Book now for ‘Messines Story’ at The Braid

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Through its Good Relations Programme, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is hosting an event entitled ‘The Messines Story’ in the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena.

The event, on Tuesday 28 November 2017 at 7pm will include a local community performance, set in 1917, telling the story of 23 year old Private John Meeke of the 36th Ulster Division, and Major William Redmond of the 16th Irish Division.

It’s also an opportunity to view a screening of the Battle of Messines short film, produced by the Nerve Centre.

People will also get the chance to see Mid and East Antrim Museum’s ‘The Great War 1917 – Messines and Passchendaele’ Local Stories Exhibition creating a backdrop to the event.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Paul Reid said, “In recent years, the story of Messines has had a positive influence in promoting good relations and peace building. This is a great opportunity to also remember those who fought side by side and gave their lives for us during the Great War.

“This event has been developed by people working together in partnership, linking closely to Council’s corporate vision of ‘working together to create a better future for all’. We want everyone who lives in Mid and East Antrim to feel welcome, safe and respected.”

Guest speaker and chair of the Community Relations Council, Peter Osborne said, “Mid and East Antrim Borough Council delivers ground breaking community relations work. It is a real pleasure to be part of this important event. Yet again the Council is to be commended.

“We explore the past for many reasons, partly to remember the sacrifice of brave men and women who took citizenship to new levels; and partly to ensure that in understanding conflict in our shared past, we are better able to understand how to build a more peaceful shared future. ‘The Messines Story’ shows Council and the community working together and the drama ‘Meeke and the Major’ shows how compassion and courage which crossed the community then, can still inspire today.”

Booking is essential for this FREE event. Email: or tel: 028 2563 5036.

This event has been supported by The Executive Office through Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Good Relations Programme. For more information and to keep up to date you can go to

Courtesy of the ‘Ballymena and the Great War’ website, we are able to give details of some local men who lost their lives at the time of the Messines offensive in June 1917.

GLENHOLMES, John, 1418, Rifleman, 8th Royal Irish Rifles, died of wounds on the 7th June 1917. He came from Connor and enlisted in Ballymena. He is buried Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension. and commemorated in Connor Presbyterian Church.

McBRIDE, Moses, 29802, Private, 2nd Battalion Otago Regiment, N.Z.E.F., was killed in action on the 7th June 1917. Aged 28. He was the son of John and Sarah Paul McBride, of Coreen, Broughshane, Co. Antrim, Ireland. He is buried Wulverghem-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery Belgium and commemorated in 1st Broughshane Presbyterian Church.

Ballymena Observer, July 27, 1917 - Private Moses McBride, son of Mr. John McBride, Coreen, joined the 2nd Otago Battalion of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in June 1916. He was killed in the battle at Messines on June 7th 1917.

STEWART, James, 1488, Rifleman, 8th Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 7th June 1917. He is buried in Wulverghen Lindenhoek Military Cemetery. Aged 22, he was born at Portglenone, the son of James and late Nancy. He lived at Cullybackey.

McALEESE, Joseph, 18/816, Rifleman, 9th Royal Irish Rifles, died of wounds on the 8th June 1917. Aged 20, he was born in Ballymena and was the son of Margaret Gubbin/Gribbon, 2 Mill Row, Ballymena. He is buried Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France.

ROCK, Hugh, 18/1289, Rifleman, 11th Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on the 8th June 1917. Aged 22, son of George and Agnes Rock of Ballylig, Killagan, Glarryford. He was a native of Cloughmills and he is buried in Spanbroekmolen Cemetery, Belgium.

Ballymena Observer, July 13, 1917 - Mr. Rock of Cloughmills received information that his son, Rifleman Hugh Rock, was killed on 8th June, 1917. The deceased was, for about six years, in the employment of Mr. Turner as a postal official, delivering letters all over the district and on hearing that Mr. Turner’s son, Thomas, had joined the colours, he too enlisted in the same battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles (YCVs). The sad intelligence of his death is much regretted in the district.

TURNER, Thomas, 7188, Rifleman, 8th Royal Irish Rifles, died of wounds on the 20th June 1917. Aged 21, he was the son of Alexander and Rose Turner of Cloughmills. He is buried Cabin Hill Cemetery, Wytschaete, Belgium.

Ballymena Observer, July 13, 1917 - Mr. Alexander Turner RDC, sub-postmaster and general merchant, Cloughmills, has received intelligence that his son, Rifleman Thomas Turner, Royal Irish Rifles, has been killed in action.

Private Turner who was the fifth son of Mr. Turner was only 21 years of age. He was in the Bank Buildings in Belfast and from there enlisted in the YCVs shortly after the outbreak of war. He was wounded in the glorious charge of the Ulster Division on July 1 1916. Mr. Turner has another son, Private Robert Turner at present at the front with the Australian contingent. He joined the colours in the colony at the outbreak of war and was all through the Dardanelles campaign, wounded and after being discharged, he re-enlisted and is still at the front doing ‘his bit.’