COMBER IN THE 1950's
Comber in the 1950s|
1950 saw the closure of the Belfast and County Down Railway, apart from the section between Belfast and Bangor. The main line from Comber to Newcastle, including the branches to Ballynahinch and Ardglass, were closed on and from 16th January. Trains continued to run from Belfast through Comber to Newtownards and Donaghadee for a little while longer. However, despite a final protest meeting in the Andrews Hall on 6th April to try and prevent closure of the line, the last train ran from Donaghadee to Belfast on Saturday 22nd April. It was crowded with people who wanted to share in the railway's last moments. At Queen's Quay Station in Belfast a mock funeral was held for the BCDR with a coffin carried in procession and this was then cremated. The return train to Donaghadee left to the accompaniment of cheers and exploding fog signals, and this was repeated at each of the stations along the route where large crowds had gathered.
An inquest held into the death of William Gabbey (age 54) of Drumhirk found that he died on 31st December 1949 of a gunshot wound, self-inflicted, while temporarily of unsound mind.
Flooding of the Comber River was a problem, and the Council were informed that the Ministry of Agriculture hoped to carry out a scheme during the year. Meanwhile houses in Comber were flooded. The Council also gave approval for names of streets on the Housing Trust sites - the names of islands in Strangford Lough e.g. Dunsy Way, Dullisk Way and Darragh Road.
Mr Hugh Patton died on 15th January at his home in Belfast. He had been connected with Comber Distilleries for over 30 years, being a director and also a former manager.
Two stained-glass windows were unveiled at First Comber on 19th February. One was presented by John A McKee of Carnesure, in memory of his father, mother, brothers and sisters; the other by Mrs Davidson of Carnesure, in memory of her late husband, Mr Wm Davidson JP. The dedication ceremony was performed by the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rt. Rev Gordon D Erskine.
The Girls' Training Corps held a special week of activities in February to raise money for their summer camp in Scotland. The week's activities commenced with the annual display and concert in the Andrews Hall, while there was also a guest tea and a sale of work in the drill hut. Members of the Corps paraded to Sunday service in Comber Non-Subscribing Church.
There was plenty of action in the Andrews Hall on 28th February for the annual RUC boxing tournament.
Alex Murdock of Haw Hill, one of the best known horsemen in the district, died on 10th March, a few days after being severely injured when his horse, Master William, fell at the Point-to-Point Races at Dromore.
Willie Andrews announced his retirement as captain of North Down Cricket Club at their annual meeting on 6th March. He had held the post for 39 years. Raymond Crosby was elected as his successor.
The Girls' Auxiliary of First Comber celebrated their 21st anniversary with a birthday party in the church hall on 20th March.
The 50th Belfast (Comber) Company of the Boys' Brigade connected with Second Comber continued their jubilee celebrations with an inspection and display in the Andrews Hall on 24th March in the presence of a large crowd, which included many old boys. The inspecting officer was Mr William Garrett OBE (battalion president), who had been connected with the BB since 1902. Mrs James McAlpine presented the prizes. A social reunion was held on 14th April. Among those present were many old boys, parents and friends. Mr D A Boyd presented to the captain, John Shields, a handsome Jubilee Tablet, giving the names of the chaplains and captains during the fifty years of the company.
A large model of Comber's planned memorial and garden of remembrance to those who fell in the Second World War was on display at the Council meeting of 16th March. The residents of Comber had to date raised £1,000 for the memorial. Decisions had been taken to divert traffic round the Square rather than across it for traffic going towards Killinchy from the Newtownards direction. There was some discussion about removal of the old wooden shed beside the Gillespie Monument.
One of Comber's oldest inhabitants died on 25th March - Thomas Campbell of High Street, at the age of 92. For over forty years he was gardener for the Milling family. He was an expert in the cultivation of flowers, and on many occasions he carried out trials on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Mr Kelso, headmaster of Comber Technical School, took a party of boys from the school on holiday to Paris in April. The boys stayed in a French college, and visited all the tourist attractions, as well as a French engineering works.
15th May saw the death of Robert Harris, aged 83 years, a member of Goldsprings LOL for sixty-six years.
Brigadier Ballentine, Northern Ireland Commandant of the Army Cadet Force, told the boys of the Comber platoon at their inspection on 14th June that theirs was the finest platoon in Northern Ireland. A month later they had the distinction of being named the best platoon at summer camp in England.
Comber Amateur Silver Band's new uniforms were dedicated by Rev Jones at a ceremony in the Andrews Hall on 23rd June. Mr Jones recalled the long association which the band had with the BB in Comber.
The wedding took place on 30th June in the Non-Subscribing Church of Miss Eileen Andrews and Mr John Foulkes. Miss Andrews was a daughter of Mr and Mrs Cecil F Andrews, Inla, Comber.
The Twelfth was celebrated in Comber when brethren from 65 lodges in the Comber, Lecale, Saintfield, Castlewellan and Ballynahinch Districts assembled at the Orange Hall and paraded through the town to the field at Ballywilliam. Praise at the field was led by Comber Amateur Silver Band. Bro George Halliday of Comber District No 15 presided. Speakers included Brian Faulkner MP and Sir Walter Smiles MP.
Comber was also the venue for the County Down Black demonstration on Saturday 26th August, with 105 Preceptories parading to a field on the Belfast Road. The procession halted in The Square when Sir Norman Stronge MP, Sovereign Grand Master of the Imperial Grand Black Chapter of the British Commonwealth, placed a wreath on the War Memorial. Sir Norman Stronge and John Miller Andrews were the main speakers at the field, but unfortunately proceedings had to be curtailed owing to the wet weather.
The funeral service of Lord Glentoran (Herbert Dixon) took place on 22nd July to Comber New Cemetery. Prior to interment there was a short service in Comber Parish Church. Lord Glentoran had been a prominent local politician, having served as Government Chief Whip and Minister of Agriculture.
A new set of drums for the Dr Henry Memorial Pipe Band (formed February 1949) was unveiled by Sir Walter Smiles MP at a gathering in Comber Square on 11th August. The instruments were dedicated by the Rev G T Boyd of Newtownards, then handed over to the band members by Mrs David Hamilton of Trench Farm. The Dr Henry band then paraded the town, accompanied by Kirkistown Pipe Band. The evening ended with a dance in the Andrews Hall.
Plans for the erection of a large number of Council houses at Newtownards Road were considered at a meeting of the Council on 17th August.
The clock of Comber Parish Church, the only public clock in the town, was out of action for three months. Repairs were carried out after an appeal to the townspeople, and the clock was restored to working order in September.
Comber Gas Company complained to the Council that gas pipes to premises were being broken by the mechanical digger opening trenches for the new water mains. The North Down Water Scheme was inaugurated on 4th October at a ceremony at Killaney. Comber was now connected to water piped from the Mournes. It seems that Comber people were slow in making applications to obtain water in their houses.
Comber Civil Defence Club raised £121 at a guest tea in the Andrews Hall on 24th October. This was part of a Northern Ireland recruiting drive for volunteers to join a new Civil Defence force, trained to cope with an emergency in case of future wars.
Substantial repairs were carried out to the Parish Church, and £250 was raised for the repair fund at a sale of work held in the Andrews Hall on 28th October. The sale was opened by Edith de Wind of Barnhill.
At the annual meeting of Comber branch of the Mid-Down Unionist Association on 20th November it was decided to amalgamate the Comber Women's Unionist Association and the men's branch.
Mrs Jessie Andrews, wife of John Miller Andrews, passed away on 26th November at her home at Maxwell Court.
The new headquarters of the 2029 Comber Squadron Air Training Corps in Castle Lane were officially opened by the Air Officer Commanding in Northern Ireland, Air Commodore Pritchett, on 9th December. The building was a long, low hut containing four small rooms and a hall on ground given by the cricket club. Flight-Lieutenant J B Caughey described the day as an historic one for the Comber A.T.C.
Tom McAlpin of Castleavery died in hospital on 16th December following an accident on the road between Newtownards and Comber in the early hours of Saturday morning last. His car skidded on the icy road, dropped four feet into a field and overturned.
The Girls' Brigade entertained the Boys' Brigade at a social meeting on 15th December. This was the occasion for a presentation to Mrs Davidson, the past GB Captain, who had resigned on leaving Comber. The presentation was made by her successor as captain, Miss Mary Alexander.
On Saturday 24th December Comber Welfare Committee gave the children of Comber a Christmas Party in the Andrews Hall. Each of the 600 children received a paper hat on arrival at the hall. Tea was served, and afterwards the children joined in singing carols and songs. On leaving the hall they received a gift from Santa Claus. They then marched to The Square, led by Santa Claus and the Comber Silver Band. On arrival at The Square Santa switched on the lights of the Christmas tree. During the day Comber Silver Band and Dr Henry Memorial Pipe Band played, and later a selection of records was relayed from the hut lent by Mr Milling. On the Monday Comber Pipe Band played, while Comber Temperance Flute Band provided music on the Wednesday evening, after which the Christmas tree was closed down.
In January the Government informed the Council that no further tenants should be accepted for the huts in Killinchy Street. As soon as one became vacant it should be closed down. Later in the year the Council finally got approval to erect 84 new houses in Comber.
Concerns were also raised about the Kennel Bridge which was in a very bad state and liable to collapse. And major work commenced in October on the bridge at Bridge Street.
Samuel Davidson of Castle Street died on 16th January. He had been an outstanding cricket and hockey player for North Down.
Another death occurred on 24th January, that of Rev Robert James Semple, former minister of Second Comber (1897-1910).
Mrs Morris retired after 43 years as a teacher in Comber, first in the Mill School, later in Comber Elementary. A presentation in the form of a clock was made to her at Comber Elementary School on 5th February.
Tributes were paid to Sir James Andrews, the Lord Chief Justice, who died on 18th February at his home at Eusemere. He was buried in the graveyard of Comber Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church. Sunday morning worship at the church on 4th March took the form of a memorial service for Sir James.
Mr and Mrs Samuel Niblock celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in style on 26th February in the Andrews Hall. Many guests attended the party, for which Fanny McRoberts composed some special verses.
Boxing returned to the Andrews Hall on 14th March when the RUC once again staged a tournament there. There were twelve contests, and all but one went the distance.
The danger of contaminated water being used at Comber Elementary School was discussed at Council in April. The school obtained its water from a point close to where sewage was discharged from the new Housing Trust estate. It was suggested that the school should take its water from the new water main, which passed the school.
The "market house" in Comber Square was removed in preparation for the laying out of the garden of remembrance. The pump and watering trough were also taken away. Some people were unhappy at losing the pump, the feeling being that its water was better for drinking than that provided by the new water scheme. Colleagues and friends of John Miller Andrews presented him with his portrait in oils. On 24th April this was handed over to the Speaker of the NI Parliament at a gathering at Stormont with the intention of hanging it in Parliament Buildings.
The sudden death of Harry McCormick on 12th May came as a great shock to the people of Comber. Captain McCormick was a prominent farmer, and among other things was one of Comber's representatives on the Newtownards Rural Council. He was also chairman of Comber British Legion. William Bennett was appointed to the Council in Mr McCormick's place.
A UTA bus bound for Comber from Belfast on 13th June collided with a trolleybus at Knock. 18 passengers were injured.
Two new porches were dedicated at First Comber on 1st July by Rev J C Breakey, a former minister of 2nd Comber. These were to mark the tercentenary of the congregation in 1945, at which time the question of building was not possible. A table and chairs in the front porch were also dedicated. They were the gift of Mrs Cochrane of Cherryvalley in memory of her late husband David.
John McConnell from Ballygowan was struck by a Council-owned lorry and killed on 7th July at Cherryvalley while out walking with his girlfriend. Alexander Henderson of Newtownards, driver of the lorry, was charged with manslaughter.
A new banner was unfurled by Star of Comber RBP 186 at Comber Orange Hall on 4th August. It was dedicated to the memory of William James McKibbin, a former Comber District Master and County Grand Master of Down. His daughter, Mrs Grainger, performed the unfurling. And on 4th September Comber White Flag LOL 244 paid special tribute to John Wallace for 40 years devoted service to the lodge.
Work was proceeding at a new green for the Bowling Club at Londonderry Avenue, and a bazaar was held in August to raise funds.
In September Captain William Bennett commented that there were practically no juvenile delinquents in Comber, and he attributed this to the number of organisations in the town which catered for the young people.
The Comber Produce Company started to kill pigs in Comber in what was formerly the Andrews Grain Store. It now became known as the Piggery. It was run by two retired officers from the Indian army, one of whom was the father of Paddy Ashdown (later to become leader of the Liberal Democrat Party).
North Down Cricket Club were once again relegated to the Qualifying League. Former stationmaster Samuel Johnston, who was made bus depot superintendent in Comber when the railway closed, retired on 29th September. His successor was Mr W J Murtagh. A presentation was made to Mr and Mrs Johnston at a special function in the Andrews Hall in November.
On 23rd October the Andrews Hall was filled to capacity by hundreds of enthusiastic Unionists who turned out to record a vote of confidence in Sir Walter Smiles, their candidate in the forthcoming Westminster election, who was also the sitting MP. The NI Prime Minister, Sir Basil Brooke, was present, along with the Attorney-General, Edmund Warnock. Tribute was also paid to John Miller Andrews.
In October the victorious Comber YM football team, headed by Comber Pipe Band, made a victory parade of the town with the Diamond Cup and the Churches League Cup on view. Cups and medals were handed over to the team at a dance held in the Andrews Hall.
On 26th November 21-month-old Derek Middleton fell into the river and was drowned while playing near his home at the Clattering Ford. His father was Jim Middleton, a Comber garage proprietor.
A new hall specially built for the use of the Youth Association connected with Second Comber was formally opened on 30th December by Mr J L O Andrews and dedicated by the Rev Jones, in the presence of a large number of spectators. Before unlocking the new hall, Mr Andrews inspected the BB and GB Companies of the church. The hall was partially funded by a grant from the Ministry of Education, who were represented at the opening ceremony by Mr Reginald Tyrrell. Tribute was paid to the contractors, Messrs McLaughlin & Harvey, and in particular to Mr Robert Rowan, who supervised the work.
There was a water shortage in Comber during January due to an underground leakage. It was reported that 20,000 gallons were being lost hourly. Problems were discovered in Killinchy Street and the Glen Road, but the main cause of the trouble was in Bridge Street. It took twelve days to put the matter right. As a result the Council agreed to provide sluice valves for attachment to the mains.
At a social held by Comber Bowling Club on 20th January in the Orange Hall, tributes were paid to Mr and Mrs Stanley Johnston who were also presented with gifts prior to their departure to live in Canada. The social was also held to express thanks to the ladies, who organised a bazaar in August at which £300 was raised towards the new green.
Work started in January on building 84 new Council houses in Comber. But there were protests against large numbers of Housing Trust houses being allocated to outsiders from Belfast. A deputation from the Council secured a higher allocation for Comber people. Another problem was about payment of the rates. Housing Trust tenants appealed for a system of weekly payment with the rent.
In February three members of the Comber Special Constabulary were presented with long service certificates - Sub-District Commandant J Hedley, Platoon Sergeant J Todd, and Special Constable Wm Barry (all 29 years' service), and Special Sergeant G Roddy (26 years' service).
Comber shops were closed on 16th February from 12.30 - 2.30 pm in memory of the late King George VI. Memorial services were held at the various churches in the town. Rev John Knox Leslie McKean, minister of First Comber, was elected the new Presbyterian Moderator on 5th February. Comber Presbytery honoured him with a dinner in Belfast on 28th April, while on 16th May at a function in the Andrews Hall he was presented with Moderatorial robes by the congregation of First Comber. He was eventually installed at the opening of the General Assembly on 2nd June. Rev Fred Cromie took over the duties of minister at First Comber during Rev McKean's year as Moderator.
Edith de Wind of Barnhill left Comber in April to live in Canada with her sister Mrs O'Meara. Miss de Wind's brother Edmund won the VC during World War One. She herself was one of the first nurses to land in France in 1914. She had been president of the Women's Section of the British Legion for several years, and in March was presented with a Certificate of Merit by that organisation. Another sister, Alice, had organised the Earl Haig Poppy Fund in Comber until her death.
At First Comber's annual social John Robb was presented with a wrist watch and a wallet of notes for his services to the Sunday School. He had been a teacher for over 50 years, 30 of them as superintendent.
The Council requested the UTA to erect a waiting room and sanitary convenience in Comber Square. However, in April the UTA replied that they would not be providing this facility; rather, development of their services would be at the former railway station where these facilities existed.
On 11th May it was discovered that vandals had uprooted one of the newly-planted trees in the Garden of Remembrance, soon to be opened in Comber Square.
Captain William Bennett had to fight to retain his seat on the Council, facing opposition from Hugh Murphy and William McGreeghan, but was returned in June with a comfortable majority. Willie Andrews was brought from his sick bed to the polling station on a stretcher.
The Garden of Remembrance was dedicated on the evening of Friday 27th June. This was to honour those from Comber and district who took part in the Second World War, including 9 men who gave their lives - Signalman Hans Calvert, A.B./S Jordan Cooke, Sergt.-Observer Tom McCloud, L.A.C. Ritson Petts, Sergt. James Shields, Gunner John Sturgeon, Pilot Officer Irwin Taylor, Cpl. Matthew Wilson, and A.B./S Thomas Wilson. The names were inscribed on plaques attached to the pillars at the entrance to the garden. A parade of local organisations marched to the Square accompanied by Comber Amateur Silver Band and Comber Pipe Band. Dr Brian Henry chaired the proceedings in the Square, while Dr McKean, Presbyterian Moderator, paid tribute to the fallen and to those who had served. The plaques were then unveiled by Lord Glentoran, after which John Miller Andrews read the names of the fallen. Archdeacon Manning (a former rector of St Mary's) delivered the prayer of dedication, and this was followed by the sounding of the Last Post, a two minutes' silence and the Reveille. The Garden was then formally handed over to the Newtownards Rural District Council who had agreed to maintain it. The chairman of the Council, Mr W J Bailie, accepted it on their behalf. Other speakers included Rev J E Jones and Mr H H Cameron, on behalf of the War Memorial Committee, and Mr William Andrews and Mr S Allen for the British Legion. A number of wreaths were then laid at the War Memorial. Seats and trees in the Garden were donated by organisations from within the town.
Willie Andrews had just been awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to cricket. Another recipient of the MBE was David Hunter, an assistant manager in Harland & Wolff, who was also president of the 50th (Comber) BB Company.
A new standard for the Women's Section of Comber British Legion was dedicated at a special service held in First Comber on 15th June.
Once again a party of 13 boys and girls from Comber Tech, accompanied by their headmaster Mr Kelso, made a tour to the Continent, this time to France, Switzerland and Italy.
On 4th July a ceremony was performed by Mrs Robert Glover who laid the last sod of the new Comber Bowling Green at Londonderry Avenue.
A depot for artificial insemination was set up in Comber.
Comment was made on the dangerous state of the bridge in Bridge Street, which was being widened. At a Council meeting it was suggested that the erection of safety railings to separate pedestrians from the traffic was a mistake. Children would be tempted to swing on them, and so run the risk of being struck by passing vehicles.
In August heavy rain caused the Distillery Dam to flood and someone opened the sluices. Water gushed out on to the road and flooded nearby houses. Much of the timber shoring at the bridge was swept away.
Rumours were circulating in September that the railway from Comber to Belfast was about to be re-opened. These rumours were unfounded.
Three Comber men went to prison in September for stealing lead from the roof of Comber Railway Station - David Mannis and Robert Cannavan of Upper Crescent and Robert Clarke of Brownlow Street.
The approaches to Second Comber were re-modelled and the new teak entrance gates and sweeping carriage ways, together with centre steps and tiled plateau, were widely commended. Rev Jones celebrated 25 years as minister on 15th November.
Mr J L Northmore retired as a teacher in Comber Primary School on 26th September. He had been a teacher for 43 years, and until 1938 principal at the Londonderry School in the Square. Unfortunately he could not be at the special occasion held in his honour, as he was seriously ill in hospital. He died on 5th October.
On 27th September Comber Ulster Special Constabulary rifle shooting team became Ulster champions.
Harry Midgley, Minister of Education, visited Comber Technical School on 1st November, when he inspected the pupils and opened the school's sale of work.
There were complaints at a Council meeting in December about the inadequacy of street lighting at the Garden of Remembrance in The Square.
The last distilling of Old Comber Whiskey was carried out.
Mrs R A Johnston, formerly Gwen Gracey, was awarded the MBE in the New Year's Honours List. This was for services to the theatre. Her husband had received the same award in 1945 for his work with the Comber Home Guard.
Another recipient of the MBE was Norman Nevin, this time in the Coronation Honours List. This recognised his service with the Army Cadet Force.
There were complaints regarding a decision by the Council to remove the remaining water pumps in Comber. Many thought that the piped water supply was unfit for drinking. There were also complaints about the noise of the water pipes in the new houses. Lack of lighting at the approaches to the new housing estate was another issue raised.
On 12th January Comber Primary School was presented with a Certificate of Merit to recognise the fine record of the Savings Group connected with the school. Over £8,250 had been saved by the pupils since 1942. Much credit for this was due to the late Mr Northmore.
Rev and Mrs Jones were honoured on 21st January by the committee of 2nd Comber Young People's Guild at a social function to mark Mr Jones' 25 years association with the Guild. Another presentation was made by the Girls' Brigade at their weekly parade on 30th January.
The Coronation Beauty Queen was chosen at a dance run by Comber Temperance Flute Band on 30th January. The winner was Miss Sadie Craig of Ravara.
Mrs Catherine Needham of Bridge Street died on 11th February after being badly burned in an accident in her home involving an electric fire.
A meeting was held in the Andrews Hall on 5th February with the object of forming a Scout Group and Company of Girl Guides. Much enthusiasm was shown and 65 young people submitted their names as prospective members. The two organisations were soon in operation.
In May there was some talk of a new technical school for Comber, following a recent announcement by the Minister of Education that it was intended to set up more technical schools under a five-year plan. There was some criticism of conditions at the present school. The local Education Committee toyed with the idea of acquiring a house in Railway Street to renovate into a new school, but not everyone was happy with this. It was thought that a suitable site might soon come on the market.
Comber Platoon of the Army Cadet Force had a social evening on 13th May, during which they were honoured by a visit from Lord MacDermott, the Lord Chief Justice, who was greatly impressed by the facilities and showed some prowess with a rifle when he joined the boys on the range. The Comber Platoon had got the name of the finest in Northern Ireland. There was also an active Ladies' Committee who raised funds every year for the annual summer camp in England. On this occasion they handed over a large cheque for this cause.
At a Mothers' Union service in Comber Parish Church on Sunday 17th May, one of the features was the presence of the Diocesan Banner which was recently dedicated. On the same day the Ulster Special Constabulary paid tribute to their late Commandant, Captain Harry McCormick, with the gift of a seat in his memory in the Garden of Remembrance.
Over 1,000 people attended the carnival and sports held by Comber Parish Church at Unicarval House, the home of Major and Mrs McLaughlin, on Saturday 30th May. A sum of over £200 was realised. Mrs McLaughlin held another fete at Unicarval on 13th June, this time for the Mid-Down Women's Unionist Association. Again £200 was raised.
The Coronation Of Queen Elizabeth II took place on Tuesday 2nd June, and Comber celebrated the occasion. The events commenced on Coronation Eve when four ladies toured the town in Comber's own "Coronation Wagon" to judge the competitions for the best decorated street and house. High Street won the former, while Robert Simpson of Brownlow Street took the prize for best decorated house. On the big day itself the schoolchildren assembled in The Square at 1.15pm, and accompanied by bands paraded to the North Down Cricket Grounds for a monster sports meeting. Each boy and girl was given a tin of sweets as a special Coronation gift, and there were refreshments for all the children. Hundreds of people saw the bonfire lit at 10 o'clock and watched the grand fireworks display which followed. A special Coronation Service was held in Comber Primary School on Friday 5th June.
The new bowling green at Londonderry Avenue was officially opened on 13th June. Mr T H Barr, president of the International Board, the Rt. Hon J M Andrews, and Mr David Hamilton were the first persons to enter through the new gates presented by the Ladies' Committee. Mrs J Burgess, the committee secretary, opened the gates. Mr Andrews unfurled the flag which he himself presented to the club, and the first bowl was thrown by Mrs Hamilton.
Comment was made on the marked improvement in the condition of North Down cricket ground, following the appointment of a new groundsman. Similar favourable remarks were passed about the excellent order of the grounds at the Andrews Hall but the same could not be said about the Garden of Remembrance in the Square where the grass was badly in need of cutting. There were also complaints about broken glass scattered over the roads in the Housing Trust Estate. It was also reported that sewerage from the Estate was being discharged into the river.
A new venture was an open air whist drive run at the Cricket Grounds when £40 was raised for club funds.
On 28th June a service was held in the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church to dedicate new band uniforms for Comber Temperance Prize Flute Band.
The Council purchased a portion of ground to extend Comber Cemetery.
Mr J M Andrews retired from Parliament after 32 years' continuous membership. His son, J L O Andrews, took over his seat for Mid-Down. To mark his retirement, Mr Andrews was guest of honour at a luncheon held at Unionist Party HQ, Glengall Street, Belfast, in September. Later in the year Mr J L O Andrews resigned from his position of secretary of the Comber Unionists after 22 years.
John Shields resigned as captain of the 50th Company Boys' Brigade following his recent marriage. He was succeeded in the post by his brother William Shields.
Another resignation was that of 2nd Comber's organist, Mr R A Patterson (for the second time) from 30th August. He was succeeded by Robert Mayne. A presentation was made to Mr Patterson at a function on 29th October. Miss C L Murray, who had given great service to the choir over the years, was also honoured.
The Home Guard had been resurrected, but recruits were slow in coming forward. An impassioned plea was made for members by Major F G Smith.
The death occurred on 2nd September of Mr David A Boyd of Mahee Island. Mr Boyd was a chartered accountant by profession and was also treasurer of Second Comber Presbyterian Church. He took an interest in motor cycling and had been associated with the Ballydrain club in pre-war years. He had also been chairman and later president of the Ulster Motor Cycle Club.
Another death was that of Samuel Thomas Nelson of Ballydrain who died on 28th September as the result of injuries received when the car in which he was a passenger collided with an Army truck near the Glassmoss level crossing.
The first tenants moved into houses in the new Council estate, known as the McCormick Estate after the late Capt. Harry McCormick. The names of streets were given a Coronation theme (Coronation Crescent, Elizabeth Gardens, Philip Way, Charles Way and Anne Way). The Council refused permission for tenants to erect fowl houses. The huts in Killinchy Street were vacated.
William Niblock died on 5th October after a long illness.
Mrs Munn of Cattogs passed away on 11th October. She was well-known for the amount of work she did for various charities, particularly the Ards Hospital. Jane McRoberts followed on 6th November. She had a drapery and furnishing business in Castle Street.
A concert was given on 25th November by James Young in the Andrews Hall.
In November Comber Presbytery said that the task of religious education was being carried out in excellent fashion by the teachers.
Comber Amateur Silver Band held a social evening on 27th November to celebrate their recent victory in the Junior First Grade Silver Band Championship of Ireland.
The old Londonderry School building in the Square was demolished in December in readiness for work commencing on building the new Parochial Hall.
On 4th December Comber Parish Church made a presentation to Randal Middleton at a reunion in the Andrews Hall. Mr Middleton had been caretaker and sexton of the church for 53 years. A wallet of notes was handed over by Mrs Gracey.
On 4th January Comber District of the Orange Order presented John Miller Andrews with two portraits of himself in oils. One of these was retained in the Orange Hall. Later in the year Mr Andrews relinquished his position of Imperial Grand Master of the Grand Orange Council of the World and Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, although he retained the office of County Grand Master of Down. Another Orangeman honoured was William Fisher for his service to Goldsprings LOL over 24 years.
The death occurred on 26th January of James Smyth of Castle Street in his 84th year. Mr Smyth had carried on the family butcher business started by his father in 1868. He was deeply interested in 2nd Comber Presbyterian Church and was captain of the Boys' Brigade from 1905-7. Despite his advanced years he acted as warden with the Comber Civil Defence Unit during the 2nd World War.
Another death was that of Tommy Crosby of Mill Street on 1st February. He had carried on a taxi business for many years and was a former treasurer of North Down Cricket Club.
Some tenants of the Newtownards Road huts staged a protest in February by refusing to pay their rent. This was because they had been without electricity since a storm blew down the poles the previous month. The Council refused to act regarding repairs as they wanted the huts vacated as soon as possible.
In March Mrs Patricia McLaughlin of Unicarval was chosen by the West Belfast Unionist selection committee as their candidate in the next Imperial General Election. She was the wife of Mr W H W McLaughlin, a director of the Belfast building firm, McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd.
Mr David Munn of Cattogs House passed away in March at the age of 79. He was well known in farming and hunting circles, having been Master of the North Down Harriers' Hunt Club for 17 years. He was a member of Down County Council, and former chairman of Comber Branch of the Ulster Farmers' Union. He had been an elder in Comber Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church for almost 40 years.
A fireside chair was presented to Alex Morrow at a social function in the Orange Hall on 24th March. This was in recognition of his long years of service to Comber Temperance Flute Band. This was a good year for Comber bands who did very well at the open-air championships of the North of Ireland Bands' Association held in Portrush in June. Comber Temperance won the Windsor Cup, while Comber Silver took the McConnell Cup.
A runaway horse caused some excitement on 31 March after taking fright and bolting when out for exercise on the Glen Road. It galloped down through Mill Street and Castle Street to The Square, terrifying a number of girl workers from the mill. Sergeant Killick, who was on traffic duty at The Square, dived at the animal and clung on to the reins and harness while being dragged along the ground. He brought it to a halt in High Street and it was eventually stabled in Millings' Yard.
Comber Platoon of the Army Cadet Force won the "Telegraph Cup" for .22 shooting on 3rd April. This trophy had eluded them for many years, but now they eventually won it at the seventh attempt.
A Junior Boys' Company was formed at 2nd Comber and held their first parents' night on 6th April. The church also leased the adjoining Distillery field for ten years with a view to its use by the youth organisations. Lack of a public convenience in the town proved an embarrassment when the final of the All-Ireland Hockey Cup was played at Comber. Plans for a convenience were eventually approved towards the end of the year, although the Ulster Transport Authority refused to make a contribution to the cost of erection. The Council had argued that it would be largely used by people using the Authority's services.
David Dickson of Quarry Farm, Castle Espie passed away on 9th April at the age of 56. He was an extensive farmer.
A serious accident occurred on 26th April when a lorry crashed into a post at the Glassmoss level crossing and overturned, injuring the six occupants. The driver, Joseph Alexander Bradshaw, aged 54, of Ballyaltikilligan, passed away in Ards Hospital on 20th September.
Former Comber boy Tom Casey, now playing for Newcastle United football team, was selected for Northern Ireland at right half against the British Army at Windsor Park in May.
St Mary's Scout Group held their first annual parents' night on 30th April in the Orange Hall. The Assistant Scout Master, John Steele, deputised for Scout Master Eddie Griffiths, who was unavoidably absent. The Cubs were in the charge of Miss Margaret Dunbar. A dedication service for the Scouts and Guides was held on 5th December.
Four old Comber residents died at the end of May. David Clarke of Braeside, aged 85, had once driven the mail car between Comber Station and Killyleagh. Two brothers passed away with 24 hours of each other - James Douglas Niblock of Castle Street and Samuel Niblock of Bridge Street. J D Niblock had carried on a hardware business in Castle Street and had played cricket for North Down. He was also secretary of Comber Cemetery. Sam Niblock died at his daughter's residence in Hertfordshire where he had gone for a holiday. He had been a chemist in The Square before emigrating to America for a period, but on his return set up business again. Charlotte Dunbar of High Street was 91 years old and had come to Comber from Ballymacreely 60 years ago.
The Mid-Down Women's Unionist Association held a fete on 12th June in the grounds of Unicarval House, the home of Mr and Mrs Henry McLaughlin. As well as the various stalls, attractions included a Gypsies Den (for fortune-telling), a miniature golf course, and rides on the Unicarval Rolls Royce (a pony and trap). Over £300 was raised.
It was a momentous year at St Mary's Parish Church. A new organ was dedicated on 30th May by the Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Rt. Rev W S Kerr. The new Parochial Hall was opened on 3rd July by the Dowager Marchioness of Londonderry. In the absence of the Bishop due to illness, the dedication was carried out by the Archdeacon of Down, the Venerable C I Peacocke. The hall was erected at a cost of £7,500. An electric clock was added to the front of the building in August. Canon Houston, rector, had to retire in October due to illness. His replacement was Rev R C Stevenson, curate of St Comgall's in Bangor, who was instituted in Comber on 4th November by the Bishop of Down and Dromore, Rt. Rev W S Kerr.
Mr George Wynne-Eyton of Newtownards was killed at Ballyrickard on 12th July in a crash involving three cars. He had been a war-time test pilot and was resident instructor of the Ulster Flying Club at Ards Airport.
Francis Murray of Ballyaltikilligan, a 52-year-old farmer, took his own life on 31st July when he shot himself with a double-barrelled shotgun.
Potato blight broke out in the Comber district in August.
Comber Methodist Church was closed for a while to allow major repairs to the roof to be carried out. Services were held in First Comber Church Hall. The re-opening services took place on 26th September.
Constable James Burrows of Comber RUC, a policeman in Comber for the past 22 years, retired in October. And in November Mr S A McLaughlin retired after 18 years as manager of the Northern Bank.
25-year-old Richard Cranston of Ringneil was killed on 16th October when his shotgun accidentally discharged into his chest as he was climbing through a gap in a hedge.
The gym class connected with First Comber changed over to a Girls' Life Brigade Company. Miss Ann Horner, who had charge of the gym, became Captain of the Company. On 26th November Major Mrs Ardill visited the Company and appointed the officers.
At a meeting of Comber Branch of the Mid-Down Unionist Association on 15th November it was decided that the men's and women's branches in Comber should be combined.
At a Council meeting on 1st December a proposal was discussed regarding the conversion of premises at Comber into an abattoir catering for the export of dried meat, lamb and pork. The North of Ireland Meat Exporters Ltd, East Bridge Street, Belfast hoped to set up their business in premises occupied by the firm of John Lee on the Newtownards Road, the site of the former Lower Distillery. Preliminary approval was given.
Comber branch of the 13th R.I.R. Old Comrades' Association had lapsed, but was resurrected after two years absence.
36 new houses were being built on the site of the old army huts in Killinchy Street. The Council agreed that the street should be known as "Park Way".
Comber Young Farmers' Club formed a Junior section in November for members under 16 years of age. This proved very successful.
The Girls' Training Corps disbanded after eight years in existence. A final social evening took place on 14th December, on which occasion the commandant of the corps, Mrs Betty McLaughlin, was presented with a gift to mark her marriage. Also present was Miss A Horner, commandant when the corps was formed.
William McQuade of Longlands was killed on Christmas Eve in a hit and run accident on the road between Comber and Newtownards.
The recently formed Comber Platoon of the East Down Home Guard Battalion held its first parade on Tuesday 8th January at its platoon headquarters, "Inla", Railway Street. The Commanding Officer was Major F G Smith. The Army Cadet Force was also making use of "Inla" as their HQ. A new twenty-five yard miniature shooting range was built at the rear of the house. The Comber Cadets had built up a great reputation for shooting and in April were awarded the King's Shield, the first time it had come to Northern Ireland.
At the annual congregational reunion of St Mary's Parish Church in January, a challenge was issued to each family to raise £20 during the next twelve months. This would help reduce the debt and thus the amount of interest to be paid on the loan taken out for the new Parochial Hall and for renovations to the rectory and the verger's house. New gifts were dedicated at morning service on 24th January
Also on 24th January ten new elders were ordained at First Comber. They were John D Cairns, James Berkeley, G Galway, David Hamilton, William Hewitt, James A McBriar, William J McQuoid, David F Morrow, David Nesbitt, and James McA Robb.
Comber Temperance Flute Band held a grand "victory social" in the Orange Hall when they were presented with the cups they had won at the North of Ireland championships at the Ulster Hall in November. Tribute was paid to Mr Dunwoody, the conductor of the band.
James Osborne, a 54-year-old farmer from Ballyrickard, was killed on 28th January after being caught in the belt shaft of a corn-grinding machine which he was operating.
The death occurred of Canon F B Aldwell at his home in Comber on 1st February. Canon Aldwell was rector of St George's Parish Church, Belfast, for 24 years. His daughter was Mrs McLaughlin of Unicarval House.
A former minister of Second Comber, Rev J C Breakey, now minister of Fortwilliam Presbyterian Church, Belfast, was elected as the new Moderator of the General Assembly. But another former minister passed away on 3rd February - Rev Thomas McConnell who was the incumbent from 1911 until 1919.
Government approval was given for the erection of an abattoir in Comber to be operated by The North of Ireland Meat Exporters Ltd, East Bridge Street, Belfast. There was a protest, however, against the proposed siting of the abattoir which was going to be close to over 100 planned new houses.
Ballydrain Harriers regained the Northern Ireland senior cross-country championship in February when they took the championship from East Antrim after one of the best races ever seen in the event.
The First Comber Company of the Girls' Life Brigade, formed a short time before Christmas, were officially enrolled as a company. They replaced First Comber Girls Gym.
Second Comber took out a lease on the Distillery field which the BB were using as a football pitch.
The Council were of the opinion that traffic lights were essential at the junction of High Street and Castle Street.
At their AGM in April an appeal was made to the members of North Down Cricket Club to spend more time at practice during the coming season. The team did manage to win the Qualifying League, but were not granted promotion to the Senior League.
On 9th April Heather Andrews, daughter of Mr JLO Andrews MP, was married in Comber Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church to Trevor Dempster Boyd of Cultra.
A bannerette was presented to Comber Branch of the Ards Supporters' Club. This was the gift of Belmont Linfield Supporters' organisation, and was the work of Mr Walter Pinkerton of Nettlefield Glens Supporters' Club. It bore the portrait of Sir Robert Rollo Gillespie along with the expression "one more shot for the honour of Down".
On Sunday 17th April new colours were dedicated in St Mary's Parish Church for 1st Comber Boy Scout Group and 1st Comber Girl Guide Company. After the service the organisations paraded the town led by Comber Temperance Flute Band.
Comber lad Tom Casey played in the F.A. Cup Final for Newcastle United when they defeated Manchester City 3-1 on 7th May.
An auction of pews and other items took place at Second Comber on 14th May following their dismantling by a voluntary work party. These were the original pews from 1840. The church was completely refurnished over the next few months with morning services being held in the Andrews Memorial Hall and evening services in the Church Hall. Re-opening services took place on 4th September. In the morning Dr Breakey (Moderator and former minister of the congregation) unveiled a Roll of Honour in the vestibule in memory of those who gave their lives in the Second World War and in honour of those who served. He also dedicated the War Memorial Pulpit and various gifts. The following week Dr McKean of 1st Comber and Professor Haire of Assembly's College were the preachers. Further gifts were dedicated on 16th October in the form of offertory tables and an electric clock.
Mrs Patricia McLaughlin of Unicarval became Unionist MP for West Belfast at the election held in June with a majority of 18,141. A Victory Fete was held at Unicarval on 11th June where the attractions included donkey and pony rides, a fancy-dress parade, fortune-telling, clock golf, a baby show - in addition to a large number of stalls and side-shows.
The death occurred of Hugh Humphries, postman in Comber for over 50 years.
Special services were held on 5th June at St Mary's to mark the 115th anniversary of the opening of the church. Rev Chisholm of Newtownards preached in the morning, while the speaker in the evening was Rev Alfred McKelvie, Rector of St Donard's, Belfast. In August the congregation bid farewell to their organist, Miss Hutchinson, who left to take up a post in Belfast.
Preparations were being made for a suggested layout of an extension to Comber Cemetery.
Comber's new public convenience at Castle Street eventually opened in July, after the frustration of a 25 year search for a site. They were just in time for the Twelfth Demonstration held in the town, an event which had been in doubt due to a threatened transport strike. A few weeks later the Juveniles held their demonstration in Comber.
Steeplejacks were at work at the end of August on strengthening 130 feet high spinning mill chimney.
In September the Council decided to approach the Northern Ireland Fire Authority with a view to establishing a fire brigade in Comber. The Fire Authority refused the request.
On 16th September the Junior Christian Endeavour attached to Comber Methodist Church held their first birthday party in the Orange Hall.
Annie Campbell died in September at her home in Braeside at the age of 92. She ran a confectionary and grocery business in the town.
On 14th October two 13-year-old pupils of Comber Technical School saved the life of a Ballygowan youth called Desmond Simpson at the "Hot Dam" at the mill. Herbert Wright of Castle Street pulled him from the water when he got into difficulties while John Gracey of Charles Way used artificial respiration to revive him.
Two men from Bangor and one from Belfast received prison sentences following a "smash and grab" raid on Captain William Bennett's jeweller's shop in Castle Street on 20th October when they stole watches valued at £125.
Lady McDermott, wife of the Lord Chief Justice, opened a sale of work in First Comber on 29th October. This was in aid of the Church Building Fund and realised over £300.
In November the Government approved the erection of 140 new houses at Comber, but with modifications to the Council's planned layout. The Council decided to proceed and adhere to the original layout plan.
At the British Legion dinner on 4th November Fred Warner, hon. treasurer for many years of the Comber Branch, received the highest honour that the movement can offer - the Gold Badge.
Mrs Pearl McAlpine of Mount Alexander was reported as operating a mink farm.
The annual RUC boxing tournament took place on 30th November in the Andrews Memorial Hall before a packed audience.
The retirement of Mrs E Crowe after 40 years' teaching service in Comber was marked in December by a presentation at Comber Primary School.
The death occurred on 24th December of Miss Edith de Wind at a nursing home in Belfast. Miss de Wind formerly lived at Barnhill, Comber, before emigrating to Canada in 1952 where she lived for a while with her sister. During the First World she volunteered as a nurse and went to France where she remained until after the Armistice. She was a former president of the Women's Section of the British Legion (Comber Branch). Her brother, Edmund de Wind, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross in the First World War.
The former rector of St Mary's, Canon John Sheffield Houston BA, passed away in Ards Hospital on 10th January. He had ministered in Comber for 36 years from 1918 to 1954.
Eleven elders were ordained in 2nd Comber on 15th January. They were Louis Adair, Joseph H Barbour, Robert Cooke, John Donnan (jun.), Frank Henderson, Samuel Herron, Ernest Kane, Robert Minnis, Samuel K Patterson, David Ritchie, and Robert Rowan.
On 17th January the 4-year-old son of Mrs Dempster of Belfast Road was dramatically rescued when fire broke out in the house. Mr Shields of Ballywilliam, who was passing at the time, rushed into the burning kitchen and carried the boy outside to safety. The fire was soon brought under control, but the kitchen was badly damaged.
David Mannis from Coach Road was sent for trial at Downpatrick after breaking into the garage of Jim Middleton on Belfast Road and stealing a sum of money.
At the annual congregational reunion of St Mary's Parish Church on 20th January, Mr W J Murtagh, treasurer, indicated that the parish debt was reduced from £7,500 to £5,600. This was Mr Murtagh's last report as he was leaving Comber to take up an appointment as stationmaster at Holywood. At morning service on 12th February a Psalm Board, donated by Mr Murtagh, was dedicated in the church. And in March the presentation of a clock was made to Mr Murtagh by his colleagues in the UTA; also honoured was Mr Connolly, assistant traffic manager, who was moving to head office in Belfast.
A new arrangement for car parking in The Square was introduced in February. Cars were to be parked "end-on" to create more parking space. Also in February the railway bridge at the Glen Road was demolished.
Mr J L O Andrews had the distinction of moving the Address in reply to the Queen's Speech in the House of Commons at Stormont, the first time that the Member for Mid-Down had moved that Address.
Another attempt was made to get a fire brigade for Comber when a deputation from the Council met with the Northern Ireland Fire Authority. Nothing came of the matter.
At the annual meeting of North Down Cricket Club on 15th March emphasis was put on coaching boys to play. It was reported that mains water had now been brought inside the ground and hope was expressed that a new pavilion would be erected when money was available.
Awards were made on 21st March in the Unitarian Church Hall to Herbert Wright of Comber Army Cadet Force and to John Gracey of St Mary's Scout Troop for the part they played in October 1955 in saving the life of Desmond Simpson, a Ballygowan youth who got into trouble when swimming in the "hot dam". Further awards were made in May at the Empire Day Youth Service in 2nd Comber.
Feelings of indignation and disgust were expressed at the annual meeting of Comber Farmers' Union with regard to the recently published annual price review. A resolution was passed condemning the imposition by Government of a scale of farm prices which was entirely out of line with increased costs being borne by the industry.
First Comber held their annual social on 28th March. An appeal was made for support to raise £7,000 for the new church manse and visits would be made to homes to collect for this.
The annual meeting of Comber Young Farmers' Club on 10th April marked the beginning of their 21st anniversary year. Robin Morrow, deputising as chairman in the absence of Crosbie Cochrane, described the year just ended as an extremely successful one, adding that "We must celebrate this year with even greater achievements than we have done before".
St Mary's badminton team won the Church of Ireland League Minor Cup, defeating St Nicholas' in the final held in St Donard's Hall, Bloomfield.
The Duke of Edinburgh passed through Comber on 25th April on his way to Newtownards.
Anniversary services were held in St Mary's on 3rd June to mark the 116th anniversary of the consecration of the church.
A bird belonging to Petts & Partners of Comber won the prestigious King's Cup pigeon race from Rennes (France). The bird was called "Shot Hen" because it was shot in the neck a few years ago. The partnership consisted of Neill Petts (chaffeur to Willie Andrews), his son Neill, and his father-in-law, William Watterson.
Ernie Kane opened new car showrooms in The Square.
Star of Bethlehem RBP 688 held a social evening on 24th July to celebrate its golden jubilee. The preceptory was formed in 1906. The first Worshipful Master of the Preceptory, David Quinn JP, was present at the jubilee.
On 3rd August Robert McCrea & Son opened for business in Castle Street in the shop formerly belonging to the McRoberts family.
Work commenced in August of the demolition of the Old House originally built by John Andrews the Great in Castle Street in 1746. This was to be the site for a new cinema.
The Council's attention was drawn to damage repeatedly being caused to the sanitary convenience and notices were displayed prohibiting such practice. The condition of Castle Street and Mill Street were also giving cause for concern.
The death occurred on 5th August of John Miller Andrews at the age of 85. He represented Mid-Down at Stormont from 1921 until his retirement in 1953, and was Minister of Labour (1921-37), Minister of Finance (1937-40), and Prime Minister (1940-43). His funeral was private, but a memorial service was held in Comber Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church on 12th August, at which Lord Wakehurst, Governor of Northern Ireland, was among the large congregation. An impressive tribute was paid by Rev Glynne Davies, minister of the church.
26th August saw a large congregation at 1st Comber for the farewell sermon of Dr McKean who was retiring after 40 years as minister of the church. Dr McKean was also a former Moderator of the General Assembly. Comber Presbytery gave a complimentary dinner in his honour on 4th September in the War Memorial Hostel, Belfast, while the following evening a reception was held by 1st Comber in the Andrews Hall when presentations were made to Dr McKean and to his sister Mrs Holmes who lived with him.
Another retirement was that of Mr Dixon Adair, employed in Comber Picture House since it opened in 1934. A presentation was made to him at a ceremony held on 24th August at the home of Mr Jack McKeag, Bridge Street, an operator at The Picture House
Down County Council purchased 4½ miles of the abandoned BCDR railway track from the UTA stretching from Dundonald Railway Bridge to the level crossing at Glassmoss. They planned to build a road on a small section of this between the Carstrand Bridge and Killinchy Road. This would enable traffic from the Killinchy direction to avoid the narrow Castle Street and Mill Street where the road was badly cambered. The UTA re-routed their buses to Belfast via High Street and Railway Street because of the condition of the main street. The people of Comber were unimpressed by the idea of a bypass, believing that trade would be adversely affected.
Considerable damage was caused to the shop of Mrs Prosser in Castle Street when fire broke out on 2nd September.
On 25th September 9-year-old schoolboy David Morgan of Straiddorn Green was critically injured while on his newspaper delivery run. His bicycle collided with a car on the Killinchy Road. He died the following day.
Concerns were raised by the Resident Magistrate, Mr J O H Long, at Comber Petty Sessions, relating to the crossroads in The Square. He appealed for traffic lights at the corner of High Street and Comber Square following a number of accidents there. However the authorities refused to provide lights at what became known as "Calamity Corner", saying that it was necessary to have a flow of 200 vehicles per hour before they could be approved. The matter was also brought up at Council by William Bennett.
Comber District of the Royal Ulster Special Constabulary won the Northern Ireland team rifle shooting championship of the R.U.S.C. on 22nd September.
And Comber Army Cadet Force were placed first out of 263 teams from Great Britain in the Imperial Challenge Shields tourney for .22 shooting, with all ten members of the Comber team qualifying as Empire marksmen. The Platoon also agreed to take part in a pilot scheme for the Duke of Edinburgh awards.
At a meeting of Comber District LOL on 1st October there was discussion about the route of the parade on 12th July which some thought was too long. Many of the older brethren were tired out before they started for the field. As an alternative an extended parade through the town on the 1st July was suggested. Application for a new lodge at Gilnahirk was granted.
On 12th October a presentation was made by the Ulster Transport Authority to George Dunbar on his retirement after 39 years' service, 33 of these with the Belfast and County Down Railway at Comber Station. At the age of 27 he joined the BCDR as a porter, rising to the position of head porter and later signalman.
A presentation of a framed Poppy Day Certificate was made to Miss F Smith of Mill Street to mark 32 years as a Poppy Day collector.
The RUC boxing tournament, organised by Sergeant Killick, took place on 24th October in the Andrews Memorial Hall.
The tennis courts at the Andrews Hall were re-surfaced and re-drained. Many fixtures could not be fulfilled during the season just past because of the condition of the courts during adverse weather.
The death occurred on 30th October of Oscar Andrews, a director of Isaac Andrews Flour Mills in Belfast, and formerly the outstanding Ulster cricketer of his day. He was also a renowned hockey player. He played both these sports for North Down at Comber. He was a cousin of the late John Miller Andrews.
A tender submitted by Henry Gilmore of Kircubbin was approved by the Council for the erection of 138 houses in Comber.
On morning service on 4th November in the Non-Subscribing Church a plaque was dedicated to the memory of the late David Munn JP and of his wife Mary Bateman Munn, Cattogs House. The memorial was unveiled by their nephew, Mr J M Irwin, Belfast, and the service was conducted by Rev J Glynne Davies. Mr Munn had been an elder in the congregation for 40 years.
An appeal was made by a number of the Comber clergy and other influential local men for the people of Comber to subscribe to the Hungarian Relief Fund. Russian troops had moved into that country. A house to house collection was arranged for 24th November.
At the annual dinner of Comber British Legion on 9th November Mr Currie MP made a strong statement in support of the Government's action in regard to the Egyptian situation. Dr Nixon MP endorsed this view at the AGM of Comber Branch of the Mid-Down Unionist Association. Britain had sent troops into the Suez Canal zone to try and prevent escalation of the conflict there.
The Christmas sale of St Mary's Parish Church, held on 10th November, was opened by Lady Wakehurst, wife of the Governor of Northern Ireland. Also present was Dr Mitchell, Bishop of Down and Dromore.
Edwin Heath, the hypnotist, appeared in the Andrews Hall in December. Several of the younger people volunteered to act as "patients", much to the amusement of the audience.
Hugh McMillan (aged 53) of Ballyrickard died as the result of an accident on 14th December when a car collided with his pedal cycle on the Comber-Newtownards Road.
On 19th January John Maynard James Andrews, eldest son of Mr J L O Andrews MP, married Edith Morna Hunter in Great James Street Presbyterian Church, Londonderry.
The "coming-of-age" of Comber Young Farmers' Club was celebrated in the Andrews Memorial Hall on 1st February when the 21st annual dinner was held. Mrs R Minnis baked a large birthday cake specially for the occasion. At the club's annual meeting on 9th April it was decided to discontinue the annual Seed Time service which had been held alternately in First and Second Comber.
Rev William Robert Brown was installed as minister of 1st Comber Presbyterian Church on 19th February. He had previously been minister of Carnlough and Cushendall since 1949. The following evening a congregational reception was held in the Andrews Hall when Rev Brown was presented with pulpit robes.
St Mary's Parish Church was the venue for a service on 24th February attended by Boy Scouts, Wolf Cubs, Girl Guides and Brownies from all over the Ards district commemorating the birth of Lord Baden-Powell (founder of the Scout Movement) 100 years ago.
Robert Alexander Johnston MBE died on 2nd March at his residence, Gwenville. He was managing director of the NI Tyre Service Co Ltd. During the war years he was a leading figure in the Home Guard and was until its disbandment Commandant of the Comber Company of the 1st Battalion. He was also actively involved in the affairs of St Mary's Parish Church.
Mr J L O Andrews was appointed on 26th March as Minister of Health and Local Government, succeeding Dame Dehra Parker who had resigned. He was also sworn in as a member of the Privy Council of Northern Ireland.
Comber Army Cadet Force remained an outstanding unit in the realm of shooting, with five of the UK team of 40 coming from the platoon. And on 23rd March they won the "Telegraph" Cup for the fourth time in succession - a feat never achieved before by any unit. In October Corporal Robert Gibson was awarded a .303 Cadet Hundred Badge - one of the highest possible honours, at the National Cadet rifle meeting held at Bisley.
Following numerous protests at the condition of Mill Street and Castle Street, £10,000 was allocated for repairs by Down County Council. However, traffic lights would not be provided at the junction of High Street and Castle Street with the Ministry of Home Affairs advising that this would increase the danger which undoubtedly existed.
The re-conditioned courts of Comber Tennis Club were officially opened by Mr JLO Andrews on 13th April. Mrs Andrews served the first ball. Demonstrations were given by Irish internationals.
Alex Simpson of Killinchy Street died on 22nd April in his 90th year. He had been a publican in Killinchy Street. Previous to this he had a grain business in the town. Mr Simpson was fond of the theatre and had memorised the main speeches from Shakespeare's plays.
Another death was that of Alfred Hadden, on 29th April. Mr Hadden was the first Principal of Comber Primary School, before which he had been Principal of Second Comber School. He retired in 1940.
In May the Council approved the layout plan of the proposed housing scheme of 138 houses at Comber. And in August a tender submitted by Mr Henry Gilmore of Kircubbin for the erection of 40 houses at Park Way was accepted.
Comber Rec football team won the Border Regiment Cup when they defeated Chimney Corner 3-2 in the final on 10th May at Wilgar Park, Belfast. A celebration dinner was held in the Orange Hall on 7th June at which Tommy Casey of Comber (Newcastle Utd player) was present. A presentation was made to a club member, Terry Gillespie, who was emigrating to Canada.
Comber Horticultural Society was resurrected after a lapse of 25 years. At a meeting on 22nd May a committee was elected and dates for meetings arranged. It was also decided to hold a flower show. This was duly held on 14th September in the Orange Hall when almost 250 entries were received.
Over fifty members of the North Down Hockey Club, both past and present, attended the Diamond Jubilee dinner on 17th May. Mr JLO Andrews welcomed Mr A Hayes and Mr Peacock, president and secretary respectively of the Ulster Branch of the Irish Hockey Union, and Mr William Andrews, chairman of the Northern Cricket Union. Mr Andrews remarked that North Down was one of the first two hockey clubs founded in the North of Ireland. And they had one of the finest pitches in Ireland to play on, thanks to North Down Cricket Club. Comber was proud of the hockey club.
First Comber held a fancy dress parade and baby show in the Andrews Hall on 25th May. The function was organised by ladies of the Women's Work Party living in the Cherryvalley district and was formally opened by Rev McKean, senior minister of the church. Over £100 was raised for the Manse Building Fund.
Five Belfast people had to be rescued from an overturned car following a collision on the Newtownards Road in June. Three of them were detained in hospital.
A ruling was made that youths in Teddy Boy clothing would not be admitted to the Saturday night dance in the Andrews Hall.
Daniel Toman of Lisbarnett died on 1st June of injuries received when he fell from his motorised cycle at Cattogs.
An awards ceremony was held on 6th June at North Down Cricket Club's ground when medals for long service ranging from 15 to 33 years were presented to eleven members of the Ulster Special Constabulary. The medals were handed over by Mr JLO Andrews.
William John Smyth of Dunsy Way was killed on 18th June in Belfast shipyard when he fell a considerable distance from scaffolding.
6-year-old Alan Hedley of Mill Street died on 20th June of injuries received the previous night when he was knocked down after running out in front of a car.
28th June was last day of term at Comber Primary. After the summer break many pupils would be going to the new Secondary Intermediate School. Harold Cameron had been appointed headmaster of the new school, and presentations were made to him and to Miss Coulter, the domestic economy teacher, who was also going there. The new headmaster at the Primary School was Norman Nevin.
Comber Tennis Club won Section 2 of the Belfast and District Junior League after beating Hawarden in a decider on 29th June.
A death from polio was recorded in Comber when Ian, six-year-old only child of Mr and Mrs William Ritchie of Killinchy Street, passed away on 8th July.
Comber's new Secondary Intermediate School opened with a dedication service on 2nd September conducted by Rev Stevenson of St Mary's. The headmaster was Harold Cameron, formerly principal of Comber Primary. The 3-storey building of brick and glass, on a site between the Primary School and the new housing estate, was described as one of the most up-to-date and picturesque schools in the country. It provided accommodation for 350 pupils. As well as the "3 R's", special subjects included literature, art, music and crafts, domestic economy, woodwork, metal work, horticulture and sport. Extensive playing fields were provided at the rear of the building. The kitchens were fitted with the latest equipment to provide meals for all schools in the district, a service which became operational in November. A further dedication service was held on 16th December.
Robert James Baxter of 42 Upper Crescent died on 21st July. He was one of Ulster's leading cricket umpires.
Another death was that of Lennox Andrews at the age of 79, on 28th July, after a long illness. He was the second son of John Andrews JP of Comber. He was associated with the building and contracting business in Belfast for many years. In his early days he played hockey for North Down.
A new manse in red brick with green roof slating was built at 1st Comber on a site where the previous building had stood for more than 200 years. It was dedicated by Rev McKean, senior minister of the congregation, on 18th September. The keys were then handed over by Mr McQuoid, Clerk of Session, to Mrs Brown, wife of the minister, who officially opened the door of the manse.
Comber "B" Specials, as representatives of Down, repeated their success of last year by winning the inter-county .303 rifle competition held at Lurgan on 21st September.
This was the centenary year of North Down Cricket Club, and at the annual meeting on 30th September the secretary reported a successful season. As a result of finishing runners-up in the Senior Qualifying League for the second season in succession the first eleven had gained re-admittance to the Senior League. In addition extension work to the Pavilion was under way. It was planned that this should be a war memorial.
Miss C L Murray, vice-principal of Comber Primary, retired on 30th September after a lifetime of teaching in Comber. She was presented with a television set. The principal, Mr Nevin, traced the changes that had taken place since Miss Murray had first started teaching in the Spinning Mill School where her father was headmaster. Miss Murray was also well known for her work in the A.R.P. and Red Cross during the War, and for her work at 2nd Comber Church. Mr McGibney was appointed vice-principal in her place.
A Boys' Brigade Company was formed at 1st Comber with Jim Magowan as captain. Enrolment for the Company Section was on 8th December, while that of the Life Boy Team under Robert Shields took place on 15th December.
Rev James E Jones marked the 30th anniversary of his ordination in 2nd Comber at morning service on 17th November. He said that the memory of that important day in his life was still very fresh and evergreen. Mr Jones was ordained on 15th November 1927.
Sergeant Killick retired, after being in charge of Comber RUC since 1942. Among his many activities was the organisation of the annual boxing tournament in the Andrews Hall.
A novel item at the annual meeting of Comber Branch of the Mid-Down Unionist Association on 25th November was the inclusion of a skiffle group on the agenda.
Concern was expressed in November at damage being caused to seats in the Garden of Remembrance in The Square, which were constantly being broken by vandals.
Delegates from the churches in Comber Presbytery met on 9th December in First Comber Church Hall to discuss the urgent needs of the Church, with an emphasis on Christian giving. Congregations were also to be canvassed regarding the raising of ministers' stipends.
A stained glass window was dedicated by Rev Jones in Second Comber on 15th December. This was the joint gift of William Prentice, Kenya, and James Prentice, Drumhirk, in memory of their parents.
Dr Gibson of Bridge Street, who was a mink breeder, took several first prizes at the annual show of the Fur Breeders Association in London.
In December Down County Council approved a scheme costing £120,000 for a by-pass road of 1½ miles along the abandoned railway track from Carstrand Bridge to the level crossing on the Comber-Killyleagh Road.
Comber Gasworks closed, a result of people switching to electricity, which was cleaner, cheaper and more efficient.
A new cinema was opened in Comber on 10th December by Mr JLO Andrews, the Minister of Health and Local Government. The entire proceeds of the opening performance, a film called "Interlude", were donated to Comber Coal Fund. The manager of the new cinema was Mr F Wright, formerly manager of the Ulster Bank. Initially the old Picture House remained open. Shops were included in the frontage of the Cinema.
Following the opening of Comber Cinema, the old Picture House in Castle Street closed on 11th January. The last film shown was "The Siege at Red River" starring Van Johnston and Joanne Dru.
Over 200 people attended the tenth annual Dinner Dance of Comber Young Farmers' Club held in the Andrews Memorial Hall on 8th February.
The faithful and devoted service of Rev Jones as minister of Second Comber for the past 30 years was recognised by the congregation at a congregational social on 20th February. Glowing tributes were paid by various speakers in front of a large audience in the Andrews Hall.
In the final of the Ulster Draughts Championship F Cooke, Belfast Road, Comber, beat S McMichael (Gilnahirk).
Work was carried out on reconstruction of the pavilion at North Down Cricket Club. By March it was reported that the front had been doubled in length and work was soon to commence on new kitchen facilities in the rear. These upgraded facilities marked the return of the club to Senior League cricket.
The inaugural meeting of the Comber Housing Trust Tenants' Association was held on 10th March.
March also saw the opening of a florist's in Comber - the Comber Flower Shop in Castle Street.
On 29th March the Comber Army Cadets won the "Telegraph" Cup for shooting for the fifth year in succession.
By April tenants were starting to move into the new housing estate off the Newtownards Road. The streets were named De Wind Drive and Bruce Avenue after two Comber heroes of the First World War. The estate was named the Bennett Estate after Mr William Bennett JP, Comber representative on the Council.
Concern was expressed at the poor attendance at the annual meeting of Comber Farmers' Union when only nine out of the total membership of 210 attended.
The death occurred on 5th April of James Milling of The Square. Nearly 90 years of age, he was regarded as one of the best judges of horses in Ireland and was well-known at all the big shows on both sides of the Channel. He devoted particular attention to show horses, with which he gained many championships. His expert knowledge of horses was recognised by the Northern Ireland Government for whom he selected stallions for the "stud subsidy scheme". He also bought horses for the British Army, often buying up to 100 horses at one sale as remounts. From his premises in Comber Square Mr Milling conducted a funeral undertaking, grocery and publican's business.
A book was published on the history of the Andrews family of Comber - "Nine Generations" by Sidney Andrews. In April tenants of Council houses in Comber were given permission to keep pigeons.
Double success for Comber Rec. On 13th May they defeated Lambeg 1-0 in the final of the Clarence Cup. They followed this up by retaining the Border Regiment Cup with victory over Short & Harland. They also finished up 4th in the First Division of the Amateur League. It was decided to enter two teams in the League for the 1958-59 season.
On 11th May at a service in First Comber colours were presented by the Women's Work Party to 1st Comber Company of the Girls' Life Brigade. They were dedicated by Rev W R Brown. Rev McKean made a return visit to the church on 25th May for a special service where several gifts were dedicated including a baptismal font and reading desk.
Work was carried out in June to remove the old railway embankment at the spot where the Glen Road Bridge once spanned the road, thus removing a dangerous corner.
A presentation was made on 6th June in Cadet House, Railway Street to Major A S G Watson, the retiring Commanding Officer of 3rd Battalion of the Army Cadet Force.
Some 3,000 people attended the annual garden fete of the North Down Imperial Unionist Association held on 7th June in the grounds of Maxwell Court. Unfortunately the weather was atrocious and proceedings came to a premature end. There was better weather for the Cricket Club fete at Ardara on 19th July where attractions included donkey rides and maypole dancing with 14 girls dressed in the colours of the Cricket Club. A fancy dress parade headed by the Brian Boru Pipe Band from Newtownards made its way to Ardara from the Cricket Ground. Yet another fete was at Unicarval on 23rd August in aid of polio research.
Also on 7th June two Orange banners were unfurled at the Andrews Hall. That of Ulster Defenders LOL 100 was unfurled by Mrs H D Adair, Castle Street, and dedicated by Rev J G Davies. The banner of Goldsprings LOL 1037 was unfurled by Mrs R C Stevenson, wife of the rector of St Mary's, who made the dedication.
The Council debated the subject of street trading with the aid of vehicles in June following an application from Robert Todd of Belfast to trade in Comber. It was stated as the opinion of the police that these vehicles generally caused obstructions and that the Comber streets were too narrow and unsuitable. The application was refused.
Bertie Donnan of Ballymorran, Killinchy, and Robert Hemphill of Castle Espie were killed on 14th June in a head-on collision between a motor bike and a car on the Castle Espie-Ballyleghorn road. Donnan had been practising for the race to be held at Dundrod the following day.
Gales swept North Down on the night of 26th August. One casualty in Comber was the Gospel Mission tent at the Crescent, which was blown down.
In September the Council recommended that work commence on the Sewer from Comber to Ballyrickard, subject to Government approval.
North Down Hockey Club, who had finished bottom of the Senior League, found themselves relegated for 1958-59 to the new Qualifying League "A".
Second Comber Girls' Brigade bellringers were featured by the BBC on 19 September on the radio programme "Ulster Mirror".
James Patton of Castle Lane retired from the Albion Clothing Factory after 48 years' service. In all that time he only missed work on one day. He was presented with a fireside chair by his fellow workers.
Improvements were taking place in Comber. At the end of September 150 new fluorescent street lights were erected. Consideration was being given to the provision of a children's playground. And the greatly needed work on Mill Street and Castle Street started in November with the road surface being completely relaid and the camber reduced. Traffic was diverted via High Street and Railway Street.
The old Glebe House which had stood since 1738 was demolished during the year.
Fred Strickland opened a petrol filling station on the site of the Lower Distillery Dam on the Newtownards Road. The dam was filled in with rubble from the old railway bridge at Railway Street and from air raid shelters.
At the AGM of Comber British Legion in October there was a discussion on whether or not the Branch should be closed down. It was decided to continue as there seemed to be some improvement in the interest being taken.
Also in October, a presentation was made by Comber Ards Supporters' Club to Mr George Eastham, former manager of Ards, who was leaving for his new club at Accrington Stanley.
St Mary's Parish Church held a Mission in November, the first in the history of the parish. The speaker was the Rev George Potts of Birmingham whose theme was "God's sure plan for our world and for ourselves". Hymn singing preceded each evening service and there was an Exhibition in the Parochial Hall depicting the work of St Mary's and of the Missionary Societies they supported.
On 23rd November a memorial window was dedicated at First Comber by Dr McKean, the senior minister. This was the gift of Mrs Cochrane, Cherryvalley House, in memory of her two sisters, Mrs Jane Davidson and Mrs Margaret Porter, and of her brother, Mr Robert James Crosby.
On 9th December a new Comber Platoon of the Territorial Army was inaugurated. The Battalion Pipes and Bugles led a parade around the town.
St Mary's Annual Christmas Sale on 6th December was opened by Mrs Byers, Carnesure House. Prior to declaring the sale open she inspected a Guard of Honour provided for her by the Scouts, Cubs, Guides and Brownies. Proceeds from the sale finally cleared the debt on the Parochial Hall.
Dr Gibson of Inler Mink Farm, Bridge Street, was among the prize-winners at the Fur Breeders' Association livestock show in London.
At the evening service in First Comber on 18th January Mrs D Hamilton of Trench House presented colours to the BB Company in which three of her sons were officers.
Ernest McMillen of Lisbarnett took part in the Monte Carlo Rally as co-driver with Ronnie Adams of Lisburn. They started out from Stockholm and finished up a creditable 5th, the best placed British car.
25 January was a day of thanksgiving at St Mary's to mark the clearance of debt on the Parochial Hall. The Dean of Belfast (Very Rev C I Peacocke) preached at the morning service, and the Dean of Down (Very Rev W H Good) spoke in the evening.
Thomas Rodgers of Dullisk Way was tragically killed in an accident at his work when he was struck by a crane at a building site in Belfast.
No fewer than 17 motorists were fined at Comber Petty Sessions on 23 February for ignoring the "No Waiting" signs on the Ballygowan Road while attending a dance in the Andrews Hall. The signs had recently been erected.
An inquest was held on a 60-year-old farm labourer, James Wright of Ballywilliam, who was found dead at his home on March 4. The cause of death was from natural causes.
Progress was reported at the AGM of North Down Cricket Club on 24 March on the extension to the pavilion. The first portion consisting of dining and dressing rooms had been completed and it was hoped that work on the second portion - kitchen and showers - would start soon. But money was a problem and there was an appeal for members to take more interest in the club both financially and by way of practical voluntary help.
At a Council meeting on 1st April there was discussion about the proposed Comber bypass. The County Surveyor informed those present that it had been approved and designs had been submitted to the Ministry of Commerce for approval. Some wondered if a bypass was really necessary. Many local farmers and business men had said that they would continue to use the present road.
On 9th April an extension to Comber Cemetery was dedicated at a ceremony conducted by ministers of the local churches. The extension had accommodation for 2,500 graves. Those taking part in the service were Very Rev Dr J K L McKean, assisted by Revs J G Davies, W Bingham, W R Brown, R C Stevenson and J E Jones.
The problem of mobile shops in North Down was discussed by Newtownards and District Branch of the National Union of Small Shopkeepers on 6th April. In Comber they parked in certain areas on Friday and Saturday nights, also on Tuesdays. This was adversely affecting shopkeepers in the town. It was felt they should be made to pay the equivalent of shop rents. A list of names had been passed to the Council.
On 12th April a one-seater aeroplane flown by Rev Patrick O'Kelly, Ulster's "flying priest", made a forced landing in a field at Ballyhenry. Father O'Kelly noticed that the engine was not performing normally and considered it safer to land in a field rather than try to reach Ards airport.
At morning service on 19th April in First Comber, the Rev W R Brown announced that the debt on the new manse had now been cleared.
First Comber Wolf Cub Pack attached to St Mary's Parish Church hosted the annual County Down Wolf Cub Rally at North Down Cricket Club on 25 April. Unfortunately heavy rain somewhat marred the occasion. The Packs assembled in the Square and paraded to the venue. The Salute was taken by Mr Heasley (County Commissioner for Scouting) outside Mr Wm Bennett's shop in Castle Street. Various races were held and the eventual winners were 1st Bangor who retained the County Flag.
Comber Intermediate School was crowded with parents and friends at the first annual concert held on 27 April.
Motorbike racer Bobbie Ferguson of Longlands won the Cookstown "100" on 6th May.
A new floor was installed in the Andrews Memorial Hall during May.
Notices were erected in Castle and Mill Streets restricting parking to one side of the street only.
Empire Day had been redesignated as Commonwealth Day, and on 24th May the annual Youth Service was held in Comber Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church. An impressive parade of almost four hundred members of various organisations assembled at the Primary School and made their way to the church behind the two local bands - Comber Temperance Flute and Comber Amateur Silver. An inspection was carried out by the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, Lord MacDermott, and after the service he took the salute at the Andrews Memorial Hall. On 10 May in Comber Non-Subscribing Church Rev J Glynne Davies dedicated two silver Communion Plates, the gift of Mrs Hartford King, Hitchin, Herts., in memory of her father and mother, the late Mr and Mrs Samuel Niblock.
A special weekend of events in June marked the 119th Anniversary of Consecration of the present St Mary's Parish Church. Friday evening was the Parochial Mission reunion when Rev G Potts of Birmingham, who had conducted the 1958 Mission, made a return visit. The young people of the Intermediate school provided a programme of music. Mr and Mrs W H W McLaughlin were guests of honour and were presented with a silver salver in recognition of their outstanding service to the Parish. On Saturday night Mr Potts conducted a short Epilogue service and preached at all services on Sunday. Parishioners returned their gifts for the Canon Houston Memorial Fund. At the evening service Mr David Galbraith (Group Scout Master) requested the rector to accept the Junior County Flag which the Scout Troop had won at a recent County competition.
At the North Down Council meeting on 3 June outrage was expressed that the County Council workmen had received orders not to sweep the streets of Comber. Last Saturday the streets were a disgrace.
Anne Horner resigned as Captain of 1st Comber G.L.B. Company. Tribute was paid to her leadership since the formation of the Company, and before that in the Girls' Gym Class. The new Captain was Mrs John Shields.
Comber Primary School held its first ever sports meeting on 12 June in the grounds of North Down Cricket Club. The traders of the town provided the prizes. There were over 1,300 entries for all the events, including 105 entries for the Fancy Dress Parade.
Harry Middleton, the Comber-born professional golfer, won the Ulster Professional Golf Championship at Balmoral on 24 June. Three years ago he had been beaten in the final by Fred Daly.
The Regal Body Building Club was opened in High Street by Sammy Thompson.
Success for Comber Tennis Club who beat Cliftonville in the Junior League Play-off on 10 July. Then on 5 September they won the Belfast and District Junior League Cup for the second year in succession.
Two-year-old Samuel James Perry McKibben of Upper Crescent, Comber was killed on 11 July after being knocked down by a minerals lorry outside his house.
Comber hosted 2,000 Juveniles when Junior District No 3 had their annual outing on 18 July.
Joseph Todd of Railway Street passed away in July. A foundation member of Comber "B" Specials, he was Platoon Sergeant and the distinguished holder of a medal with a star. He worked at Comber Spinning Mill as a blacksmith. He was well known by pigeon fanciers as he was the owner of many fine birds.
For approximately twelve hours on 8 September firemen fought a blaze in a hayshed belonging to Mr A Thompson at Ringneil. The shed was destroyed.
Special Gospel services were held in a portable hall on the Newtownards Road. One of the speakers was Alex Smyth, a missionary on furlough from India. He was originally a Comber man who left for India eleven years ago.
A 15½ year old apprentice butcher, James Brown of Ballymaleddy, died on 12 September as the result of injuries received in an accident at the junction of Glen and Belfast Roads on 8 September, when his bicycle was in collision with a motor car. And another cyclist was killed on 12 September, Thomas John Humphries of Drumhirk, when his bicycle collided with a van at Tullygirvan.
On 21 September Comber postman Norman Smyth was presented with an Imperial Service Medal for 40 years' service, most of this period spent with Comber Post Office.
The Moderator of the General Assembly, Rt. Rev Dr Smyth, conducted evening worship in Second Comber Church on 20 September. He congratulated the minister and members on the outstanding work being done in the congregation.
North Down Cricket Club sponsored a fashion show held on 21 October in the Andrews Hall. The clothes were supplied by Messrs Sinclair & Company Limited, Royal Avenue, Belfast.
On 30 September a celebration evening was organised by the British Legion to mark the fortieth anniversary of the formation of the Comber Branch. The attendance was described as disappointing. Then at the annual meeting of the Women's Section on 5 October in Cadet House, Railway Street, the members honoured Mrs David Hamilton who had retired after ten years as Chairman of the Branch. She was presented with a writing set by Mrs F Warner, one of the longest-serving members of the Branch. The newly-elected Chairman was Mrs B Park.
Monday night 26 October saw fierce gales sweep through North Down. A house in Straiddorn Green had a portion of the roof ripped off.
On 23 October tribute was paid to the late Canon John Sheffield Houston, rector of the Parish from 1918 until 1954. In an impressive service, the Bishop of Down and Dromore, Rt. Rev Dr F J Mitchell, dedicated an oak Reredos in his memory.
The Communion service at Second Comber on 1 November drew a record attendance with extra seating having to be brought into the church. Rev J E Jones dedicated a handsome Communion Tray, the gift of a lady member.
Ottilie Patterson, the jazz and blues singer born in Comber, married Chris Barber on 12 November in a London registry office.
At morning worship on 8 November (Remembrance Sunday) in First Comber the Moderator of the General Assembly, Rt. Rev Dr Smyth, dedicated a stained-glass window in the presence of a large congregation which included a contingent of ex-Servicemen of both world wars. This was a War Memorial window and beneath it was a plaque containing the names of members of the congregation who gave their lives, and who were on active service in the Second World War. The following evening at a special meeting the decision was taken to build a new church hall for the congregation.
Considerable damage was caused to Ballywilliam House by an outbreak of fire on 25 November. This was the home of Mr John Andrews, son of Mr J L O Andrews, Minister of Health and Local Government.
Miss Sarah Burns, a native of Comber, celebrated her 100th birthday on 4 December in Ards Hospital.
Demolition work commenced in November at the infamous "Calamity Corner" at the junction of The Square with High Street. A portion of a building, formerly a public house, was removed to provide a wider road opening. For the past 37 years the choir of Second Comber Church had raised money for St Dunstan's, an organisation to help the war blind. Due to a change in the nature of the St Dunstan's Appeal this was no longer possible, and so the choir's effort for 1959 was in aid of the World Refugee Fund.
The first annual Christmas Carol Service of Comber Intermediate School took place over two evenings on 10 and 11 December.
Dr C H Gibson of Bridge Street won first prize in the class for Aleutian mink at the Fur Breeders' Association annual show of mink pelts in London.
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