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"When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"

8th Belfast H.A.A. Regt.

aka   'The Twelve Mile Snipers'
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Living Roll of Honour
these are the names of the remaining (original) men of the 8th Belfast HAA

and then there were none ... (that we know of)

Jim Brennan           1920 - 2021
Jim Lennon             1919 - 2020

Herbert Coulter      1916 - 2020
Tommy Dickson      1916 - 2012

Bertie Goodwin       1919 - 2013
Billy Bickerstaff       1920 - 2016

there is talk of John Houston being alive but we have no confirmation or any word, if you know of John could you please let us know at the above email address ~ thank you xx


WW1 Soldiers database               8th Index               WW2 Soldiers database

latest news

the last of the 8th Belfast H.A.A. men

* Jim Brennan *
Rest in Peace Sir
Jim and my Dad and the last few of the 8th Belfast men often talked about the dwindling numbers when they met up for various things and who would outlast the others, my Dad would always say I'll dance on all your graves (that was their kind of sense of humour) well Jim, you beat them all, I hope you are all sitting round a campfire somewhere, trading stories and jokes and keeping each other safe, bless all their hearts, we have so much to thank all these brave men for

and then there was 1

Herbert (Tom) Coulter
1916 ~ 23-08-2020


and then there were 2

James Lennon
19-10-1919 ~ 6-7-2020

and then there were 3.....

we have lost another of the 8th Belfast men, William 'Billy' Bickerstaff sadly passed away suddenly on the 10th April 2016


and then there were 4.....

another sad loss for the family of the 8th Belfast HAA, Bertie Goodwin, age 92, passed away on the 17th January 2013,
his daughter Susan told me that although his hearing had gone almost completely he still had his sense of humour and terrific memory.
He would have been 93 on the 17 February this year, we send our love and thoughts to Susan and her family at this sad time.
The Service is at Kingsdown Crematorium Swindon on Friday 1st February at 1500 hrs


and then there were 5...

we lost Tommy Dickson on the 1st April 2012, he was 95 and he and my dad were good friends
(see photo below and go to the link for more)
Tommy always had the happiest smiliest face, he was deaf as a door post and just smiled and nodded no matter what you said to him, I feel very sad that he is gone and to his daughter Maureen I send a big hug


Lots of photos here of .....the final Burma Star Belfast Parade on the 65th Anniversary of VJ Day- 15th August 2010


Photos now online of the Service and afterwards at the Lansdowne Court Hotel and it was lovely to meet so many of the people who have contacted by email over the past couple of years, a great day weatherwise and wonderful turnout and a good time was had by all, lots of chatting and standing about, anyone who showed me photographs of their soldiers, please send them so I can put them on the site, also anyone who took photos on Sunday, either at St. Anne's or in the Lansdowne I would love copies of them, they don't have to be professional standard  --  Mary

Published Date: 04 October 2010
 Burma veterans mark end of era 
By Staff reporter
Belfast Newsletter

                                                      SECOND World War veterans yesterday gathered for the final time for a poignant service of remembrance.  Up to 20 members of the Belfast branch of the Burma Star Association were joined by family, friends and dignitaries for a special ceremony at St Anne’s Cathedral in the city, as the standard of the organisation was officially laid up for safekeeping.   Like many of their counterparts in the rest of the UK before them, a decision was taken to bring the curtain down on a proud association, due to a combination of dwindling numbers and the increase in the average age of members.
     The Burma Star Association was formed in 1952, bringing together local members of the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force who fought in the Far East during the six-year conflict. At its inception, the association registered a total of 154 members.  Its standard was dedicated in St Anne’s in April the following year. Hymns and lessons used during that event formed yesterday’s order of service.   The service of remembrance and thanksgiving was officiated by Dean Houston McKelvey.
In his address, he paid tribute to the veterans in attendance as well as those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the battlefields of the Far East.
     “You, the members of the Burma Star Association and your comrades from the association who have gone before... You have kept the faith with those who fell in action, with those who died in captivity, with those who later suffered for their service,” he said.   “So, please do not leave this place feeling depressed or downhearted by the inevitable passage of time.   “Rather, shoulders back, heads up - You have kept faith with your comrades, and before God and man, I say - ‘Well done. Mission accomplished in war and peace. Thank you. God speed.’”
     Dignitaries at the special service included Belfast lord mayor, Pat Convery, alongside the respective mayors of Newtownabbey and Bangor. The Burma Star Association previously received the freedom of the latter two council areas.   Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kinahan, whose father Sir Robin served in Burma, read a lesson during the service.   Speaking prior to the service, Brian Rodgers, president of the NI branch of the Burma Star Association, revealed that people had travelled from as far away as Canada and the United States to be in attendance.   While emphasising the occasion would mark the “end of an era”, the former serviceman also maintained the event was memorable.  “I happen to be the youngest member and it is sad because I see the older members, with their disabilities and so forth, but their interest and allegiance to the association is remarkable,” he said.
     In August, the last Burma Star Association commemoration parade took place in Belfast to mark the anniversary of Victory over Japan Day (V.J. day).
          Commenting on future events, Mr. Rodgers said: “Those of us who can will still observe V.J. Day and will lay a wreath, but there will be no parade.”

Burma campaigners George McFerran, Andy Weir, Harry Sharkey and Tony Baker before the service


“On October 3rd, 2010 at 3.30 pm, Dean Houston McKelvey will be holding a service during which the Standard of the
Belfast Branch of the Burma Star Association will be laid up in St. Anne's Cathedral, Belfast

“We would like as many people as possible with family links to those who served to be present in the Cathedral.
Please contact us by sending an e-mail to admin@belfastcatheral.org or a SAE and we will be in touch”.

The close links between the Cathedral and the Burma Campaign are symbolised by the Association's Memorial in the
North Aisle and the memorial of the 8th (Belfast) Regiment of the Royal Artillery.

The address of Belfast Cathedral, is Donegall Street, Belfast BT1 2HB.


we went to the Burma Star Luncheon at the Lansdowne Court Hotel in Belfast on Saturday 26th September 2009
movie clip and photos
if anyone was there and has some photos they would like to send me, please contact me at the above email address

photo of Tommy Dickson and his daughter Maureen
Tommy's wife unfortunately had a bad fall last year and wasn't able to attend

Tommy Dickson 1916 - 2012

The Men

Sergeant William Adrain - Diary and Biography

D. J. Bailie - War Diary and Photographs

Colonel Wm. N. Brann

Sgt. Thomas Herbert Coulter (Herbie)

Jimmy Cunningham's Private Army Comes Home

L/Sgt. Bertie Goodwin

Gunner Harry Grist

Lt. William George Hales

Gunner Herbert Hanley

Ken Heath

Bdr. William (Buttons) Hunter

Irvine Brothers 23rd Battery

Bdr. J. C. Irvine 23rd Battery

Bdr. Thomas Henderson Kane

Tommy and Albert Kinnon 21st and 23rd Bty.

 Gnr. Jim Lennon's War Records - Photos

Sgt. Joseph Harold Lynn (aka Harry-Joe)

Matchett Brothers 23rd Battery

L/Bdr. Harry Joseph Mawhinney 22nd Battery

Gunner Thomas Mercer 21st Battery

 Jimmy McKittrick

Bdr. Thomas McLaughlin

Colonel Harry Porter

Sgt. Billy Wilson 23rd Battery

Sidney Ernest Wright - Diary & Photographs


N-O-K- Dec'd Personnel 21/22/23 Hy.A.A.

Posted/Repatriated from 23 Hy.A.A.

List of Additional Soldiers

List of names, no addresses 23rd Bty.

Memorial Service Book (list of names) B Troop

22nd Bty. Memorial Brochure  names, addresses

23rd Bty. Memorial Brochure  names, addresses

RHQ/REME Memorial Brochure, addresses

Nominal Roll 21st Bty. all ranks

Nominal Roll 22nd Bty. all ranks

Nominal Roll 23rd Bty. all ranks

8th Belfast HAA Nominal Roll 21st Battery

8th Belfast HAA Nominal Roll 22nd Battery

8th Belfast HAA Nominal Roll 23rd Battery

Alterations & Additions to Nom. Rolls 23rd

RHQ / REME Nominal Rolls






Newspaper Clippings

Assorted Clippings 1

Assorted Clippings 2


SEAC March 1944



Sport & Small Groups

8th Belfast Band

Individuals & Friends

Large Group Pictures

Men of the 22nd Battery

Donated Photos

8th Belfast Band items

Documents  *  Items


Old Comrades Section

Burma Star Luncheon 2009

St. Annes and Lansdowne Court Hotel Laying-up of Burma Star Standard 3rd October 2010



Obituaries  *  Memorials  Changi Prison Chapel

8th Belfast HAA History
by Colonel Murray Barnes, OBE , TD.

A short History of The 8th (Belfast) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery (Supplementary Reserve)
by Harry Porter


Dean Houston McKelvey's Sermon
3rd October 2010

Extract from Coralie Kinahan's book
'Behind Every Great Man'
"Robin's War"


Video Page

Harry Porters film of the Twelve Mile Snipers
(in 3 parts)

Burma Star Luncheon

The Last Parade

and more....



other WW2 stories

Cpl. William F. Davison

Belfast Telegraph Tuesday June, 6, 1944 Invasion


The Eighth Belfast
to the tune of "The Old Brigade"

We are the boys of the Eighth Bel-fast
Who fought with you side by side
Gun-team to Gun-team, the dye was cast
Fought til' we damn near died.
Who so rea-dy to fight for right
Who so loy-al and true?
Sure we are the boys who show'd our might
We are the boys you knew.


So from Uls-ter and Great Britain too
"Big Jim-my" was our man
We tried to be a loy-al crew
In the jungles of A-ra-kan.
The stead-il-y win-ning right from wrong
Ready from first to last
Mar-ching a-long sing-ing our song
We're the boys of the Eighth Bel-fast.

Over the sea far away some lie
Far from the land they love
Their's not to question do or die
Their re-ward is in Heav'n above
Not in an ab-bey laid at last
Find they a place or part
These gal-lant boys of the Eighth Bel-fast
Now sleep in their countries heart.


So from Uls-ter and Great Britain too
"Big Jim-my" was our man
We tried to be a loy-al crew
In the jungles of A-ra-kan.
The stead-il-y win-ning right from wrong
Ready from first to last
Mar-ching a-long sing-ing our song
We're the boys of the Eighth Bel-fast.