Ulsters Heroes

Here you canfind details of individual soldiers from Ulster that have been submited by relatives who wish to pay tribute to those brave members of their family who fought for God and Ulster, for King and Country, for you and for me.

If you have details, photographs or stories of a family member who fought with the 36th, and would like to see them remembered here, please contact us at info@belfastsomme.com, putting "Hero" in the subject field, and we will create a fitting tribute to them on this site.

Click on photo on the right to read more

Private James McWatters

18904 Private James McWatters
9th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
(Tyrone Volunteers)

No. 18904 Pte. James McWatters, 109th Infantry Brigade, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (Tyrone Volunteers) 36th Ulster Division.
James was born on 7th December 1889 and lived at 27 Tyne Street Shankill Road Belfast before enlisting at the age of 24.
Although he lived in Belfast, it was common practice that once a Battalion had been filled, the extra men would be moved to another Battalion to make up the numbers, which is why James fought with the 9th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers who where mostly made up from Ulster Volunteer Force members from Tyrone.

His son Hayden McWatters tells us that James died at the age of 71 and also supplied us with the UVF Hospital booklet, that belonged to his father, which can be vewed in the UVF Hospital section of this website.
"This is the only picture I have of my father taken I think at the beginning of the second world war I have no idea where it was taken some training camp somewhere I know he bluffed his age and was caught out and served part of the war as an ARP warden we had some of his second war medals but unfortunatley they got lost moving house one time, I still have his 1st war medals and proudly wear them .each Remembrance Sunday."

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning

Tab 3

16/130 Sergeant Thomas Ruddock
16th Royal Irish Rifles
(above photo : 2nd from right standing)

No.16/130 Sgt. Thomas Ruddock, Pioneer Battalion, 16th Royal Irish Rifles (2nd Co.Down Volunteers) 36th Ulster Division.
He enlisted on Nov. 14, 1914. Stayed until armistice and was transferred to the reserves on demobilization.
Thomas received a certificate for "Gallantry and Devotion to Duty Displayed at Mount Noir on the nights of July 21,22, and 23, 1918" signed by Major Gen. C. Coffin.
HIs Grandson Brian McNicholas has in his pocession a satchel containing paystubs, his transfer to reserves (probably the "Black and Tan") in 1919, an itinerary for parades, enlistment paper, and misc. papers.
"My grandmother, who is still alive at the age of 97, recalls he was the youngest Sergeant in the 36th Division, if not the entire British Army. Born in 1898, puts him at age 16 upon enlistment in 1914 and a Sergeant by the age of 18. I have the paperwork to back this. All this information is coming to light recently as my Grandmother cleaned out her attic."

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning

John Wallace Corry

John Wallace Corry
109th Infantry Brigade
14th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
(Young Citizen Volunteers)
(Above photo : back row, 3rd from right, holding French Horn)

John Wallace Corry, 109th Infantry Brigade, 14th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (Young Citizen Volunteers) 36th Ulster Division.
John was born on January 31st 1898 and lived McClure Street, Belfast and was a member of the Young Citizen Volunteers (YCV) before enlisting with the Royal Irish Rifles at the age of 18.

"Apparently my Granda had been an iron pounder at Harland &Wolfe before the war and couldn't return to that job after, due to lung damage caused by mustard gas. I clearly remember him wheezing constantly. It must have been horrendous!"

Help needed with photograph

John's Grandson, Ian has asked us to post this picture of his Grandfather in a band, which was taken around 1916, in the hope that some of our visitors may be able to identify some of the other members of the band, or have some information on the band. If you have any information please email the Association at info@belfastsomme.com, putting "Corry" in the subject field and we will pass your information on to Ian and put what information you provide here. Some information has already been supplied from John's son.

"I have been thinking about Me Da's band photo and it came to mind that I met one of the people in the picture, Fred Mortimer who later became the bandmaster of what at that time was the #1 band in the world, Fodens Motor Works Band and they visited Belfast and Jack & I were taken to hear them perform in The Ulster Hall and we wereintroduced to Fred Mortimer after the concert.That was in the late 20s or early 30s and I still can remember that evening.
Fred's son Harry later took over the Fodens band and if I am still right the last I heard of him he was Sir Harry . He was the best cornet player in Britain at that time. Funny how things come back to your memory . Fred was English so the theory that it was a concert band could be right, I think it was made up of men who had a bit of interest in music who got together and entertained others, not all from the 36th division and certainly not all from NI."

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning

Sergeant Thomas Waring

Sergeant Thomas Waring
14th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles
(Young Citizen Volunteers)
(Note the YCV badge on Thomas's lapel in the before the War photograph above)

Thomas's Grandson Peter Waring tells us a bit about these photographs and his Grandfather -
" It is typical in that he loved shooting and gundogs and I think it gives a hint of his mischievious sense of humour.
He 'travelled' the border counties as a menswear rep for a Belfast Department Store with a dog and shotgun whenever possible in the back of the car. My memory of him is very sketchy but I remember him staying at the house in Aylesbury Road where he brought up my father, his brother and sisters and him showing me how he worked the hives of bees he kept in the little back garden. Also his party pieces and practical jokes."

Thomas's son Tom Waring remembers his father -
"As the youngest member of our family, [I was born in December of 1930], I was not privy to all the World War I stories.However, there are a few things I remember hearing---- for instance the reason for the visit back to France as depicted in the photographs sent by my nephew Peter the grandson .
Apart from visiting old war sites and cemeteries there was a matter of the clock hands. The return of which became a focal point since they had been removed by my father together with another whose name escapes me.
The reason for the removal was, the clock tower they occupied was in a prominent church spire occupying high ground overlooking the trenches of the Allies. An enemy soldier was placed in the church tower to observe and direct their artillery by means of semaphore utilizing the hands of the clock on the side facing his troops.A patrol was sent to remove him and find out how he managed to signal of the artillery.He was eliminated and to prevent further use of the clock as a signaling device the hands were removed from all the faces and were in safekeeping to be returned some years after the war ended.This was a voluntary effort not in any way funded by the government as I understand it.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning