Private honoured 98 years on

Geoffrey Gault at Coleraine war memorial where Private Dornan's name 
has been added. INCR18NF
Geoffrey Gault at Coleraine war memorial where Private Dornan's name has been added. INCR18NF

The name of Private David Dornan has been added to the War Memorial in Coleraine, 98 years after he died.

Little is known about the World War One soldier, who served with the 10th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, except that he was a member of Ballyrashane LOL 431.

Geoffrey Gault at the memorial in Pozieres where Private Dornan's name appears. INCR18

Geoffrey Gault at the memorial in Pozieres where Private Dornan's name appears. INCR18

He is remembered on the Lodge’s Roll of Honour in their Ballyrashane Orange Hall, but up until recently, that was the only place in the Province that honoured the Coleraine man.

After some research, the Lodge’s Secretary, Geoffrey Gault campaigned to have the World War One hero honoured in his home town of Coleraine, by having his name added to the town’s war memorial.

Killed on March 22, 1918, the name of David Dornan is mentioned on Pozieres Memorial.

Geoffrey takes up the story: “The name, Private David Dornan is mentioned on the memorial in Ballyrashane Orange Hall along with others from the Lodge that served and died.

“I felt that as a former member of the Lodge that it was important that he was remembered in his home town.

“He was from the Spittal Hill area of Coleraine, we don’t know why he was a member of Ballyrashane Lodge.

“But up until now, his name was only mentioned at Ballyrashane and on the memorial at Pozieres, with the names of over 14,000 others that have no known graves.

“I visited Pozieres Memorial last year during a trip with the Ulster Scots Resource Centre and found his name.

“Very little is known about him.

“There is no mention in records of where he was educated, but we know that after he left school he became a farm labourer,” explained Geoffrey.

“He served with the 10th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, before transferring to the 21st Entrenching Battalion after the disbandment of the 10th Battalion on 21st January 1918,” added Geoffrey.

Records tell us that Private Dornan volunteered for active service soon after the declaration of hostilities.

But he was too late to take part in the Battle of the Somme.

The Private was reported missing just after the Battle of Cambrai in 1917. Reports state that he had been taken prisoner after being wounded and was being treated in a German hospital. Unfortunately his injuries were serious and the brave 27 year old died there.

Standing beside Private Dornan’s name at Coleraine War Memorial last week Geoffrey said it was ‘only right’ that he was honoured.

“Although I have taken charge of the research, the Lodge members have welcomed this.

“After all this time, and in a year when we are commemorating the Somme, it is very fitting that this should happen,” Geoffrey commented.

Geoffrey paid tribute to Council officials for their help in researching Private Dornan’s military service.

“I know that his records had to be checked with the Royal British legion and the War Graves Commission.

“We as a Lodge would like to thank the Officers at Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council for their efforts.

“Anyone who walks past the War Memorial in Coleraine will see the name of this young man who gave of his life.”