At the start of the First World War three young local Catholic men enlisted with the 14th (Young Citizen Volunteer) Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles, sadly only one of those men returned home.
There were at least 88 Roman Catholics with addresses all over Ireland who enlisted in the Young Citizen Volunteer Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles, of which 42 were from Ulster.
Rifleman Robert Dennison’s address on enlistment was 71 Bridge Street, Lisburn.
He enlisted in Lisburn and served in the 14th (YCV) Royal Irish Rifles.
Robert was born in Lambeg circa 1880. He was killed in action in Belgium on the 14 October 1918 (‘or shortly after’), aged 38 and was buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery, Passchendaele, Belgium. There is no headstone inscription.
He was the husband of Sarah Dennison of 71 Bridge Street, Lisburn to which his will records he left all his effects. He is remembered on the Hilden War Memorial.
Lance Corporal William McGarrell lived at Lurgan Bane, Dromore. He served with 14th (YCV) and 2nd Royal Irish Rifles as a marksman.
William was born around 1898. In 1911 William was aged 13 and lived at 2 Lurganbane, Dromore with his parents Thomas, a farmer and Mary Jane.
His siblings were Maggie, Bella, Thomas, Bridget, Robert and John. The family is listed as Roman Catholic.
William died of his wounds on 16 April 1918 aged 21, and is buried in Duhallow Advanced Dressing Station Cemetery.
Written on his headstone was: ‘On his soul sweet Jesus have mercy’ His effects were left to his father Thomas. William was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.
The third local man was Rifleman H McNamara of Ballynahinch Street, Hillsborough, the only one to return home from the war.
As the Unionist Centenary Committee marks the centenary of the Review of the 36th Ulster Division with a Parade past the City Hall on Saturday May 9, it must be remembered that the 36th Ulster Division was not only made up of Protestants.
People across Ireland enlisted in the war effort for various reasons, and there were at least 88 Roman Catholics with addresses all over Ireland who enlisted in the Young Citizen Volunteers, of which 42 were from Ulster.
At least eight Roman Catholic Ulstermen in the YCV gave their lives with the Ulster Division.