Roll of Honour for the First World War

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland Roll of Honour 1914-1919 was published in 1921, a copy of which is in the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland library and archive.

Members can search the Roll of Honour online by Congregation and Presbytery. The names are arranged alphabetically by Congregation.

Search Roll of Honour

Content

Information recorded on the Roll includes: names, address, rank, the regiment, battalion or unit and a Remarks column which indicates whether they were killed or wounded or died in hospital or were taken prisoner. There are over 24,000 names and of these over 4,000 made the supreme sacrifice.

At the back of the volume there is a list of ministers and sons of ministers who served and a list of daughters of ministers who served. In the case of ministers’ sons listed, the father’s name is also recorded. Many ministers served as chaplains (41 are listed).

The list is not totally complete as some congregations failed to send a return and we know there are names missing from some of congregational lists. If you are aware of any names that should be recorded please contact us at: phsilibrarian@pcinet.org

Background

Rev Dr J M Simms
Rev Dr J M Simms

War was declared in the summer of 1914 and many thought that it would be over by Christmas. Little did they know that millions would die over the next 4 years in what became one of the most deadliest conflicts in history.

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland was supportive of the First World War and encouraged recruitment into the British Army.

When the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was deployed in 1914 it included 55 chaplains including two from the Presbyterian Church in Ireland – the Rev Dr J M Simms and the Rev H C Meeke, both of whom had joined the Army Chaplains’ Department before the war began.

Both went on to give distinguished service – the Rev Meeke was awarded the DSO and Dr Simms became Principal Chaplain of the BEF and promoted to Major General.

(See article by Victor Dobbin on ‘Chaplaincy in the First World War’ in the Bulletin of the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland, Vol 38 2014)

The first Presbyterian chaplain from Ulster to die was the Rev Alexander Stuart, minister of Bessbrook, Co Armagh, who was killed in France in Oct 1917, only two weeks after he took up duty.

Rev Alexander Stuart
Rev Alexander Stuart

(See article by Victor Dobbin in the Presbyterian Herald November 2014)

Producing the Roll of Honour

As early as 1917, even before the 1st World War had ended, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland resolved that a Roll of Honour of all serving Presbyterian soldiers and sailors be prepared for preservation in the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland.

It was also decided that the Committee of the Historical Society should be requested to undertake its preparation, the expenses to be borne by the Incidental Fund and that ministers be encouraged to furnish he Secretaries of the Historical Society with the necessary information.

Preparation work began immediately and a second circular was sent out in 1919 to all congregations.

Presbyterian Response to the Great War

At the June Assembly in 1915, following the report of the Committee on Social Service, one of the resolutions unanimously adopted expressed the views of the Assembly on the matter of citizens joining up to serve their country. Read more in the Moderator's Pastoral Letter 1915.