Corporal John McKerr (3127220) served in 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers during World War Two. Born on 17th August 1922, he was the son of a rivetter Hugh McKerr and Elizabeth Ann McKerr (née McCrory) of 70 Helen Street, Govan, Glasgow, Scotland.
In the 1930s, John attended the Duke of York Military School at Dover, Kent, England. After graduation, he went on to serve in Palestine. He was a talented boxer during his time with the regiment.
After the war, John moved to Belfast, Co. Antrim staying with his father’s aunt at 212 Antrim Road, Belfast, Co. Antrim. While there, he met Maureen Philomena Catney in 1945. The couple married at St. Paul’s Church, Belfast, Co. Antrim on 26th October 1945. Marriage records show John’s occupation as “ex-soldier” and list witnesses as Michael J Catney and Agnes C Catney.
John and Maureen had eight children including Brian Patrick John McKerr born in 1945, John James McKerr born in 1946, Elizabeth Anne McKerr born in 1948, Agnes McKerr born in 1950, Maureen McKerr born in 1952, Margaret McKerr born in 1954, Michael Joseph Gerard McKerr born in 1956, Bernadette Mary McKerr born in 1959.
He died on 20th August 1971 aged 49 years old. A British Army sniper shot John outside the Corpus Christi Chapel at Ballymurphy, Belfast, Co. Antrim on 11th August 1971. McKerr was a joiner working at the newly built chapel and was taking a break to allow a funeral of a young boy killed in a fishing accident to take place.
John was one of 10 people shot dead by British soldiers during 3 days of civil unrest in the Ballymurphy area of West Belfast, Co. Antrim.
At the time, authorities claimed John was a member of the Irish Republican Army and had a gun in his right hand. In fact, McKerr lost his right hand in World War Two and wore a metal prosthetic to which he could attach his joinery tools. He was a member of the Royal British Legion and proud of his service during World War Two.