A NEW BOOK
Remembering Rolo Gillespie
by Desmond Rainey
and Laura Spence
Launch Date Monday
3rd November 2014
Comber Primary School,
The people of Comber, its Industry,
its Characters and people of action
in photographic form.
The sad passing of
Britains greatest Jazz Singer.
Comber Audio Trail
COMBER TOWN SQUARE
as it used to be.
THE TITANIC CONNECTION
New Information and links
Read Norman Nevin's unpublished
history of Comber, prefaced by a
foreword by Erskine Willis.
Jim Gracey's comprehensive
Directory of Comber
is available now as a 30mb PDF file.
A Taste of Old Comber
A good read by Len Ball &
ISBN1 - 870132 - 06 - 08
Author: Desmond Rainey and Laura Spence
Publisher: Ulster Historical Foundation
Publication Date: October 2011
Order online now at:- www.booksireland.org.uk
This book paints an intimate picture of Comber, County Down, home town of Thomas
Andrews Junior, Shipbuilder, during the thirty-nine years of his short but hugely influential life
It provides an outline of Thomas and the Andrews family; and will be gratefully acknowledged
by the many who seek to learn more about this modest man – one of the most iconic, yet
relatively unknown, personalities associated with RMS Titanic.
Thomas Andrews Junior was Chief Engineer in what was then the largest shipyard in the
world, Harland and Wolff. Many of Comber’s inhabitants worked in the shipyard and
celebrated the launch of RMS Titanic on 31st May 1911. A Chronicle of Comber describes
something of the impact on the town and the Andrews family of the tragic events of the
Join the 1912 ‘walking tour’ to see Comber as Thomas himself would have seen it – or peruse
the Ulster Directories of 1870 and 1912 to meet people he knew. Read about the Andrews
family industries, the businesses, schools, churches and organisations in the town. The book
includes a diary of local events, 1873–1912, based on articles in the Newtownards Chronicle –
as well as detailing key world events at the time. These were the subjects that would have been
discussed round the dining table at Ardara, the Andrews family home.
This illustrated book will have an intrinsic appeal for anyone with an interest in Thomas
Andrews and Titanic, and also for those interested in learning more about the historic town of
Comber, County Down.
This sign is an indication of the most recent postings.
EDMUND De WIND V C |
Memorial badges depicting
Edmund De Wind VC are
available from Comber
Historical Society the price
is £3 Sterling plus P&P.
Size is 2cm x 2.6cm or ¾" x
1 inch approximately.
Contact Editor at Sixgolds
COMBER HISTORICAL SOCIETY (CHS)
Welcome to the Website of Comber Historical Society. The Society was formed in 2000 and aims to preserve and record information relating to Comber and to make it available to all those with an interest in our town. Whether you are interested in the history of the town, its people, places and events - or want to learn more about Comber as it is today, there will be something on the site for everybody. Please do get in touch with any comments and we'd be delighted to receive any old photographs or information you may have about Comber. This site will be regularly updated so please keep visiting.
You may wish to come along to meetings of Comber Historical Society. We meet on the second Monday of the month (September to April). at Comber Learning Centre, 1 Park Way Comber at 8.00 pm.
A donation of £4.00 per meeting is sought to help with costs
Some of the images to the left are clickable.
| Officers for the ensuing year.|
|Press Officer||Billy McCullough|
All elected unanimously.
|Web Editor||Adrian Hanna|
“Comber at War” |
The Historical Society plus friends and visitors gathered on Monday 12th February 2018 at our usual venue the Park Way Centre, to hear and see a presentation given by one of our own celebrated members Mr Des Rainey. Before handing over to Des our ever present Chairman Mr Robert Bennett conducted some preliminary business and expressed his appreciation and thanks regarding the sizeable audience assembled for the programme. Des Rainey has long been accepted as the voice and knowledge in relation to all things associated with Comber and regardless of the task set before him he has yet to disappoint. Tonight's presentation was no exception, his depth of information, knowledge and presentation were of the highest calibre, not surprising since Des holds a vast private collection of books, postcards and memorabilia which at various times are used extensively not only for his own interpretations and displays but which he will, eagerly, share with others when requested. Using Power Point the audience were initially enlightened to the important fact that the main contributing factor which triggered a chain of events leading to the outbreak of the First World War was the assassination during June of 1914 in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria who were aligned with Germany. The Home Rule Crisis here in Ireland was also drawn to our attention since the outbreak of the conflict was to witness thousands of Irishmen North and South fight side by side against a common foe instead of each other in Civil unrest. Perhaps it would not come as a surprise to learn that Comber had two companies of Volunteers, one from the Mill and the other from the Distillery. The Mill closed temporarily due to the shortage of manpower while yet another 80 men were to enlist in the 36th Ulster Division. Illustrations highlighted the shops, individuals, businesses and buildings of the village and we discovered that a concert in aid of funds was held in the Andrews Memorial Hall during which patriotic and national songs were sung. First Comber Presbyterian held a Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the end of war and the War Memorial was unveiled on 14th April 1923 commemorating the 79 men from Comber who died during the carnage. A wonderful evening of insight giving us all a better understanding as to the sacrifice by so many so long ago that gave us our freedom and liberty which we should richly protect. Des was cordially thanked and warmly applauded by all those present. The Society’s next event is scheduled for Monday 12th March @ 8 pm when we will gather in the Park Way Centre to hear from Mr Lester Morrow speaking on the topic “De Wind V.C.” Please come and join us, cost of the evening is £4 which assists towards our overheads, refreshments such as tea, coffee, home made cake and biscuits are inclusive, gossip and chat is free !
Comber Historical Society |
Comber Historical Society meets in the Learning Centre, Park Way, Killinchy Street, Comber at 8 pm on the 2nd Monday in the month from September to May.
A £4 contribution includes Tea / Biscuits.
For further details contact:
Elizabeth McCullough (Hon., Secretary) (028) 97521014
- March 12. ‘De Wind VC’
-- Lester Morrow
- April 9. ‘The Men who built Titanic Ships’
- Summer Outing will be a bus trip on 26th May 2018 to the Cavan County Museum at Ballyjamesduff which is now home to the largest outdoor WWI replica trench open to the public in Ireland and the UK. The Trench is becoming a must-see attraction for visitors since it opened in August 2014.
Full details to follow, watch this space
Comar, meeting place of the waters, that was the name given by the ancients to a settlement at the northwest corner of Strangford Lough at the confluence of the Enler and Glen Rivers. Today we call it Comber, famous for its spuds.
Nomadic hunter gatherers arrived here around 10,000 years ago. St Patrick followed in their footsteps and founded a monastery, but its fame was eclipsed by the medieval Cistercian Abbey. Today that has vanished, and St Mary's Parish Church occupies the site. 1606 saw an influx of Scots under James Hamilton and Hugh Montgomery. Among the newcomers were the ancestors of the Andrews family who brought much prosperity to Comber. By the late 18th century John, known as "the great", had established a linen bleach green, corn mills and a flour mill. In 1864 his grandson erected a flax spinning mill. Later members of the family include Thomas of Titanic fame and his elder brother John Miller, wartime prime minister.
Old Comber whiskey was produced at two distilleries in the town. Last distilling was in 1952, although the odd bottle is still available, at a price! Comber was also a railway junction, with steam trains chugging their way through for exactly 100 years from 1850. Today the long-awaited bypass runs along the route of the old track.
No visitor can fail to notice a tall monument in Comber's Georgian Square. This commemorates Sir Robert Rollo Gillespie, who fought against the French and was killed while attempting to storm the fortress of Kalunga in Nepal in 1814. His reputed last words were "One shot more for the honour of Down" Another valiant soldier who made the supreme sacrifice was Edmund de Wind, awarded the Victoria Cross in 1918.
The Ulster Scots Agency offers a wide range of activities so why not give them a quick visit.
HOW YOU MAY CONTRIBUTE
One of the aims of Comber Historical Society is to preserve and record the history of Comber by noting all historical documents, artefacts, photographs and audio-video material relating to the town. We would be delighted if anyone who has any records or memories of Comber would get in touch.
Contact Desmond Rainey on 028 9187 8482 or email :-
NOTE FROM THE WEB EDITOR
The web editor is Adrian Hanna. I can be contacted at the address shown in the box below.
Should you wish to reproduce any material from this site, please credit Comber Historical Society.
New recruits always welcome.