Belfast Telegraph

World War One UVF book reprinted for health charity drive

By Allan Preston

A First World War book first published to support wounded Northern Ireland soldiers has been reprinted a century on to raise money for local health charities.

The Ulster Volunteer Force Hospital Christmas Book was first launched in 1915 to support medical care for soldiers in Belfast.

At this time the UVF was formed to oppose Home Rule and provided many troops to fight in Europe.

Multiple new hospitals were established across Northern Ireland to care for the returning droves of injured men. On Friday night an updated reprint of the book was unveiled in Belfast at St Matthew's Church on the Woodvale Road.

Co-produced by the City of Belfast ABF (Army Benevolent Fund) and 1st Shankill Somme Association, the money raised will go towards the Children's Heartbeat Trust and the NI Children's Hospice.

Organiser Sam Coulter of the ABF said the new updates gave a unique insight into the lives of local soldiers at the time.

Mr Coulter added: "There are also photographs of the K Company, the UVF nursing corp who were attached to the 1st batallion of the Co Armagh regiment."

Among them is a letter from a Sir James Strong of Tynan Abbey. After losing his son in 1917 he wrote to the people of Co Armagh to thank them for their donations towards hospital beds.

Dr Charles Deane from Loughgall had trained the nurses. His own son, Captain Gordon Deane, served with the Royal Irish Fusiliers. He died in April 1918 aged only 20 in a German prisoner of war camp, with his grave now in the Avesnes-sur-helpe cemetery in France.

Copies can be purchased for £7 from the Spectrum Centre on the Shankill Road and the DUP office on the Woodvale Road.

Belfast Telegraph

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