About the Project

In early 2013 we found a box of old lantern slides in the organ loft of Alexandra Presbyterian Church, Belfast.  The images were of soldiers and sailors in First World War uniforms. Alexandra is made up of two congregations, that of York Street and Castleton Presbyterian Churches. Click here to find out more about the history of the church.

See the Gallery of Castleton men HERE.

The Lantern Slides

There are 77 lantern slides in total which were made by the famous photographer Mr Alex. R. Hogg.  The committee minutes of Castleton Church state that in 1918 Alex. R. Hogg was asked to put together a lantern slide exhibition ‘of our men at the front’ which was to be shown on 16th December 1918.  Tickets were sent to the families of serving men. We assume that each family with a son serving in the Great War gave a photo for use in this exhibition.  Both those who came home and those men who paid the ultimate sacrifice were included.

What now?  

The slides are an important part of the social history of the York Road community and of great value to both Alexandra and the surrounding area.  It is unusual to have this type of evidence gathered together with an image of every serving son of the Castleton church community recorded for posterity.  The slides have been protected in the long term and are now part of the Ulster Museum’s collections. Our project aims to match the names on the Rolls of Honour to the faces in the photos.

Can you help?

To do this, we need your help.  These photos pre-existed when the lantern slides were made. Perhaps you have one of these photos in your house?  You may recognise one of these men? Don’t forget some of these men survived the First World War. They are Grandfathers and fathers, cousins and uncles – is one of these images of your Grandfather? Perhaps you are a military historian, a genealogist or simply have an interest in the Great War.  Do you recognise the badges, uniforms, ranks or battalions?  Maybe you have access to records or medal cards, archives or newspapers?  We would really appreciate your help in finding out any small detail about each of these men.

See the Gallery of Castleton men HERE. Please contact us if you have any suggestions, information or possible names. If you think you know what happened to one of these men after the war, we would love to know this too.  It would be great if we could follow each man through his life to his present day relatives.

You can click here to look up the Castleton Roll of Honour on Eddie’s Extracts.

Thanks for your interest in the project.  Together we can make this an interesting portrait of our little community 100 years ago.


Karen and Faye

Please note:
We have traced copyright ownership for the material used as far as we have been able, and continue to actively search for those owners we have not found. Please help us by contacting us if you are the owner of presently unattributed copyright or know who is, as we would like to obtain permission and credit the owner.

14 Responses to About the Project

  1. Pingback: Lantern Slide Number 55 | Castleton Lanterns

  2. Pingback: Lantern Slide Number 52 | Castleton Lanterns

  3. Pingback: Lantern Slide Number 22 | Castleton Lanterns

  4. Pingback: Lantern Slide Number 34 | Castleton Lanterns

  5. Kathleen Morrison says:

    Lantern slide number 59. The studio photograph is James Reid. He was a private in the 1st Batt. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. His service no. was 13006. He died 1st July 1916 at the Somme and is remembered at Thiepval Memorial. He was twenty years old. My late father-in-law was his nephew and was named after him, also my husband and my son [all James Reid’s] I have a copy of this photograph and his medals.

  6. Castleton Lanterns says:

    Thanks for getting in touch. I can confirm that he is indeed lantern slide 59. I’ve emailed you!

  7. Rory Mills says:

    Hello Karen

    My name is Rory Mills, and I am fairly certain that Lantern slide 76 is that of my grand-father Wilson Hay ( born 13/2/1897 and died 1979 ). I have several photographs of him from the first world war in his uniform and this picture appears very similar ( ie: face shape, posture ).

    I also have a photograph album of all the regiments of the 14th ( Service ) Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles which was taken at a training camp in Aldershot in September 1915. Only the officers are named ( there’s a surprise ) not the ordinary soldiers but I have names of some of the officers which I think may also be some of the unnamed people in the lantern slides. This might help name other people as well.

    My grand-father fought the whole duration of the war including the Somme and survived. He lived and was raised in West Belfast and I think was living in Agnes Street at the lower end of the Shankill Road at this time. He was a religious man and Presbyterian and was linked with Bethany Church which is on Agnes Street, so I am not too sure about the link with the church in Shore Road. I know that he played the organ at church. He married my grand-mother who was called Muriel Pritchard in 1930. They had one daughter called Muriel Hay who is my mother. She is 78 years old now and has lived in North London since she left Northern Ireland in her late teens. My mum had two children, myself and my sister, who were both born in London. I moved to Northern Ireland 10 years ago as my wife is from Northern Ireland, and live in Lisburn Road, Belfast. My younger sister lives in Brighton and has 2 year old son called Noah, so that is Noah’s Great-grandfather !!

    I saw the picture of my grand-father on the front cover of the Belfast Telegraph this week, and spoke to a journalist there called Flora and gave her my mother’s telephone number. My mother is called Muriel Mills.

    My wife and I thought that the Gallery exhibition was on this afternoon and went down with some of the photographs, but it was shut. I’m not very good with things like Twitter and could you let us know when the exhibition is on and then we can bring the photographs I have with me, and contact me by e-mail at the number below.


    Rory Mills

  8. wesley phillips says:

    My great uncle,William Patterson,served in the RIR,47398 and the RASC,T/3025415.In 1911 he was living at 73 Fraser Street in East Belfast with his wife Jane(a Glaswegian)and his 3 children Elizabeth,Agnes and James.In the 1901 census he was living at 10 Harrisburg Street with his Grandfather,Father,3 brothers and 4 sisters.William was a cooper by trade,as was his father.I have no photos of him to go by.Unfortunately William was shot dead in a cooperage in Little Patrick Street on 19/5/1922,along with 3 other Protestants.His wife died in 1943 and they are buried in Dundonald Cemetery.A terrible sad thing to have survived the trenches only to be murdered in his home town while at his job.I hope someone can identify him from the photos.Thank you.

    • Castleton Lanterns says:

      Hi Wesley Thanks for getting in touch. What a sad story. There is indeed a William Patterson on the Castleton Roll of Honour, but we have no more information on him except ‘York Road’ is given as his address. Do you know if he went to Castleton Church? If you wish you can email me directly at karen@castletonlanterns.co.uk

  9. David Francis says:

    My great-uncle Henry McKnight is slide 22, he enlisted from 38 Rowan Street with his father, Samuel, who was a rivetter in the shipyard, and brother Thomas, as well as two other relatives, James and John. I know very little about the McKnight family, other than the fact that my great Grandmother, Frances McKnight, had 21 children.Sadly, however,many died in infancy.Henry won the Military Medal and his and his relatives’ name appear on the Castleton Roll of Honour. I checked with the Royal Ulster Rifles Museum in Waring Street, and they all survived the war, but I don’t know what happened next to them.My grandmother Jean McKnight died in 1939, and we know very little about the family.Are there any McKnight out there who can help shed some light on the family history?

  10. Castleton Lanterns says:

    Hi David
    I’ve sent you an email relating to your comment.

  11. Mr Aubrey Magill says:

    Hello Karen and Faye

    In the run up to the hundredth anniversary of the ending of the First World War I felt the need to find out more about my mother’s brother and my uncle Lance Corporal John (known to the family as Jack) Trimble.

    My curiosity was sparked by a meeting I had with two guys from Northern Ireland who I met back in the spring of this year while they were on a motor cycle holiday in Wales. We got talking one evening about life in Northern Ireland today as opposed to my time growing up there during the “troubles”. As the conversation developed we somehow got on to the contribution young men from Northern Ireland had made to the First and Second World Wars. Like many folk from Northern Ireland we shared with each other that we had family members who had fought on the Somme. One of my friends explained that he had traced his great uncle’s war record via the Ulster Somme Museum on the Newtownards Road and I should look them up on the internet. I did and that resulted in me making contact with Austin Cheevers at the museum and Austin agreed to undertake some research on my behalf on my uncle Jack.

    I knew from stories my mother had told me growing up that her older brother Jack had joined the call to arms as a boy and that their mother was extremely angry at the time that the recruiting sergeant had been taken in by a young boy who had obviously lied about his age and was barely out of school. I believe my grandmother told the recruiting sergeant in no uncertain terms what she thought of him. My mother had a photograph which she cherished of Jack taken at a garden gate standing very proud in his uniform as a recruit of the Royal Irish Rifles.

    Austin managed to trace Jack’s army record and discharge papers, copied them to me and as it happens they arrived a couple of weeks before 11 November this year.

    Subsequently my sister who was very close to Jack’s niece (Bertha McIlroy) who you refer to in your Belfast Telegraph article is now in possession of a number of Bertha’s personal belongings following Bertha’s passing. Included in those possessions is the Belfast Telegraph article on the Castleton Lanterns. I was not aware of this article or your work on this slice of our history to last week.

    Much of the detail in your article is correct. Jack started his working life in the shipyard as an apprentice shipwright and his service records show that he took part in the battle of Ypres. As your article states he spent the rest of his working life as an employee of the Blue Funnel shipping line and became a member of their senior management team based in London. As a boy I spent part of my summer holidays with my uncle Jack and auntie Nellie at their Home in Ilford in Essex. I was always fascinated as a boy by the apparent bruise he had between his thumb and first finger and he explained to me that was not a bruise but a shrapnel wound and that he other shrapnel fragments in his body courtesy of the Germans. I did not know to I read your article that Jack also served in the Second World War but it explains why he had a little bird tattoo on his hand and when I used to ask him what it was and why he had it he always appeared slightly embarrassed and said it was common to most sailors of his generation. Having read your article I am now increasingly of the view that like many serving seamen of the Blue Funnel Line, Jack may have served on troop carrying or cargo ships. I am trying to conduct research on the Blue Funnel Line. Their historical records are held at the Liverpool Maritime Museum and their site was down for some time while being updated. You are quite correct Jack and my auntie Nellie did retire to New Zealand but not before he led a very eventful and full life. There were two great ironies to Jack’s post war life. As a senior member of the Blue Funnel Line, Jack visited other countries on business trips. One such trip was to Hamburg in Germany. During his stay in Hamburg the story goes he walked out from behind a bus, was knocked down by another vehicle and suffered multiple life threatening injuries. The surgeon who operated on him was a German national and the irony is that surgeon saved his life when some 40 plus years earlier they may have been sworn enemies. They became firm friends and kept in touch in the years that followed. The second great irony, as I understand it, is that when Jack was in his eighties or may be early nineties he had a hip replacement operation in New Zealand. My auntie Nellie wrote and told my mother that he struck a deal with the surgeon performing the operation that he would not remove, during the operation, the shrapnel from his hip that had been there for over half a century. My understanding is the shrapnel was presented to Jack post operation as a souvenir. Uncle Jack did have one fault – he was a lifelong Tottenham Hotspurs fan and I a lifelong Chelsea fan boy and man. When he left for New Zealand he retired his Spurs scarf to me which I have to this day.

    Keep up the good work and thank you.

  12. Angela says:

    Wonderful pictures, sad to that we have no names for most of them.i have been searching endlessly for a picture of my great grandfather Francis Walker who died at the somme in the great war to look through these photos and know they belong to someone gives me hope that one day i will find him
    Keep up the great work you do

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