Lieutenant Geoffrey St. George Shillington Cather

Lieutenant Geoffrey St. George Shillington Cather

A World War 1 Victoria Cross Recipient, Lieut. Cather was born October 11th 1890 and died 2nd July 1916.  A native of the Streatham Hill area of south west London, Cather enlisted in the University and Public School Corps in September 1914 and was then commissioned into the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers in May 1915.  He served as as a Lieutenant, Adjutant, with the 108th Infantry Brigade, 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers (Armagh, Monaghan and Cavan Volunteers).

Cather was awarded the VC for action near Beaumont Hamel during the first days of the Battle of the Somme, the “Big Push”. His unit was assigned a sector just north of the river Ancre.  At 7:30am they went over the top with six hundred men to cross six hundred yards of no-mans land towards their objective of Beaucort Station.  At roll call at the end of the day just over five hundred were killed, missing or wounded.  Later in the day the remnants of the battalion were withdrawn to the village of Beaumont Hamel.  Search parties were organised that evening to go back over no-mans land to look for their missing comrades.

As battalion adjutant, Lieutenant Cather led one of the parties.  From his citation:

“For most conspicuous bravery. From 7pm till midnight he searched ‘No-Mans Land’, and brought in three wounded men. Next morning at 8am he continued his search, brought in another wounded man, and gave water to others, arranging for their rescue later.  Finally, at 10:30am he took out water to another man and was proceeding further on when he was himself killed.  All this was carried out in full view of the enemy, and under direct machine gun fire and intermittent artillery fire.  He set as splendid example of courage and self sacrifice”

He has no known grave, but he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 15a.  His Victoria Cross was presented to his family by King George at Buckingham Palace on March 31st 1917.  The medal is now on display at the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum, Armagh.

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Charles Moore and Portadown Unionist club

Charles Moore and Portadown Unionist club

Charles Moore Johnston was a Captain with the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. He was originally from Carrickblacker Avenue in Portadown. Captain Johnston was in command of ‘C’ Company, which was positioned on the left of the centre for the attack on the 1st July.  He was killed in action on the 1st July 1916 at age 30. He is buried in Mensil Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France. He was a member of Portadown Unionist Club.

His Father also, Charles, was Chairman of Portadown Unionist Club. The bannerette of Portadown Unionist Club has been preserved and is on display in Carleton Street Orange Hall.

Charles Moore and Portadown Unionist club