War veteran’s flutes among items family donates to Ballykinlar Camp project

Sharon Lynas, grand-daughter of Corporal Albert James Kendall, with Mike King, Down County Museum heritage manager and her grandfather's artefacts
Sharon Lynas, grand-daughter of Corporal Albert James Kendall, with Mike King, Down County Museum heritage manager and her grandfather's artefacts
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The treasured items of a soldier who served during both world wars have been donated to Down County Museum.

Albert Kendall joined the army as a drummer boy when he was 15-years-old, and fought in the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers during the First World War.

Some of the artefacts that belonged to soldier Albert Kendall and which will go on display at Down County Musuem

Some of the artefacts that belonged to soldier Albert Kendall and which will go on display at Down County Musuem

He was stationed at Ballykinlar Camp between 1926 and 1928, where he played with the regimental band – two of his surviving flutes are among the instruments donated to the museum.

While he was at Ballykinlar, he met Josie Killen from Clough, who had a dance band that often played in the Sandes Home at the camp. In 1927 Josie played with legendary musician Al Jolson when he made a special visit.

Albert and Josie married in September 1928, and Albert went on to be stationed in York and Jamaica before leaving the Army.

When WWII was declared in 1939, Albert returned to Ballykinlar as storeman and lived there with his family. They stayed at the camp until 1954, then moved to Clough. Albert died in 1964 at the age of 67.

His grand-daughter Sharon Lynas gave his artefacts to the museum in Downpatrick, including a simple wooden cross with a bronze figure of Christ attached to it that he found in France aged 17 during WWI.

Ms Lynas said: “For him the cross was not a relic, he could not leave it behind just to be tramped on.”

The museum’s heritage manager Mike King said: “The career of Albert Kendall is remarkable as it spans his experiences from the first to the second world wars, and it helps to tell us about life at Ballykinlar Camp in those critical years.

“We are very grateful to his grand-daughter for telling his story and to the Special European Union Programmes Body for funding the Ballykinlar History Hut, which will be re-created in the courtyard of Down County Museum next spring.”