This will feature the SWING GALS and the Ormeau Concert Band. Talks by Richard Edgar and Denver Pearson.  Refreshments will be provided on the night.

 

Remembrance Day

The Remembrance Day Parade on Sunday 11th November will be leaving Thomas Street at 10:30am. It will proceed to Market Street, West Street and High Street.  Parade will return up Market Street and to the town’s war memorial for the wreath laying ceremony.  Thomas Street Methodist Church will host the civic Remembrance Service on Sunday at 11:45am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Historical Significance of Portadown’s War Memorial

The Historical Significance of Portadown’s War Memorial

Portadown and District War Memorial was rededicated and names added on Sunday 28th September 2018.

The commemoration service saw the unveiling and rededication of the Portadown War Memorial with 101 names added.  It was unveiled by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for County Armagh The Earl of Caledon KCVO JP.  The names were researched by local Historian Richard Edgar.  This service was similar to the service that had been held in the same place by our forefathers on 13th November 1925.

Standards of the RBL

Commemoration Parade

The Band of the Royal Irish Regiment

 

Meaning of the Portadown War Memorial.

The memorial consists of a bronze statue group representing an angel alighting on the battlefield.  The angel is about a place a wreath upon the head of a wounded soldier, denoting fortitude, courage and sacrifice to his country in still trying to carry on, despite his wounds.  The base on which the the angel is mounted is composed of sandbags and a fallen gas mask, descriptive of the battlefield.

The soldier on the memorial is at the moment of his death.  As he is falling the angel of victory is placing a crown of olive leaves on his head.  This represents victory in the face of danger.  The angel will then lift his soul, and those of all the Portadown fallen heavenward. The statues stand on on a pedestal of Irish granite, upon each side of which are the bronze panels containing the names of the fallen as well as a dedication panel on the front of the memorial.

St Marks Church and Top of Town War Memorial

The unveiling of the Town War Memorial in 1925

On Friday 13th November 1925, the Portadown War Memorial was unveiled by Lieutenant-General Sir Travers Clarke in the presence of the Northern Ireland Prime Minister Sir James Craig, the Lord Primate Most Rev. Dr D’Arcy, and an enormous crowd of residents of the town and district.  During the dedication a crowd assembled in Market Street directly in front of the memorial.

Three guards of honour were formed by men from the Royal Irish Fusiliers, the Royal Irish Rifles and local ex-servicemen.  A choir under the conductorship of Mr W.F.Wood led the praise and the band of the 1st Seaforth Highlanders accompanied the choir.  There were also Girl Guides, Girls Life Brigade, Boys Brigade, Boys Life Brigade, Boy Scouts and the Orange Order.

First unveiling of town war memorial in 1925

 

Why names were not added at the time

For the younger generation to understand, what needs to be made clear is that there was no internet, TV news, radio or phones. Individuals relied on the local papers for news and appeals for names.  Literacy skills would have played big part in this, not everyone could read at this time.  The Royal British Legion point out quite clearly that no one was left off deliberately each individual had a unique story.

Names that were added

The Following 101 names from men and women of the 1st and 2nd World War were added on Sunday 28th October 2018.

  • Allen, Joesph 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers, Drumannon Annaghmore
  • Andrews, John Walker 150th Field Company Royal Engineers, Garvaghy Road
  • Bell, John George 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, Eglish
  • Benson, Samuel U.S Army 9th Infantry Regiment 2nd Division, Tartaraghan
  • Berry, John 6th Royal Irish Rifles, Belfast ( Portadown Native)
  • Boyd, John 3rd Irish Guards, Coleraine (Portadown Native)
  • Black, Joesph 14th Royal Irish Rifles, Portadown
  • Black, Joesph Henry  15th Royal Irish Riflles, Belfast (Portadown Native )
  • Buller, David 11th Highland Light Infantry, Glasgow (Portadown Native)
  • Campbell, James 7th Royal Irish Rifles, Thomas Street
  • Cinnamond, Benjamin, 1st Royal Irish Rifles, Portadown
  • Collen, William Stewart, 6th Royal Inniskilling Fusillers, Edenderry
  • Commack, Edward 2nd Royal Irish Rifles, Belfast (Portadown Native)
  • Connor, John Royal Irish Fusiliers, Montague Street
  • Cooke, G Seaforth Highlanders, Portadown
  • Cooper, Alfred Henry 143rd Heavy Battery Royal Garrison Artillery, Portadown
  • Cordner, James Wilson (M.C) 17th Royal Irish Rifles, Portadown
  • Cox, James Joesph Irish Guards, Belfast (Portadown Native, Corcrain)
  • Craig, James Royal Irish Fusillers, Portadown
  • Davidson, Thomas 8th Royal Irish Rifles, Belfast (Portadown Native)
  • Docherty, James 2nd Royal Scots, Scotland (Portadown Native)
  • Douglas, Willam John 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, William Street
  • Ensor, George Clark 7th Canadian Infantry, Ardress House
  • Fallon, Hugh 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Curran Street
  • Fitzpatrick, John 1st East Lancashire Regiment, Portadown
  • Finlay, James Millard 123rd Ordnance Depot Company US Army, Edenderry
  • Forde, Samuel James 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers, Cloncarrish
  • Freeburn, David 2nd Royal Irish Fusiliers, Portadown
  • Gilpin, Isaac 2nd Durham Light Infantry, Florence Court
  • Gilpin, Robert 6th Northamptonshire Regiment, Annaghmore
  • Gilmour, Robert 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Timakeel
  • Gillespie, Francis Royal Irish Regiment, Railway Street
  • Hardy, John 5th Trench Mortar Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, Portadown
  • Haughey, Patrick 9th Royal Munster Fusiliers, Portadown
  • Henderson, Thomas 1st Royal Dublin Fusiliers, Portadown
  • Hill, Leonard 8th Royal Irish Rifles, Portadown
  • Hogarth, Herbert Plunket 7th Signal Company, Royal Engineers, High Street
  • Horner, David 2nd Kings Rifle Corps, Portadown
  • Hughes, Isaac 8th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Portadown
  • Irwin, William David 9th Royal Irish Rifles, Tarson, Kernan
  • Jackson, Arthur Saunderson 8th Royal Irish Rifles, Portadown
  • Johnston, William 13th Royal Irish Rifles, Drumcree
  • Kennedy, Francis William Canadian Expeditionary Force, Cloncarrish
  • Keough, R 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Portadown
  • Long, James 1st (Kings own) Royal Lancaster Regiment, Portadown
  • Magowan, Thomas 10th Cameroonians, Scottish Rifles, Eglish
  • Marley, Michael John 1st Royal Irish Rifles, West Street
  • Matchett, Robert John New Zealand Rifle Brigade, Birches
  • McCabe, Thomas 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers, Portadown
  • McCann, Mathew Austrialian Infantry, Drumcree
  • McFarland, Thomas David 2nd Royal Irish Rifles, Annaghmore
  • McGuiness, Daniel 7th royal Irish Fusiliers, Belfast (Portadown Native)
  • McKenna, Joesph Michael 7th Royal Irish Fusiliers, Bann Street
  • McKeown, Charles 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, Portadown
  • McReynolds, John Archibald 10th Royal Irish Rifles, Clonmakate
  • McVeigh, John Royal Garrison Artillery, Curran Street
  • Millar, George Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, Portadown
  • Murray, Herbert Mayne 7th Canadian Machine Gun Corps, Ballinary House
  • Nunn, Harold Edwin 1st Norfolk Regiment, Woodhouse Street
  • O’Hanlon, Samuel 1st Royal Irish Regiment, Tartaraghan
  • Patton, John 3rd Royal Irish Rifles, Portadown
  • Proctor, Archibald, Machine Gun Corps, Harford Street
  • Rea, William 73rd Canadian Infantry, Balteagh
  • Ruddell, William Alexander 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Portadown
  • Simpson, William James 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers, Annaghmore
  • Spence, William 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers, Portadown
  • Stevenson, Thomas John 26th Battalion Australian Infantry, Portadown
  • Stitt, Thomas1st Royal Irish Rifles, Portadown
  • Stratton, John H.M.S Natal Royal Navy, Park Road
  • Tate, Isobel Addey Serbian Relief Fund, Friends War Victims Relief Committee (attached to the Royal Army Medical Corps) High Street
  • Taylor, William (M.M.) 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, Portadown
  • Turley, Edward 2nd Royal Irish Regiment, Portadown
  • Uprichard, William 2nd Royal Irish Fusiliers, Portadown
  • Walsh, James 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers, Derrycoose, Annaghmore
  • Whittle, John 1st Royal Irish Rifles, Portadown
  • Willis, Alexander 9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Derrycoose, Annaghmore
  • Woods, Samuel James 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, Lower Seagoe
  • Woods, Thomas 8th Royal Irish Rifles, Annaghmore
  • Wright, Robert 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers, Cranagill, Annaghmore

2nd World War

  • Bell, George Wilfred  S.S Thornliebank (Glasgow) Merchant Navy, Portadown
  • Benson, John George Pioneer Corps, Portadown
  • Burke, Aubrey 2nd Royal Ulster Rifles, Portadown
  • Cole, Norman Royal Navy H.M.S Renown, Ballinagone
  • Gibson, James 12th Battery, 3 Searchlight Regiment Royal Artillery, Portadown
  • Hamill, James S.S Ville d’Arlon Merchant Navy, Portadown
  • Hazlett, Samuel Alexander Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, Canada ( Native of Portadown)
  • Hewitt, Robert Ernest British Expeditionary Force, Lisniskey
  • Hutchinson, William Robert Toronto Scottish Regiment , Tarson
  • Kane, Samuel 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, Tarson
  • Kane, Vincent 8 Battery 4 Light A.A. Regiment, Park Road
  • Lutton, William John Kirkpatrick H.M.S Illustrious, Royal Navy, Montague Street
  • McCullough, David, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, West Street
  • McDonald, Peter Frank 195 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Portadown
  • McFadden, James 1st Parachute Regiment, Army Air Corps, Grange Portadown
  • McKnight, Frederick 5th Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, Kernan
  • Morrison, John Pioneer Corps, Twinem Terrace, Knockmena
  • Pidgeon, Samuel 6th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Portadown
  • Robinson, Thomas Royal Air Force (Auxiliary Air Force), Selshion
  • Summerville, William Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Union Street
  • Topping Jocelyn, Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, Portadown
  • Whittle, James S.S Ville de Namur (Belgium), Canadian Merchant Navy, Selshion

Wreaths led on the day

Edward Saunderson and Town War Memorial

 

References  – “Portadown Heroes: A tribute to the men Commemorated on Portadown War Memorial” By James S Kane

“Portadown and District War Memorial Commemoration and Celebration Service” Booklet produced by ABC Council, Armed forces Covenant and RBL.