War hero's name added to Tobermore memorial in time for Remembrance Day

Danny Gallagher and David Watters pictured at Tobermore War Memorial
Danny Gallagher and David Watters pictured at Tobermore War Memorial

This Remembrance Sunday will be an especially poignant occasion for world famous faith healer Danny Gallagher as he remembers his father Michael, who served as a machine gunner in the First World War.

His courage in battle was largely ignored during his life until research by Danny uncovered army service papers belonging to his father and uncle Eddie who came from Blackhill on the outskirts of Tobermore.

Thanks to Danny’s painstaking research his dad and uncle’s names were recently added to the Tobermore’s war memorial, which was officially unveiled and dedicated in the village in June.

“My father would have been very proud to have his name on the memorial as his service in the war went unrecognised,” he said.

Michael joined the 16th Royal Irish Rifles in December 1915 along with brothers Eddie, Joe and Pat and, fortunately, they all returned home.

His father was wounded in the arm and leg during the war - as well as fighting at the Somme he saw action in the Battle of Guillemont and the German Spring Offensive (1918) - and he carried the scars of conflict until his death at the age of 59.

“He (Michael) would have jumped out of bed at night for no reason,” Danny recalled. “You could tell that the memories of the war lived with him.

“That is why I am so happy his name is on the war memorial along with Eddie’s. It gives him the recognition he didn’t have in life.”

Mr Gallagher stressed that neither religion or politics came into it and he was presently trying to get the service records for his uncles Joe and Pat and have their names added to the memorial.

David Watters, vice chairman of the village war memorial and Tobermore Community Projects, said there were 350 people from Tobermore and surrounding area who served in the First World War.

“We still get the odd name turning up that was missed,” said Mr Watters, who explained more research was being carried out into the conflict by descendants of those who took part.

He said they welcomed this research as it showed the huge sacrifice made by the people of a small village like Tobermore.

For the first time this year members of the Royal British Legion will hold a short service at the new war memorial at Main Street on Remembrance Sunday, November 13, at 6pm.

Wreaths will be placed in remembrance of the fallen, including one by the Lord Leutanment, Mrs Helen Mark before proceeding to a service in the local Presbyterian Church.