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Bonamargy Friary Graveyard

Memorials associated with the World Wars


There is another monument, a Celtic cross, also erected by the people of Ballycastle after World War I in memory of those ‘who gave their lives in defence of the Empire’. It stands close to the graves of sailors of the Royal and Merchant Navies from both world wars. Six of those sailors (James Griffin and five unnamed) served on SS Viknor, originally a large ocean yacht of the Blue Line launched in 1888, which was requisitioned by the Royal Navy and fitted out for service as an armed merchant cruiser in 1914. It was part of the squadron blockading the north-west approaches when it struck a mine off Tory Island in January 1915 and all 295 sailors on board, including 25 from Newfoundland, were lost.


Four sailors (Harvey, McKay, Walter and one unnamed) served on HMS Racoon, a destroyer, built in 1910. After service in the Mediterranean the ship returned to serve with the destroyer flotilla stationed off the north coast of Ireland. It struck rocks off North Donegal in a snowstorm in January 1918 and all 91 sailors on board were drowned. Bodies from both ships are also buried at other coastal churchyards including Ballintoy, Billy and Rathlin in north Antrim and Colonsay in Scotland.


There are other war graves in the same part of the cemetery. They include the graves of four unknown sailors, J. McDonald of the RAF drowned at sea 1942, two soldiers -E.C. Jordan from England, J.R. Townshend from Canada – and a sailor W. Fisken, 1942, whose wife, from Glasgow, was buried in the grave in 1960.

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