This is the Grave Stone of the Children of L/Cpl Harry and Mary Poole. They are buried at the old cemetery in Holywood, Northern Ireland.

This is the original Badge of the Border Regiment


Saturday evening on the 22nd April 1933 will go down as one of the most tragic events in the 109-year-old history of Palace Barracks in Holywood, Northern Ireland. The resident battalion at this time were the 1st Battalion the Border Regiment who had recently arrived from service in India the previous year. On the fateful Saturday evening L/Cpl Harry Poole MM and his wife Mary had gone out for an evening of entertainment, leaving there five children to look after themselves They returned home before midnight, to check that all was well in the childrenís bedrooms and opened the window a little bit further as there was a slight smell of gas. The next morning Joseph Aged 9, David Aged 8, Harry Aged 6, Margaret Aged 4 and Jean Aged 2 were found dead. The children died of asphyxiation following gas poisoning three hours later.

The funeral of the five Poole children took place on Wednesday 26th April 1933. More than 10.000 mourners lined the road from the gates of Palace Barracks to the Cemetery in Holywood. After a memorial service in the garrison church the poignant funeral procession assembled in the grounds of Palace Barracks. The military band of the Border Regiment led the way with long spaced beats on the black-draped drums captured from the French in the Peninsular War at the Arroyos Dos Molinos.

The band preceded the three black-plumed horse drawn hearses in which five little white and silver coffins made their final journey. General Girdwood, GOC (NI) led the procession with the general staff, and officers and men of the Border Regiment. The wives of the soldiers who lived in the married quarters walked in the procession to support Mrs Poole, Fifty NCOs each carried a floral tribute. If you walk by the grave now, almost seventy years after the tragedy, you will find flowers laid in memory of the five little children from England who were left behind in Holywood when the Border Regiment returned to the mainland.


The photo on the left was taken (23rd April 2007) on the 74th Anniversary of the Poole Children's deaths on St Georges Day 1933

By kind permission of Mr Jeremy Friers (NI)

The Memorial stone in the cemetery is Inscribed:

Sacred to the memory of the children of Harry and Mary Poole. Joseph 9, David 8, Harry 6, Margaret 4, Jean 2.  All called home together on the 23rd April 1933 

"Our loss is Heavenís gain"

The Children of Harry Mary Poole