Rededication ceremony to take place at town’s War Memorial

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A rededication ceremony is set to take place at Ballymena and District War Memorial following the addition of names of 172 local people who lost their lives during the First World War.

Last year Mid and East Antrim Borough Council agreed the addition of verified missing names of those killed on the monument.

In 2013 it was discovered that some of the local Fallen who died in The Great War were not honoured on the Memorial.

Research undertaken by History Hub Ulster on behalf of council and a public consultation found that up to 172 names were missing.

Those names have been engraved onto the memorial in recent weeks, and a poignant rededication ceremony will mark their unveiling on Sunday, October 7 at 3pm.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Councillor Lindsay Millar said: “I am proud and honoured that the rededication of Ballymena and District War Memorial will take place this weekend.

“Thank you to all of those who came forward with new information regarding names they believed to be missing from the Ballymena and District War Memorial.

“As a council, we were committed to doing all we could to ensure those who made the ultimate sacrifice from Ballymena and District were remembered on the memorial. This included any relevant local women who served in clerical or nursing roles.”

Councillor Billy Henry said: “The service of rededication will be undertaken in conjunction with the Royal British Legion, as part of the Council’s Centenary of The Armistice Programme, and we are indebted to them for all of their assistance and support throughout this crucial project.”

A consultation and members of the public put forward relevant information they had and the additional names were verified by experts.

Ballymena and District War Memorial was unveiled in 1924 after a fundraising effort raised just over £1,000.

It is unknown how the 496 names were gathered by the then War Memorial Committee in the early 1920s but through professional research, using agreed criteria, it has emerged that some of those who were killed in action or subsequently died of wounds have been overlooked until now.

Council thanked local historians who have carried out research on the Fallen from the mid-Antrim area in the First World War.

Local historians who set up Ballymena and The Great War website in 2007 have also been commended for their commitment in ensuring that the memory of these mid-Antrim soldiers lives on.