Local historian Trevor Temple chronicles the individuals associated with Londonderry who lost their lives in WWI.
Harvey, Captain Edward George (Emon)
Captain Edward George (Emon) Harvey, Duke of Edinburgh’s Wiltshire Regiment and Royal Flying Corps, was killed in action near the Belgian village of Hooge on June 16, 1915, aged 32.
He was the eldest son of James George Morewood and Nora Elizabeth Harvey, Creglorne, Londonderry, and brother of Mr James M. Harvey.
He was in addition grandson of Commander Edward Harvey, RN, Culdaff, County Donegal. Captain Harvey’s name is inscribed on St Columb’s Cathedral (Church of Ireland) Memorial to the men connected with that cathedral who died during the 1914-18 War, and on the famous Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. His name is also commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.
Educated at Foyle College, Captain Harvey was only eighteen when he enlisted in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He served with them in South Africa, and subsequently as a sergeant in India, where he obtained his commission in the Wiltshire Regiment in 1905.
He was, in 1913, seconded for service with the Royal Flying Corps, in which he was, in 1914, promoted flight commander, and subsequently captain in his regiment, to which he returned at the end of that year, and joined its 1st Battalion at the Front in February 1915.
Captain Edward George Harvey was at the head of his company leading an attack on the third line of German trenches on June 16, 1915, when he was mortally wounded.
His name was read out during a memorial service held in St Columb’s (Church of Ireland) Cathedral, Londonderry, on Sunday, August 1, 1915, to commemorate the officers and men of the city of Derry, who had died during the first year of the Great War.
His name was also among a list of Great War dead, associated with Foyle College, Londonderry, read aloud during that College’s annual prize giving ceremony, held on Thursday, December 19, 1918. A brother, William Francis Harvey, served in the Great War with the Canadian forces, but died afterwards at Victoria, British Columbia, on March 25, 1922, aged 28.
Captain Edward George Harvey’s cousin, Major F. H. Harvey, East Yorkshire Regiment and younger son of Colonel Edward Harvey, Royal Engineers, figured in a list of honours included in Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig’s despatch around January 1917, having been awarded the DSO.
At that time Major Harvey was serving on the Headquarters Staff of the Fifth Army, commanded by General Sir Hubert Gough. He served throughout the Boer War, and took part in the engagements of Colenso and Spion Kop. At the sitting of Lifford Quarter Sessions Court, held on Tuesday, June 22, 1915, his Honour Judge Cooke, KC, said it was only fitting that he should express deep sympathy with Mr J. G. M. Harvey on the death in Flanders of his son, Captain Edward George Harvey, announced in the papers that morning. The deceased officer’s father was constantly represented in that court, and, although resident in the city of Derry, was intimately connected with the county of Donegal as a grand juror.
J. G. M. Harvey, who was the youngest son of Commander Edward Harvey, RN, The Warren, Culdaff, belonged to an old Donegal family. He was a cousin of John Harvey, of Malin Hall, and the family were granted estates and settled in the Malin district about the year 1618. J. G. M. Harvey was directly descended from John Harvey, who was Chamberlain of Derry, and who commanded a company of volunteers during the Siege of 1689.
J. G. M. Harvey founded an estate business in Londonderry, and was one of the leading estate agents in Ulster, managing large numbers of extensive properties in Donegal, Londonderry, and Tyrone. He was actively involved in Unionist politics, taking a prominent part in election campaigns in Londonderry from the time of the candidature of Sir John Ross, Ireland’s last Lord Chancellor. His services, however, were more freely given as an organiser than as a speaker, for he preferred to do his work in a quiet way.
He was a member of the Londonderry Unionist Council, and for over twenty years a member of the Ulster Unionist Council, where his views and advice were greatly valued.
On August 24, 1875, J. G. M. Harvey married Nora Elizabeth Rogan (who died on October 16, 1941, aged 83), a daughter of Dr William Rogan, MD, resident medical superintendent of Londonderry and Donegal Asylum.
He was a devoted member of St Columb’s Cathedral, Londonderry, where he served on the select vestry for many years. He was also for a lengthy period a member of the Derry and Raphoe Diocesan Council. He liberally gave to charities, but in an unostentatious manner, so that the public had little knowledge of the extent of his philanthropy.
J. G. M. Harvey, who was the last survivor of a family of three sons and four daughters, died, in his eighty-second year, at his residence, Creglorne, Londonderry, on Sunday, October 14, 1934.
Edwards, Private William Alexander, 9698
William Alexander Edwards, ‘A’ Company, 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, died at the Dardanelles on June 19, 1915.
Aged 23, he was the eldest son of Harbour Constable William Henry (Harry) – who died on February 10, 1918 – and Catherine Edwards, 40, Bond’s Street, Waterside, Londonderry.
He was in addition the brother and brother-in-law of Georgina and William Dickson, 106, Hawthorne Street, Glasgow, and the brother and brother-in-law of Lillian and Robert McCartney, 31, King Street, Londonderry.
Possibly a member of Clooney Hall Methodist Church, Private Edwards’ remains are interred in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery, Turkey, and his name is commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.
Private Edwards was called home from India – where he had seen three years’ service – early in 1915, and was home on short leave before going to the Dardanelles on March 16, 1915. Gunner H. J. Edwards, R.G.A., a brother of Private Edwards, was wounded and gassed, in 1918, and spent time in hospital in England recovering.
Buchanan, 2nd Lieutenant Richard Brendan
2nd Lieutenant Richard Brendan Buchanan, of Chiswick Lodge, Templemore Park, Londonderry, died on June 20, 1915.
The son of Robert Eccles and Ethel Maud Buchanan (nee Williams), he had reached 21 just a month before his death.
Richard Buchanan received his early education at Foyle College and subsequently at Bedford School, where he was a member of the Officers’ Training Corps. He entered Edinburgh University Medical School in October 1911, and had passed all his examinations, except the final, with first class honours, gaining the bronze medals in zoology, practical anatomy, and surgery. On the day after the Great War was declared he applied for a commission, and, having some time previously obtained certificates A and B of the Officers’ Training Corps, Medical Unit, was gazetted to a lieutenancy in the Royal Army Medical Corps, Special Reserve, on August 16, 1914. Finding a few weeks later that he could not be sent on active service until he had received his full medical qualifications, he applied for transfer to the Royal Scots Fusiliers, and was in due course gazetted second-lieutenant, and went into training at Cambusbarron, Stirlingshire. About the middle of May 1915, he proceeded with his battalion to the Dardanelles, and landing on May 30, went almost at once into the trenches.
Richard Buchanan’s remains are interred in Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Turkey. The cemetery is located on the Gallipoli peninsula, and situated 500 metres inland from W Beach on Karaja Oghul Tepe (which the invading troops called Hill 114) just west of Cape Helles. Most of the cemetery was laid out between the landing in April 1915 and the evacuation in January 1916. Additional graves were moved into it from the Aegean islands after the 1918 Armistice.
In addition to the Diamond War Memorial, Richard Buchanan’s name is inscribed on the St Columb’s Cathedral (C of I) Memorial to the men connected to that cathedral who died during the 1914-18 War.
Reference was made to the death of Richard Brendan Buchanan, and Captain Edward George Harvey, at a service held in that cathedral, on Sunday, June 27, 1915. Preaching from the text, ‘I reckon the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us’ (Romans viii. 18), the then Anglican Dean of Derry said day by day fresh news came of those who had given their lives for their country, and one family after another was called upon to feel at what cost the world’s peace was to be gained. During the previous week this had been once more brought close to them by the bereavement of two families belonging to the Cathedral congregation. Two young lives of great promise had been sacrificed on the field of battle for the cause of King and country. They mourned them both – Captain E. G. Harvey and Lieutenant R. B. Buchanan.
Richard Brendan Buchanan was the nephew of Lieutenant Colonel Sir Walter J. Buchanan, C.I.E., I.M.S., Knight Commander of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, an old Foyle College boy. After graduating in Trinity College, Dublin, where he was University Travelling Prizeman in Medicine in 1887, Walter Buchanan entered the Indian service in the same year, and was appointed Inspector General of Prisons for Bengal in 1901. Author of several works officially adopted by the Indian Government, he was a recognised authority on travel in Northern Bengal, and in 1916 published ‘Tours in Darjeeling and Sikkim,’ a vade-mecum for the Indian tourist. Sir Walter Buchanan’s only son, Captain M. B. Buchanan, Royal Scots Fusiliers, held the Mons Star of 1914, was wounded at Ypres in October 1914, and at the Somme in July 1916, and was twice mentioned in despatches. Records show that Richard Buchanan’s mother was the daughter of Thomas Richard (T. R.) Williams, forerunner of the press photographer, official photographer to Queen Victoria and lifelong obsession of legendary Queen guitarist Brian May. Ethel Maud Williams arrived in Derry with her brother Herbert in the 1880’s. On April 1, 1891, at St Mary’s, West Kensington, Ethel Maud was married to Robert Eccles Buchanan, a civil engineer, of Fintona, County Tyrone. Richard Buchanan was born on May 6, 1894 when his parents lived at number 12, Harding Street, Londonderry. Robert Eccles Buchanan died at Buck House, Iver Village, Buckinghamshire, on February 12, 1947. Ethel Maud died on June 11, 1949, in an English nursing home. Her brother, Herbert, died at Laurel Canyon, near Hollywood, California, on April 7, 1934.
Lt Richard Buchanan’s Grandfather, T. R. Williams, was born in England in 1825 and the first professional record of him comes from 1850 when he set up a photographic business in London. In 1854, while working for Phillip Henry Delamotte, Williams made his celebrated stereograph Daguerreotypes of the Crystal Palace, some three years after its opening at the Great Exhibition of 1851.
Some commentators consider him to be one of the first photographers to record events as they happened, making him a predecessor of the press photographer. By the mid-1850’s T. R. Williams turned his attention to portrait photography and later on to still lifes, where he achieved the greatest artistic success. However, much of T. R.’s personal history remains elusive. In the course of my research into Lt. Buchanan, I discovered that T. R. Williams was an obsession held by one of the musical world’s best known figures, Brian May. Brian has spent decades researching the life and work of Williams and on a website devoted to the photographic pioneer wrote: ‘Williams succeeded on his reputation by word of mouth. His portraits of Royalty, including Queen Victoria and her daughter Princess “Vicky” were evidently highly prized by the Queen herself, who ordered duplicate copies in case they should fade.’ Yet, such was the precision and technique of Williams that the prints have never faded and are in existence to this day.
When I discovered that Brian May was interested in T. R. Williams I emailed the legendary Queen guitarist to tell him. In response from Brian I received the following: ‘Many thanks Trevor. There is a current branch of the family in Ireland, so this would make sense.’ At the end of the 1860’s, T. R. Williams’ health deteriorated. He took on a partner, William Mayland, to ensure the continuity of the business, and died shortly afterwards, on April 5, 1871 at his home, Sellers Hall, Finchley. His son Arthur Richard continued the partnership with Mayland for a few years, until its dissolution in 1876. Through his work, Williams is now widely recognised as pivotal in the history of stereoscopic photography, since his stereo cards were the first examples of photographic art for its own sake ever to achieve wide commercial success. However, as fascinating as his career is the link through his family to Derry and his grandson Richard who died in the heat of battle in 1915. As late as the 1970s, the Londonderry Sentinel was still referring to the Buchanans and their military connections. On September 19, 1979 the newspaper carried an obituary on Richard Buchanan’s brother, Brigadier Edgar James Bernard Buchanan DSO, born at 12 Harding Street on May 6, 1892. It read: ‘The death took place at Halesmere, Surrey, of Brigadier E. J. B. Buchanan, a native of Londonderry, who was the elder son of Robert Eccles Buchanan, a well known civil engineer in the city.’