In early 2013 we found a box of old lantern slides in the organ loft of Alexandra Presbyterian Church. 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.
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. We were unsure if this included both those who came home and those men who paid the ultimate sacrifice. With further research and the assistance of Nigel from http://www.greatwarbelfastpresbyterian.com/ we have now established that the lanterns include both men who survived and men who were killed in action.
We have met with the Ulster Museum who would like to give these slides a home. They 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, we hope, an image of every serving son of the Castleton church community recorded for posterity. The slides will be protected in the long term and we will make every effort to ensure that they are given a suitable and fitting home. However, before we do this, we would like to try 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 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.
Shortly I will post a full list of men from Castleton, with as much detail as I can. I will also post a photo of each individual lantern slide. Please do feel free to write in the comments box any clues, ideas, names or suggestions you have. I will follow up every lead. You can also contact me on Twitter @classygenes.
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.
This is a very time consuming project and will take a long time to research. If you are interested in the project and would like to help with researching, please let me know. We would appreciate any help you can give. This may involve looking through street directories, visiting PRONI, searching the National Archives or Great War Forum or visiting the newspaper library.
In the meantime 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 almost 100 years ago.
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.