Mid Ulster Friends of the Somme
Mid Ulster Friends of the Somme are taking their Tommy on a tour around Cookstown District in the lead up to the centenary of the First World War. They are also looking to install new granite plaques to complete the town’s cenotaph and stage an exhibition.
In the above picture the Tommy stands in the grounds of Ardtrea Parish Church. During the Great War the Mcllree family had eight sons serving with the Colours. Parishoner, Mrs McIlree received a letter from the King thanking her for their service. Only one son, Pte. Alexander, 4304, R.Inn.Fus was killed in action,16th May 1915. His name is recorded on the Le Touret Memorial, Northern France.
In this picture, you can see Slieve Gallion, visible from everywhere in the Cookstown district, lying to the North of the town. In Martin Middlebrook’s book, “The First day on the Somme”, local veteran Leslie Bell, Moneymore, recalled that as they were preparing to go “Over the Top” on the 1st July, 1916, he thought of home and how at this time his father would be about to go out and bring in the cows for milking, on their farm at the foot of the Sperrins.