Drumbeg Community Association

Charley Memorial School in 1940s by Robert (Bertie) Irwin

My time at Charley Memorial School coincided closely with the War years, so many of my memories are centred around the events of that time. My family lived in one of the Wilmont cottages at the head of Dunmurry Lane. The three cottages have now been converted into one house.

It was nice to see a former school-mate of mine , Jimmy McIlroy, on the T.V news recently, being awarded the M.B.E. He is a couple of years older than me. I wonder if anyone else recalls how he used to entertain us by drawing rude cartoons on the blackboard when the teacher was out of the room. Jimmy was a brilliant artist, scholar and footballer. Others whom I remember are Fred Gray, Bertie Pelan and Andy Warnock, among many others.

We had three wonderful teachers - Mrs. Harriett Cowan, Cissie Gordon and the Head, Len Connor. During the war we had Waste-Paper Collections and Dig For Victory efforts, when the older boys had plots for growing vegetables in the playground area. Does anyone remember the time some men from the Civil Defence came to the school and tested our gas-masks by making us walk through a van filled with tear-gas? Charley Memorial School was different from some others in that we only had five weeks' summer holiday instead of the usual six. We were allowed to take the remaining week at harvest-time as so many pupils were farmers' or farm-labourers' children, and were needed to help at that busy time.

We had some good times.

18 August 2011


To the neighbourly ghosts of Drumbeg,
politeness is second nature.

They never bring trouble or terror
to those who respect their existence
and honour their rights-of-way
through walls and across busy roads.

As long as you don’t interfere
with their graves, they’ll pursue their own business
with dignity and decorum.

All they ask is a simple
nod of the head, and perhaps
a gentle prayer as you pass
the places they love to haunt.

The well-behaved ghosts of Drumbeg
are better neighbours than most.

Robert Irwin 2011


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