New group bids to record Coagh’s WWI history

War memorial
War memorial

A new group, focusing on those from the Coagh area who served during World War 1, has been established.

The aim of the ‘Fallen and Survivors’ Tales (FAST) group is to host lectures and exhibitions to help people understand the events pre and post-war.

In the Coagh district, around 150 men and women volunteered and served during World War One. And of those 150, at least 51 men and one woman made the ultimate sacrifice. Their graves and memorials are situated in 11 different countries.

As well as the British Army, they served with American, New Zealand, Canadian, East African and South African Forces.

Of those who survived, many sustained wounds, and others bore the mental scars of the events they witnessed.

The victims from all backgrounds are commemorated on the new War Memorial in Coagh. The names on those memorials all have a story to tell, and many are waiting to be unearthed.

There are many direct descendants living in the Coagh area who may or may not have knowledge of their relatives’ roles in the war. It is hoped this project will include not only the military aspect but also the reasons for the men and women volunteering and their lives, post-war.

The first in a series of talks and exhibitions takes place on Friday, March 28 at 7:30pm in Tamlaght Parish Hall and this talk, ‘Union Cruiser’ will tell the story of the 1914 gun-running in Ulster. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

The group, supported by Cookstown District Council and Peace III. is hoping to publish a book which details those who gave their lives as well as those who returned from the war.

Meanwhile, Michael Nugent who is researching the involvement of the 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in the Battle of Festubert in France in May 1915, is sppealing for descendants - contact or 07525 836177.