The Second World War in Northern Ireland

The Second World War in Northern Ireland

Greater Belfast Part 7

Here is a comprehensive look at those who lost their lives during the Second World War and are buried in Belfast City Cemetery.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission say that there are a total of 565 War Graves in this Cemetery of which 274 are from the Second World War.

Those who are buried here and lost their lives during the Luftwaffe Air Raid on the Military Hospital at Campbell College are included in the Greater Belfast Part 1 Section.

The Belfast Blitz Mass Grave

The two photographs above show this Mass grave with the small hedge which was added recently.

Blitzed Families

The Douglas Family lived at 8 Ballynure Street off the Oldpark Road in Belfast.

William Douglas was serving with the Royal Artillery on the night of 15th / 16th April 1941 when the Luftwaffe blitzed Belfast.

His family had been staying at 4 Ballynure Street when it was bombed.

Wife Emily was 29 years old

Son Samuel was 9 years old

Son William was 8 years old

Son James was 7 years old

Daughter Margaret was 5 years old

Daughter Sarah was 12 months old

The Clarke Family lived at 4 Ballynure Street and their fatalities were:-

Jeremiah (Husband) aged 49, Lavinia (Wife) aged 49, Robert aged 26, Jeremiah Gerald aged 17, William aged 15, John aged 13, Cecil aged 12, Desmond aged 10.

The Douglas Family headstone lists all five children however according to the book "Written in Stone" by Tom Hartley there are only three of the children buried here with their mother with no record of either Samuel or James which leads me to conclude that the remains of these two young children were never identified or located.

The Douglas Family headstone is immediately beside that of Sarah and Samuel McGladdery who lived at 12 Kendal Street off the Shankill Road.

Sarah died when their home was bombed however her Husband Samuel was Injured and taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital however he died later the same day.

The McGladdery headstone reads "In loving Memory of our Dear Parents Samuel and Sarah McGladdery Killed by Enemy Action 16th April 1941"

Norwegian Sailors

These are the headstones of three Norwegian Sailors of the Merchant Marine.
Halvard Halgjem, 45 years, died 6th December 1942
John Jansen, 29 years, died 13th December 1941
Karl Rygve Karlsen, 52 years, died 20th December 1941

Killed By A "Hedgehog"

On 11th April 1945 H.M.C.S. Strathadam was in the Atlantic Ocean as part of Escort Group E.G.25 and was carrying out an attack on a suspected U-Boat.

The "Hedgehog" was a mortar throwing system as ahown below.

During this action one of the Hedgehogs exploded killing six of the Crew whose headstones are shown here. (Public Domain photographs)

John Charles Griffon Comish, James Thorpe Friend, Harold Beatty Jones, Clifford Irwin Purdy, Alfred George Shimmin and Dennis William Andrew McEwen.

Consolidated Liberator AL 577

Consolidated Liberator AL 577 was with 108 Squadron, Royal Air Force based at Headquarters Middle East.

On 15th March 1942 it took off from R.A.F. Fayid in Egypt with a Crew of 6 and 13 Passengers - All of whom were experienced members of 108 Squadron and whose task was to collect new Liberator Aircraft and prepare them for the long journey back to North Africa.

During the long flight the weather gradually worsened and it became obvious that radio assistance would be required to be able to land safely.

The Wireless Operator was unable to raise any Stations and believing they were over England the Pilot reduced height to 2000 Feet.

Having flown for 15 Hours, and knowing they only had fuel for 15 1/2 Hours, the Captain recognised the City of Dublin in the Neutral Republic of Ireland and as two of the four engines began to fail he flew North towards Northern Ireland with the hope of landing safely.

Fuel was running out and the aircraft was loosing height before finally crashing on Slievenaglogh Mountain in County Louth, Republic of Ireland with the loss of 15 of those on board.

The four survivors were treated initially at Dundalk Hospital before being transferred initially to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, County Down and then Stranmillis Military Hospital in Belfast.


Some of those who were killed in this Accident are buried in Belfast City Cemetery.

Shown on the right is the Headstone of the Pilot, Flight Sergeant Lindsay Ross Williams.

Below left is Flight Lieutenant Francis Charles Barrett (Holder of the Distinguished Flying Cross) who was operating as Air Gunner.
The remaining three Victims were all Passengers.
Flight Sergeant Carlton Stokes Goodenough of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Flight Sergeant Herbert William Thornley Sloman of the Royal Australian Air Force.
Pilot Officer George Frederick King of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Shownhere is a Consiladed Liberator similar to AL577 which is shown on the ground in Fayed, Egypt. (IWM Photograph)

Four Royal New Zealand Air Force crew Killed near Langford Lodge in Aircraft Crash

Flying Officer Merle Noel Wytkin was 21 years old and the Son of Esidor John and Mary Josephine Wytkin from Egmont Village, Taranaki, New Zealand.

On 8th April 1943 he was on a Training Flight in Bristol Beaufort DD886 being operated by Number 5 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit from Long Kesh.

At 13.15 the port engine failed due to difficulties with oil pressure. 

Unfortunately the Pilot failed to feather the propeller and the aircraft went into a flat spin before crashing into the ground near Langford Lodge killing all four men on board.

Along with Flying Officer Wytkin was:-

Flying Officer (Pilot) James Sherman Strachan, 31 years old. The Son of Sherman and Henrietta Strachan from Westport, Nelson, New Zealand.

Sergeant Norman James Casserley, 24 years old. The Son of John and Margaret Casserley from Kaiapoi, Canterbury, New Zealand

Flying Officer Herbert James Marriott Chapman, 25 years old. The Son of Percival and Jessie Chapman from Spreydon, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.

H.M.S. Whittaker 

Lieutenant John Alan Schwartz was serving aboard H.M.S. Whittaker when at 02.10 on 1st November 1944 the ship was torpedoed by U-483 of the North Coast.

The ship caught fire and much of it's Bow was totally destroyed.

Having initially been towed to Londonderry it was subsequently brought to Belfast for repair.

A total of 79 men were killed in the attack including Lieutenant Schwartz. (Picture From Navsource.org)

Bristol Beaufort Aircraft Crash AW277

On 29th March 1943 Bristol Beaufort AW277 was involved in a Navigation Exercise with Number 5 Operational Training Unit.

Unfortunately the aircraft flew in to electric cables on Colin Mountain and crashed with the loss of all on board.

Sergeant Thomas Charles Stevens, who was the Navigator / Bomb Aimer is the only Crew Member buried in Belfast City Cemetery with the Pilot, Sergeant McKinley, having been laid to rest in Strabane Cemetery.

Bristol Beaufort Aircraft are shown below (Public Domain photograph)

Norman Maclean of S.S. Stanleigh

Sailor Norman Maclean was on board S.S. Stanleigh when it was in Convoy off Liverpool Bay.

During the night the ship was attacked by the Luftwaffe and began to sink. Crew Members got into a lifeboat however tragically the ship then rolled onto the Lifeboat which contained the Crew.

Fairey Battle Aircraft Crash P6601 

Sergeant Peter Frank Morris was flying 226 Squadron Fairey Battle P6601 on 23rd October 1940.

Sergeant James McMaster was the Wireless Operator / Air Gunner with him. During the flight the aircraft crashed into hills near Cushendall in County Antrim.

Sergeant Morris may have died instantly while Sergeant McMaster died the following day of wounds received.

Shown below is a Fairey Battle similar to the one they were flying.

Bristol Beaufort Aircraft Crash DX134

Sergeant William Wilson Kirby was with Number 1 Operational Training Unit and was in Bristol Beaufort DX 134 on a Map Reading and Air Sea Rescue Training Flight when the aircraft crashed at 18.00 at Church Island bear Bellaghy in County Londonderry.

There were no survivors however the Accident Report states that  “ it seems fairly apparent that the pilot was making a forced landing on open ground, but his approach took him over a church. It seems that to avoid hitting the church spire, he stalled the aircraft at approx 100 feet and crashed in a very steep angle just beyond the church building.” It also stated the “port engine was suspect. The pilot had trimmed the aircraft to fly on starboard engine. Traces of white metal were found in the oil. Engine being inspected.”

Wellington Aircraft Crash X3599

Vickers Wellington Mark III X3599 of 57 Squadron had taken off from R.A.F. Feltwell, Norfolk to travel to R.A.F. Aldergrove during a Cross Country Training flight however it crashed into the ground due to poor visibility and burst into flames.

Flying Officer Harold Eric Hunter of the Royal New Zealand Air Force was the Pilot with Flying Officer John William Elliott as Observer.

Fairey Fulmar BP821 Aircraft Crash

Sub-Lieutenant John Richard Mathers and Sub-Lieutenant William Foster were serving with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve based at H.M.S. Daedalus.

On 24th November 1942 they were flying  Fairey Fulmar BP821 similar to the one shown above (Public Demain Photograph).

During the flight the crew were unable to recover from a steep climbing turn which had been carried out at low level.

The aircraft crashed killing both men.

H.M.S. Caroline

A number of Naval Personnel from H.M.S. Caroline are buried here including Frank Mundy Coombs who was killed during the Belfast Blitz.

Victor Frank Dolan and Samuel Hamilton are both recorded as dying from Illness.

Ronald Richard Martin lost his life through an accident with Felix O'Neill, John Maurice Mends Tickell and John Wilkinson simply having been reported as having Died.

Two Crew Members of H.M.S. La Malouine Killed during the Belfast Blitz

Steward Stanley G. Ash was 22 years old and the Son of Florence Hatch from Trumpington, Cambridge.

Ordinary Seaman James Taylor was 23 years old and the Son of Edward and Annie Taylor from Bristols Hope, Newfoundland. He has previously been "Mentioned in Dispatches" - The wording "Known to be buried in this Cemetery" means that he has been buried but the precise location is not known.


It is rare to see such wording on a Headstone in Northern Ireland but much more common in the First World War Battlefields of the Western Front where the location may have changed hands between the opposing Forces and the exact location not known. In other cases burials had taken place however the grave was destroyed in later battles!


These men were aboard H.M.S. La Malouine in Belfast on the night of the 4th / 5th May 1941 when the Luftwaffe Bombed the City in what was known as "The Fire Raid"

Both men were killed by a bomb which landed as a near miss but damaged the ship. (The Flower Class Corvettes Forum)

Service Personel Killed During The Belfast Blitz

Marine Thomas Douglas Harvey was 52 years old and was based at the H.M.S. Royal Arthur Shore Establishment. He was Killed on the night of 8th / 9th May 1941.

Captain Ronald Victor Kingston was 28 years old and the Son of Thomas and Lucy of Wandsworth, London. He was on the General List and was killed on the night of 15th / 16th April 1941.

Private Felix Marasi was the Son of Felix and Margherita Marasi. He was Killed on 5th May 1941.

Warrant Officer First Class, Regimental Sergeant Major Henry Phillips was serving with 6th Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles and was Killed on 16th April 1941.

Lance Corporal Harry Norman Pickup was serving with the Pioneer Corps. He was 22 years old and the Son of Henry and Janet Pickup from Pinner, Middlesex.

He was Killed on 5th May 1941.

Shown above is the cross of Sacrifice at Belfast City Cemetery.

Supermarine Seafire Crashes

Sub-Lieutenant John Esmond Marshall was a member of the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve.

He was with 894 Squadron at Ballyhalbert and on 13th February 1944 was flying a Supermarine Seafire similar to the one shown in the photograph above (Public Domain)

During the flight Sub-Lieutenant Marshall lost control and the aircraft crashed south of Mew island near Donaghadee.

Sub-Lieutenant Leonard Perry Wade was flying Supermarine Seafire SR489 from 803 Squadron when he crashed on Slievenanee Mountain.

Sub-Lieutenant William Lloyd Nash was from Canada and serving with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.

On 5th November 1945 he had been flying Supermarine Seafire  SW849 when he lost control and crashed near Nutts Corner Airfield.

Royal Artillery Personel

There are a number of members of the Royal Artillery buried in the City Cemetery.

Gunner Robert Crawford served with 21 Battery, 8th Anti-Aircraft Regiment. Gunner Harold Douglas was with 2 Battery, 1 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment.

Gunner Ralph Ferguson was 314 Battery of 102 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment. Lance Serjeant David Sime Gordon was with 389 Battery, 111 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment.

Gunner Stanley Hodgkinson served with 355 Battery, 111 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment and Lance Gunner John Humphries was with 316 Battery 102 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment.

Gunner John Madden was serving with 1 Battery, 1 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment.

I have included Signalman John Quirey in this section because he had been serving with 3 Heavy Anti-Aircraft as Divisional Signaller and was attached to 12 Heavy Anti-Aircraft as their Divisional Signaller when he died.

Bristol Beaufort Aircraft Crash EL131

Bristol Beaufort EL131 was being operated by Number 5 Operational Training Unit and took off from R.A.F. Long Kesh to carry out a Non-Operational Training Exercise.

At 09.20 it turned to the left before crashing and burning approximately one mile north of Shields Corner, Castledawson killing all on board.

Three of those who were killed are buried in Belfast City Cemetery as shown here:-

Flight Sergeant Donald Murray Gibson, Royal Australian Air Force (Pilot)

Flight Sergeant Charles Loxley Harris, Royal Australian Air Force (Navigator / Bomb Aimer)

Sergeant Arthur Reginald Davis, Royal New Zealand Air Force (Wireless Operator / Air Gunner)

Another Crew Member, Sergeant Keith Thomas Devery is buried in the nearby Milltown Cemetery.

Female Service Personnel

There are three Headstones relating to Female Service Personnel.

Serjeant Nora Hughes was 50 years old and serving with the Auxiliary Territorial Service when she died.

Leading Aircraftswoman Mary Rose Cuthbertson was with the Womens Auxiliary Air Force and Private Doreen Meta Brown was 18 years old when she died on 6th June 1941. She was serving with the Auxiliary Territorial Service.

H.M.S. Sarawak Drownings

The Personnel below were with H.M.S. Sarawak when they drown.

Lieutenant Samuel Geoffrey Grimes, Lieutenant Tom Harrison Raven of the Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve, Signalman Lyn Edgar Landon Relf, Telegraphist John Albert White

Stoker Arthur Wing, H.M.S. Southern Breeze

Shown above is one of the unique Royal Naval Patrol Service badges with the M/S and A/S referring to Minesweeping and Anti-Submarine.

Right is an Anti-Submarine Whaler as used by the R.N.P.S.

Stoker Arthur Robert Wing was a Stoker aboard H.M.S. Southern Breeze of the Royal Naval Patrol Service.

He was 31 years old when he drown on 20th May 1942.

The Royal Naval Patrol Service was involved in anti-submarine and minesweeping operations to protect coastal Britain and convoys.


HMS Europa at Lowestoft was the Central Depot of the Royal Naval Patrol Service. It was the most easterly point of the United Kingdom and then the closest British military establishment to the enemy until decommissioned in 1946. 

This eventually became the training and drafting base for more than 70,000 men, who manned 6,000 small craft of numerous types, including trawlers, whalers, drifters, MFVs (Motor Fishing Vessels), MLs (Motor Launches), and later MMS (Motor Minesweepers), American produced BYMS (British Yard Mine Sweepers) and numerous requisitioned vessels.


Between 1942 and its decommissioning in 1946 new construction ships and craft manned by the R.N.P.S. totalled 1,637 of various kinds including converted trawlers, corvettes, fuel carriers, motor launches and naval seaplane tenders. 

Of this total, from September 1939 through to May 1945, approximately 260 trawlers were lost in action... This material loss however pales into insignificance when compared to the 15,000 or so, RNPS personnel who were killed in the Second World War, including the 2385 RNPS seaman who "have no known grave but the sea".


The Royal Naval Patrol Service suffered over 250 lost vessels, more than any other branch of the Royal Navy. Because of the dangers and losses faced by the men of the Royal Naval Patrol service, they were honoured in a statement made by Churchill and by a unique silver badge, worn on the sleeve of the serviceman's uniform, that was awarded to those who served six months or more in the RNPS.

MESSAGE FROM THE PRIME MINISTER TO THE OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE MINESWEEPING FLOTILLAS

Now that Nazi Germany has been defeated I wish to send you all on behalf of His Majesty's Government a message of thanks and gratitude.

The work you do is hard and dangerous. You rarely get and never seek publicity; your only concern is to do your job, and you have done it nobly. You have sailed in many seas and all weathers... This work could not be done without loss, and we mourn all who have died and over 250 ships lost on duty.

No work has been more vital than yours; no work has been better done. The Ports were kept open and Britain breathed. The Nation is once again proud of you

W S Churchill. (Photo and Info from Wikipedia)

Killed at Sea

Leading Seaman William F. Dawe was serving on board H.M.S. Zulu (Shown above) when he was Killed in Surface Action.

Ordnance Artificier Colin Kidger was on board H.M.S, Newark (Shown at top of this item) when it was involved in a collision with H.M.S. Volunteer at Devonport. The ship carried on to Belfast where it was repaired and Colin Kidger laid to rest.

Able Seaman Albert Gillian Lightfoot was killed in an explosion on board H.M.S. Broke (Shown above) while George Henry Smith, Skipper of H.M.S. Commander Holbrook was killed in a Boat Accident.

Royal Army Ordnance Corps and Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal

Private Arthur Henry Holton was serving with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and is recorded as having died on 5th May 1941. The "Fire Raid" of the Belfast Blitz was on the night of 4th / 5th May 1941.

Sapper James Orr was serving with Number 6 Bomb Disposal Company of the Royal Engineers.

Able Seaman Judge Killed on H.M.S. Karanja

Able Seaman Charles Dennis Judge was serving aboard H.M.S. Karanja when he was killed. Unfortunately I can find no other details. Please note that the spelling of the ship on his Headstone is incorrect. 

H.M.S. Karanja is shown above (IWM)

Sergeant Pilot Norman Keenan Killed in Aircraft Crash.

Sergeant Pilot Norman Clements Keenan was flying Airspeed Oxford aircraft BG 207 with Number 14 Pilot Advanced Flying Unit. 

Along with him was Sergeant Pilot T.H. Campbell of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

During the flight the aircraft flew into the ground night Hall Farm, Egmanton, Nottinghamshire killing both men. (Wikipedia)

Pilot Officer William Russell Ratray

Pilot Officer William Russell Rattray was the Son of George James Rattray and Helen Inglis Rattray from Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.

He was serving with 231 (Royal Air Force) Squadron, Royal New Zealand Air Force.

On 11th March 1942 he was in Lysander aircraft T1577 flying from R.A.F. Maghaberry and involved in a Low Level Tactical Reconnaissance exercise when it struck a tree.

Control was lost and the aircraft struck a house approximately 2 1/2 miles Northeast of Dungannon in County Tyrone.

The aircraft was totally destroyed and Pilot Officer Rattray died along with Sergeant L.G. Chapman, Royal Air Force. (Vintage Wings of Canada Picture)

Boatswain Edward Middleton Killed by Enemy Action

Boatswain Edward Middleton was serving aboard the Motor Tanker M.V. Regent Lion.

He died on 15th September 1940 when the ship was bombed and straffed by enemy aircraft. (Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart)

Able Seaman Dermot Power, H.M.S. Cairo.

Able Seaman Dermot Michael Power was the Son of William and Josephine Power from St Johns, Newfoundland.

He was serving on H.M.S. Cairo when he died on war service. (IWM)

Stoker William Sims Torpedoed on H.M.S. Redmill

Stoker 1st Class William John Cleverly Sims was 21 years old and the Son of Harry and Vera Sims. He was the Husband of Margaret Sims from the Sydenham area of Belfast.

William Sims was serving on board H.M.S. Redmill which was approximately 25 miles Northwest of Blacksod Bay, Republic of Ireland when the ship was struck by an acoustic torpedo that had been fired by U-Boat U-1105.

He is one of only four of the dead who were able to be buried whilst the remainder of the 28 Crew who were killed remain recorded as "Missing Presumed Killed"

(Mr. K.R. MacPherson)

Sergeant Pilot John Archibald Nicholson

Sergeant Pilot John Archibald Nicholson was serving with 602 Squadron Royal Air Force based at R.A.F. Ayr.

He was reported missing whilst on a flight over the Irish Sea on 26th April 1941 and his body later recovered.

Four lives Lost when H.M.S. Asturias was Torpedoed.

Built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast in 1926, Asturias was converted to an Armed Merchant Cruiser during the Second World War when she operated in the South Atlantic.

During conversion her fore funnel and mainmast were removed to improve the capabilities of her anti-aircraft guns. 

On 3rd August 1943 the ship was torpedoed and badly damaged by the Italian submarine Ammiraglio Cagni in the South Atlantic but was successfully towed to Freetown.

Aircraftman Second Class John Shaw

Aircraftman Second Class John Shaw was the Son of Arthur and Kathleen Shaw. 

He was from Belfast and married to Adrianna Shaw.

Aircraftman Shaw was serving with 916 (County of Warwick) Balloon Squadron, Royal Air Force which was part of Number 6 Balloon Centre at R.A.F. Wythall.

(Birmingham Mail)

Two Airmen Killed in Tiger Moth Crash at Stormont Estate

Flying Officer Douglas Williams was serving with 410 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force. He was the Son of Henry and Christina Williams and was 22 Years old.

Along with him was Lieutenant George Leslie Werts of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, H.M.S. Daedalus.

They were in Queens University Air Squadron Tiger Moth X5045 when it crashed at approximately 15.45 on 12th June 1943 within Stormont Estate. (BAE Systems)

New Zealand Airman Killed in Aircraft Crash.

Sergeant Pilot Lloyd Sydney Dyer took off at approximately 2258 hours on 5th March 1943 from R.A.F. Long Kesh where he was stationed with 5 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit. He was taking part in a Night Navigation exercise on board Hampden TB I, P1352 however shortly after take off the plane flew into rising ground 3 1/4 miles west of the airfield. At the time of his death, Dyer had completed 359 flying hours, 39 of these on board a Hampden. (Auckland Museum for photograph)

Signalman Stanley Henry Frederick Ketteridge

Signalman Stanley Henry Frederick Ketteridge was serving with 1 Air Formation Signals when he died on 13th April 1942. There are no further details as to cause of death.

Shown above is the 1 Air Formations cloth patch.

Serjeant Edward Alexander Mitchell, Royal Artillery

Serjeant Edward Alexander Mitchell was serving with 4th Maritime Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Artillery.

He was the Son of William James and Agnes Mitchell from Belfast and died on 12th July 1945.

On 6th May 1941 the Bren Gun Scheme, Port Gunners and Coastal Shuttle Service were combined to form the Maritime Anti-Aircraft Royal Artillery.  This organisation was made up four regiments comprising a total of seven Batteries.   

Shown above is the Maritime Anti-Aircraft insignia.(IWM)

United States Military Burials 

United States Armed Forces Personnel were initially buried at Belfast City Cemetery however the large Cemetery was then created at Lisnabreeny and so those who had been laid to rest in the City Cemetery were subsequently exhumed and moved to Lisnabreeny. (See Greater Belfast Part 1)

This, however, was not the last transfer and all were once again exhumed and either moved to the large American Military Cemetery in Cambridgeshire, England or returned to the United States.

The photographs above and below show U.S. Soldiers in Belfast City Cemetery on Monday 25th May 1942 which was Memorial Day. Memorial Day is when U.S. Citizens remember the Men and Women who have lost their lives whilst serving in the Armed Forces. (Thanks very much to Selwyn Johnston and After The battle for pictures)

This is simply an illustration of what you can find when spending the time to walk around Belfast City Cemetery - There is much to see.