War graves clean-up campaign information

Lance Corporal John Bowden - grave was cleaned
Lance Corporal John Bowden - grave was cleaned

A Ballymena based society which commemorates the fallen of World War One has embarked on a war graves ‘clean up campaign’.

Last weekend , the Friends of the Somme Association (Mid Antrim branch) began the process by cleaning up some of the headstones of WW1 service personnel who are buried in cemeteries within the Ballymena Borough. However, the Association is anxious to ensure they are not causing any offence to descendants of the fallen.

Mr. Cecil Wright explained: “Obviously, the centenary of the battle of the Somme on July 1 will be of tremendous significance locally but we have to remember the war claimed all classes and creeds and ran for four devastating years. The graves we intend to clean up belong to men who lost their lives in service throughout the course of the conflict.

“So far, we have applied a solution of water and bleach to the stone work of some graves, to remove moss and greenery. However, we do not intend to do any more work until March.

“If there are any family members or friends of the family who do not wish this work to be carried out, please contact myself on 02825655125. Then no further work will be carried out on that particular grave/headstone.

It is not the intent of the Association to offend anyone by this action.”

Below is a list of service personnel, and the cemeteries involved:-

Old Church of Ireland (Church Street) - D. McConnell, R.F.C; R. Wylie,R. Eng.

Ballymena New Cemetery, J. Bowden, R.Irish.Rifles (RIR); R. Carey, R. Inns F.; D. Orr, R.I.R.; Pte. Reid, A.S.C.

Crebilly Cemetery - C. McManus, R.Innis.F.; R. McCarroll, R.I. Regt.

Ahoghill Trinity Cemetery - W. Montgomery, R.Inns. F.; S. Small, Can. Inf.

Ahoghill Pres. Cemetery - J. Fullerton, R.I.R.

Brookside Cemetery - R. Courtney, R.I.R.

St. Mary’s Portglenone - H. McNally, Conn.Rgrs.

Newtoncrommelin Pres. - J. McCartney, H.H. Bn. (family stone)

Kells & Connor Cemetery - S. Graham, R. Navy( family stone)

Grange Corner. Pres Cem. - A. Hamill, R.I.R. and S. Hamill R.I.R. *

*No Headstones for these can be found