Appealing for descendants of Gallipoli vets

Photographed in the Braid Arts Centre last week at the exhibition on Gallipoli  was the Mayor Billy Ashe.  INBT 33-801H
Photographed in the Braid Arts Centre last week at the exhibition on Gallipoli was the Mayor Billy Ashe. INBT 33-801H

The families of soldiers who fought in the 1915 Gallipoli campaign in Turkey are being targeted by Mid-Antrim Museum.

It is seeking the public’s help to make contact with any relatives of local men who served in the ill-fated battles at the Dardanelles.

In advance of the commemoration, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Mayor, Councillor Billy Ashe (pictured) said: “Together with the Ballymena branch of the Royal British Legion, we plan to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign.

“Any descendants of local men known to have died during the actions will be invited to participate in this service of remembrance where, in honour of all local men who died during this particular battle, a wreath will be laid on the family grave of a local soldier, Captain John Clarke, Royal Army Medical Corps, on the actual date of his death.”

He was killed in action on 9 September 1915 and although buried in Turkey, is commemorated on his family headstone in Ballymena cemetery.

The Mayor continued: “The appeal was first issued at the beginning of the museum’s current exhibition ‘Gallipoli 1915-2015: A Local Legacy’ in April 2015.

“Since then, we are delighted to have been contacted by descendants of Private John Kerr (Royal Irish Fusiliers) and Private Adam McAteer (Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers).

“But, the museum would still like to trace descendants of other local men known to have died during the Gallipoli Campaign,” he said.

Others know to have died in the fighting and from the area are Private David Anderson (Portglenone), Corporal John Buchanan (Ballymena), Private Patrick Heffron (Ballymena or Liverpool), Private Joseph Kennedy (Ahoghill) Private Andrew McCartney (Portglenone), Private James McConnell (born in Sydney), Private James Neeson (Ahoghill) and Private William Torbitt (Ahoghill).

If anyone can help track down descendants of any of these local men, they should contact Noreen Mullan at the Mid-Antrim Museum on 028 256 35029 or email noreen.mullan@midandeastantrim.gov.uk