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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


The Quarter Bloke Writes Home  -  THE EMPIRE'S SONS  -  Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun  -  Ulster's Tradition
An Old Man's Lament  -  50 Years On  -  Memories of Burma  -  SAMUEL BLOAT  -  Senior Citizen  -  Afterwards
Indian Twilight

author unknown

The Quarter Bloke Writes Home

"Lights Out" had been blown on the Barrack Square,
And the moon shone dim above
But a lamp still burned in the Sergeants Mess,
And there sat the Battery Q.M.S.,
And wrote to his own dear love.

Subject: Affection, boundless,
Oft heretofore evinced,
And Accusations, groundless,
In yours of 2nd Inst.

Agree your recollection
Of vows in days, old, good;
But subsequent sub-section
Is not quite understood.

Admit I am acquainted
With lasses, local, one;
But reference hussies, painted,
The total held is none.

Besides, re love, will ever
Indent for same on you.
Though we're apart, could never
Kiss women, strange, in lieu.

So will you bid suspicion,
Unjust, take wings and fly?
Please expedite rendition
of favourable reply!




King George is proud of his soldiers,
They are the bravest of the brave,
Not one of them falter to risk their lives,
When there is a British Flag to save.

Englishmen, Irish and Welsh,
And Scotchmen as well to the fore,
All hand in hand to protect our land,
To keep enemies off from our shore.

When wars do approach, and danger ahead,
The our heroes cannot do more,
Then to forfeit their all, as well as themselves,
Like their fathers did years before.

When battles are over and victory won,
And when our heroes come home then to rest,
The war office will sanction a living for all,
With the V.C.'s that bangs on their breast.

In many a home there are heroes,
And lots of them V.C.'s now wear,
Which makes us so proud of our sons,
That their ups and downs we must share.

Let history record their deeds of the past,
Like their sires did, who won honour and fame,
At Fontaina and Tra-fal-gar,
Now their sons did repeat just the same.

It is all for our Empire's great honour,
And for the right of the King on his throne,
This is why our heroes are fighting,
And why our army into millions has grown.

They were suckled on the breasts of fond mothers,
And when they grew up to be men,
With a patriotic spirit within them,
Then they fight for their Country and King.

by J. S. Spalding
To be sold on behalf of the Widows and Orphans

PRICE    2d.

Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun
by Cunningham Fowler

The day was bright and sunny
And the work was being done
And you thanked the Lord for making it that way
But little did you realise
Before that day was done
You'd be looking down the barrel of a gun.

When two strangers they approach you
With murder in their hearts
Just because your faith is different from their own
And a pair of hate filled beady eyes
Are looking straight at you
From behind the barrel of a gun.

When you feel the red hot bullets
A tearing you apart
And you see your lifes blood oozing to the floor
You picture all your loved ones
As you wait for death to come
After looking down the barrel of a gun.

When some friends they gather round you
As you lie upon the floor
And you feel a tear drop falling on your face
And you hear a soft voice whisper
My God what have they done
After looking down the barrel of a gun.

But the Good Lord has decided
That your time has not yet come
And your life has still a little way to run
And for that you feel most grateful
As you greet the morning sub
After looking down the barrel of a gun.

And as life goes on around you
Just one thought keeps coming back
That perhaps again you'll see those beady eyes
Hear the b....... plead for mercy
As he waits for death to come
Cause he's looking down the barrel of your gun
Yes - Looking down the barrel of your gun.

50 Years On
by Cunningham Fowler

50 years have come and gone
Since the days that we signed on
To become smart young soldiers of the crown
And we thought it quite a lark
As we drilled in Dunmore Park
In our forage caps and overalls of brown

Yes we drilled from 8 to 10
Little realising then
As we wallowed in our laughter, beer and fun
That come the month of August
Amidst summer's blazing sun
We'd get a sharp reminder you signed for 4 and 1

We enjoyed the phony war
In the cafes and the bars
In the company of those lovely Mademoiselles
But the Germans disapproved
And we were compelled to move
And be content with buxom Blackpool belles

We arrived in London Town
When the bombs were falling down
And the going, it certainly was tough
But the guns were soon in action
And we had the satisfaction
Of telling Mr. Hitler to get stuffed

Amid rumour after rumour
Mostly started by a bloke called Boomer
We found ourselves aboard a lovely boat
And we sailed for weeks on end
We were nearly round the bend
But still enjoyed those happy hours afloat

Yes we sailed for weeks on end
Wondering it would all end
Till at last we landed safely in Bombay
It was like those worldwide cruises
That the rich and famous chooses
For we had a look at Durban on the way

We were bound for Deolali
To meet a bloke called Waser Ali
Famous for his lovely Garum Char
But of all the tea we tasted
With the annas that we wasted
This surely was the vilest brew by far

Then on we went to Burma, big Jimmy as our guide
Akyab and Ramree were taken in our stride
The admin box where Japs were fought
And some of our boys died
They stood their ground, true Ulster men
We remember them with pride

We moved around from time to time
And alas it came to pass
We finished up in India, in the city of Madras
Seas we scanned most every day, looking for a vessel
And when it came we were overjoyed
T'was the good old Sterling Castle

For us the war was over
And we were bound for home
We all made resolutions, never more to roam
We remembered the boys we left behind
Their duty they had done
Fulfilled their obligations
Completed their 4 and 1

Though 50 years have come and gone
The comradeship still lingers on
Undiminished down through the years
Despite the turmoil and the tears
The memories will forever last
Of the days we spent with the 8th Belfast

Senior Citizen
(there are several versions of this online)

A SENIOR CITIZEN is one who was here before the pill, television, frozen foods, credit cards, ballpoint pens, jet engines and supersonic flight, and the moon was for courting under, not walking on.

For us, timesharing meant togetherness, and chips were something you ate with fish and bought in penn'orths. Hardware meant hard wear, and there wasn't such a word as software.

We were before panty hose and drip dry clothes. Dish washers were husbands not electrical appliances, and we had hot water bottles not electric blankets.

We got married first and then lived together. How quaint!

Girls wore liberty bodices and Peter Pan collars, and thought cleavages were something to do with butchers. We were before vitamin pills, disposable nappies, pizzas, instant coffee, Chinese takeaways and supermarkets. Soaps were for washing with.

In my day, cigarette smoking was fashionable, grass was for mowing, and pot for stew and dumplings. To be gay was to be the life and soul of the party, while aids meant beauty creams, trusses and wigs.

Today's Senior Citizens are a hardy bunch, when you think how the world has changed.

Ulster's Tradition
by Cunningham Fowler

Ulsters sons have bled and died
Down through the years at Britains side
Fought to keep the homeland free
Bled and died for liberty.

Nineteen Sixteen when at the Somme
Five thousand men they gave their all
The battle field that day ran red
With loyal blood from Ulsters dead.

In thirty nine when war clouds rolled
And Britain stood all but alone
The call for help was not in vain
Ulster responded yet again.

We left our homes, factories and banks
Came forward in force to swell the ranks
We were young and with one ambition
To serve the crown and maintain tradition.

We joined a regiment second to none
Proud to be known as Ulsters sons
Served in countries near and far
Privileged to wear the Burma Star.

Now years have passed and slipped away
And old men dream of yesterday
Suffice for us to reply when asked
We served our time with the 8th Belfast.

An Old Man's Lament
by Cunningham Fowler

Time drifts by, old age creeps on
And aching joints are slow to respond,
Stairs grow steeper day by day
And bowls is the only game I can play,
The walking stick always handy by chance
And the girls don't give me a second glance,
My hair has got thinner and is now snowy white
My wife she says I'm an awful sight,
My hearing is faulty and is slipping away
I don't hear half of what people say,
My eyesight gets dimmer with each passing week
In truth I realise I'm past my peak,
If I'm foolish enough to run for a bus
My lungs feel as if they are going to bust,
A young girl got up and gave me her seat
She really looked charming and very sweet,
I felt rather flattered till she said to her mate
That ould boy has passed his sell by date!

Memories of Burma
by Cunningham Fowler

In dreams I often see her
Smiling through her tears
Her eyes glistening like diamonds
As I look back through the years
Her voice is softly pleading
Please don't ever go
The girl I left in Burma
Many many years ago.

Fortunes of war are cruel
Our ways they had to part
My regiment sailed across the bay
I left a broken heart
Her face still haunts my memory
Because I loved her so
The girl I left in Burma
Many many years ago.

The years they passed and I returned
My true love there to find
I searched the land both far and wide
For the girl I left behind
Alas I searched in vain
For no one seemed to know
The girl I left in Burma
Many many years ago.

So still in my dreams I see her
Smiling through her tears
Her eyes glistening like diamonds
As I look back through the years
No more I'll hear the husky voice
That implored me not to go
From the girl I left in Burma
Many, many years ago.

(I found this online but as William Bloat, not sure why this version has Samuel)

In a mean abode on the Shankill Road,
Lived a man called Samuel Bloat,
He had a wife, the plague of his life,
Who continually got his goat,
So one day at dawn with her nightdress on
He cut her bloody throat.

With a razor gash he settled her hash,
Oh! Never was death so quick!
And the steady drip on the pillow slip
Of her life blood made him sick
And the pool of gore on the bedroom floor
Grew clotted and cold and thick.

Yet still he was glad that he'd done what he had
As she lay there cold and still,
Till the sudden awe of the anger he saw
Seized his heart with a sudden chill
And to finish the fun so well begun
He resolved himself to kill.

So he plucked the sheet from his wife's cold feet,
And twisted it into a rope
And he hanged himself from the pantry shelf,
It was a speedy end ..... let's hope!
In the face of death with his dying breath
He solemnly cursed the Pope.

But the strangest turn of the whole concern
Is only just beginnin'
He went to Hell but his wife got well
And she's still alive and sinnin'
For the razor blade was German made
And the sheet was Irish Linen!


by Lockhart Howell

When war is done and all the taut years break
And scatter fragments none will dare retain:
When all remembrances of each mistake,
Each sin, each fault which built this tower of pain
Have fled away: when Peace ascends her throne:
When back from loveless lands we stranger hosts
Than England yet hath seen search out our own.
Will eager hands stretch forth-or will the ghosts
Of loves too long unknown, too long denied,
In sadness smile and, wondering, turn away,
As though in Time's quick passing hearts had died
And left no vacant places in the day?
A greater task awaits all battles won,
When we come home again and war is done.


‘Tis even; and our humble service of the daytime ended,
Save that we stand ready for an extra call,
Tho burden and the heat of alien sun is lightened,
And over hills and jungle studded plain the shadows fall,
Across the bamboo rampart of our shelter trenches,
Over the wide plain into the red and orange glow.
Westward I gaze, steeped in the peace of evening,
While evening creeps across the scene below.

Softly it falls and lulls the sound of daytime
Into strange quiet, strange in this sun-soaked land,
While the harsh slopes and tangled woods are gilded
In twilight beauty by a master hand;
Silent they lie, save the few sounds of evening,
A twittering bird, a drowsy beetle’s drone,
And so softly that it adds but to the silence,
A slinking jackal pads the path alone.

And then another and another follow,
With noiseless, trotting, gliding gait they go;
Freezing to stone, they turn to look upon you,
And then are gone into the woods below.
Darker it grows till just the westwards heaven
Is loft in dying splendor, rose and gold;
And elsewhere all around the wide horizon
The grey creeps on, as eventide grows old.

Still to the east my eyes and thoughts are turning,
While evening magic holds me in its spell;
I think of you and home and past and future,
The secrets, hopes and dreams you know so well.
And thus I stand, unmindful of the coldness,
Till misty night laps around my little hill;
And one lone jackal wails its eerie warning,
And breaks the spell – the night’s no longer still.

Then wail on wail shatters the fleeing stillness,
Howl answers howl from jungle, plain and hill,
The gruesome hunters of the night foregather,
Yowling their hideous symphony of the kill,
Rising and falling dies away the chorus,
The evening’s dead, the magic moment gone,
Then back to lights and comradeship and laughter,
He’s wise who lingers not too long alone.

This, then, an evening cut from out my life-book,
And pinned on memory’s page before it fade.
I send to you the magic of twilight,
Of a land grown old before our land was made.
It holds heat and sweat and toil and often danger,
It has loneliness and sometimes beauty too,
Yet I know one half the beauty of that evening
Was but reflected from my thoughts of you.

J. C. K.