Missing names to be added to War Memorial ahead of poignant rededication

Councillor Billy Henry pictured at the Ballymena and District War Memorial

The names of more local people who lost their lives during the First World War are set to be remembered on Ballymena and District’s War Memorial.

Last year Mid and East Antrim Borough Council agreed the addition of verified missing names of the Fallen on the monument in Memorial Park, Ballymena.

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 are missing.

Those names are set to be engraved at the Memorial in the coming weeks.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Councillor Billy Henry said: “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.

“We previously encouraged local people and those from further afield to check if their ancestor is on the published list of missing names and, if not, for them to share their information during the consultation period.

“We want to ensure as best we can that all those who made the ultimate sacrifice from Ballymena and District are now remembered side by side on the Memorial with the existing names of those who lost their lives. This includes any relevant local women who served in clerical or nursing roles.

“I am pleased these names will be added to the memorial in Ballymena soon.

“A service of rededication will be undertaken in conjunction with the Royal British Legion unveiling of the additional names this autumn as part of the Council’s Centenary of The Armistice Programme.”

A consultation was held from Monday 25 September until Friday 10 November 2017.

Members of the public put forward relevant information they had and the additional names are currently being 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 495 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.

Councillor Henry thanked local historians who have carried out research on the Fallen from the mid-Antrim area in the First World War. He said their work has enhanced understanding of the sacrifice.

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

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