Faded pictures tell a tale of World War One

Tom Montgomery and Doreen Mairs with the table cloth with the WWI naval memorial. INBT34-203AC
Tom Montgomery and Doreen Mairs with the table cloth with the WWI naval memorial. INBT34-203AC

The terrible cost of World War One is still being reflected on by descendants of those who gave their lives in that horrendous conflict.

Often, families have very personal reminders of those long dead soldiers, sailors and airmen.

Recently, the Ballymena Times carried a memorial notice for one man who died far away from home in late April 1916 - just over 100 years ago in fact.

That man was Henry (Harry) Montgomery S/7697, Private, 2nd Royal Highland Regiment (Black Watch) who was killed in action on April 22 1916. He was born at Killyfleugh, Ballymena and elinsted in Broxburn, Scotland. He is commemorated on the Basra Memorial, Iraq and in 2nd Ballymena Presbyterian Church.

From the history of the regiment, it would seem that Harry was involved in the campaign to relieve the British-held town of Kut which had been under siege byTurkish forces.

Last year, former teacher Tom Montgomery and his sister, Doreen Mairs brought in some artefacts which linked their family with the soldier of yesteryear who had fought and died in the desert. Harry was the Uncle of Tom and Doreen’s father, Matthew.

Poignantly, there were faded photographs of Harry and his mother.

There was also a piece of crochet work with a distinctly naval theme which had been produced by their mother Agnes at the end of the war.

In a few months time, the Ballymena area will be marking what was undoubtedly the bloodiest day in terms of war losses in local history - July 1, 1916.

But it is worth remembering that the war encompassed all parts of land and sea for four bloody years and Harry Montgomery is just one such example of the losses incurred.