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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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WW1 Soldiers database               8th Index               WW2 Soldiers database

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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

2/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

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


back to photos 1   back to photos 2    back to photos 3    back to photos 4

DARJEELING - JAPANESE MONEY - FRANCE   -   photographs sent to me by Bertie Goodwin

Photos of Sgt. Wm. Wilson and friends - sent to me by his daughter Lynn Beattie

Ken Heath with the 8th (B) - sent to me by Ken Heath sadly Ken died 30th March 2012

Thomas Mercer - photographs sent to me by his grand-daughter Shannon

Herbert (Herbie) Hanley 21st Battery - sent to me by his daughter Stephanie Loney

Photo and Poem sent to my by Gunner Grists son Roy Grist

Albert and Tommy Kinnon - sent to me by Tommys grandson Mark Kinnon


DARJEELING - Bertie Goodwin

JAPANESE MONEY - Bertie Goodwin
photos taken in FRANCE with names - Bertie Goodwin

on back - Rolland - Ronnie - J. Mitchell - Eddie

on back - Road into village. Church Spire in background. Telegraph weighed down with weight of ice on them. 17/2/??

on back - ??/?/40

on back - Section Sergeant 17/2/40

on back - Ritchie Doherty Doc for short 17/2/40

on back - D. Ball & Doc - Ronnie - Eddie - J. Mitchell - F. Kelloway or Kalloway

nothing written on back
Sgt. William (Billy) Wilson, 23rd Battery 8th Belfast HAA Regt.
photos sent by his daughter Lynn Beattie
Ken Heath - photos sent to me by Ken Heath
Ken was with 8th Belfast from May 1942 until Oct 43 and then with 136 Field Regt RA. The unit was called F. Section 7th Ind Div Sigs.

On leave Darjeeling 1943. The sergeant sitting and the one back left are from the 8th. Does anyone recognise them?
The back middle gent is from the Ox & Bucks, and the one with a 'tache is me

detachment being piped away from Deolali, Sept 42
Gunner Thomas Mercer 21st Battery

Thomas and Sonja Mercer
My Grandfather was in the 21st battery 8th Belfast HAA during ww2, his Service No was 1467302 and his name was Thomas Mercer. He moved to Australia after the war in 1953 and was married to Sonja and they had a daughter named Maureen who is my mother. Unfortunately my Grandfather passed away in 1986 at the age of 71 - Shannon

1783215 Gnr. Harry Grist 3rd from right front row (photo and poem sent by his son Roy Grist)
MercerThomasgroup.jpg (1316798 bytes)
Herbert (Herbie) Hanley
My fathers full name was Herbert (Herbie) Raymond Hanley. His number was 1456641. His rank with the 8th was Gunner.

Date of Birth was 17th October, 1919.     He died May 2nd, 1987 in Belfast.

He enlisted at Dunmore Park Stadium on 27th April, 1939. He was formally called up on September 3rd, 1939. He remained in the UK, including training in Cornwall until 19th December, 1939.   He was with the B.E.F from 20th December, 1939 to 25th June, 1940. Please note - his mother received a "missing in action" telegram at that time, as he did not leave France until a number of days after the evacuation.  Such confusion!

26th June, 1940 - 28th May, 1942 he was stationed throughout Britain (Bolton, Dudley, and Dundee are some of the towns he was stationed at).  When Singapore fell on 14th February, 1942, he was actually at Southampton Docks waiting to ship out for action there. Instead, he shipped out to India (from Clydebank, Scotland) on 31st May, 1942 (via Durban) and was there from 29th May, 1942 to 28th May, 1944.  He went through O.C.T.U. in 1943 and on 27th May, 1944 he was formally discharged from the British Army in Bombay.   From 1944 until the end of the war, he was a Lieutenant with the Indian Army (the 26th Division).  With the Indian Army he took part in the Ramree Island invasion.  He sustained hearing loss (the big guns did that to you) and shrapnel wounds but like a lot of those guys, never talked much about the "whens" and "hows".

I was going to send you a scan of the photograph with Winston Churchill in it. However, I see you have already got that photo posted on your site (assorted clippings 1) see below. I can however, identify more of the soldiers on duty in that shot - you currently have Jimmy Mearns identified but there are three more names I can add for you. James Mearns is the small figure standing in the doorway wearing glasses. The soldier standing next to him, shown between Lady Churchill and Sir Winston Churchill is my dad Herbie Hanley. He is outlined by the white pillar. The soldier standing to my dad's right, with his back to the window is Brian Munn (who was my godfather and actually first met my dad at the age of five at Finaghy Primary School!) And then the soldier on Brian's right side, standing in the big doorway is Tommy Reynolds. Tommy was dispatch rider on a motor bike while in service with the 8th and afterwards was a comedian (professional) and my dad loved his humour. His wife was called Pearl and I think he met her during the war as she was in the services. James Mearns was with my dad the night he met my mum on the Dundee Ice Rink (March 6th, 1942). Love was in the air!

I've scanned a second photograph as I believe it was taken sometime between May 1942 and May 1944 in India. My dad is on the left (standing) but I can't identify anyone else, except I think my dad told me the man standing on the far right was his commanding officer. Perhaps someone can help identify the others?   ....  Stephanie Loney (daughter)

James Mearns is the small figure standing in the doorway wearing glasses. The soldier standing next to him, shown between Lady Churchill and Sir Winston Churchill is my dad Herbie Hanley. He is outlined by the white pillar. The soldier standing to my dad's right, with his back to the window is Brian Munn. And then the soldier on Brian's right side, standing in the big doorway is Tommy Reynolds

Gunner Harry Grist - sent to me by his son  Roy Grist

lovely poem written by Gunner Harry Grist who was in the 21st Battery of the 8th Belfast HAA Regt.

One lovely evening late in May,
A ship sailed out from Gourock Bay,
And from her deck I said "Farewell"
To the rugged shores I love so well.

No sweethearts lined the harbour shore,
As when our fathers went to war,
We sailed in silence from the Clyde,
Those dreadful seas of war to ride.

'Old Blighty' slowly sank from view,
Left only the gulls to say 'adieu';
And even they seemed loathe to part,
As they wheeled for the land that holds my heart.

To port and starboard, fore and aft,
Rode England's finest fighting craft,
'Come foemen all' they seemed to say,
Just as they did in Nelson's day.

But from the depths no challenge came,
They slunk away to hide in shame,
Till darkness fell, when they might find,
Some harmless ship left far behind.

The thirteenth day of sunny June
Saw anchors down in a blue lagoon,
Where waving palms and golden sand
Smiled a welcome from a peaceful land.

Six lovely tropic scented nights,
We thrilled to the sight of harbour lights,
For as yet these mountains of Leone
Were free from the dreaded bombers drone.

From Freetown, southward bound again,
We ploughed our way across the main,
With 'Rodney' sailing on our right,
Whilst on our left rode 'Nelson's' might.

Two days out there came on board,
A revered friend and mighty lord,
'Old Neptune' king of all the seas,
Had come to give us our degrees.


At his command his minions rose
With lather brush and streaming hose,
And dished it out to all on deck,
From greenhorn down to leatherneck.

Came a day when every eye
Watched a greyhound passing by,
A beauty with a royal name
'Queen Mary' of blue riband fame.

No longer where her colours gay,
From stem to stern her hull was grey,
She'd given grace and dignity
To the noble cause of liberty.

July the fourth brought joy to all,
As we glimpsed our second port of call,
In single line we came from sea,
To Durban, the city of gaiety.

I doubt if I shall e're forget,
Those smiling faces black as jet,
As in their childish simple way,
They begged for coins upon the quay.

Through the springbok town we marched along,
With jaunty steps and an Irish song.
Past the 'Warriors Gate' to kingsmead turf,
A mere stones throw from the roaring surf.

Ten days I packed with countless thrills,
And a trip to the valley of a thousand hills,
Where dwell the happy native folk,
Unfeted yet by the wars grim yolk.

Again we sailed with deep regret,
But 'twas a lonesome cause we set,
Due East, then North across the line,
The old 'Brittanic' ploughed the brine.

With thankfulness we saw at last,
Our journeys end was nearing fast,
'India's Gateway' strong and true,
Arose at last from out the blue.

Mr. H. Grist
(The Fourteen Army, Burma)
40 Ferris Mead,

Tommy and Albert Kinnon - sent to me by Tommys grandson Mark Kinnon
Tommy Kinnon
23rd Battery

Albert Kinnon
KIA 8th February 1944
21st Battery


Tommy Kinnon (left in both photos) and a card sent to his wife Agnes from France

23rd Battery 8th Belfast HAA - Tommy Kinnon (3rd right)