The sacrifice of local men featured in new Banbridge Camera Club exhibition opening at the FE McWilliam Gallery

Gerald Smyth's funeral.
Gerald Smyth's funeral.

A major new exhibition of photography from the First World War will be on display in the F.E. McWilliam Gallery from April 30 to May 28.

The exhibition will focus on some of those from the local area who fought and died in the Great War.

The numbers of people volunteering from Banbridge and the wider district was magnificent, and the losses were overwhelming.

One local family who sacrificed much were the Smyth family, who lost seven members.

Lieutenant-Colonel Gerald Brice Ferguson Smyth was the eldest son of George and Helen Ferguson Smyth.

On the outbreak of the Great War Gerald embarked for France on 17th August 1914.

During the Battle of Aisne at Givenchy he was badly wounded, which resulted in his left arm having to be amputated at the elbow.

On 13th July 1916 he was wounded during the Battle of the Somme. He returned to the front and was wounded at Arras on 3rd May 1917.

On the night of 17th July 1920, whilst in the smoking room of the Cork and County Club, 14 Sinn Feiners entered the building, and opened fire, riddling Gerald’s face, forehead and neck with bullets.

Gerald’s funeral took place on 20th July 1920 from Clonaslee. It was probably the largest funeral seen in Banbridge.

Major George Osbert Stirling Smyth was the youngest son of George and Helen Ferguson Smyth.

He signed up for War service and was injured in early 1914. He was wounded again on 29th October 1915 and again on 21st December 1915.

On 3rd June 1916 he was awarded the Military Cross in the King’s Birthday Honours.

He received the Mons Star and was awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Palm.

Eleven days after the murder of his brother, he insisted on a transfer in order to help crush the rebellion in Ireland.

On 12th October 1920 at 2am, he and a group of soldiers went to the house of a Professor Carolan in Fernside, Drumcondra, Dublin, where Osbert was murdered.

Like Gerald, Osbert was taken from Clonaslee on Friday 15th and interred in Banbridge Municipal Cemetery.

Major Edmund Fitzgerald Smyth was the third son of William and Jane Robinson Smyth.

When the First World War broke out, Teddy enlisted.

Teddy was wounded on 1st July 1916. He was killed in action on 3rd December 1917 at Marcoing, West Cambrai, aged 31 years.

Teddy was buried in Fifteen Ravine British Cemetery, Villers, Plouich.

Major Dr Robertson Stewart Smyth was the second son of William & Jane Robinson Smyth.

Upon the outbreak of War in 1914, he followed the British Expeditionary Force to France, where it is stated that he served with “rare devotion”.

In December 1915 he was invalided as the result of gas poisoning.

He was again invalided due to gas poisoning on 1st January 1916.

He died in London on 5th April 1916 aged 36 years, his body was brought home and buried in Banbridge.

Lieutenant Pierson Florence John Smyth was the youngest son of John (Jnr) & Anna Florence Haughton Smyth.

He entered the Army in 1902, serving in India. He died on 29th January 1913, aged 32 years, after an operation. His grave is in Kamptee Cemetery.

Captain George Bostall Jenkinson Smyth was the second son of James Davis and Charlotte Anna Smyth.

He enlisted in the Army in August 1914.

Whilst at Anzac on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 9th August 1915 he was severely wounded.

He returned to service in France, where he was killed in action near Courtrai on 22nd October 1918 aged 28 years, three weeks before the end of the War.

George’s body was laid in its final resting place in Harlebeke New British Cemetery, leper, Belgium.

A bronze and marble plaque was erected in Seapatrick Parish Church in 1924 by his brother and sisters.

Captain William Haughton Smyth was the eldest son of John (Jnr) and Anna Florence Haughton Smyth.

He was manager of the Dunbar Memorial National School.

He was Managing Director of the family firm ‘Wm Smyth & Co Ltd’, Lenaderg.

William was heavily involved in the formation of Banbridge Golf Club.

When War broke out he applied to the Royal Irish Rifles.

He was killed in action at Thiepval in the Battle Of The Somme on 1st July 1916 aged 37 years.

Tragically he has no known grave, but is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

His name is also recorded on Banbridge Golf Club’s Roll of Honour.

The club also dedicated the Haughton Smyth Memorial Cup in his honour.