The centennial of the Outbreak of the First World War is to be marked in Ballymena by a substantial programme of community commemoration.
And one element of that process will involve the Council ‘hosting’ a link to an incredible historical website which tells the story of Ballymena in World War One from the outbreak of war until the armistice.
The website, which was designed by Ballymena Times Editor, Des Blackadder as a free vehicle for research carried out by himself and local teacher, John Hoy, over the years, is virtually unrivalled in its details both social and military.
The ‘Ballymena and the Great War’ website link will be hosted on The Braid website.
A Council officer’s report stated that “the generous offer...will ensure that a valuable on-line resource for the family historian and schools will be promoted and freely provided”.
Des Blackadder said: “The research into the website began around 12 years ago and has continued ever since. After a while I felt that the information should be made available freely on the web so I basically used a free software tool to create my own site. However, content is the key, and the work of people like John Hoy who checked and rechecked memorials throughout the Ballymena area deserves the highest praise.”
Under the agreement with Council, the website which previously had only a very limited ‘bandwidth’ window will, when all the digital boxes are formally ticked, be available 24/7.
Simply google Ballymena 1914-1918 to visit the site.
The formation of a WWI working group and the delivery of a heritage project are also among the activities and events being planned by Ballymena Borough Council.
Members at last week’s Community Planning & Wellbeing forum gave approval for Council to form a working group with Ballymena Royal British Legion branch to consider and plan suitable events to commemorate WWI from 2014 through to 2018.
They also agreed that Council should participate, at the request of Ballymena RBL, in a Parade & Drumhead Service at the Memorial Park on August 4 - the date marking the 100th anniversary of the War and approved a recommendation that a flower bed be planted out in the Memorial Park to coincide with that event.
Members also determined that Council, as lead partner for the Mid-Antrim Museums Partnership accept a letter of offer from the Heritage Lottery Fund for delivery with Causeway Museum Service of a three-year heritage programme, ‘On The Brink: The Politics of Conflict 1914-15’.