Somme remembered at Killead Church

The Roll of Honour at Killead Church
The Roll of Honour at Killead Church

Killead Church will be the home to a First World War Field hospital and trench during the Somme Festival due to take place this weekend on July 2.

Members of the congregation will attempt to bring history alive as they remember all those who died during the Battle of the Somme - one of largest battles of World War 1, where more than one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history.

One of the organisers of the Festival Rev John Murdock said: “It’s been fascinating uncovering the stories of the many local men who gave up their lives and we are very proud as a church to be able to pay homage to those who made the supreme sacrifice.

“We hope to remind all sides of the community how the people of the area 100 years ago rallied together and made such a strong commitment to the war effort,”

Over 40 people who had connections with South Antrim parish fought in the First World War. In total, 43 names are listed on the church’s roll of honour, including eight who lost their lives.

The memorial commemorates local men and women who fell during World War One including the Somme or Passchendaele.

Among those remembered is 20-year-old Crumlin man George Adair from the Seacash Road. His parents were James and Mary Adair. At 18 he was enlisted at Randalstown in October 1915 and served in D Company of the 11th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles, as a Rifleman.

He left for France in October 1915 but was killed in action on August 16, 1917. His death is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, in Belgium. His older brother John, also served during the First World War. He was wounded.

At the time Company Commander wrote to the family about George: “His loss is very deeply felt throughout the battalion…he was greatly loved and respected by the officers and men”. Nephew Gerald Heaney is a current member of the church.

The festival runs from 11am to 4pm and opened by Lord-Lieutenant for County Antrim Mrs Joan Christie at 11am.