Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is to launch a research project to ensure that all names of Ballymena’s war dead are included on the town’s Second World War memorial.
The council is proposing to identify all missing names by undertaking a research project similar to that completed for names missing from the WWI memorials in Larne and Ballymena.
In 2018, 157 names were added to Ballymena’s WWI memorial which was rededicated in October that year. This work was completed by specialist stone masons at a cost of £30,875.
The council’s museum team will now seek to trace additional names of those who have been born within the former Ballymena Rural or Urban Districts or had residency from 1939 within Ballymena Borough Council boundaries and completed war service and who have inadvertently not been included already.
They will also be verified for death in service or subsequent to service from September 3 1939 until December 31 1947.
Some assistance will be provided by local historians. The local community will also be asked to help.
The council’s research will commence in August to be concluded by the end of the year before names are added to the existing WWII memorial in the town.
It comes after Alderman William McNeilly was approached by a family to request that John Allison, of Ballygarvey, near Broughshane who served in the Royal Navy and died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in October 1932, should be considered for inclusion at Ballymena World War II Memorial and his name be added to Broughshane War Memorial.
Councillors have been advised that Broughshane War Memorial is not owned by the authority but officers will now liaise with the trustees of Broughshane LOL 503 with regard to inclusion of missing names.
Commenting on the research project at a meeting of the council’s Borough Growth Committee earlier this week, Bannside TUV Councillor Timothy Gaston said: “I am happy to support this and happy to propose it and residents from Ballymena will get behind this. It is an important part of our history.”
The proposal was seconded by Braid DUP Councillor Julie Frew.