Memorial day for war hero

Memorial day for war hero

14 July 2021

KILLYLEAGH is to be given an opportunity to pay a posthumous tribute to its last war hero.

World War II veteran Martin ‘Tina’ Charters died in February in his 100th year.

But due to Covid restrictions in place at the time, his home town was unable to turn out to pay a final tribute to the man who flew more than 40 war time missions to Germany as a rear gunner with RAF Bomber Command.

Now they are to be given the opportunity later this year to turn out in silent respect as a unique cross-community tribute to Martin is staged on what would have been his 100th birthday.

A memorial day is to be held in Killyleagh on September 7 — his 100th birthday — with the organisers already christening it ‘Tina’s Day’.

And as part of the event, with the blessing of his family, a specially commissioned bench, bearing his name, will be dedicated. It has been paid for by DUP councillor Billy Walker.

“It is a chance for us to give him the send off he deserved but sadly we could not do, due to the Covid restrictions on funerals and gatherings at that time,” explained Mr Walker.

“He was a remarkable man who lived a remarkable life. He had just taken part in a major BBC NI documentary telling his life story as one of the few still alive who had been born in the year that Northern Ireland came into being.

“All age groups in the town knew Tina and he was loved by them all. He was a very modest hero.

“With the support of his family, we are to mark what would have been his 100th birthday on by dedicating a bench which will be located close to the War Memorial.”

The tribute evening will include contributions from his family and the Killyleagh Remembers the War group.