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Poignant memorial planned to mark graves of World War Two Gibraltar evacuees

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Poignant memorial planned to mark graves of World War Two Gibraltar evacuees thumbnailMid and East Antrim Mayor, councillor Audrey Wales receives a presentation folder from Ballymena Lions Club President, Stuart Adair, to mark the ‘Resting Place’ of the Gibraltarian evacuees unmarked graves in Ballymena cemetery. GB1806D

PLANS are being drawn up for a memorial to honour the 42 Gibraltar evacuees who died between 1944 and 1948 while living in camps in the Ballymena and Broughshane areas.
The move is the result of a project initiated by Ballymena Lions Club to identify and record the resting places in Ballymena Cemetery of those who died while in the evacuee camps.
A list of names of the deceased was provided by Lions Club members in Gibraltar and, following a search of cemetery records and the graveyard, the location of all of the 42 people who died are now known.
It is proposed that a memorial rock cairn containing 42 stones, possibly retrieved from the sites of the remains of the eight camps, be placed in the cemetery on the Cushendall Road.
In addition, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, has indicated that he could forward some stones from the Rock of Gibraltar to be incorporated into the design.
A delegation from Ballymena Lions Club, including President Stuart Adair, met recently with Mid and East Antrim Mayor, councillor Audrey Wales and councillor Billy Ashe, to discuss the project.
The Mayor said: "There is a great connection between Ballymena and Gibraltar and I know of families of Gibraltar evacuees living in Broughshane.
“I will pass on the information that I have received from the Ballymena Lions Club to council who will consider the proposal."
Cllr. Wales added that the project could be of great benefit to those tracing their ancestry.
It is hoped agreement can be reached with the Council on the suitability and location of the proposed memorial.
Around 2,000 evacuees arrived in Ballymena from Gibraltar during World War Two and were housed in Nissan huts at specially built camps in the countryside.
The camps were located at Moorfields, Tawnybrack near Moorfields, Castlegore, Corby Bridge at Rathkenny and, just outside Broughshane, the camps of Dunaird, Drummuck, Aughnacully and Breckagh Bridge.
*Read the full story in this week's Ballymena Guardian.

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