Museum seeks Gallipoli links

editorial image

Mid-Antrim Museum is seeking the public’s help to make contact with descendants of local men who died during the Gallipoli Campaign.

They are hoping to trace descendants of Private David Anderson (Portglenone), Corporal John Buchanan (Ballymena), Captain John Clarke (Ballymena), Private Patrick Heffron, Private Joseph Kennedy (Ahoghill), Private John Kerr (Ballymena), Private Adam McAteer (Ballymena), Private Andrew McCartney, Private James McConnell (born in Sydney), Private James Neeson (Ahoghill) and Private William Torbitt (Ahoghill).

The museum is particularly keen to find descendants of Captain John Clarke (Royal Army Medical Corps) who was killed in action on 9th September 1915 and, although buried in Turkey, is commemorated on his family headstone in Ballymena Cemetery.

Captain Clarke is officially commemorated at Hill Ten Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey. According to the 1901 Census John Clarke, 18 years old and at school at the time, was living with his parents (William and Mary Ann, nee White) and siblings at 19 High Street, Ballymena. His father was a shoe manufacturer and his elder brother, James, was a solicitor. Also in the house with John were two brothers William (19), who worked with his father, and Thomas Hugh (16) and four sisters Cassie (20), Lizzie and May (both 12) and Jane (8).

Through research it was known that the Clarke family were prominent in Wellington Street Presbyterian Church. Jayne Clarke, Museum and Heritage Manager, contacted Wellington Street Church who were very helpful and provided some leads. Unfortunately these have not led to contact with any descendants of the family. It is also known from researching the local papers that Ballymena Bowling Club published a note of sympathy in October 1915.

As John had no children it is his extended family descendants that Jayne Clarke is keen to contact.

“The Council, together with the Ballymena Branch of the Royal British Legion, plan to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign and, in memory of all local men who died during this particular battle, by laying a wreath on the Clarke family grave on the date of Captain Clarke’s death. We would be delighted if descendants, not only of Captain Clarke, but of all the local men known to have died during the Gallipoli Campaign would be willing to participate in a civic commemorative service on 9th September 2015.”

If anyone can help track down descendants of these soldiers the museum would be delighted if you could make contact by phoning Noreen on 028 2563 5925 or emailing noreen.mullan@midandeastantrim.gov.uk.

To find out more about the local men who served in the Gallipoli Campaign why don’t you visit Mid-Antrim Museum’s ‘Gallipoli 1915 - 2015: A local legacy’ exhibition which runs from 25th April until 29th August. This exhibition is a photographic essay of the battle sites in Gallipoli where Mid Antrim men served. Check www.thebraid.com for further details.

on the exhibition and associated programme of talks to commemorate Anzac Day on Saturday 25 April. Admission to both the exhibition and event is free.