MP presents special coin to war veteran

L to R John Rafferty, David Simpson MP, Alex McMullan and Joanne Hamill)
L to R John Rafferty, David Simpson MP, Alex McMullan and Joanne Hamill)

A World War Two veteran has been presented with a special coin by local MP David Simpson.

Last week Mr Simpson went along to Bannview House Care Home and gave Mr Alex McMullan a House of Commons coin.

Alex was unable to attend an Armed Forces Day event so Mr Simpson felt it would be appropriate to visit Alex personally and present him with the gift.

Alex, 92, served under Field Marshall Montgomery and was a Gunner with the famous 8th Army and also served in the Desert Rats.

After retirement from the Army, Alex completed 38 years employment in the Banbridge Hospital.

Following the presentation Mr Simpson said, “It was an honour to meet Alex again this week and hear of the many fascinating stories that both Alex and his comrades went through during the difficult war years.”

Mr Simpson continued: “Despite the suffering of by gone days, Alex retains his fighting character with a positive attitude to life.

“I was proud to present Alex with this small token of appreciation and I pay tribute to all those throughout our country who have fought for the freedom we enjoy today.

“Special thanks also to the entire team in the Bannview House Care Home who provide an excellent standard of care for all its residents,” he added.

Alex served all through the war and was present at the famous speech in Tripoli. During the speech one of Alex’s colleagues shouted up to Montgomery: “Is it time to go home?” as they had extended their service period.

The response from Montgomery was: “I left Ireland on Tuesday and it was raining.” The interpretation was that you are better off in the sunshine in Tripoli.

During his service in Tripoli Alex also was honoured to be part of the ‘Guard of Honour’ for Churchill and Montgomery passing through the troops.

Alex was a volunteer and his main regiment was the 9th Londonderry Heavy Anti Aircraft (Royal Artillery).

He served in Egypt, Alexandria and Tripoli. He went to Ballykinlar to demob prior to going to the complete 38 years employment in Banbridge Hospital where he retired at 65.

Alex says it was an honour to serve under Montgomery and is very proud of several pieces of Royal Doulton pottery of Montgomery and Churchill that he treasures and polishes daily.