Banner tribute to WW1 soldiers
Downshire Guiding Star LOL 123, Banbridge unfurled a new banner on June 1 in memory of 27 lodge members who bravely served King and country during the First World War.
The new banner, part of the lodge’s 100 years anniversary project, was unfurled by Bro Bobby McKee and his wife Heather, the parents of Lance Corporal Stephen McKee, 1st Battalion RIR, who was killed in Afghanistan on March 9, 2011.
Also in attendance were Bro Sam Walker, Grand Master, County Down Grand Orange Lodge; Bro Reverend Norman Hutton, District Chaplain, Newry District LOL 9; Bro David Watson, District Master, Banbridge LOL District 7; Bro Gareth Wills, Deputy District Master, Banbridge LOL District 7; Bro Richard Carson, Worshipful Master, Downshire Guiding Star LOL 123; Bro Keith Burns, Deputy Master, Downshire Guiding Star LOL 123 and Bro Ian McCandless, Downshire Guiding Star LOL 123 historian.
On June 1, 1917 a ceremony took place in Banbridge Orange Hall, during which a roll of honour was unveiled in tribute to the 27 members of Downshire Guiding Star LOL 123 who joined the colours.
The new banner marks the 100th anniversary of that event, and carries the names of the nine members of LOL 123 who made the supreme sacrifice during the Great War: John Adamson - Rifleman, 13th Battalion, RIR; Andrew Anderson - Rifleman, 15th Battalion, RIR; Robert Barr - Company Sergeant Major, 13th Battalion, RIR; James Henry Best - Saddler Royal Army Service Corps, 36th Ulster Division; James Cairns - Rifleman, 12th Battalion, RIR; Joseph Emerson - Rifleman, 13th Battalion, RIR; Ernest Ervine - Rifleman, 8th Battalion, RIR; Ernest Connor McDowell - Rifleman, 16th Irish Division; Crozier Wilson - Private, 13th Battalion, RIR.
Prior to the official banner unfurling earlier this month, brethren were accompanied by Downshire Guiding Star Flute Band on a short parade through Banbridge town.
Lodge members paused at the war memorial to lay a wreath in memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War and subsequent conflicts.