IN THIS ISSUE: DISPATCHES THROUGH THE LENS EYEWITNESS
Reveille Telling Ireland’s Military Story
IRISH VETERANS NAME NEW CHAPTER AFTER US WAR HERO
SUMMER 2015 €7.50/£6.25
A RADIO OPERATOR’S WAR
Interview with John (Jack) O‘Sullivan, Radio Officer, Merchant Navy
EDUCATED FOR WAR
OPERATION LIBERATE LISTOWEL JAMES STEPHENS MILITARY BARRACKS MUSEUM
2009788012-08.eps NBW=80 B=20
The Story of Fingal’s Hely-Hutchinson Brothers
AN IRISH GRAVEYARD
Veterans | Heritage | Living History
IN THIS ISSUE
Publisher: Reveille Publications Ltd. PO Box 1078 Maynooth Co. Kildare ISSN Print- ISSN 2009-7883 Digital- ISSN 2009-7891 Editor Wesley Bourke [email protected]
Photographic Editor Billy Galligan [email protected]
Sub-Editor Colm Delaney Subscriptions [email protected]
General enquires: [email protected]
Graphic Designer Rob Lewis [email protected]
Production Manager Rob Lewis Printer GPS Colour Graphics Ltd. Alexander Road Belfast BT6 9HP Northern Ireland Phone: +44 28 9070 2020 Advertising Trevor Hull Media [email protected]
Phone: +353 (045) 832 932 Distribution EM News Distribution eMND Ireland Ltd. Phone: +353 (1) 802 3200 Contributors Mal Murray Colman Shaughnessy Stephen Dunford Patrick Casey Colm McQuinn Professor Richard Grayson Tom Reddy Celbridge History Squad
Front cover Keith Donnelly from the Irish Great War Society portraying an Irish officer during the Gallipoli Campaign. (Photo by Billy Galligan)
primary school student from Celbridge recently educated me on Belgium refugees who came to my home town during World War I. As a student of history I was somewhat embarrassed about having no prior knowledge of this piece of local history. The joy of history is learning more. The Belgian Refugees Committee was established in October 1914 as part of the British response to the flow of civilian refugees coming from Belgium. From October 1914 Ireland took in Belgian refugees, primarily from Antwerp. The initial effort was coordinated by an entirely voluntary committee before being taken over by the Local Government Board. An article on the UCD History Hub website details the reception and treatment of the refugees by the Irish committee. The chair of the committee was a member of the small pre-war Belgium-Irish community, a Mrs. Helen Fowle. Her connections and ability to speak Flemish was a badly needed asset in dealing with the refugees. It seems well-to-do Belgians took up residence in the homes of Irish gentry. For the majority of refugees accommodation was initially found in workhouses. Several religious orders were also among the refugees. One such group was the Benedictine monks from Maredsous. Around one hundred of them were settled in Edermine House Co. Wexford. One family which became heavily involved in relief efforts were the Leslies of Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Co. Monaghan. Leonie Leslie brought fifteen Belgian refugees over to Ireland and housed them in Monaghan town after her son Norman was killed in the battle of Armentières. They were housed in a purpose built barracks. The barracks soon became known as Belgian Square. The terrace in which the Belgians lived was renamed Maline Terrace, after the town Mechelen near Antwerp. Many of the refugees took up work as teachers of French, bakers and in the case of the de Neves, needleworkers. In Monaghan,a local family; the McNallys, worked with the de Neves to establish a successful lingerie and lace factory called the Belbroid. As noted on the website of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: ‘Most of the 3,000 or so Belgians who came to Ireland in the years 1914-1918, returned to Belgium after the war. However, their memory still lives on, in place names in towns such as Monaghan and in the homes of Irish people everywhere’. Wesley Bourke
Interested in submitting an article or photographs? Here at Reveille we welcome submissions from our readers. For further information please contact the editor at [email protected]
or visit www.reveille.ie/submissions Disclaimer: All rights reserved. The opinions and views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of Reveille Magazine or its contributors. Readers are requested to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication, which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the readers particular circumstances. While every effort is taken to ensure accuracy of the information contained in this Publication the Publisher are not liable for any errors and/or omissions contained in this publication.
REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 1
IN THIS ISSUE
Competition Winners We are pleased to announce the winner of our Spring 2015 issue completion sponsored by the Irish Military War Museum. Thank you to all who entered. The winner is Declan Brennan from Prosperous, Co. Kildare. Declan has won a VIP Family Pass. The pass includes a guided tour of the museum by owner William O’Sullivan and a ride in a GKN Sankey FV 432 Armoured Personnel Carrier. Have a great day out.
We would like to thank the following for their support in this issue. 6th Connaught Rangers Research Group Australian War Memorial Dept. of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Irish Air Corps Press Office Irish Defence Forces Press Office Irish Great War Society Irish Historic Flight
Irish Naval Service Press Office Irish Veterans Association National Museum of Ireland Collins Barracks Stephens Barracks Museum Kilkenny The Gallipoli Association The Medal Society of Ireland The Radio Officers Association
IN THIS ISSUE
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Letters to the Editor
Dispatches Read the latest news in Ireland’s military history.
A Radio Operator’s War at Sea By Colman Shaughnessy. Radio Officer John (Jack) O‘Sullivan, Merchant Navy, gives an eyewitness account of his time at sea during World War II dodging.
Operation Liberate Listowel
For Service and Valour In this issue Patrick Casey examines the medals awarded by the Irish government for service in the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence.
Celbridge History Squad Discover Links With Belgium
Shoulder Flash In this new series Tom Reddy introduces you to the Irish Defence Forces overseas flash and insignia.
Gallipoli: An Irish Graveyard Part 1 – Land Operations – the Regular Battalions By Mal Murray. Some 4,000 Irish soldiers lost their lives at Gallipoli. This campaign was designed to bring the war to Constantinople. Trench warfare quickly materialised.
Take A Step Back to 1915
Find out what an Irish soldier in the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force looked like.
Educated For War: The Story of Fingal’s Hely-Hutchinson Brothers
By Colm McQuinn. From a young age Coote Robert and Richard George ‘Dick’ were destined to become officers in the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment).
De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk This aircraft took to the air with the Irish Air Corps in 1952. Three generations later it can still be heard over Irish skies.
James Stephens Military Barracks Museum
In this issues heritage trail we travelled to Kilkenny where the 3rd Infantry Battalion have preserved Kilkenny’s military history.
Irish Veterans Name New Chapter After US War Hero
After reading local newspapers from 1915 primary students discovered Belgium refugees stayed in their village.
Through the Lens
Dr. Andrew Horne served with the Medical Corps during the Gallipoli Campaign. In that time he recorded his experiences with his camera.
Living History Dispatches Read the latest from the world of living history.
Belfast Nationalist At War 6th Battalion Connaught Rangers Part 2
A French General, A Hero of Ireland By Stephen Dunford. Meet Général Jean-Joseph-Amable Humbert the French hero of the Republic of Connaught.
Over the May bank holiday weekend a small town in Co. Kerry was transported back in time.
By Professor Richard S. Grayson. In the second part of the story of this battalion the Belfast Nationalists endure hardships along the Western Front right to the last days of the war.
Books Find out what’s new including ‘Irish Doctors of the First World War’ by P.J. Casey, K.T. Cullen & J.P. Duignan.
On Stage Madame de Markievicz on Trial by Ann Matthews and more.
In this issue: details for Battalion and Regimental Associations.
Calender Find a military history event near you.
Competition Make sure you are in with a chance to win a great prize from Camden Fort Meagher.
Irish American US Navy SEAL Michael Murphy is honoured in Kinsale. REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 3
RCSHES ET TA TP DEIS L Dear Sir, Many thanks for the splendid Spring edition of Reveille. One small point on the piece featuring the National Library of Ireland on page 7. The article states that Norman Leslie ‘......while charging a German machine gun armed only with a sword (it was considered ungentlemanly for officers to carry guns)’. This statement I believe is inaccurate. Although it makes a good story side arms (pistols/rifles) have been carried by British infantry officers since the 1870’s and it was commonplace by the Anglo Zulu War in 1879. My own Regiment (the Green Howards) has one of those wonderful ‘Officers Memos’ that decreed an officer ‘was improperly dressed unless carrying a sword, cane, stick or sidearm (pistol or rifle)’ and that was the case in 1914 and right up to 1970! Leslie may well have been carrying the sword returned to the family but I suspect there was nothing stopping him carrying a gun as well. Officers of the 36th (Ulster) Division are portrayed carrying guns as well as swords in a WW1 painting that displays the Ulster myth of some wearing an Orange Sash. Best wishes, Roddy Bailey Co Wexford
Dear Sir Congratulations on a marvelous publication. It is informative, well written and beautifully designed. One evening after reading “Irish Anzacs Projects” in your Spring 2015 issue I was inspired to contact Dr. Jeff Kildea to see if I could trace a great uncle Patrick Aloysius Brennan about whom we had scant information on his part in the Great War. He was from Knockaroe, Borris in Ossory, Co. Laois (then called Queens County). The next day I received an email from Dr Kildea who had found him. It was all there, his service record, his enlistment and the information about where he was buried. We discovered he enlisted on the 2/2/1915 in Liverpool, NSW, Australia. He was 23. He was injured at Gallipoli, and killed in France in 1918 and buried in Picardy, France. Due to the stigma in Ireland in those years people did not boast about their relatives fighting for the King, but he would have been welcomed home by his family but it was not to be. I had tried to find him through other services on the Internet like the Commonwealth Graves Commission and records about Gallipoli, but to no avail. I am very grateful to your magazine for opening up this great opportunity for me and for others to trace their ancestors and their deeds in the 2 wars. Dr. Kildea found him for me. Thank you all. Kind Regards Eileen Gunning ( nee Kelly)
Dear Sir, In your article ‘In the Footsteps of Patrick Cleburne’ I am the gentleman portraying the Irish General; Patrick Ronayne Cleburne, an Irish immigrant to America in 1849. Despite the strong prejudice against the Irish at this time he became a successful businessman and lawyer. Perhaps more importantly he was accepted by the citizens of Helena Arkansas and in fact became a citizen of renown. His life was guided by honor, courage, loyalty and duty. When the American Civil War erupted he offered his services to the Southern Confederacy. He fought for what he felt was a just cause, freedom from tyranny and oppression. Cleburne rose to the rank of Major General, the highest rank achieved by any Irishman in the Confederate or Union armies. Militarily he was a tactical genius and a visionary strategist. Sadly he is mostly forgotten on both sides of the Atlantic. A number of years ago I set out to revive his memory and achievements. My lovely wife Karen, (who portrays Miss Susan Tarleton, Cleburne’s fiancé) and I have travelled all of the battlefields in Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee in which General Cleburne was engaged. We have lectured about the General in all of these States. We consider it an honor to talk to folks about Cleburne. Indeed we have spoken to hundreds of people especially here in Tennessee. I had the privilege of portraying General Cleburne in Franklin Tennessee on the 150 anniversary of the battle and his death. All Irishmen and Americans have reason to hold him in highest esteem. We will continue to try to keep his memory alive. Joe Barkley Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States 4 |
Easter 1916 Commemorations This year, to mark the 99th anniversary of the Easter Rising, 1916; several events took place around the country over the anniversary period. On April 5th, the annual state commemoration took place on O’Connell Street. President Michael D. Higgins laid a wreath to commemorate those who died in 1916, and a minute of silence was observed. In Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, the Enniscorthy Historic & Re-enactment Society brought the town back to the events of 1916 with a battle re-enactment of the events there. In Maynooth Town, Co. Kildare, the Maynooth 1916 Centenary Committee paid tribute to the ‘Maynooth 15’, who marched from Maynooth to the GPO in Dublin to take part in the Rising. In Ashbourne, the 5th Battalion of the Dublin Brigade Irish Volunteers under the command of Thomas Ashe were commemorated at an event at the 1916 memorial cross. On Easter Monday, RTÉ organised a major commemorative event entitled ‘Road to the Rising’. The event was conducted in collaboration with An Post, Dublin City Council, and the Ireland 2016 Initiative. The theme of the event was to explore life in Ireland at the time of 1915 in as broad a manner as possible. For the event O’Connell Street in Dublin was transported back to 1915 where thousands of people got to experience the sights and sounds of the year before the Rising. (Photos by Ken Mooney, Billy Galligan, Patrick Hugh Lynch, Maria Nolan, and Jennifer Kelly) REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 5
ANZAC Day Remembers Irish Soldiers The day the actual troop landings took place at Gallipoli - April 25th, 1915, was marked in Australia, the UK, and various theatres of war even before the war was over. By the 1920s it had been officially established as a day of commemoration in Australia and New Zealand, complete with specific rituals such as the dawn vigil. The day originally was to commemorate the 8,000 members of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corp (ANZAC) who were killed in the Gallipoli campaign. Over the years the commemoration was extended to all Australian personnel killed in all military operations in which the Australian Armed Forces have participated. The day is known around the world as ANZAC Day. Every year in Ireland a dawn service is held at Grangegorman Military Cemetery, Blackhorse Avenue, Dublin. This year over 600 people gathered at 6.30am to pay tribute to those men who landed on Gallipoli 100 years ago. The Irish Government was represented by Tánaiste, Ms. Joan Burton TD, and 6 |
Minister for Communications, Mr. Alex White TD, and Minister of State, Mr. Aodhán Ó Ríordáin. Also in attendance was the Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Dr. Ruth Adler, and the British Ambassador to Ireland, Mr. Dominick Chilcott, along with diplomatic representatives from both New Zealand and Turkey. The dawn service at Grangegorman Cemetery was followed by a wreath laying service at the Cross of Sacrifice at Glasnevin Cemetery. Special tribute was paid to the Irish contribution in the Gallipoli campaign especially to those of the Dublin and Munster Fusiliers who took part in the initial landings, the 10th (Irish) Division who followed them some months later, and to all those Irish who were serving in other British and ANZAC units. The service was followed by the unveiling of eight Commemorative Paving Stones dedicated to Irish Victoria Cross recipients for action during the Great War. They include: Private William Kenealy (Lancashire Fusiliers), Private
William Cosgrove (Royal Munster Fusiliers), Captain Gerald O’Sullivan (Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers), Sergeant James Somers (Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers), Lieutenant George Roupell (Royal Irish Fusiliers), Company Sergeant Major Frederick Hall (Canadian Winnipeg Rifles), Major Daid Nelson (Royal Artillery), and William Kenny (Gordon Highlanders). The first four recipients were awarded their Victoria Cross’s for actions at Gallipoli. Nine million soldiers served in the British Imperial Forces during the Great War and only 628 earned a Victoria Cross, the equivalent of less than one in 10,000 of those who fought. The British ambassador said: ‘a great silence had descended on Ireland after the First World War. He now hoped that the silence had now ended. Referring to the Irish Victoria Cross recipients the ambassador said: ‘Those who earn it are certainly the bravest of the brave. These men are very special. That is why we honour them’. (Photos by Ken Mooney)
Launch of ‘Century Ireland’ - Online Exhibition on Gallipoli On April 23rd, the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Ms. Heather Humphreys TD, launched a new online exhibition developed by Century Ireland on the Gallipoli campaign (April 25th, 1915 - January 9th, 1916) in the National Library of Ireland, Kildare St, Dublin 2. The Gallipoli campaign is estimated to have cost over 130,000 lives on all sides, including 4,000 Irishmen fighting in Irish regiments, as well as in other British regiments and those from the various empire nations. While well remembered in the national stories of Australia, New Zealand and Turkey especially, the Irish role in the Gallipoli campaign was rarely recalled. The aim of the website is to explore
the Irish experience of Gallipoli including what had happened there and the personal stories of those who served, and in many cases; died. The site features a series of guides explaining the background of the campaign and the Irish involvement; a daily news tracker detailing events on the peninsula as they happened; daily eyewitness accounts from eight Irish people who took part in the campaign; daily reports from the regimental diaries of the four Irish regiments that fought; a daily death notice of an Irishman who died at Gallipoli; a series of films, radio broadcasts and podcasts which focus on different aspects of the campaign; a series of galleries containing over 500 images from Gallipoli in 1915, and
perhaps most importantly; education packs for use across the various age groups in schools. The ‘Irish in Gallipoli’ website has been produced by Boston College, in a partnership with RTÉ and the Irish National Cultural Institutions and has been funded by the Department of the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. You can view the website @ www.gallipoli.rte.ie
Keeping Your History Alive On March 22nd, the Dublin Brigade Irish Volunteers History Group hosted a Decade of History in Erin’s Isle GAA Club, Finglas. The event took people all the way through the early 20th century revolutionary period in Ireland. Historians such as David Levins explored the role of the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin Metropolitan Police, while the Irish Great War Society explained to the public the Irish participation in the British Army during the period. The local history society, the Dublin Brigade History Group, and James Langton from the Michael Collins 22 Society navigated people through the period with wonderful displays of photographs, artefacts, uniforms, personal letters, and weapons of the period. Bringing the event to life were members of Irish Military Living History, who; along with their living history counterparts from the Irish Military Vehicles Group and the Irish Great War Society, gave people a real life feel to the period. The Dublin Brigade Irish Volunteers History Group was set up by a bunch of retired members of the Irish Defence Forces: Paul Callery, Ronnie Daly, James Langton, Paul de Pleimeann, and Martin Mac Curtin. Along with great help from Ken Mooney and Paddy Gifford, the group are dedicated to keeping the history alive from the time of 1913-1923. The group have done tremendous research into the local people who were members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Irish Volunteers, the
Hibernian Rifles, the Irish Citizen Army, Cumann na mBan, and Fianna Éireann. The event was opened by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mr. Christy Burke; and the Lord Mayor of Finglas; Mr. Fintan Walsh. The Lord Mayor of Dublin praised the Dublin Brigade Irish Volunteers History Group for promoting local history and said: ‘I was delighted to launch the “Decade of History” Exhibition as part of Finglas Historical Family Day in Erin’s Isle GAA Club. It was an excellent event and very well run. The exhibition was really interesting and I commend everyone who was involved in the organisation’. REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 7
DISPATCHES Sinking of Lusitania Remembered On May 7th, the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins commemorated the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania off the coast of Cork. The Lusitania was sunk by a torpedo, launched by the German submarine U-20. The torpedo hit the Lusitania at 14:10 on May 7th, 1915. Following a secondary explosion, the luxury liner sank beneath the waves after 18 minutes with massive loss of life. A total of 1,201 passengers lost their lives that day. The commemoration ceremony began with a remembrance service in Cobh Cathedral followed by a wreath laying service at the Lusitania memorial in Cobh town square. There were a number of other events in Cobh throughout the day, culminating in a memorial flotilla of work boats, fishing boats and pleasure craft which sailed from Roche’s Point towards Cobh, re-enacting the rescue efforts and symbolising the return to Cobh on May 7th, 1915, of boats filled with victims and survivors. The cruise liner Queen Victoria and the USS Anzio (CG 68) were also in Cobh for the commemorations. (Photos A/B David Jones, Irish Naval Service Press Office)
President of Ireland Attends Commemorations in Gallipoli To commemorate the participation of the Irish soldiers who fought and died in the Gallipoli campaign starting with the initial landings on April 25th, 1915, President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Charles Flanagan TD, and the Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Conor O’Boyle, attended the centenary commemorations at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Cape Helles Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey, on April 24th. At the ceremony President Higgins laid a wreath on behalf of the people of Ireland. The British-led campaign against the Ottoman Empire in the Dardanelles during the Great War lasted from February 1915 to January 1916; over 21,000 British and Irish troops were killed in the campaign, with another 52,000 wounded. President Higgins also attended the Australian memorial service at Lone Pine and the New Zealand memorial service at Chunk Bair. (Photo Niall Carson, Press Association) 8 |
Convoy routes across the Atlantic during World War II. (courtesy of the History Press)
A RADIO OPERATOR’S WAR AT SEA Interview with John (Jack) O‘Sullivan, Radio Officer, Merchant Navy By Colman Shaughnessy, Radio Officers Association (Ireland) The Radio Officer, known to generations of seafarers as ‘Sparks’, was an integral part of life on board naval and merchant ships in the days before satellite communications rendered the job obsolete. On board the ship the Radio Officer had to operate the radio transmitter, direction finder, echo sounder and radar, and quickly repair anything that went wrong with this equipment.
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John O’Sullivan was born on the May 20th, 1925, at Ballycurran, Shrule, Co. Mayo, by the shores of Lough Corrib. There were six children in his family, three boys and three girls. John had a happy childhood. His father was a farmer and his mother was a national school teacher. ‘The family all got a sound education and as we lived close to nature on the land, we knew all about the “birds and the bees”. I meet youngsters nowadays, with good Leaving Certificate qualifications and they do not know where milk comes from or if you can just get potatoes in the field every time you require them – no need to plant them-- they just grow like the grass?’ On the outbreak of World War II John was sent to Saint Mary’s College in Galway City, as a boarder. On September 3rd 1939 he remembered going down to the Galway Docks the same evening as the passengers off the SS Athena, which was the first ship sunk off the Irish Coast in the war, were taken ashore. ‘We got settled into college life and the war continued - how often we wished in our innocence and ignorance that the Germans would invade this country, so that the school would be closed and we would all be sent home. Looking back now and in hindsight, if the Germans had invaded I am sure we would have been pushed into the Hitler Youth and finish up “goose stepping”’. Although John was interested in science it was just Latin and Greek that were on offer. He never settled into college or had much love for those who ran it. Scrapping through the Inter Certificate, travel was the only thing on his mind. A lot of time was spent on the Galway Docks to see the boats arriving in the hope of getting a position on board one of them. ‘One day at college, a senior student showed me a booklet he had received from a Telegraph College, 2 St. Catherine Place, Limerick. It outlined how to become a Radio Officer in 6-7 months by applying to Marconi Wireless Co. As a Radio Officer you could be in the Merchant Navy or Royal Navy. With this information, I was now geared for action and ignored the fact that ships were being sunk day and night both in convoy and sailing alone. As I listened 10 |
to the Radio I knew what was happening, the dangers involved, but what the heck – it would be better than having Latin and Greek hammered into me which I now hated with vengeance’. With his mind made up John was off to Limerick. He did, however, have to convince his mother to let him go. On his travels he told her he might someday end up in Australia and meet her brother Fr. Paddy Garvey. By midsummer 1942 John was in the Radio School in Limerick, a large old Georgian House three storeys high with a basement. It was owned by a Mr. Hobbins and his wife. They boarded five boys and also two girls who were training in telegraphy for the Post Office. In the first three months the students were given a good knowledge of wireless theory and Morse code up to 12-14 word per minute send and receive. They were then sent to Belfast Wireless College situated at North Street Arcade where they spent a further three months of intense training. In their next exam they had to code up to 16 words per minute and 20 words per minute plain language. They also tested on Direction
I was now geared for action and ignored the fact that ships were being sunk day and night both in convoy and sailing alone. Finding which was used to help defeat the U-boats. John passed his exam and received his ‘Special Certificate’. He then applied to Marconi Marine. It was the last week of August 1943 and war was in full swing throughout the world. John was called to report to Marconi Marine at 24 Pall Mall, Liverpool, and also to join a ship arriving on September 5th. ‘I signed on as 3rd Radio Officer on the MV Liberian loading for West Africa and we sailed in convoy out of Liverpool on September 8th,
A wartime image of Radio Officer John O’Sullivan.
with 30 ships. We were escorted by the Royal Navy and supported by an Aircraft Carrier with 4 fighter planes onboard. The fighter planes were used to fight off enemy aircraft and to spot U-boats. We started with calm waters until we met the North Atlantic breeze blowing Westerly from the United States and then my stomach welcomed me to life on the waves. I was on the 12-4 (graveyard watch), headphones on, notepad, pencil, and a bucket under the desk. “It was always better to be sick from a full tummy than have an empty one”. The Bay of Biscay lived up to its reputation and gradually the weather improved, sea sickness was forgotten and suddenly at dusk the ship loudspeakers blared out “seven unidentified aircraft approaching off the port bow at a range of 35 miles”. From Commodore: “aircraft still unidentified at 7 miles – next – Enemy Aircraft – open fire”. All hell broke loose as 30 ships firing 4 guns each and a few fighter planes ducking and diving off the German bombers. Later it was very heartening to hear the BBC news
The Mary Kingsley on fire after an attack by German aircraft. (Imperial War Museum)
about our convoy off the coast of France and how the broadcast complimented us beating off the enemy and downing 3 aircraft. Our gunners just smiled and they knew that it was our convoy’s fighter pilots that had shot down the aircraft but it gave them lots of flack and talk for a time’. Sailing on to the Canary Islands, the convoy split in two. The larger contingent headed for the West Indies (Trinidad, Aruba, Bahamas and Barbados) with John’s convoy of five vessels heading on to Lagos, Nigeria. Two days south of Canary Islands, as dusk fell, a periscope was sighted off the starboard side and the Navigating Officer rang for full speed with the Chief Engineer now reporting maximum of 10 knots and the ship started an evasive zigzag course. Making a run for Freetown, Sierra Leone, the ship took shelter for a time before heading on course again for Lagos, calling on the way at Accra. ‘At Lagos we spent 10 days unloading general cargo and loading palm oil and timber and then we set off for Freetown to join a convoy and then back to London. The trip had its moments with a few U-boat alerts but we safely arrived in London for December. I now had my “sea legs” and I was now much wiser to the ways of the sea and my duty as a Radio Officer. I was happy’. John’s next ship was the 7,000 tonne Silver Larch. This voyage saw John return once again to West Africa. This time going further south to Douala in the French Cameroons and going up rivers and creeks to places such as Saple. Some of the rivers
Coastal convoy with Royal Navy escort. (courtesy of the History Press)
were very shallow and a sailor, usually the Bosun was taking soundings all the time the ship was moving shouting out ‘8 fathoms, 7.5 fathoms, 6 fathoms’ to the officer on the bridge who was ready to stop engines in case of going aground. ‘One memorable occasion I remember in Africa was when we were at anchor with many other ships. I can’t remember the port. We could not go ashore and time passed slowly. I often spent time on the
Three days out we hit a 60 mph gale which lasted three days and nights. During that time we were lifted 3040 feet on the crest of waves bridge using the powerful binoculars to scan the ships and the flashing of the Aldis Lamp Morse between ships. One evening, I was on the bridge when I heard from the lower deck the voice of the Captain; “Hi Sparks, flash that guy and ask the Captain there if he would like to come onboard for a game of chess”. I was badly caught out, as I was not skilled in the art of the Aldis Lamp. This work was done by the Royal Navy Signalman onboard. Not to be
outdone I proceeded to flash the lamp by keying A A A, but kept the flashing to the deck and therefore got no response. The Captain could hear the clicks and the flash. “Ok Sparks we will try him for a response later”. I said to myself; “you will not catch me again until I can do this”. Later, with the help of another Radio Officer we practiced and got proficient at reading the Aldis Lamp and visual Morse code of the convoy communications’. Leaving Douala in May, the ship went on to Lagos to collect some passengers bound for England, though their engines in need of repair the crew got a chance to go ashore. ‘A deck apprentice, a gunner and myself headed off for a night out, drank too much, slept out and got caught in an African downpour. Next morning, with a bad head, shivering in 90 to 100F degrees heat, we were carted off to hospital with Malaria. A week there, with excellent care by nice people we survived and returned to our ship. Leaving Lagos for Freetown we linked into another UK bound convoy of 20 ships. There was always U-boat activity around Freetown and we had some alerts. As we came nearer to the UK via the Bay of Biscay, the invasion of Europe was imminent and convoys were on zigzag courses and always in a state of alert. We were later told that a lot of the routing and alteration of courses was to give the German Command the idea that the invasion would be launched from Italy and our passage up the Spanish coast was always monitored by German sympathisers who kept constant look out for passing convoys. REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 11
We arrived at Liverpool safely on June 10th, 1944, four days after the invasion of Europe’. At Lagos John volunteered for a Gunnery Officers course. As he noted when under attack his station was in the Radio Room but the course did give him an understanding of the gunners’ job. Transferred again John was posted to the 13,000 tone Beverhill with a speed of 12 knots. Out from Liverpool with 40 other ships bound for the United States, West Indies and Canada. Their first destination was Montreal with a reduced convoy of 20 ships. ‘We had an enjoyable run up the Saint Lawrence and 12 days dry-dock at Montreal. We loaded at St. John’s Newfoundland to join an East bound 50 ship convoy back to the UK. Three days out we hit a 60 mph gale which lasted three days and nights. During that time we were lifted 30-40 feet on the crest of waves and it was a sight watching the motion of the other ships in convoy. As one ship rose to a crest the other went into a trough. The ship on the crest looked like a skyscraper towering over us. As we were the Commodore ship – a Royal Navy Man in charge – all messages for the convoy came direct to our ship and we had to keep alert for all transmissions. There was strict silence on all transmissions from all ships. The drill in storm was to heave-to i.e. keep engines ticking over and ride out the storm. I recall an incident, in the middle of a storm; at 3am a message came in for the Commodore from one ship which had ignored all orders and found itself isolated from the convoy. “To Commodore convoy - two life boats washed overboard – No. 2 hatch cover blown away - only able to travel at 4 knots. Please advise”. One of the Junior Officers ran down to me at the Radio Room and gave me a message from the Commodore as follows: “Tell that clown now – AB4CD SHUP UP – Commodore”. That was the first and only message I sent during my time at sea as there was never any transmitting permitted until a few hours from port. The distressed 12 |
vessel survived the storm. The storm had the effect of keeping the U-boats at bay but we did lose a few before we arrived in Liverpool in August’. On return to Liverpool John was then posted to the 18 knot 14,000 tonne Port Philip. Now part of a fast convoy, John’s next destination was New Zealand. Heading off to Colón, Panama, they passed through the Panama Canal and on to the Pacific Ocean. ‘We had a nice voyage, passing Pitcairn Island in mid-Pacific, always and
party every night as the pubs closed at 6pm. Usually it was New Zealand beer and wine, but we had the whiskey from purchase onboard ship and we were very welcome company. We loaded frozen meat, sheep, lamb, beef and grain and said goodbye to Wellington on November 1st, 1944, and headed across the Pacific for Panama to join a convoy with tankers from the West Indies. We moved fast, and we had no casualties. I was permitted to sign off and go home for Christmas. Gifts of fruit, tinned meat and some exotic sweets were the order of the day. When rationing was a must for all people I was well received at home’. After Christmas it was back to sea. This trip, on the 10,000 tonne Steam Tanker Taron. John took part in three convoy runs on Taron. ‘On the New York convoy we took on petrol and aviation spirits. Our convoy of 30 ships was attacked on our way home and we lost 4 ships. Tankers homeward bound were always likely to be attacked due to their valuable cargo. Outward bound we were in ballast of water or sand, easily distinguished as tankers with The long awaited ‘War Ends’ telegram. funnel and accommodation aft ever a danger to shipping. So quiet in the but sometimes we used dummy funnels South Pacific - no ships, no planes, radio to fool the enemy. Next trip was for petrol very quiet, beautiful weather and clear seas and crude oil at Trinidad. Three days out and sky. A week unloading at Auckland from Trinidad, bound for home with 25 in with a cargo of thousands of bottles of convoy, we were again attacked by U-boats, whiskey – our captain was complimented two ships went down very fast with all on the honesty of our crew as there were hands, and we suddenly had engine failure only ten cases missing (60 bottles) on our and stopped. The engineers worked flat final discharge. We met many kind English out to get the old engines to kick in. Our couples who had settled in New Zealand in hearts fell as we saw the other ships move the 1920’s and 30’s and we were guests in away over the horizon and all we could many of their homes. The 2nd Radio Officer do was wave bye bye. We sent a distress and I were guests to Mr. & Mrs. George message, as another of our ships was Frome at Rotorua, where the sights of the torpedoed and lost to the sea. Thankfully boiling springs were wonderful. We were the engines started and off we went again their guests for three days and we rested and we overtook the convoy in the morning from the stress of wartime. Moving off to of the next day. We figured out, luck was Wellington on the North Island we headed on our side, our engine trouble had made for a three week dry-dock and the best time us a straggler and the two U- boats which I ever spent ashore during my time at sea. A had attacked our convoy had missed out
John O’Sullivan in his home in Galway holding a wartime picture of himself.
2007 – the 100 year anniversary of the first commercial transatlantic morse transmission at Clifden Radio/MFT where John met with Princess Ellettra Marconi.
on an easy target. Thank God. This trip has a happy ending as we were now in the first week of May 1945 and I received this historic Marconigram that Germany had surrendered and the war in the Atlantic was over’. With the war against Germany over the merchant seamen may have thought they were going to get a break. With rationing still in strict place and massive Allied armies needing supplies it was back to sea for John. ‘After docking at Liverpool we discharged our cargo and off we went back to the West Indies and Aruba with transfers of cargo to/from the neighbouring Islands. We then got the worst possible news. We were to proceed via South Africa to the Pacific Islands and assist the Americans. At this time the Japanese had started their suicide bomber attacks on shipping and there was little chance of survival on a tanker. As we awaited orders we heard of the dropping of the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Japanese surrender. Thank God for that. Our orders now changed, we proceeded to Freetown, joined a convoy for the UK and settled to a nice trip home free from German U-boats and bombers. On heading for London our orders suddenly changed to proceed to Dublin. The three days in Dublin unfortunately did not give me the opportunity to visit home’. John continued serving on the Taron carrying out runs from Liverpool to France supplying the Allied troops in Europe. In 1946 John retired from the Merchant Navy. ‘I was later to receive my service medals for War Service and the coveted “Atlantic Star”, “Pacific Star”, “War Service Medal”
and “The Victory Medal” and in 2010 the “Veteran Medal” of the Merchant Navy’. John stayed in England for three more post-war years working in a Tile & Brick Factory. He came home in 1950. At home he worked for 10 years in insurance and then moved to Galway Corporation, retiring after 26 years at the age of 60. John had a great interest in cycling and won the Irish Championship 1963/4. He completed 6 marathons with his best time of 3 hours 45 minutes at 56 years of age. ‘Thank God, I always had good health attributed to everything done in moderation. In 1997, I had medical surgery for vascular trouble and this was my first visit to hospital since I got malaria at Lagos in 1944. As I look back on my life, I see that it can fly away very fast. So many of my school friends and ship mates have
“Crossed the Bar” and I pray the Good Lord leaves me here in health, for a few more years’. John passed away in January 2015, aged 90 years. He is deeply missed by his loving wife, Mary and his many friends. Colman J. Shaughnessy, Radio Officer ex Tivoli Cork/Riversdale College, Liverpool – 1969/1978 Served with Marconi Marine and Sanko. Vice – Chairman of the Radio Officer Association. The Radio Officers Association ensures that the work, life and times of the Marine, Aeronautical, Coast Stations and Clandestine Radio Officer are not forgotten. Web: www.radioofficers.com For all of Ireland contact: Colman J Shaughnessy or Tom Frawley E: [email protected]
or [email protected]
eircom.net REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 13
Shoulder Flash Irish Defence Forces Overseas Flash/Insignia By Tom Reddy
he Irish Defence Forces Overseas Flash/Insignia is worn on the left shoulder of all personnel posted abroad. In the early days of overseas service in the Congo Irish troops wore a brassard with the word Ireland over a shamrock with the command/ division insignia along with the United Nations insignia beneath it and in some cases a rank marking would also be on the brassard. In the 1960’s the shamrock flash was introduced and although I have found very little information as to the origin and choice of colours used the flash bores a remarkable resemblance to that of the Army
HQ insignia of the early 1940’s which was a spade shaped flash in red with a green shamrock in the middle. The difference between the two would be the yellow trim and the inclusion of the word Ireland. The current Irish Defence Forces Overseas flash came on issue on January 1st, 1988, and although the size has varied and the word Ireland was removed for a short time - in some cases the Irish flag was mistaken for an Italian flag - it remains in use today. The flash is straight forward in its design with the word IRELAND sewn in black thread on a yellow background over the tricolour which comprises of green, white
and orange and is twice as wide as it is high. The three colours are of equal size and the green goes to the left as one looks at it with white in the middle and orange on the right hand side. The flash has a black trim.
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REMEMBERING OUR PAST
Members of the Royal Naval Division charging from their positions at Gallipoli. (World War I Illustrated)
An Irish Graveyard
Part 1 – Land Operations – the Regular Battalions By Mal Murray – Gallipoli Association Forum Manager
uch debate and many pages have been written about Ireland’s involvement in the Great War. Mention of the war in Ireland is certain to focus on two significant events, the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme. Both events have, over time, been taken as representative of Ireland during the war. Here in Ireland both events have overshadowed a previous campaign; the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915-16. The Gallipoli Campaign is seen in Australia and New Zealand as a defining moment in the history of their respective nations. The Irish involvement has all but been forgotten for many reasons. The decade 1913 to 1923
could be considered to be the most decisive and yet divisive decade in Irish history, and it is within this perspective that the Irish involvement in the Gallipoli Campaign should be considered. In January 1919, Canon Charles O’Neill (Parish Priest of Kilcoo, Co. Down) attended the first sitting of Dáil Éireann. During the sitting the names of the men who had been elected during the General Election of 1918 were read out, but many were absent. For those absent their names were answered by the reply ‘faoi ghlas ag na Gaill’ meaning ‘locked up by the foreigner’. This had such an effect on him that some time afterwards he wrote the song ‘The Foggy Dew’. The
song was written to tell the story of the Easter Rising but also attempted to show that Irishmen who fought for Britain during the war should have stayed home and fought for independence. It’s most significant elements with regards to this must be the following lines: ‘Twas better to die ‘neath an Irish sky than at Suvla or Sudh el Bahr’ How many who were taught that song, or indeed sing it, know where Suvla or Sud el Bahr are located or indeed their significance? These names were at the time on the lips of families all around the country and would leave deep scars and have a great effect on Irish attitudes towards the war. As Katherine REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 15
REMEMBERING OUR PAST
The converted steamer River Clyde, anchored at V-Beach, Gallipoli, Spring 1915. The SS ‘River Clyde was a 4,000 ton ex-collier turned Trojan Horse. (Imperial War Museum)
Tynan wrote in 1919 in The Years of the Shadow: ‘So many of our friends had gone out in the 10th Division to perish at Suvla. For the first time came bitterness, for we felt that their lives had been thrown away and that their heroism had gone unrecognised. Suvla the burning beach, and the poisoned wells, and the blazing scrub, does not bear thinking on’. By late 1914 it was obvious all across Europe that the war on the Western Front for all intents and purposes had reached a stalemate. In attempting to break the deadlock new strategies were being reviewed. In January 1915, the Russians who were under great pressure on three fronts from the Germans, Austrians and Ottoman Empire requested that their allies (Great Britain and France) would conduct operations to divert attention away from them. The British First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, conceived a strategy which would, it was hoped, divert enemy attention and resources away from the Russians. The plan was to force a passage through the Dardanelles Straits with a force of battleships and level their guns on Turkey’s capital, Constantinople. The Dardanelles is a narrow strait in north16 |
western Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It was believed that the arrival of such a force at Constantinople would force the Ottoman Empire out of the war. It was also believed that by taking the Ottoman’s out of the war a new flank could be opened along with the opening of a two way all year round supply route between Russia and her allies. The Dardanelles had been the subject of a Royal Navy blockade since late 1914. It was now envisaged that this naval force re-enforced by other ships would force the Dardanelles and complete the mission. Between February and March 1915, naval operations were conducted against the Turkish fortifications in the straits by the Royal Navy supported by the French Navy and elements of the Royal Naval Division. On March 18th, a major naval assault on the straits failed with three ships sunk and three badly damaged. At this time it was decided that the straits could not be forced with a naval only operation and that land based operations must be conducted in conjunction with naval operations. Following the failure of the naval assault
General Sir Ian Hamilton was tasked by Lord Kitchener to act in support of the naval operations. It was decided that in order to force the straits the Gallipoli Peninsula would have to be taken. Under Hamilton, the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF) was tasked with the operation. Hamilton had a mixed command which included the 29th Division (consisting of three Regular Army Irish Regiments: 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 1st Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers and 1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers), the Royal Naval Division, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC, consisting of the 1st Australian Division and the New Zealand Australian Division (New Zealand Infantry Brigade and 4th Australian Brigade)) and the French Oriental Expeditionary Corps (initially one Division but subsequently re-enforced with a second Division). Irish born soldiers would play a part at all levels within all of these contingents (French included) and the Gallipoli Campaign is as much their story as any other nations. With short notice and limited resources General Hamilton made plans for landings
REMEMBERING OUR PAST
A 60-pounder battery in action on a cliff top. (Imperial War Museum)
on the Gallipoli Peninsula. This required reorganisation of the 29th Division transports to facilitate the conduct of efficient military operations. In order to prevent the Turkish fortifying the position, the date for the Allied offensive operations were set for mid April. On April 25th, 1915, the main assault took place. The strategic objectives were to secure the Achi Baba heights in order to dominate the straits. The British component landed at Cape Helles while ANZAC forces landed at Ari Burnu. These assaults were supported by a diversionary attack at Kum Kale on the Asian side of the Straits by the French. At Cape Helles the operational area assigned to 29th Division, were five beaches from east (inside the straits) to west (on the Aegean coast); S, V, W, X and Y. V and W beaches were the main landings at the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula, either side of Cape Helles. On land the Ottoman Fifth Army: comprising two army Corps; the III Corps which defended the Gallipoli Peninsula and the XV Corps which defended the Asian shore, the 5th Division was positioned north of the peninsula under the command of First Army, and the Dardanelles Fortified Area Command. For the purpose of this article the main focus must be centred on V Beach at the southern tip of the peninsula. V Beach has been described as a natural amphitheatre. The beach was approx 300 yards (270 m) long and 10 yards (9.1 m) wide, with a low bank about 5 feet (1.5 m) high on the landward side. Cape Helles and Fort Etrugrul (Fort No. 1) were on the left and the old Sedd el Bahr castle (Fort No. 3) was on the right looking from the sea and Hill 141 was inland. The beach had been wired and was defended by about a company of men from the 3rd Battalion 26th Regiment. Much debate has gone on since the landings
A French battleship firing at shore positions in the preliminary bombardment.(Imperial War Museum)
as to whether the Turkish defenders where equipped with machine guns, the official history of the campaign (Military Operations Gallipoli: Inception of the Campaign to May 1915. Aspinall-Oglander) reports that they were equipped with four Maxim Machine Guns. The task of landing and securing the area was assigned to the Royal Munster Fusiliers and Royal Dublin Fusiliers (both part of 86th Infantry Brigade 29th Division). They were supported by two companies of 2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment (88th Infantry Brigade 29th Division) and elements of the Royal Naval Air Service Armoured Car Division acting as fire support. Other elements including naval fire also supported the landings. In order to accomplish the task, the assaulting troops were allocated the Collier ship SS River Clyde. The ship had been converted into an ad hoc amphibious assault ship and was referred to at the time as the ‘Trojan Horse’ of the campaign. It was under the command of Commander Edwin Unwin Royal Navy; it was his idea to use the vessel for this role. The Clyde was to be filled with troops and run aground at V Beach. Sally ports were cut through the steel plates in her sides so troops could emerge on to gangways supported by ropes which ran along the sides towards the bows of the vessel from each side. These gangways then led down to two barges which were to form a gangway to shore. The plan was for three boats containing three companies of Royal Dublin Fusiliers to land on the beach and secures the beach for supporting landings from the Clyde when she was deliberately beached. Disposition of troops: Three companies of 1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers in boats
On board SS River Clyde: n No. 1 Hold (upper deck). n X, Y and Z companies, Royal Munster Fusiliers n No. 1 Hold (lower deck) n W Company Royal Munster Fusiliers n W Company Royal Dublin Fusiliers n No. 2 Hold n Two companies Hampshire Regiment n One company West Riding Field Engineers n No. 3 and 4 Holds n Two sub-divisions Field Ambulance. n One platoon Anson Battalion Royal Naval Division n One signal section All the troops aboard the Clyde were under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Carrington Smith, Hampshire Regiment. Smith was killed in action during the landings and is named in the Irish Memorial Records. From the very start things went wrong. The boats containing the three companies from the Dublin Fusiliers were delayed by currents and came in thirty minutes late at 6:30am. The Turkish defenders opened fire just as the boats were landing. Guns in the fort and castle enfiladed the beach and killed many of the men in the boats, some of which were reported to have drifted away with no survivors. Many more casualties were suffered as the soldiers waded ashore and some wounded men drowned under the weight of their 60 pound packs. The survivors found shelter under the bank on the far side of the beach but most of the landing boats remained grounded with their crews dead around them. Two platoons landed intact on the right flank at the Camber and some troops reached the village, only to be over run. REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 17
REMEMBERING OUR PAST
(Fig. A) Killed in action April 25th, Royal Munster Fusilier/Royal Dublin Fusiliers Regiment
Royal Munster Fusiliers
Royal Dublin Fusiliers
The SS River Clyde carrying the supporting troops had to slow down to avoid the boats containing the Dublin Fusiliers and therefore had not got the required speed to land high on the beach where it was originally intended (She would remain there throughout the campaign until re-floated in 1919). Because of this and the problems experienced by the Dublin Fusiliers, the boats which were to be used as pontoons to allow troops from the ship to disembark were not in position. Commander Unwin and members of his crew got into the water in the midst of the battle and attempted to form a bridge and assist some of the wounded. Six of them would receive the Victoria Cross for their actions that day. Only the words of those who were there can truly describe what they experienced on the beach. ‘When my turn came I was wiser than my comrades. The moment I stood on the gangway, I jumped over the rope and on to the pontoon. Two more did the same, and I was already flat on the bridge. Those two chaps were at each side of me, but not for long, as the shrapnel was bursting all around. I was talking to the chap on my left when I saw a lump of lead enter his temple. I turned to the chap on my right, his name was Fitzgerald from Cork, but soon he was over the border. The one piece of shrapnel had done the job for two of them’ Private Timothy Buckley, 1st Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers An article in the Leinster Leader on August 7th, 1915, gave this account from Private William Harris, 1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers: ‘On April 25th, before we got within 200 yards of the shore, we were under the heaviest shell and rifle fire that was ever known in the history of the war. When we came within 25 or 30 yards of the shore, our boats stopped. There was nothing for it only to swim ashore. Some got out all right, others were wounded and some never came out and may God rest them. It was only by chance anyone got out, for whichever way you swam that 18 |
day you faced death. I will never forget when we got on land that morning at 5:30am in our wet clothes. Byrne and I, a chap named Keegan from Dublin and our officer were the only ones left of our platoon. We fell on our hands and faces and dared not move from that position for if we put up a finger we were shot. We lay there for 13 hours and I saw some of our brave friends, the Munsters, alongside me blown to pieces - heads, arms and everything off. Byrne was right behind me, his head touching my boots, yet near as I was I was afraid to twist my head to see if he was alive. The officer and Byrne got wounded later, I think I am the only member of the platoon who was not, but thank God’ ‘The Dublin’s set off in open boats to their landing place which was the same as ours. As each boat got near the shore snipers shot down the oarsmen. The boats then began to drift and machine gun fire was turned onto them. You could see the men dropping everywhere and of the first boatload of 40 men, only 3 reached the shore all wounded. At the same time we ran the old collier onto the shore, but the water was shallower than they thought, and she stuck about 80 yards out. Some lighters were put to connect with the shore and we began running along them to get down to the beach. I can’t tell you how many were killed and drowned, but the place was a regular death trap’ Captain Guy Nightingale, 1st Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers Such was the intensity of fire from the defenders that it was decided during the day that no further attempts should be made to land troops from the ship until the cover of darkness. Despite strong Turkish opposition the Allies managed to land sufficient troops to establish a beach-head at Cape Helles and ANZAC Cove. Much has been written about the landings at V Beach and arguments have continued regarding the actual number of casualties for the Royal Dublin and Munster Fusiliers on April 25th. There are differences in statistics of the exact numbers killed between the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Soldiers Died Records. Current research
would show that the reports of casualties were released in such a way as to down play the actual facts. Notwithstanding these casualties (including wounded personnel) sustained by the two battalions were sufficient enough for both battalions to combine into an ad hoc battalion nicknamed the ‘Dubsters’ for the period April 30th-May 19th, 1915. On April 30th, the respective strengths of the battalions were as follows: 1st Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers: 12 officers, 596 other ranks; 1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers: 1 officer, 374 other ranks; from the normal strength per battalion of 26 officers and (approximately) 1,000 other ranks. My research into the Irish at Gallipoli shows the following fatalities recorded for April 25th (Fig. A). They also show, particularly with regards to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, the breakdown in the command structure due to officer and NCO casualties. Irish fatalities in the initial landings on April 25th, were not restricted to just these two battalions. Approximately 19 Irish born were killed during the landings at ANZAC Cove while serving with the ANZAC’s and approximately another 19 Irishmen were killed while serving with other British Regiments such as the Hampshire Regiment, Lancashire Fusiliers and the Essex Regiment. As with all statistics, there is a personal story behind them. For some families the soldier killed at Gallipoli would be the first loss during the war for that family, while for some families there would be double tragedies suffered by them during the initial landings at Gallipoli. The Mallaghan family from Newry, Co. Down would receive word that their two sons who served in 1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers had been killed at V Beach. 10372 Private Samuel Mallaghan (aged 21) was reported as killed in action on April 25th, and his brother, 10741 Private John Mallaghan (aged 19) was reported as killed in action on April 30th. The Smyth family from Glendermott, Derry would also lose two sons. 10696 Private Samuel Smyth (aged 28) and 10058 Lance Corporal William John Smyth (aged 31) were both killed in action on April 25th. Early in the land campaign it was realised that the hoped for breakthrough and success of the Gallipoli Campaign had been denied to the Allies by the tenacity of the Turkish
REMEMBERING OUR PAST
A Royal Irish Fusilier teasing a Turkish sniper by holding his helmet above the trench on his rifle. The 6th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers landed with the 10th (Irish) Division at Suvla on August 6th. (Imperial War Museum)
defenders. The stalemate and trench warfare of the Western Front had all too painfully set in at Gallipoli. Success was measured in feet and yards, the Allies never advanced more than three miles up the Peninsula, with opposing trenches no more than 15 feet away from each other in some case. Throughout May and June 1915 the Royal Munster Fusiliers and Royal Dublin Fusiliers, though badly mauled, would continue to serve in the frontline at Gallipoli. They would, alongside the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (who also sustained heavy casualties), took part in the second and third battles of Krithia and sustain further casualties and lost many of their pre-war regular soldiers with whom they had started operations. The battalion history of 1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers (Neil’s Bluecaps Volume II), describes the ‘scanty reinforcements’ that reached the battalion at Helles, comprising 3 officers (Captains C.B. Riccard, W.F. Stirling and Adrian Taylor), 1 Sergeant, 2 Corporals and 43 Privates from the battalion reserves at Mudros, along with another officer from the 3rd Battalion and 4 officers from the 9th
Battalion Somerset Light Infantry. A total reinforcement of just 54 officers and men. After receiving these meagre reinforcements, the 1st Battalion was reconstituted as a separate unit on May 19th. During the Battle for Gully Ravine (Third Krithia) the Dublin Fusiliers suffered enormous casualties when on June 28th-29th, they lost approximately 236 officers and men killed, wounded and missing. The old regular army battalions were being bled to death at Gallipoli and the black ribbons were being hung on doors all across Ireland. The true reality of the war was being brought home to these families and the Irish as a nation. By mid June 1915, plans were made for large scale re-enforcements to the MEF and a new offensive was planned for August to break the dead-lock. The Irish involvement in the new campaign would increase with the inclusion of the 10th (Irish) Division, which would include Service Battalions of almost all the existing Irish regular regiments. The 10th (Irish) would be the first of the three raised divisions in Ireland which would see active service during the war, and its use and treatment would affect Irish attitudes to the
war much deeper than any other Irish units engagement. The 29th Division, the only regular division in the MEF, remained at Gallipoli until January 1916. It was used as the ‘Fire Brigade’ Division throughout the campaign and during the August offensive served for a period of time at Suvla Bay before returning to serve at Helles until the final evacuation. It earned the title ‘The Incomparable 29th’ due to its service. The 10th (Irish) Division and its role in the August campaign will be discussed in Part 2. There is more to be told about the Irish at Gallipoli, the Irish graves that stretch from the Gallipoli Peninsula, through Egypt, Malta, the depths of the Mediterranean, Gibraltar, and across the UK and Ireland have their own story to tell about the effect they had on Ireland and it’s people and should no longer be considered as ‘Lonely graves by Suvla’s waves’. Mal Murray is a former member of the Irish Defence Forces. He is currently the Gallipoli Associations Forum Manager. For more information see: www.gallipoli-association.org REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 19
TAKE A STEP BACK TO 1915
THE MEDITERRANEAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE The Gallipoli and Salonika Campaigns 1915
he Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF) commanded all Allied forces at Gallipoli and Salonika. This included the initial naval operation to force the straits of the Dardanelles and the landings at Gallipoli in April. The MEF consisted of Royal Navy units, British Army units, the Australian New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) and the French Oriental Expeditionary Corps. The MEF was originally commanded by General Sir Ian Hamilton until he was dismissed due to the failure of the 29th Division at Gallipoli. Command briefly passed to General William Birdwood, commander of the ANZAC, but for the duration of the Gallipoli Campaign command fell to General Sir Charles Monro. With the opening of the Salonika front in October 1915, the forces at Gallipoli were referred to as the Dardanelles Army and the Salonika Contingent became the Salonika Army on the Macedonian Front. Once Salonika became the sole Mediterranean theatre the MEF was commanded by General Archibald Murray who was based in Egypt and whose command also involved defence of the Suez Canal from Turkish attacks. As the importance of the Sinai front grew, a separate headquarters called the Egyptian Expeditionary Force was formed in March 1916.
The Wolseley Pattern Helmet The most unique feature of the Khaki Drill uniform was the headgear. The Wolseley Pattern, also known as a ‘Solar Topee’, ‘Pith Hat’, ‘Foreign Service Helmet’ or ‘Bombay Bowler’, was a light rigid headgear made from cork and externally clad in sewn Khaki Drill panels. Prior to the war the Wolseley Pattern helmet was supplied along with two ‘Pagris’ or decorative windings, chin strap, cover, badge and bag. It was of dubious utility, but being broader and longer than earlier models it did at least keep the sun off the head, face and neck of the soldiers. Many units donned flashes and patches on their Wolseley indicating their battalion, brigade and division. A lighter Khaki Drill version of the Service Dress cap was also adopted for hotter climates.
In 1915 Irish units during these campaigns were the 1st Battalions Dublin, Inniskilling, and Munster Fusiliers as part of the 29th Division, and the 10th (Irish) Division. Irish soldiers also served with other British army and naval units, ANZAC units, and the French Oriental Expeditionary Corps. The Khaki Drill uniform that is worn by these two Irish soldiers (NCO on left, Officer on right) is that of the British Army. Uniforms worn by Irish soldiers in the ANZAC and French units will be detailed in later issues.
Rifle Standard issue Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE) Mk III.
TAKE A STEP BACK TO 1915
Khaki Drill Uniform For British units serving in hot climates such as Africa, India, the Mediterranean or the Middle East a lighter cooler uniform was issued. Known as the Khaki Drill or KD uniform, this warm climate dress for ‘stations abroad’ had some unique differences from the serge Service Dress worn by comrades on the Western Front. According to the 1914 Clothing Regulations most troops including cavalry, infantry and artillery were entitled to three complete suites of Khaki Drill in warm climates, whilst Royal Engineers and mechanics were issued four sets.
Rank Badges The officers badge was indicated by a pip and was worn on the shoulder. Other ranks markings were indicated by a crown and worn on the sleeves.
Khaki Drill Jacket The Khaki Drill Frock Jacket was made from cotton making it light in weight and cool in hotter climates. It was coloured a dusty or light brown. The general shape of the garments was similar to the Service Dress. The Khaki Drill frock fastened up the front with five buttons. It had breast pockets which were closed with a flap and button, shoulder straps, and cuffs which were usually pointed. The standard type of jacket had a stand and fall collar there are photographs showing obsolete garments with small stand up collars.
1908 Pattern Webbing The 1908 Pattern Webbing comprised a wide belt, left and right ammunition pouches which held 75 rounds each, left and right braces, a bayonet frog and attachment for the entrenching tool handle, an entrenching tool head in web cover, water bottle carrier, small haversack and large pack. A mess tin was worn attached to one of the packs, and was contained inside a cloth buff-coloured khaki cover. Inside the haversack were personal items, knife and when on Active Service, unused portions of the daily ration. The large pack could sometimes be used to house some of these items, but was normally kept for carrying the soldier’s Greatcoat and or a blanket. The full set of 1908 webbing could weigh over 70 pounds (32 kg).
Belt Officers wore a Sam Brown pattern leather belt. Their side arm was carried in a leather holster which held the standard issue service pistol, the Webley Revolver.
This NCO is also using a leather Sam Brown pattern belt and ammunition pouch. REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 21
REMEMBERING OUR PAST
Général Jean-JosephAmable Humbert.
A FRENCH GENERAL, A HERO OF IRELAND Bi-Centenary of Battle of New Orleans commemorates an Irish connection with a difference.
By Stephen Dunford, Chairman - In Humbert’s Footsteps Association
t noon on January 8th, 2015, a freezing, though sunny Louisiana Thursday, a very special ceremony took place in the grounds of St. Louis Cemetery, No.1, 425 Basin Street, New Orleans, the final resting place of French Général Jean-JosephAmable Humbert. The ceremony which formed part of the commemorative and historical re-enactment event surrounding the bi-centenary of the Battle of New Orleans
(December 24th, 1814 - January 8th, 1815), centred on the official unveiling of a plaque to the aforementioned Général Humbert. In his short life Humbert was a daring man and a distinguished French Revolutionary General, intrepid commander of his own epochal expedition to Ireland in 1798, the year since known as ‘the Year of the French’ and later, a courageous defender of New Orleans in 1815. In Ireland we associate General Humbert
with the 1798 Rebellion and the ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. In the West he is remembered for landing with a French Army on August 22nd, 1798 and establishing the first Republic in Ireland ‘The Republic of Connaught’. Following General Humbert’s defeat and surrender at Ballinamuck, Co. Longford on September 8th, 1798, the French soldiers of his small Franco-Irish army were transported to Dublin. There the principal officers were placed in what was at the
REMEMBERING OUR PAST
time, the best hotel in the capital, the Mail Coach Hotel, Dawson St, later the Hibernian Hotel. Humbert was described by a resident as: ‘rather a handsome man, polite in his address and much more externally polished than the Generals Sarrazin and Fontaine’. It is recounted that while staying in the Dublin hotel Humbert often appeared on the hotel’s balcony to the large inquisitive crowds who had gathered to get a glimpse of him, dressed it is said: ‘in a blue coat with gold epaulets, gilt buttons, and a white cashmere waistcoat, acknowledging the admiration of the crowd’. In the aftermath of his repatriation to France, Humbert served with distinction in Switzerland, Germany, and Flanders (the Dutch speaking northern part of Belgium) before being despatched to present day Haiti. There he distinguished himself once again and was installed as Governor of Port au Prince. Just as he had previously done in Ireland, Humbert commanded in a humane manner though he was a strict disciplinarian. Following the death of his commanding officer, Charles Leclerc, and due in no small way to his scandalous affair with Leclerc’s wife, Pauline, Napoleon Bonaparte’s eldest sister, Humbert discovered himself a military and social outcast. It did not help matters with his overt support for republicanism and his public upbraiding and criticism of Napoleon. Recalled to the colours on one occasion in 1809, when Napoleon was out of France, Humbert once more found himself fighting against the British, this time at Scheldt, where he again fought courageously and was recommended for La Légion d’Honneur. On his return to France, Napoleon refused to sanction the recommendation and exiled Humbert. Not content with keeping the fallen general in exile, it is maintained that Napoleon was also making secret preparations to have Humbert incarcerated when he received a dispatch from him requesting a passport to travel to Louisiana. Bonaparte was in Vilna facing defeat at the hands of the Russians when he received the request, and seeing this as a solution to the problem duly issued the passport, reputedly on condition that he never return to France. The historian Jacques Baeyens tells the story in this fashion: ‘The letter was
Members of the French re-enactment group, Association ème Bataillon de Chasseurs des Montagnes gather to honour their countryman.
placed before the sovereign July 9, 1812 at the Imperial residence of Vilna. He dictated one word ‘Approved’ to which he attached one enormous initial ‘N’ which seems to have been done with much anger that he wished to break through the paper’. Thus it came to pass that sometime around November 1812, Jean Joseph Amable Humbert took a ship bound for America and upon arrival settled in New Orleans. Tradition maintains that much later Bonaparte supposedly cursed his sister for being the instrument through which he lost one of his best and most experienced soldiers, a soldier he could have well done with later at Waterloo. Humbert played an active role in the Anglo-American Wars fighting on the American side. Once again this fine soldier brought honour to himself, most notably in 1815 at the Battle of New Orleans, where on several occasions, as commander of a crack corps of Creole marksmen, he again found himself facing the British Army. A peculiar circumstance of the Battle of New Orleans was that Humbert again encountered Major General Sir Edward Michael Pakenham (brother of Kitty Pakenham, wife of the Duke of Wellington) who had formerly been an officer in General Lake’s army in Ireland in 1798. Escaping a brush with death at Ballinamuck, he survived that day and later on was present at the French surrender. Unfortunately for Pakenham, this time he was not so lucky and he was killed during the Battle of
New Orleans. It is claimed that Pakenham had been promised an Earl’s coronet as the reward for his expected conquest of Louisiana. The lore of New Orleans claims that Humbert was amongst the party who, for the trip home, placed Pakenham’s corpse in a cask of brandy, so that it could never be said that the general was not returned home in good spirits. Feted and celebrated as a champion by the people of New Orleans, Humbert came to the attention of Major General Andrew Jackson the ‘Hero of New Orleans,’ who would later become President of the United States. It was Jackson who later referenced Humbert’s war record stating: ‘General Humbert who offered his services as a volunteer; has constantly exposed himself to the greatest possible dangers with characteristic bravery’. Later, Robert Rimini, Jackson’s biographer wrote of Humbert declaring that he: ‘performed any number of strange, possibly mad and undoubtedly heroic acts in the name of freedom’. Général Jean Joseph Amable Humbert, ‘Hero of Castlebar and New Orleans,’ was a dashing champion on two Continents, a man whose life was packed with adventure, and of whom it was said that: ‘he cared nothing for his skin and little for his life’. He passed his latter days earning a meagre living teaching fencing and languages at a local French College, he also gave instruction in the science of applied mathematics, a subject for which he had a great passion. A proud REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 23
REMEMBERING OUR PAST After the French landings the invasion looked promising as the British Army was driven from Co. Mayo.
old soldier, Humbert became one of the city’s most colourful celebrities and was noted at a memorial service for Napoleon which was held in the St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans as: ‘General Humbert the Republican Lion of year’. Unfortunately alcohol was to play a major part in the latter years of General Humbert’s life and unsurprisingly this abusive lifestyle took its toll on his health. Général Jean Joseph Amable Humbert died prematurely of an aneurysm in bed at his home at 186 Casa Galvo Corr, Espana, on January 2nd, 1823. Neither honoured nor rich his body was not discovered until the following day. Général Humbert was granted a funeral commensurate with his former position and reputation. The entire Corps d’élite of the Louisiana Legion formed his guard of honour and a huge concourse of citizens turned out to pay their final tribute to him. One of the chief mourners was his great friend and another equally colourful character ‘The Bosswoman’ Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. His headstone bore the epitaph ‘Humbert Général Républicain Francais’. Unfortunately, in the latter part of the nineteenth century the St. Louis cemetery was reduced in size along one side so that the street could be widened, during which Humbert’s tomb was dismantled. In the process of rearrangement, all the exhumed skeletons (including Humbert’s bones which were intact) were consigned into a common resting place and forgotten, except that is for Humbert’s skull, which was saved and preserved by a Major W.M. Robinson, who later became city editor of the New Orleans Picayune. The ceremony held 200 years later was attended by the French Consul in New Orleans, Grégor Trumel and the Honorary Irish Consul, Chief Judge James McKay. Both men delivered orations, after which messages of support and goodwill were read from Mayo County Council and the Mayor of St. Nabord, Humbert’s birthplace. Fashioned in bronze, the plaque was worded and erected by the Co. Mayo historical association, In Humbert’s Footsteps, and the French re-enactment group, Association ème Bataillon de Chasseurs des Montagnes. Spokesperson for In Humbert’s Footsteps, 24 |
Honourary Irish Consul Chief Judge James McKay with Grégor Trumel, Consul General of France, accompanied by French re-enactors at the plaque honouring Général Humbert.
Stephen Dunford said that: ‘It was an honour for In Humbert’s Footsteps to have played such a significant role in the erection of this plaque on behalf of the people of Co. Mayo. I hope that this long overdue recognition for General Humbert in his final resting place in New Orleans will lead to the setting up of new historical and commercial links between Louisiana and Mayo. I look forward to seeing visitors from Louisiana in Mayo in 2016 when In Humbert’s Footsteps will be staging a series of cross-county historical living history events to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising and its connections with Humbert and 1798’.
In Humbert’s Footsteps has staged the largest and most spectacular series of Napoleonic living history re-enactments ever seen in Ireland. The winner of the ‘National Gathering Event of the Year’ in 2013, In Humbert’s Footsteps also took place in 2015 and to date re-enactment events have taken place in six centres across Co. Mayo including: Kilcummin, Killala, Ballina, Lahardane, Castlebar and Swinford. E: [email protected]
Web: www.humbertsfootsteps.com FB: inhumbertsfootsteps
Educated For War The Story of Fingal’s HelyHutchinson Brothers By Colm McQuinn, Archivist, Fingal County Council
Dick (seated) and Coote Hely-Hutchinson circa 1880. REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 25
n November 2011, Fingal County Council Archives received a donation of the papers of the Hely-Hutchinson family, originally of Swords. A branch of the Earls of Donoughmore of Knocklofty and later Palmerstown, they owned two big houses and estates in the Swords area, Seafield and Lissenhall. John HelyHutchinson, Deputy Lieutenant, Justice of the Peace, and County Sheriff for Dublin had two sons, Coote Robert and Richard George ‘Dick’, as well as three daughters. Both brothers were sent to boarding schools in England, including Harrow, which operated as feeder school for the British Military Academies. Both brothers served with distinction with the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) before and during the First World War. Through correspondence, official documents and photographs, their story can be extracted to illustrate how different they were from the many Irish Catholics who joined the British Army at this time, and how they had been prepared for life to someday serve as army officers. The Hely-Hutchinson brothers Coote and Dick were born in 1870 and 1871 respectively, into a privileged Irish family which had a long distinguished military history. Their grandfather Coote had been a Captain in the Royal Navy, and it was he who brought the family to Swords, having inherited Lissenhall House and Demesne through marriage. His son Francis, the boys’ uncle, followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Royal Navy. Through marriage the family were related to many officers in the British Armed Forces. While their father John may not have been a member of the armed forces, he was an enthusiastic huntsman, on foot and on horseback, as well as fishing. John was a keen shot and was an advocate of teaching boys to shoot from an early age. Among his papers is a collection of correspondence with a number of huntinggun manufacturers and hunting magazines in England, wherein he discusses the finer points of various aspects of the sport. The two boys were sent to boarding school during the 1880’s. We can only assume that it was for financial reasons that 26 |
Coote mounted on a white horse, at a ceremony in the Phoenix Park, Dublin 1897, with the caption “H.R.H. the Duchess of York presenting New Colours to the Royal Fusiliers, August 1897”.
only the eldest son, Coote, was sent to his father’s alma mater, Harrow. Dick was sent to a newly-opened school in Clifton, Bristol. Dick excelled at sports while in Clifton and represented the school at boxing. He went on to Sandhurst, but not as a cadet. It is likely that his elder brother Coote, graduated from Harrow into the Royal Fusiliers. Interestingly, there are Certificates in Musketry for both men from the School of Musketry in Hythe. They would have had no idea how significant this would be for them in the second decade of the next century. Dick qualified as a gymnasium and fencing instructor, while Coote became an instructor in Musketry. Unfortunately Coote was not as prolific a letter-writer as his younger brother, so we know little of his career and postings within the Royal Fusiliers. We know however that he spent most of his time with the 7th (Extra) Reserve Battalion as an instructor. A photograph dated 1897 places Coote at a regimental colour ceremony at the Phoenix Park, Dublin. From Dick’s writings we can trace his
entire career. He was gazetted to the 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers as a 2nd Lieutenant on May 13th, 1891. he was in Portobello Barracks and the Curragh as Superintendent of Gymnasia, Dublin District until 1902. He spent the turn of the century in Aldershot as an instructor in fencing and gymnastics and was able to come home to Dublin on leave. In 1899 he got married, and his wife, Alice Cunningham of Belfast, travelled with him to India, where he held posts in Darjeeling and Bangalore, and attended hunting and gymkhana in Secunderabad, Decca, Hyderabad and Ootacamund. He was promoted to Major in 1907 and was in Malta in 1908. He was Superintendent of Gymnasia, Northern Command 1908-1911. In 1912, back in Ireland, he was posted with the 1st Battalion to the Curragh. Prior to the outbreak of war August 1914, his unit moved to Kinsale, Co. Cork. The 1st Battalion, Royal Fusiliers formed part of the British Expeditionary Force, 17th Brigade, 6th Division. Dick left his wife, Alice, and their infant daughter Pamela in Dublin in the care of his family.
Lieutenant Colonel Coote Hely-Hutchinson.
Richard George Hely-Hutchinson.
He wrote to his mother from Kinsale before leaving for Le Havre: ‘Dearest Mother, Just a line to you all to say goodbye….. keep your spirits up. I hope Kaiser Bill will take it in the neck before this war is finished. Your loving son, Dick’ A month later on October 3rd, he wrote about his experiences at Ypres: ‘My dearest Mother, Many thanks for your last letter, we are having a bit of an easy, after ten days in the trenches at the front, it came very welcome as it is hard work & nobody gets very much sleep & there was a lot of digging & tin cutting to do…. the luxury of a bed now is beyond words; also having a real wash with hot water was nice… There are no fences, great big bare plateaus, with very deep valleys & thick woods, ideal places for artillery fighting, as they get very long ranges & good concealment, both sides use aeroplanes for fire detection. The German spy system is marvellous; as they retreat they leave
them behind to mark for their artillery. Two were caught near our position, concealed in a hay stack, with a telephone & enough food for six weeks. We caught one near here with a pair of glasses observing artillery fire. I expect he will be shot… We have had very little rain lately; the mud in these parts when it does rain is something colossal’. Writing to Alice on November 8th, he describes how so many officers and men get wounded: ‘…a Welch Fusilier was trying to get back to his trenches, with some tea, when he was hit by
a sniper. The artillery observing officer saw him & went out to try & get him in. He was hit, & then two of our men went to try to get him in & they were hit too all badly, & the cause of all the trouble was only very lightly hit, & could have remained out quite well where he was till it was dark. There are an awful lot of officers & men wounded like that… These new sharp nosed bullets make worse wounds than the old ones, as when they meet a bone they turn over, which of course is very bad for the bone’ REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 27
A Regimental History of the Royal Fusiliers, by H.C. O’Neill, describes the situation in November at Ypres: ‘It was now freezing hard, and the men’s feet were beginning to suffer. At night on the 21st, Major Hely-Hutchinson arrived to take over command, with Captains Lee, Pipon and Magnay from the 1st Battalion. A draft of 300 special reservists arrived, and companies reorganised and given some training. But on the 27th, the battalion had to take over the trenches at Kemmel from the Norfolks. It was the last test to apply men so little accustomed to warfare; but the days were critical and such risks had to be taken. Major Hely-Hutchinson had to deal with some serious cases of nerves, but under his firm hand the unit settled down, and spent three days in the trenches’. There is a letter in the collection to Alice Hely-Hutchinson from Captain Philip Magnay dated December 1st, which he wrote while on leave from the 4th Battalion in London for four days. He says her husband, ‘is well & of course delighted at commanding. I came in with him from the 1st Bn & I can safely say that he is better both in health & spirits than ever before in the war….I heard quietly from some of the NCO’s & men that they like the idea of Major Hely-Hutchinson commanding which means that they think him a worthy successor to Colonel McMahon. If you knew how they idolised Colonel McMahon you would know that this is praise indeed for your husband’. Dick was promoted to Commanding Officer. He wrote to his mother again, in December: ‘We are just back from a short spell in the dirty old ditches & they were very dirty ones this time…Our company was practically wet the whole time. I know when I went round I was wet up to the knees, however they came through alright, & we had very small losses, which pleased me very much, as it was my first effort as a C.O. under fire. We got shelled a bit one day but fortunately no damage was done….. The men get any amount of tobacco & cigarettes & woolleys now, people at home are very good about sending them out things & the authorities are also doing them very well in the way of clothes & equipment, even supplying 28 |
Richard in hospital with shell graze 1915.
them with goatskin fur coats, which are rather a white elephant, as it is quite impossible for a man to carry all the kit he has to, & when he gets it all on, he can’t fight in it… The mud on the roads is beyond all words, most of these Belgian roads are paved in the middle & each side is mud about 2 feet deep in some places. Some of the heavy motors have great difficulty in keeping on the roads at all’. In a letter to his father in December 1914, and did not hold back on any details: ‘My dear Father, Many congratulations on your 78th Birthday, I had no idea you were that old, it is quite wonderful, & I hope I come home from this beastly country in time for your next birthday. We spend so many days wading in mud up to our waists & then so many days getting dry again. You would not believe the state of the trenches it worse than any mud you can imagine. We came out the night before last, & the men are not dry yet. It is beastly country as there doesn’t seem to be any stones, the roads go to nothing & the ditches have no bottoms whatsoever, whole boxes of ammunition disappear in to the mud & are lost. Our trenches are about 150 to 200 yds from the Germans &
one place this was only 15 yds… They were so close we were throwing hand grenades at each other. The Germans snipe all day & all night & we have shots then whenever we can see them’. Fighting resumed in Belgium in early 1915. In a letter to his sister on January 29th, he wrote: ‘My dearest Cissy, We came out of the trenches last night, we had rather more killed and wounded than usual, as we were in bad trenches, & bullets were very plentiful, especially at night. A shell came into one of the fire trenches the other day & wet into a dug out & blew one of the servants out right over the other trench towards the Germans, he crept back with only a broken leg, & he was lifted at least ten yards’. In a letter to his father on March 7th, he writes again about the fighting:
‘We have had rather a trying time lately & were sent off rather suddenly to take up some trenches in a different part of the line. The trenches were very bad & the Germans were rather uppish & thought they could do what they liked with us. However, I think we have put them in their places now, & they are certainly damned careful how they show themselves. The Blokes we relieved had got the wind up rather badly & thought they never could look out of their trenches. So, of course the Bosch gave them beans. The trenches were in an awful state, one trench we had to abandon & dig a new one, we filled in the old one with 26 dead bodies in it, some of them all swollen up & so churned into the mud & slush that we could not pull them out even with a rope. In another they had to take the bodies out in bits & bury them, as the arms etc came away if you pulled them. I should think we buried at least 120 bodies, all under heavy fire at night. Your affectionate son, Dick P.S. Send me a box of decent cigars’ On March 30th, 1915, the brothers received word their mother had died. In June, Dick was stationed at Bellewarde Lake, near Ypres. The 4th Battalion had captured the nearby wood, and according to the Regimental Battalion History: ‘At 10am the brigadier of the 7th Brigade had taken command; and he ordered Major Hely-Hutchinson to go into the wood which had just been captured by the battalion and organise the men who remained. This was immediately done’. The battalion could not hold the wood however, and had to retreat: ‘All day the battalion was under heavy artillery fire, and during the afternoon gas shells were used freely. Of the 22 officers and 820 men who entered the battle some 15 officers and 376 men became casualties… Major Hely-Hutchinson was badly wounded’. The telegram which arrived at Alice’s home in Foxrock on June 19th, states: ‘Have arrived at 16 Bruton St, West. Slight wound in the head from shell graze. Will probably come over tomorrow or next day.’ But a telegram from the War Office two days later informed Alice that: ‘Major R.G. Hely-Hutchinson was slightly wounded on
Royal Fusiliers Officers Moore Park Fermoy, 1913.
June 16th, but is “remaining at duty” until further notice’. He was back at the ‘front’ by mid summer and on July 26th, he wrote to Coote : ‘My dear Cooty, I am fit and well but slightly fatigued, we came out of the line yesterday morning. After 16 days severe fighting; so of course we are what you call slightly depleted. We went into the line on the 8th & did an attack on the 14th, a real good one, everything went A1, & it was a great success. I went down the night before to see where I would dig in before the attack & the place where we had to go to was alive with bursting shells, so I was a little nervous as to how many I would lose before I got dug in….The attack was most successful; our bombardment was terrific, & the 1st line trench of the Germans was completely blotted out…we also captured a village & a German General with his staff’. Although there is no family records placing Coote in France we do know that the 7th (Extra) Reserve Battalion, with whom Coote served, were called up from their training and landed at Le Havre on July 24th, 1916. Three days later they joined the 190th Brigade, 63rd (Royal Navy) Division. On August 8th Dick wrote to Cissy about Paris, where he had spent a few days on leave:
‘I have just come back from 72 hours leave in Paris & I had a top notch time there, & lived at the rate of several thousands a minute; but got great value for it. We stopped at the Ritz who gave us beautiful rooms, with a bathroom attached for 10 francs… We ate of the best and a good deal more & we saw no kaki & my mind was free of all care & worry, & nobody wanted to know what I am to do about this and that, & all the French ladies all said, “vive les braves officers Anglais”, & the entente was very good’. Dick was wounded again at the end of 1916 and seems to have been appointed to lighter duties for a while with a territorial battalion in Guilford, Surrey. He returned to France as Commandant, Reinforcement Camp, 3rd Army Corps, British Armies in France on November 5th, 1917, until March 22nd, 1918, Dick was wounded again in March 1918. In a letter to Cissy on March 29th, from Acheson Hospital, London he wrote: ‘Just about this time some Boches suddenly appeared in the road & all the men wanted to leave, however I rounded them up & started them to return the fire, & at that moment I got the bullet in the foot, so I handed over to Davies & proceeded to hobble back… REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 29
The Hely-Hutchinson Exhibition Fingal County Library.
The exhibition is full of hundreds of never seen before photographs and documents tracing the brothers careers from the end of the 19th century, the hardships they endured throughout the war and life after.
My servant Kitson got his arm round me & I walked about 11/2 miles, I then felt rather like collapsing, however Kitson spotted a handcart & got a hand from another man to put me on to the road. There were a few shells falling around, however Kitson pushed like a man & took me nearly 2 miles more to a Dressing Station, where they sent me on a stretcher to the next (station) where I got an ambulance to a village… Then I got into pyjamas & my things were all put in a sack & a list made of them & that is the last I saw of them. No train came till next morning & I was much relieved as I did not want to be caught in pyjamas by the Boche’. On recovery Dick was appointed Administrative Commandant of the British Armies in France until November 19th, 1918. The two brothers ended the war with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Dick retired from the Army on half-pay on April 28th, 1920. He remained in England with Alice and Pamela. He seems to have kept in touch with some of his fellow former Royal Fusiliers and there is an interesting collection of Royal Fusiliers Christmas cards in the collection. After the war Coote returned to Swords to take over the family estate, the brothers’ father having died in 1919. In that year he was awarded an O.B.E for his services during the war. A year later he was appointed High Sherriff of Co. Dublin and was elected as a Councillor to Dublin County Council for the Balrothery Rural District. He served on a variety of 30 |
Committees within Dublin County Council, including the first Libraries Committee, which included Hannah Sheehy-Skeffington, but his main focus seems to have been mental health services, particularly at nearby St. Ita’s Psychiatric Hospital, Portrane, and agricultural issues, where his opinion was often sought, as it was by the Royal Dublin Society. He continued shooting, and hunting with the Ward Union Hunt and the Fingal Harriers. On his death in 1930, the then President of Ireland Liam T Cosgrave sent his personal condolences to his wife Julia saying: ‘His country will miss the splendid public services and activities which he contributed to her welfare for so many years’. Coote and his wife Julia had five children, one of whom, Michael, followed the family tradition and entered the British Army and served in the Second World War with the Royal Norfolk Regiment, and was a Prisoner of War in Malaysia. He returned to Broadmeadow Estuary for a while after the war and his daughter Caroline was one of the donors of the Hely-Hutchinson collection to Fingal Archives.
The full story of the Hely-Hutchinson brothers is told through an exhibition mounted at Fingal County Archives and Local Studies Library, Clonmel House, Swords where many more photographs and original documents from the HelyHutchison Collection will be on display. To visit the exhibition please contact: E: [email protected]
DE HAVILLAND CANADA DHC-1 CHIPMUNK Spanning Three Generations of Irish Aviation
Photos courtesy of Irish Air Corps Press Office and Irish Historic Flight
he de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk entered service with the Royal Canadian Airforce in 1946. It took to skies of Ireland with the Irish Air Corps in 1952. Since that time scores of both Irish Air Corps and Aer Lingus pilots first took to the air with this purpose built trainer. With two examples still flying over Irish skies this aircraft gives aviation enthusiast the sound and feel of aviation in post-war/Emergency Ireland. In 1945 de Havilland in Canada began
work on an elementary trainer to replace the de Havilland Tiger Moth. Powered by a de Havilland Gipsy Major 8 engine, the first DHC-1 Chipmunk first flew on May 22nd, 1946. The Chipmunk is an all-metal, low wing, tandem, single-engined aircraft with a fixed front and tail wheel landing gear. The aircraft has fabric-covered control surfaces while the wing is also fabric-covered aft of the spar. It has a clear perspex canopy which covers the pilot/student (front) and instructor/passenger (rear) positions. Fully
aerobatic this new elementary trainer very quickly became highly sought after by military and civil operators alike. The Royal Airforce received 735 Chipmunk T 10’s which were manufactured in Britain. 217 units of the military export version, T 20, were also built. These were powered by the de Havilland Gipsy Major 10 Series 2 engine. A civil export version, T 21 was also constructed. The subsequent T 22 was a military T 10 converted for civil use. REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 31
de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk T 20 and T 22
de Havilland Canada. Also built under licence in Britain and Portugal
May 22nd, 1946
Royal Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Portuguese Air Force, Belgian Air Force, Irish Air Corps
Number built (inc. Canadian, Britain, and Portugal):
de Havilland Gipsy Major 10
108 kW 145 hp
222 km/h (120 kts/138 mph)
4.877 m (16.000 ft)
452 km (244 nm/281 mi)
646 kg (1.424 lbs)
10,46 m (34,3 ft)
16,0 m2 (172 ft2)
7,75 m (25,4 ft)
2,13 m(7,0 ft)
REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 33
During the early 1950s the Irish Air Corps set out to replace its elementary trainer the Miles Magister I. Seeking a modern aircraft, the Chipmunk was chosen. In 1951 six T 20’s were ordered at a cost of £27,824. In January 1952, the Chipmunks were delivered; designated Irish Air Corps registration 164-169. These aircraft operated with the Elementary Flying Training Section, Flying Training School based in Baldonnel Aerodrome, Dublin. A second delivery of another six T 20’s took place in 1952 at a cost of £32,970. These aircraft were designated Irish Air Corps registration 170-175. The Irish Air Corps Chipmunks had a silver painted finish with wing root walkways and anti-glare panel in front of the cockpit, painted matt black. The Chipmunks initially had a Celtic green and orange boss on the upper sides of both wings and on both sides of the fuselage with green, white and orange stripes on the underneath. These markings were later replaced by a tri-coloured Celtic boss while day-glo orange was applied around the engine air intake, the wing tips, the forward section of the tailfin and the tailplane. The Chipmunks were deployed to Gormanston Military Camp, Dublin in March 1955. They were initially operated by No. 1 Fighter Squadron until that unit was redeployed to Baldonnel the following year. In that year the Basic Flying Training School was established and based in Gormanston. The Chipmunks operated with this unit 34 |
until their retirement. During their service, the Chipmunks were also used in the army cooperation role including acting as targets in air defence exercises. In 1963 the Department of Defence, Aer Lingus Teoranta, and the Department of Transport and Power developed a partnership for the Irish Air Corps to train Aer Lingus cadet pilots. Over the next ten years a total of 50 pilots received their commercial pilot’s licence with the Irish Air Corps undertaking elementary training on the Chipmunk. After several accidents the number of Chipmunks operating with the Basic Flying Training School was reduced to eight. In 1964 two replacement T 22s were delivered to Baldonnel. These two aircraft were designated Irish Air Corps registration 199
and 200. In 1973 the Chipmunks were set to be replaced by the Reims Rocket FR 172H (Cessna). However due to the outbreak of the Troubles these aircraft were primarily used in the army cooperation role. The Chipmunks were redeployed to Baldonnel Aerodrome to operate with the Advanced Flying Training School, which at that time operated the Hunting Percival Provosts. From 1977 both the Chipmunk and the Provost began to be replaced by the SIAIMarchetti SF260We Warrior. Today, over 500 DHC-1 Chipmunk aircraft remain airworthy with more being restored to flying condition every year. The Chipmunk can still be heard over Irish skies today. The Irish Historic Flight flies two such examples. The Irish Air Corps museum also has examples on static display.
MILITARY HERITAGE TRAIL
Just a sample of the rare photographs, documents and weapons in the museum.
James Stephens Military Barracks Museum O Photos by Corporal Vinnie Keily ur military heritage trail this issue takes us to James Stephens Military Barracks Museum in Kilkenny and the home of the Irish Defence Forces’ 3rd Infantry Battalion. Like so many of the museums within the Irish Defence Forces, the museum in Stephens Military Barracks is a treasure trove full of wonderful nuggets of history. This invaluable trove contains the personal stories and accounts of the men and women who have served and lived in the barracks over the past 200 years. Since it opened in 1801 the barracks
always had a regiment of foot and a battery of artillery stationed in it up to 1922. After that time the Free State Army took over. In 1969 the barracks was renamed in honour of local Fenian leader, James Stephens. By just standing at the doorway you get an evocative vision of 200 years of history. Flags dating back to the Kilkenny Militia who served in England during the Napoleonic Wars all the way up to the United Nations flag which represents a long and proud tradition of peacekeeping. ‘The museum here is like a time capsule’, museum curator Lieutenant Larry Scallan
told us; ‘We have items of very significant military heritage and interest dating back to as early as the 1800’s right up until the recent mission to Syria. Effectively the museum here can tell the military story of Kilkenny and the southeast of Ireland from 1793 with the foundation of the Irish Militia right through to the present’. The museum had over 3,000 visitors last year. It is evident to see why. It is laid out and presented in a way that there is something here for everyone and all ages. The earliest exhibit in the museum is the Kings Colours and Regimental Colours of REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 35
MILITARY HERITAGE TRAIL
Items in the museum date right back to the first days of the Irish Fee State Army.
A display dedicated to Regimental Sergeant Major Fredrick Hal showing his photograph, medals and an example of the uniform and kit he would have worn.
the Kilkenny Militia dating back to 1801. The Kilkenny Militia was formed in 1793 continuing right through to 1815. They were stood down for a short period in 1802 due to the Treaty of Amien and were stood down again in 1815 after the defeat of Napoleon in Waterloo. The unit gathered every year for annual training after this time. Along with the other 37 Irish militia units they were reactivated for the Crimean War (1853-1856) and again for the Second Anglo Boer War (1899-1902). The Kilkenny Militia becomes the 5th Battalion of the 18th Regiment of Foot Royal Irish Regiment in 1881 as part of the Cardwell Reforms. In 1908 this battalion under the Haldane Reforms become the 4th Special Reserve Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment. Tracing this lineage hang the Colours of the 18th Royal Irish Regiment which makes the museum a very prestigious place to visit. Lieutenant Scallan explained: ‘the local Church of Ireland Cathedral a number of years ago asked the then battalion commander, Kieran Brennan, now Brigadier General 1st Southern Brigade, would he take the Colours as they could no longer preserve them. They are now here. We keep them out of direct sunlight and maintain the humidity levels. It is very special to have them here’. The 18th features heavily in the early years of the museum as it was the local unit. Artefacts such as uniforms, weapons and medals give you a glimpse at what a soldier from Kilkenny would have looked like in
British vehicles. They were designed in such a way that no matter what way it landed a spike would stick up. A lovely photo dated 1921 outlines the calibre of men in the ranks of the Kilkenny Irish Republican Army during this period. One of these men, James Cummerford, went on to become a High Court Judge in New York. The Civil War is a hard period in Irish history as families were torn apart, brother fighting brother, but it has to be told. General George Dwyer from Muckalee took over the barracks from the British Army on February 7th, 1922. Republican forces were very active in the area. Republican forces were driven out of the southeast by General John T. Prout. A photo of him reveals that he was a Tipperary man who had served during the Great War as a Lieutenant with the American Army. The Civil War was bitter and Stephens Barracks held many Republican prisoners, two of whom were executed in the barracks. Previously unknown to me, the first place officers were trained for the newly established Irish Army was in Stephens Barracks during the Civil War. An item catching my eye was an original blue shirt dating from around 1932. It was in an attic in a shed in a farm in south Kilkenny for 70 years before it was re-discovered and placed on display. Moving through the periods of the early days of the Irish Defence Forces, through the Emergency and into the modern period, the
the mid 19th century and where they served. Serving with the 18th placed Kilkenny men in Crimea and South Africa. Moving on to the Great War original trench art, personal items including photographs and sweetheart brooches give you an insight into the units involvement in the Great War, the battles it took part in and what local men went through. Moving on into the revolutionary period in Kilkenny, the War of Independence and the Civil War, Larry told me a story of 32 local men who were arrested after the 1916 Rising. They were members of the Irish Volunteers but due to counter orders did not take part in the rebellion. A photograph tells the story of a local priest by the name of Fr. P.H. Delahunty; a Mooncoin native who was president of South Kilkenny Sinn Féin and was very influential with the volunteers up until the start of the War of Independence. Now the last thing you expect to see in a military museum is a butter dish. Is it a soldier’s personal item I wondered, or perhaps an old item from the officers mess? ‘No’, said Larry, ‘believe it or not it is one of the dishes that were associated with the making of the key that was used to get Eamon de Valera out of Lincoln Gaol. The key was fabricated by Peter de Loughry Lord Mayor of Kilkenny from 1919-1925’. A very interesting item on display from the War of Independence period is a Caltrop. These were used for bursting the tyres of
MILITARY HERITAGE TRAIL
Personnel from Kilkenny have served all over the world on United Nations peacekeeping missions.
The museum has the honour of holding all the Colours tracing the lineage of the 18th Regiment of Foot Royal Irish Regiment.
museum is full of photographs, uniforms, weapons, kit, and not forgetting several AllIreland GAA medals. Like any unit in the Irish Defence Forces, United Nations service has played a huge part in the life of 3rd Infantry Battalion. Men and women from Kilkenny have served as far away as East Timor, the Congo, Lebanon, Chad and Liberia just to name a few. At the time of our visit many in the unit were not long home from service with the 44th Infantry Group in Syria. The museum brings you right through to this service. Compared to what a solider has today the early uniforms Irish peacekeepers first deployed overseas in were not exactly comfortable. One of the first missions with the United Nations placed Irish soldiers in the Congo during the early 1960’s. Their initial uniform was bullswool. Not exactly the nicest thing to be wearing in the jungle. For school tours and adults alike there are a few items from the modern period that you can pick up and handle. A deactivated FN 7.62 rifle and a body-armour vest give an idea of the weight soldiers have to carry with them. It is the personal stories that really paint the military picture of Kilkenny. And the museum is full of them. One account tells the story of Kilkenny’s first Victoria Cross winner, Company Sergeant John Byrne. He was awarded the medal for actions at the Battles of Inkerman and Sevastopol during the Crimean War. He later went on to earn the Distinguished Conduct Medal for actions in New Zealand. He fell in hard times and took his own life. Several years ago Sergeant
Martin Barrett from Stephens Barracks, who has since retired, researched John Byrne. With the help of the Durham Light Infantry Association his grave was located in the UK and he now has a headstone. There is also a plaque to honour him in his home town of Castlecomer. Kilkenny has five more Victoria War recipients; Privates Dowling and Ryan were awarded their medals for action during the wars in India. A fascinating story is that of Lieutenant Walter Pollock Hamilton from Thomastown. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for actions in Afghanistan for defending his Company Commander. Wigwam Batthe, after he fell off his horse. Hamilton himself was later killed near Kabul. His father petitioned for the medal to be awarded posthumously and this is the first time that that happened. Private John Barry from Kilkenny City was awarded his Victoria Cross for actions in South Africa in 1901. We will finish on a remarkable story, that of Regimental Sergeant Major Fredrick Hall. Fredrick was born here in Stephens Barracks in 1885. He went on to join the Scottish Rifles in 1901. After 13 years service with them he immigrated to Winnipeg in Canada. On the outbreak of war he immediately enlisted and joined the 8th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force. After six weeks he was promoted to Company Sergeant Major due to his previous service. He deployed to France in 1915. He was on the frontline on April 22nd, when the first ever gas attack was launched by the Germans. Two days
later, his own battalion was gassed. Fredrick was in charge of the battalion reserve along with a platoon commander. The battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Lipset, who was from Donegal and had previously served with the Royal Irish Regiment, ordered the reserve forward. In the act of moving forward Fredrick discovered a lot of his comrades wounded. He carried two back to the lines. On going back for a third comrade Fredrick managed to get his wounded comrade on his back. A sniper shot him dead. His body was never found. ‘To commemorate the centenary of that event we held a ceremony here in the barracks on April 24th. A small tribute to honour a Kilkenny soldier and a son of the barracks’, Larry proudly said. The museum in Stephens Military Barracks is an absolute must for anyone who is researching the 18th Royal Irish Regiment, the military history of Kilkenny or the 3rd Infantry Battalion. The museum is inside a working military barracks. It is open for Heritage Week every year. To visit the museum outside of that week you must make an appointment. Please contact:
Stephen’s Barracks Museum Ballybought St. Kilkenny Tel: +353 (056) 772 1174 How to get there: The museum is only a ten minute walk from the city centre, Macdonagh Train Station, and the Bus Éireann terminus located at the train station.
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NOW HEAR THIS
Members of the New York Fire Department, United States Navy and Navy SEALs, who traveled to Kinsale to honour Michael. During their visit they laid a wreath at the 9/11 Garden of Remembrance in Kinsale.
Irish Veterans Name New Chapter After US War Hero T Photos by David Jones (Irish Naval Service Press Office) here is no better way to honour a war hero than to carve his name into the annals of history to ensure that future generations will never forget. On April 18th, the inaugural opening of the Irish Veterans’ Chapter 1 took place at the White House restaurant in Kinsale, Co. Cork. The Chapter is named after Irish-American United States Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael Murphy. Irish Veterans came about after James Sikora returned home after serving eight years in the United States Army. James began to seek out fellow veterans that had served in the US and other armed forces. He found the
very impressive project that had been set up to identify the Irish who had lost their lives in the Vietnam War. This project had been set up by Declan Hughes in the late 1990s. Declan’s long term goal was to establish an Irish Veterans Historical Research Centre. One thing led to another and working together James and Declan came up with the idea for a global Irish veterans’ organisation that could facilitate the networking and research of Irish men and women who had served in the military throughout the world. Whilst continuing to work in the private sector, James has dedicated all his free time to the Irish Veterans with the goal
of making it a self-sustaining organisation in the near future, after which time the focus will become establishing an Irish Veterans International Research & Heritage Centre (Museum), and a National Memorial to all Irish men and women who have served in the armed forces. Who better to name the Irish Veterans first Chapter after than Michael Murphy. Michael was killed in action on June 28th, 2005, in Afghanistan. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honour and the Silver Star and Purple Heart. His family are from Co. Cork. The inaugural event that took place on April 18th, had in attendance members
NOW HEAR THIS
On the ground in Afghanistan with his team: Lieutenant Michael Murphy, far right. (Photo courtesy of US Navy)
of Michael’s family and members of the crew from USS Michael Murphy, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer named after the US Navy SEAL. At the ceremony Michael’s story was told to all. Michael was born and raised in Suffolk County, New York. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University with honours and dual degrees in political science and psychology. After college he accepted a commission in the US Navy and became a Navy SEAL in July 2002. Michael completed several missions with the SEALs. In early 2005, Michael was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE as officer in charge of Alpha Platoon and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In June 2005 he was part of Operation Red Wings which was a counter-insurgent mission in Kunar province, Afghanistan. Michael led a four-man reconnaissance team on a mission to kill or capture a top Taliban leader, Ahmad Shah (code name: Ben Sharmak), who commanded a group of insurgents known as the ‘Mountain Tigers’ west of Asadabad. After an initially successful infiltration, local goat herders stumbled upon the SEAL hide. Shortly after, Taliban forces surrounded and attacked the SEALs. To get a signal out to extract the team, Michael exposed himself to enemy fire. A MH-47 Chinook helicopter was dispatched to extract the team but it was shot down by an RPG killing all 16 onboard. Michael, Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson were killed. Marcus Luttrell was the only
American survivor and after several days in the mountains he was eventually rescued. All three of Michael Murphy’s men were awarded the US Navy’s second-highest honour, the Navy Cross making theirs the most decorated Navy SEAL team in history. On May 7th, 2008, Secretary of the United States Navy Donald C. Winter announced that DDG-112 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer would be named USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112) in honour of the SEAL. On May 7th, 2011, on what would have been Michael’s 35th birthday, the USS Michael Murphy was christened by his mother Maureen. The dedication ceremony in Kinsale was attended by Michael’s parents Dan and Maureen, and his brother John, the United States Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley, and US Defence Attaché Lieutenant Colonel Seán Cosden. Also present to pay tribute to their comrade were several US Navy SEALs. Known amongst his SEAL team as the ‘fiery Irishman’, the naming of Irish Veterans Chapter 1 after the Medal of Honour recipient was the first time that Michael was honoured outside of the United States. At the dedication ceremony in Kinsale, Michael’s mother Maureen, whose family hail from the far reaches of Cork, Derry and Armagh, thanked Irish Veterans for naming Chapter 1 after her son. She said: ‘This dedication is for all the Irish who served in uniform. It is because of their sacrifice we live in a safer world’.
Following the success of Chapter 1, it is hoped that Irish Veterans will evolve into a global network. James Sikora said: ‘one of the key aims is to develop a global network of Chapters to allow veterans of Irish descent to share their stories. This will be a veterans’ organisation with a difference, as our members are part of a global group of people who strongly identify with serving in the military, and having Irish roots. This is about connecting the Irish veterans still amongst us and honouring those who are not’. Membership of the Irish Veterans is open to everyone. There are two categories: a Veterans Life Membership and a Friends of Irish Veterans Life Membership. For more information check out: www.irishveterans.org www.facebook.com/IrishVeteransOrg REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 39
Operation Liberate Listowel Photos by Lisa O’Mahony, Tony Quinlivan and Denis Carroll
istowel is a quiet town along the banks of the River Feale in Co. Kerry. It is famous for its writing and food festivals, and its week long races. So when a squad of World War II German infantry pass you by riding in a BMW R71 with side car and a Volkswagen Kübelwagen for a moment you have to think – ‘did I really just see World War II German soldiers?’. Well to add to Listowel’s repertoire of festivals and attractions a group of military enthusiasts, historians and veterans decided to hold a military tattoo right in the centre of this quaint town. The decade of centenary really has stirred interest in military history in all corners of the country. Even more so with families who had relatives who served in the first or second world wars. As the tattoos founding father Padraig Nolan explained: ‘I have traced relatives in my family who served
in the British and American armed forces during World War I. With the build up to the centenary in talking to your friends you discover they too had relatives who fought in the war. After looking at events in Europe we decided to hold a Military Tattoo here in our home town and honour the local people, and all those from Ireland of course, who served in the first and second world wars’. With the backing of the local community the event has now reached its fourth year. Military history is nothing new to the residents of Listowel, with the castle dominating the centre of the town it serves as a constant reminder of its wartime past. The legacy of the castle dates back to 1303 where it first appears in the Plea Roll. It was built as a fortress for the Fitzmaurice family. Over time the town developed around it. The castle was the last bastion against Queen Elizabeth I in the second Desmond rebellion. It was the last
fortress of the Geraldines to be subdued. It fell after 28 days siege to Sir Charles Wilmot on November 5th, 1600, who had the castle garrison executed in the following days. During the War of Independence Listowel became famous for a mutiny. On June 17th, 1920, member of the Royal Irish Constabulary at Listowel police station refused to obey orders to relocate outside of the town. The Black and Tans had occupied the town barracks, forcing the redeployment, Police commissioner Colonel Smythe intended for Royal Irish Constabulary constables to operate with the army in combating the Irish Republican Army in the more rural areas. He suggested while negotiating with the constables that they would be given the power to shoot any suspect on sight. Led by Constable Jeremiah Mee, they refused. The officers were subsequently discharged.
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Listowel has a huge connection with the Royal Munster Fusiliers, and throughout the regiments’ history, many men from the local area served. Listowel is also the birthplace of Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener and a Royal Airforce Air Chief Marshal Sir (Thomas) Neville Stack. The tattoo, which ran over May bank holiday weekend, saw the whole town is transformed into a 1940s French village. ‘Exhibits from the Irish Air Corps, Army, Coast Guard, and An Garda Síochána give people an insight into the role and equipment of our serving defence and security personnel’, Padraig told us, ‘Reenactors with their historical research into the past allow visitors to look and touch a vehicle used by the Irish Defence Forces on United Nations service or a 1944 Willys Jeep’. With re-enactment groups such as Battlegroup Centre, the D-day Dodgers, The Irish Military Re-enactment Group, and the 42 |
Irish Military Vehicles Group to name a few, visiting public got a full array of military history. It’s not often you get a chance to see a Second World War German soldier in full battledress or have an American Airborne paratrooper instruct you on his M1A1 Carbine. The re-enactors culminated their display in a battle down the centre of village - ‘Operation Liberate Listowel. With machine gun fire and soldiers diving for cover the liberation of Listowel was akin to a scene from any good war movie. ‘It is education and a bit of fun. The re-enactors bring history alive’, added Padraig. For those keen students of military history they had a chance to meet and attend lectures by renowned historian James Holland. They also had a chance to meet hundreds of Irish military veterans who have served in a plethora of militaries throughout the world. A veteran’s parade cumulating in a wreath laying service and minutes silence concluded
the Saturday’s activities. Bringing the festival to a close on Sunday, guests were treated to a magnificent performance from the stunning Bombshell Belles. With their vintage Army-green dresses, pinup good looks and a repertoire of patriotic songs alongside Andrews Sisters and Glen Miller classics, the Bombshell Belles entertained till all hours of the morning with 40s hits such as ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’. Plans have already been set in motion for next year’s festival. The tattoo can only improve on itself. Foreseeing next year’s event, the organisers have promised that they are going to take it a level above. They have begun work on a replica Spitfire MkVB. The very same aircraft used by Dublin World War II Royal Airforce ace Brendan (Paddy) Finucane. No doubt when it is finished it will be the envy of many a collector. Keep an eye out for next year’s Listowel Military Festival. An event not to be missed.
FOR SERVICE AND VALOUR
Medals Of The War Of Independence 1916 – 1921 By Patrick J. Casey - Medal Society of Ireland Two medals were issued to cover the 1916 Rising and the subsequent War of Independence.
The 1916 Medal (An Bonn 1916)
This medal was awarded to all those who took part in the 1916 Rising during the week commencing April 23rd, 1916. It was not issued until 25 years after the event (January 24th, 1941). It is the first medal issued by the Irish State and takes precedence over all other Irish medals. It was designed by Corporal Gerard O’Neill of the Irish Army’s Corps of Engineers and manufactured by the Jewellery and Metal Manufacturing Company of Ireland. The number issued was approximately 2,410. The medal had to be applied for and in most cases it was issued unnamed, the exception being in the case of those who died before the medal was issued, and in that circumstance the medal was both named and numbered. It is believed that 402 medals were issued both named and numbered. Sixteen of these were awarded to those who were executed for their part in the Rising and sixty five were awarded to those who died during the conflict of Easter Week 1916. The remaining 321 recipients of the posthumously awarded 1916 medal are represented by pensioners who passed away before the creation of the medal.
Service Medal 1917 – 1921 (An Bonn Seirbhise 1917 – 1921)
This, like the 1916 Medal above, was instituted on the January 24th, 1941, and was designed by Richard J. King. It was issued to those who served between April 1st, 1920, and July 11th, 1921. It was issued in two classes:
A. With the clasp Comrach (Struggle) on the ribbon for those who were on active service. B. Without a clasp to those who supported the cause but did not engage in the fighting. It is believed that over 15,000 medals with the clasp were issued, and some 48,000 medals without the clasp. As with the case of the 1916 Medal, this medal was named and numbered in cases where the recipient had died prior to the issue of the medal. On the 50th Top left: The 1916 Medal. Top right: reverse of named War of Independence Medal. anniversary of the Bottom left: War of Independence Medal without clasp. Rising a medal ‘An Centre: War of Independence Medal with clasp. Bonn Marthanoiri’ Bottom right: War of Independence Survivor’s Medal. (1916 Survivors Medal) was awarded to surviving participants in the Rising. It is awarded to the living survivors of the similar in design to the original 1916 Medal War of Independence who had received but on the reverse instead of Seactain na the Service Medal 1916 – 1921 with or Cásca 1916 the inscription reads 1916 Caisc without the clasp. This medal ‘An Bonn 1966. The ribbon is green with a narrow Cuimhneachain Sos Cogadh (1921)’ (the white central strip and orange borders. Truce Commemoration Medal 1921) was Similarly on the 50th anniversary of similar in design to the Service Medal 1917 the truce between the British and Irish – 1921 but instead of a plain back it carried forces on July 11th, 1971, a medal was the inscription ‘1921 – 1971’. REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 43
Celbridge History Squad Discover Links With Belgium By the History Squad, Scoil Na Mainistreach
t a commemoration in Donacomper Cemetery, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, on February 20th, a local primary school student informed us that: ‘history is like being a detective. You have to investigate clues from the past to prove your point in the present’. Quite a profound insight for someone so young. The commemoration was organised by the History Squad from Scoil Na Mainistreach, Celbridge. They had discovered from a September 1915 Irish Times article that by that time some 1,646 Belgium refugees had been given aid and safety here in Ireland, several of whom had been sent to Celbridge. As someone from the area this piece of history was news to this editor. This is the History Squad’s investigation. From our investigation we wanted to learn the stories of these Belgian refugees; both the sad ones and the happy ones, and record their story so it is not lost to history. Over the past year we have been learning about Ireland’s involvement in World War I. We have discovered that this war is very close to our families. Our Vice Captain, Eimhin Carey, told the class about his Great Uncle, Alexander McCann who had fought in Belgium with the Royal Irish Fusiliers. He was killed on May 8th, 1917 in the second battle of Ypres, aged twenty two. There is a high chance that he was killed by mustard gas as this was the first battle that the Germans used that gas. He is buried in Elzenwalle Brasserie Cemetery in Belgium. Our investigation took us to the Russell 44 |
Library in NUI Maynooth, to delve through Celbridge Church records and the County Archives. From this we learned about the impact of the war on the local area. We also discovered where the Belgium refugees were housed when they came here, who died while here and who even got married. After Germany invaded little Belgium in 1914 thousands upon thousands of Belgium people became displaced and homeless. A man from Naas called John Cummins told The Kildare Observer in December 1914 that he: ‘saw the Germans with Belgian women forced to march in front of them so that the British soldiers could not fire on them’. Leaving Belgium was not easy. On October 26th, 1914, a ship called the Admiral Ganteaume carrying 2,000 refugees was hit by German torpedoes. Due to the proximity of the British ship SS Queen, most of the refugees were rescued. About 3,000 of these displaced people eventually would flee Belgium to take refuge in Ireland. In preparation for the arrival of the refugees, Mrs. Fowles set up the Belgian Refugee Committee in Ireland. She organised a very interesting art sale in Dublin to raise money for the prisoners of war of Irish Regiments and Belgian refugees. Some famous artists such as John Lavery and William Orphen promised to paint the portrait of whoever bid the highest. They made £380 and 280 guineas. The first of the refugees to come to Celbridge arrived on October 23rd. Every window and lamppost in the village had Belgian flags flying. The refugees would
Belgium refugees Madam Von Crombrugger with her daughter Francine in front. Ana and Hebert de Neve, Professor Walleart and an unidentified man, and Peter and Matilda Lootf, November 1st, 1914, at the back of the barracks in Monaghan. The refugees that went to Monaghan were involved in a very successful lingerie factory. (Photo taken from ‘Belgium Square 1914 -2014, A Century of Nostalgia’.)
stay in the workhouse with the inmates. However, the Belgians were to be treated differently. For example, they were permitted to cook their own food, wear better clothes and feel like guests. Great care was taken to keep the clothes and beds clean. People were afraid that they would bring diseases. The people of the locality tried to make Christmas a happy time for the refugees residing in the workhouse. A week before Christmas twenty two wounded soldiers arrived in Celbridge. Some of them limped badly and others were maimed. The youngest was only seventeen. Mrs. Barton
The Workhouse where the refugees from Belgium staying during their time in Celbridge.
from Straffan sent over turkeys for the Christmas dinner and we are told that they had everything they needed for a lovely feast. This shows the refugees got a lot of respect from the people of Celbridge. Mr. E. O’Brien who lived in Celbridge Abbey sent over a piano for them and with some of his friends they brought some of the refugees into the Theatre Royal in Dublin for some entertainment. From the catholic church records we discovered a happy story and a sad one. A Belgium couple; Irma D’Hoore and Gustaaf Eggermont got married in the church here in Celbridge. They were from Ghent and had worked as weavers in a mill. On leaving Belgium they had to pretend they were brother and sister so they would not be separated. After they explained the story to the priest here in Celbridge they had their wedding and some money was given to them so they could have a honeymoon in Dublin, a ray of light in dark days. The church records also revealed that one refugee, Jean de Kock, died in the workhouse on February 16th, 1915, and was buried in Donnacomper Cemetery. We decided to find his grave. With help from the cemetery caretaker, Larry Byrne, we were able to narrow down the area in which it was thought Jean was buried. We broke into several groups to see if we could find him, but to no avail. We could find no gravestone with Jean’s name on it. Mr. Byrne came up with the big cemetery
ledger and showed us roughly where the remains of Jean de Kock were laid. Mr. Byrne told us the grave was bought by the Master of the workhouse Mr. Pasley for two shillings and six pence. That would be a lot more money by today’s standards. Mr. Byrne said that the refugees left Celbridge in April 1915 and maybe that was why there was no gravestone. We were sad and annoyed that we did not find his exact resting place, but history is like a jigsaw puzzle and you have to keep looking for the right pieces. The burial documents did reveal more information about Jean that we did not already have. Jean de Kock was a Catholic. He was a painter by trade and had a wife and five children. He had arrived in Celbridge with Typhoid Fever. He died as a result of that disease alongside a haemorrhage. Thankfully none of the rest of Jean’s family caught the disease. He was buried on February 20th, 1915. His funeral is recorded as being attended by a large number of local people. Such was the respect the community had for the Belgium refugees. To mark the centenary of Jean’s burial and to pay tribute to all the Belgium refugees who came to Celbridge, we organised a commemoration and wreath laying ceremony 100 years to the day. The ceremony was well attended. The Belgium Embassy in Ireland was represented by Consul Agnès Scheers. After the laying of the wreath and prayers
Members of Scoil Na Mainistreach History Squad at the wreath laying ceremony at Donacomper Cemetery.(Photo by Tony Doohan)
by local priest Fr. Kevin, we felt it was apt read the exact same piece which had been read 100 years before, to the day, by Jean’s friends at his graveside. We discovered this reading in the Kildare Observer, March 1915. ‘Farewell best friend, farewell! Never, never shall we forget you. And we shall remember you in our prayers and ask God to have mercy on you. Farewell best friend, farewell. There shall come a day when we shall all meet again.’ ’It seems Celbridge only acted as a transit area for the Belgium refugees. By April 1915 they had all gone to other parts of Ireland. In that short time the people of Celbridge welcomed them with open arms. We will never forget them. REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 45
THROUGH THE LENS
Dr. Andrew Horne at Gallipoli, August 1915 Andrew Horne, a doctor with the Royal Army Medical Corps, was stationed in Gallipoli from 1915 to 1916. His position next to the battlegrounds enabled him to take these unique images of the battle in progress, such as shell bursts on the beach and the conditions under which the Medical Corps operated under. His photo album
gives us a first-hand experience of the campaign, and it goes on to document his service in India and Mesopotamia until 1918. Dr. Andrew Home’s full album can be viewed in the Soldiers and Chiefs Exhibition, National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks. The collection was compiled by curator Brenda Malone.
THROUGH THE LENS
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THROUGH THE LENS
THROUGH THE LENS
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LIVING HISTORY DISPATCHES
Legion Ireland Recruit Trinity Students
Rome’s military prowess became legendary throughout the world of antiquity. Even today their skills, strategies, tactics, and innovative weapons endure, not just in the tomes of history, but also in the vast web of popular culture. There’s not many Classical Students who get a chance to meet a real life Roman Legionnaire in full battle kit. There’s even less who can say they’ve been trained in Roman artillery. Martin McAree from Legion Ireland sent us in this report of their visit to Trinity College’s Classics Society. Legion Ireland - The Roman Military Society of Ireland was founded in 2005 to promote Roman military history of the early Imperial period (AD69 - AD138). The group is dedicated to presenting an authentic image of the Roman army on campaign and in the field. Over the years the group has built up a vast collection of Roman equipment allowing for a fascinating interactive experience for the public to enjoy. They even have their own example of early Roman artillery which caught the attention of Trinity College Dublin. The artillery was built by the famous team of Alan Wilkins, Len Morgan and Tom Feeley. Legion Ireland’s collection includes a Vitruvian Catapulta, Vitruvian 2 Librae Ballista, Heron’s Cheiroballistra, a Carroballista and a Scorpion Minor is to be delivered in July. This collection has attracted much attention from academics and historical societies alike and group frequently visit schools and colleges both in Ireland and the UK. On April 30th, Legion Ireland attended Trinity College Dublin to give a presentation of Greek and Roman artillery to the 50 |
Classics Society. The Irish Romans were warmly received and they quickly got to work explaining the history and development of artillery from the Greek Gastraphetes, the Oxybeles and up to the machines of Vitruvius and Heron of Alexandria. Presentation over, it was time to get some hands on experience of operating and firing the machines. A projectile trap was improvised from an old sheet. The students and lecturers got to work. Half an hour later everybody had a turn at winding and firing the machines. All in all a most enjoyable evening spent doing what we enjoy most, sharing history with friends.
LIVING HISTORY DISPATCHES
Wells House Under Attack Wonderful Wells House, Ballyedmond, Gorey, Co. Wexford was the scene of several skirmishes on the May Bank Holiday weekend as Redcoats and Rebels from the Enniscorthy Historic & Re-enactment Society battled it out on the lawn to the delight of the large gathering of visitors. Maria Nolan sent us in this report. Adult and child alike were treated to rifle shot and canon blast and hand to hand combat as Pikemen and Recoats re-enacted scenes from 1798. All spectators were invited to dress up in costumes provided and have their photographs taken and experience a rebel camp complete with pheasants and rabbits ready for the pot. Musket, rifles, swords, pike and canon were on site to be examined first hand and described by experts in the field Rory O’Connor of Enniscorthy Castle and 1798 Centre and Ray Murphy Chairman of the Enniscorthy Historic & Reenactment Society. Wells House is over 300 years old, built in the late 1600s by John Warren who owned more than 6,000 acres of land. It was purchased on his death by the Doyne family who then lived there, and engaged renowned English architect, Daniel Robertson to completely redesign the house during the 1830s. It was Robertson who designed the house standing at Wells today. Owner of Wells Sabine Rossler said that she was delighted with the interest shown by the visitors on the occasion which she very much hoped would become a regular feature on their annual programme of events. ‘It was colourful, interactive and fun’, she said, ‘and with the fantastic backdrop of Wells House it resembled a scene from a movie bringing history to life for all those present’. She thanked the reenactors for their commitment and attention to detail saying that it was excellent to have such a professional and dedicated group within our own county: ‘A definite return visit pencilled in for the future’. Enniscorthy Historic & Re- enactment Group is available for Festivals, Events, Functions and Parades for details check out their facebook page at: Enniscorthy Historic & Re-enactment Society.
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Belfast Nationalists at War The 6th Battalion Connaught Rangers Part 2: By Professor Richard S. Grayson
Images courtesy of 6th Connaught Rangers Research Group
s a result of bravery by the likes of Private Thomas Hughes on September 2nd, the first three objectives were reached before 1pm, and around 140 men of the 6th Connaughts joined an attack by other parts of the 16th Division on the final objective at the Somme, the ‘Sunken Road’. Meanwhile, the remainder of the battalion dug in with the 7th Leinsters to hold the territory gained until they were relieved the next day. Among the dead officers was the 6th Connaughts’ Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel J.S.M. Lenox-Conyngham. He was replaced on by Major Rowland Charles Feilding, an 52 |
English convert to Catholicism, whose letters home to his wife provide an invaluable insight into details of the Connaughts. Of the 2,400 soldiers from the brigade who took part, nearly half were injured in some way. When Feilding joined the battalion as its commanding officer he found 365 other ranks bivouacking at Carnoy ‘amid a plague of flies’. They now had a fresh objective: German trenches close to the village of Ginchy, as part of a wider attack on the village itself, with the rest of the 16th Division. There had already been one failed British attack on Ginchy on September 6th, and it was
clear that the Germans were well dug-in. At 4:45pm on September 9th, there was an intensive bombardment of the German lines for two minutes. Yet again, just like at Guillemont, some shells fell short. Fortunately, many were duds, and casualties were lighter than they were previously. However, with duds also falling on German lines, the impact of the bombardment was not nearly as great as planned. When British troops moved forward at 4:47pm, they found the Germans ‘very little disturbed’. So in the first wave of the attack, the 6th Royal Irish Regiment and the 8th Munster Fusiliers were ‘mown down by a devastating fire from
machine guns’. The original plan had been for the 6th Connaughts plus one company of the 7th Leinsters and two from the 11th Hampshires, to follow behind the first attack, but with the Munsters so badly hit, their men had stopped advancing. A and B Companies of the Connaughts realised what had happened and stayed in their trenches, but C and D Companies plus the Leinsters and Hampshires did not. When there was a pause in the fighting, they judged that it was their turn to attack. They advanced, but had moved only a few yards before they came under heavy fire. Both company officers were hit and the men could make no impact on the German lines. At 5:43pm a runner was sent back with a message for Divisional HQ saying: ‘It appears that the trench opposite is full of Germans & that they were well prepared’. Elsewhere, 48th Brigade was more successful. By 7:30pm they had taken control of the village. But the attack on Ginchy was disastrous for the Connaughts. The simple fact was that the bombardment had done too little damage to the German lines. The Regimental War Diary noted that those who saw the German trenches: ‘report that it had escaped our preliminary bombardment almost entirely and that it was thickly manned’. Feilding later revealed that this trench had been overlooked in the British bombardment. It was: ‘hidden and believed innocuous’, and was expected to be the easy part of the attack. For that reason it: ‘had been allocated to the tired and battered 47th Brigade.’ Instead, it was ‘a veritable hornets’ nest’. By the evening of September 9th, the Connaughts had lost 10 men during the day, with more than seventy others wounded. The Battalion was withdrawn from the front the day after the attack, and spent the next ten days in billets before being moved by train north to the Bailleul area. For the 16th Division as a whole, their operations on the Somme had not been as futile as those of British soldiers in July. However, across the Division, from September 1st-10th, there were 4,090 killed, wounded or missing from 10,410 other ranks, and 240 from 435 officers. Of the 4,090 other ranks, 586 were confirmed killed and 846 were missing at
This post-war photograph shows Private Patrick Donnelly (left) with two comrades in Cairo, Egypt.
the end of the month. At least 1,079 of those were later confirmed killed. It is appropriate that a divisional memorial now stands in Guillemont. In the aftermath of the battle of the Somme, the prospect of defeating Germany with a decisive ‘big push’ seemed remote.
Throughout the winter months most fighting ceased because the weather was so bad, with heavy snow and severe frosts. From the start of October to the end of January 1917, there were only twenty-three fatalities in the 6th Connaughts. But after that bitter winter, thoughts turned to a new advance. REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 53
ON EXHIBIT On Easter Sunday 1916, whilst the 6th Connaught Rangers were being shelled in France , the Easter Rising was taking place back in Dublin.
Fighting resumed in February, with the 6th Connaughts involved in raids, but it was not until April that the battalion was focused on a new advance. The action at Messines (Mesen) was a prelude to the Third Battle of Ypres (Ieper), which was planned for late July. Possession of the Messines ridge gave the Germans a vantage point over the Ypres area, making unobserved troop movements difficult. Holding the ridge would theoretically give the allies such an advantage in a future attack. The preparation for Messines was markedly different to that for the Somme. The officers of 47th Brigade saw a model of the area at the end of April, and other ranks had even begun practice attacks late that month. From mid-May, 47th Brigade used observation posts on Kemmel Hill to gain a clear view of their target. There were also trips to the front line so that the battalion could familiarise itself with the precise nature of the trenches to be used both for assembling and ‘jumping-off’. On the last day of May the entire battalion carried out a mock attack along the lines of the planned offensive. Such preparations are a clear sign of how lessons from the Somme had been learned. At 3:10am on the morning of June 7th, the massive Spanbroekmolen mine was exploded under German positions and men of the Ulster Division attacked. The contrast with July 1st, 1916, was marked. 54 |
The men advanced behind a creeping artillery barrage (supported by carefully targeted machine gun fire) which moved forwards with the men, a tactic which had been perfected towards the end of the Somme. Each move forward in the barrage was of about one hundred yards. So the Germans did not have the warning period immediately after a barrage had stopped in which to regroup to defend against an attack. Indeed, the men were perilously close behind the barrage – just forty yards in some cases – but they were not hit by friendly fire as the calculations were spot on. The 16th Division lined up, to the left of the Ulster Division, with 47th Brigade on the right and 49th Brigade on the left, with 48th Brigade in reserve. In 47th Brigade, the first wave was provided by the 6th Royal Irish Regiment on the right and the 7th Leinsters on the left. The 6th Connaughts were designated as ‘moppers up’ to go in behind their comrades from 47th Brigade, the 1st Royal Munster Fusiliers. Their target, as for the rest of the 16th (Irish) Division, was the capture of Wytschaete (Wijtschate) village. The first position was taken in little over half an hour, and the second largely by 5am, although the 7th Leinsters faced some stubborn machine gun fire. Just before reaching Wytschaete village, the Connaughts encountered a German ‘strong point’ which
they ‘rapidly overcame’, capturing ninety-eight prisoners in the village itself. The 6th Connaughts lost just five men, with a further thirty-two wounded and two missing. There were clear advantages to mopping up, although even the 1st Royal Munster Fusiliers out in front of the Connaughts had also lost only five men that day. Following Messines, the 6th Connaughts were soon in action again at the Third Battle of Ypres, at Passchendaele (Passendale). Heavy rain stopped their advance on the first day of the battle, and they dug in for the first half of August, under almost continuous fire. Twenty-four men were lost in the 6th Connaughts between August 2nd-10th. Among them was Lance-Corporal Patrick McKillen of Oranmore Street in the Falls, who had in 1916 received the Divisional Certificate for Gallantry. Another attack was set for August 16th, and became known as the Battle of Langemarck (Langemark). This attack would see the Ulster Division again in the middle (as at Messines side-by-side with the 16th on their right. On the left of the 36th was the 48th Division. Within this battle order, 47th Brigade was a relief battalion. Both 48th and 49th Brigades had led for the 16th Division from 4:45am on August 16th. They incurred heavy losses though some ground had been temporarily gained.
When the Brigade moved forward to relieve others of their Division on the evening of August 16th, any question of further advance was over, so the 6th Connaughts acted as stretcher-bearers. On the evening of August 17th, when the Brigade was relieved, they left Third Ypres for good. In that first half of August, total casualties for the 6th Connaughts amounted to 249, of whom twenty-five were dead. For the remainder of 1917, the 6th Connaughts’ trenches whenever they were at the front were in a terrible condition. When not in the trenches, they were training for a British attack at Cambrai, and by mid-November they were rehearsing on a replica of the German trenches. The aim at Cambrai was to break the Hindenburg Line, a formidable line of German defences built largely by Russian forced labour. It included a forward zone of around one kilometre in depth, which was relatively lightly manned in trenches. The aim of this zone was to slow down any British attack through skirmishing. That forward zone protected the main defensive lines consisting of wire up to one hundred yards in depth, concrete bunkers, deep trenches, and strong points for machine gunners. The 16th Division was involved at Cambrai from the first, but away from the main front launching a subsidiary attack at Croiselles Heights. Its aim was to seize control of a 2,000 yard section of Tunnel Trench and Tunnel Support. The former, the target of the 6th Connaughts (the 7th Leinsters being in reserve), was about thirty feet underground, with ferro-concrete pill boxes at the top. The British had designated these Jove, Mars, Vulcan, Juno and Pluto. The first four were the targets of 16th Division. At 6:20am on November 20th, a four minute barrage of the line began. One minute later, B Company of the 6th Connaughts leapt out of the British front line to make the 223 yard journey to Tunnel Trench. After bitter fighting the Connaughts secured their portion of Tunnel Trench, and then attacked Jove and Mars, gaining both ‘after slight resistance’. German counter-attacks ensued and in one, Private Kieran White moved close to the area from which the Germans were throwing bombs, caught some of the
Members of the Combe Barbour’s Engineering Works in Belfast. Several members of the 6th Connaughts worked in the company before and after the war. In this photo Sergeant James Conlon is second from left in the front row.
Joe Devlin wearing a sash of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
bombs in mid-air, and threw them back before they had exploded. For this, he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. With munitions running out after an hour in Tunnel Trench, the Connaughts were forced to withdraw from Jove and consolidate at Mars. But by 8:30am supplies of bombs were starting to arrive at the front, and the Connaughts consolidated their position before being relieved by the 7th Leinsters on the evening of November 22nd, having lost thirty-four killed and 109 wounded. Following Cambrai, there was a major
reorganisation of the 16th Division. At the end of January 1918, five battalions were wound up. This allowed the Division to be reconfigured, like the rest of the army, into brigades of three battalions each. The 6th Connaughts remained in 47th Brigade, now joined by the 2nd Leinsters and 1st Munsters. In the spring of 1918, the Germans nearly won the war. From late 1917 they had strengthened their forces on the Western Front as Tsarist Russia collapsed and the war in the east ended. On March 21st, they launched what is now known as the ‘Spring REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 55
Offensive’, gaining forty miles of Allied ground in their first thrust. Eventually, they came within fifty miles of Paris, putting the city within range of their artillery. Over three hundred shells were landed on the French capital. The 6th Connaughts were among the first caught in the advance, alongside the 2nd Leinsters which contained some remnants of the 7th. At 4:30am on March 21st, a heavy German bombardment of 47th Brigade’s positions began. The bombardment made communications between brigades and battalions exceptionally difficult. In the chaos, the 6th Connaughts advanced at 3:45pm at Ronssoy according to orders, without knowing that the order had actually been cancelled. The Connaughts dug in overnight, but faced a heavy barrage again the next morning, March 22nd. By this time it was becoming very difficult for Feilding to keep track of events elsewhere at the front with runners coming under heavy fire. When information did eventually reach Battalion HQ it was often hours old. The Connaughts desperately tried to hold a line near to the road between Villers Faucon and Ste. Emilie, alongside battalions as diverse as the 1st Munsters, the 11th Hampshire Pioneers, the 13th Royal Sussex and 1st Hertfordshires. For the Connaughts, steady retreat and hard fighting continued. Officer casualties had been heavy and by 5pm on March 22nd, Feilding was left in a command of a makeshift battalion comprised of 6th Connaughts, 1st Munsters, and 2nd Leinsters. Two men were lost through friendly fire on March 23rd, – an enemy aeroplane dropped a flare on the retreating soldiers which the British artillery mistook for one of its own markers and fired shrapnel on the target. In the early hours of March 27th, word came that French reinforcements were about to pass through British lines to counter-attack the Germans. However, they did not actually arrive and at daylight on March 27th, a large German force was spotted having broken through a gap between the Connaughts’ position and the River Somme. By this time, enough men had regrouped for men to start to reorganise into their original battalions, and the 6th Connaughts fell back. They set 56 |
Flowers laid at the grave of Private Patrick McKillen, machine gun section, Brandhoek New Military Cemetery, Belgium. Patrick was awarded a Certificate of Gallantry for holding his position at his machine gun for 24hours in late July 1916. Before the war Patrick was a member of D Company, Belfast Regiment, Irish National Volunteers.
up a new position from which machine gunners had a clear sight of the Germans. From this position, the Germans were held up for several hours, until fresh British troops began to force the Germans back. Here ended the Connaughts’ involvement in the Spring Offensive, and the 2nd Leinsters were also back in billets by March 30th. Casualties had been heavy in the retreat. 90 of the 6th Connaughts were killed, with over 500 more wounded. When the Battalion assembled at Aubigny on March 31st, just five officers and 150 other ranks remained. As the army reorganised itself in the wake of the retreat, such a small battalion was an obvious one to be disbanded. That effectively happened on April 13th, when most of the officers and 281 men – numbers swelled by the return of the wounded – joined the 2nd Leinster Regiment, meeting former 47th Brigade comrades once in the 7th Leinsters, although that battalion was soon (on April 23rd) transferred to 88th Brigade in 29th Division. A small body of headquarters officers and transport staff remained in the 6th Connaughts to form a Training Staff which was soon attached to American troops at Doudeauville. The small band of men remaining in the 6th Connaught Rangers
Training Staff had much expertise to pass on to their new comrades, yet the Americans were all at the front from early July and the training staff became redundant. On July 31st, 1918, the 6th Connaughts received the order that they were formally disbanded. In the entire war, a minimum of 480 men of all ranks had lost their lives in the Battalion. The 6th Connaught Rangers Exhibition will be on display at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, 2 Titanic Boulevard, Titanic Quarter, Belfast, Antrim BT3 9HQ, from, June 5th-July 10th. Professor Richard S Grayson (Goldsmiths, University of London) is the author of Belfast Boys: How Unionists and Nationalists Fought and Died Together in the First World War (2009), and edited At War with the 16th Irish Division: The Staniforth Letters, 1914-18 (2012). He has engaged widely with community groups on First World War remembrance especially the 6th Connaught Rangers Research Project. An associate member of the First World War Centenary Committee in Northern Ireland, he contributed to BBC NI’s Ireland’s Great War, co-edits www.irelandww1.org and chairs the Academic Advisory Group for the Digital Projects run by the Imperial War Museums.
BOOKS ON THE SHELVES
RMS Lusitania It Wasn’t & It Didn’t By Michael Martin Paperback €12.99
Within hours of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania by a submarine off the Cork coast in May 1915, a narrative was created and over time, emerged as the “truth” of the incident. Throughout the world many people still today perceive the sinking of the Lusitania was a savage attack on an innocent vessel that brought America into the war. In his new book, Michael Martin shows that the ship wasn’t an “innocent” vessel and was not the catalyst for American involvement. Examining a plethora of existing and new evidence, this book brings a more critical perspective to the established fact, including how the RMS Lusitania had a far wider function than just carrying passengers across the Atlantic; how specific “military type” duties were assigned to the ship despite innocent civilians being on board; and asks some darker questions about how the thousand and more than 1,200 civilians on board that day were being viewed by the military powers, while acknowledging the human tragedy of this historic incident.
Beneath a Turkish Sky
The Royal Dublin Fusiliers And The Assault On Gallipoli By Philip Lecane Paperpack €18.00 It was the First World War’s largest seaborne invasion and the Irish were at the forefront. Recruited in Ireland, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers were assigned to the spearhead of the Gallipoli invasion in Turkey. Deadlocked in trench warfare on the Western Front, the British High Command hoped the assault would knock Germany’s ally out of the war. Using letters and photographs, this book tells the story of the ‘Dubs’ officers and men as they set off on what was presented as a great adventure to win glory and capture Constantinople. Accompanied by the Royal Munster Fusiliers, packed aboard the SS River Clyde, the ‘Dubs’ landed from the ships’ boats on the fiercely defended beach at Sedd-el-Bahr. The song “The Foggy Dew” says: ‘It were better to die beneath an Irish sky than at Suvla or Sedd-el-Bahr.’ This book tells the story of the forgotten Irishmen who died beneath a Turkish sky in what was Ireland’s D-Day.
A Formative Decade: Ireland in the 1920s (Eds) Mel Farrell, Ciara Meehan, Jason Knirck Paperback €24.99 Hardback €70.00
In the aftermath of the Great War, Europe’s empires crumbled and a patchwork of new nation states emerged across the continent. As the map of Europe was being redrawn after 1918, Ireland stood on the threshold of great change. The 1920s were a formative decade for Ireland, both north and south of the border, but the decade is all too often dismissed as one of stagnation. In contrast, the contributors to this timely collection provide a refreshingly alternative view of such events as the Shannon hydro-electric scheme, and the workings of the Church of Ireland and of the Senate – all serving to reignite the debate about how modern Ireland was defined and how statehood collided with national identities and allegiances. The relationship between policy and the emerging state is also explored in chapters focusing on Free State election posters, loyalty and treason, the 1923 Land Act, the Irish Farmers’ Party and parliamentary democracy. Other dynamic contributions look at how economic policy shaped the lives of ordinary Irish citizens and continue to have an impact today, long after Ireland won its struggle for independence. REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 57
BOOKS ON THE SHELVES
Ireland and the Crimean War
By David Murphy Paperback €27.50
In 1854 four of the major powers in Europe, Britain, France, Turkey and Russia became embroiled in a devastating and costly war. While hostilities began in Turkey’s territories on the Danube, the war soon shifted to the Crimean Peninsula, which was then part of the Russian Empire. The focus of the allied war effort became the strategically important naval port of Sevastopol in the Crimea. The Crimean war dragged on for two years and, as the generals and politicians bungled and dithered, the soldiers in the trenches at Sevastopol endured terrible conditions and died in droves in senseless attacks on the Russian fortifications. The Crimean war was, in many ways, the first ‘modern’ war and it foreshadowed later events in the trenches of the First World War. First published in 2002, this is the first book to assess all levels of Irish involvement in the Crimean war. It tells the story of the Irish men and women who traveled to the Crimea to contribute to the war effort and their experiences are described using contemporary letters and published memoirs. In 2014, the world saw conflict break out in the Ukraine as Russia tried to reassert control over the strategically important Crimea region. Sevastopol has emerged once more as a key strategic interest for Russia and much of the recent activity has focused on securing this important naval base. While the nature of international conflicts may have changed, some key strategic issues mirror nineteenth century concerns. This book addresses a previously unexamined aspect of the Crimean war of 1854–6; the Irish involvement in a costly international conflict that took place 160 years ago. 58 |
Thomas Fitzpatrick and ‘The Lepracaun Cartoon Monthly’, 1905–1915 By James Curry & Ciarán Wallace Paperback €19.95
Between 1905 and 1915 The Lepracaun Cartoon Monthly satirized society and politics in Dublin and beyond. Its proprietor, editor and chief cartoonist Thomas Fitzpatrick (1860–1912), already had a distinguished career drawing for leading publications in Dublin and London, including Nation, National Press and Weekly Freeman and Irish People. Fitzpatrick’s cartoons countered Punch’s ape-like Irishman with the upright and noble figure of ‘Pat’, and his sharp pen presented senior British figures in an unforgiving light. The Lepracaun Cartoon Monthly, however, gave his perceptive wit a far broader canvas. Politicians and publicans, clerics and suffragettes, trade unionists and bosses were all fair game – nor did the man in the street escape his critical eye. This collection of works from The Lepracaun gives fresh insights into Irish life in an overlooked period. From caustic commentaries on women’s fashion to the high politics of Home Rule cartoons by Fitzpatrick and others reveal a self-confident middle-class Ireland, hoping for political change but weary of Redmond’s Irish Parliamentary Party. As Irish society came to terms with motor cars, electricity and the prospect of votes for women Fitzpatrick and his cartoonists in The Lepracaun were on hand to illustrate injustices, puncture pomposity and highlight the ridiculous. Introductory essays on Thomas Fitzpatrick’s life and career, and on the social and political context of the times, complement the detailed commentaries which accompany each image.
‘Irish Doctors in the First World War’ By Patrick Casey, Kevin Cullen and Joe Duignan Hardback: €35.00
Review by President of Royal College of Surgeons Ireland Mr. Declan Magee Irish Doctors in the First World War is a landmark publication, the first of its kind to specifically address the role and breadth of Irish war-time doctors. The book is coauthored by Joe Duignan, a retired surgeon and former Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) Council Member along with co-authors Patrick Casey and Kevin Cullen. Mary O’Doherty, Assistant Librarian, Special Collections, RCSI and Meadhbh Murphy, Archivist, RCSI were among the contributors to the book. The book is a magnificent publication with colourful maps, rare photographs, and previously unseen records. From Europe to Africa and the Middle East, the book covers the extensive role of Irish doctors in the Army, Navy and Air Forces and features an introduction from columnist and author Kevin Myers. Irish Doctors in The First World War tells the unique story of the thousands of Irish doctors and medical students who joined the British Armed Forces, which included a large amount of medical staff from the RCSI; students, fellows, members and alumni. The book describes how they went from the relative calm of a pre-war medical career to witnessing and having to treat the awful injuries. More than 240 Irish doctors lost their lives during the war, many resting in unknown graves. The courageous and selfless actions of these doctors when assisting their comrades under military fire is explored in a comprehensive yet human account of the key battles and the medical care developed to deal with the aftermath of battle. From the Western Front to Gallipoli, the book covers all services and all theatres of the conflict. There is also a roll of honour in a special chapter on those decorated for their gallantry and service. The second half of the book presents an indispensable directory of Irish doctors, painstakingly compiled from available records and publications. It features over 3,000
Launch night at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland authors l-r: Kevin Cullen, Joseph Duignan and Patrick Casey. (Photo by Lafayette)
l-r: Conor Graham (Irish Academic Press), Patrick Casey, Joseph Duignan and Kevin Cullen. (Photo by Lafayette)
names and each profile contains the name, family details and military record including medals and honours awarded where that information was available. This record, by its very nature and extent, is a fitting and lasting tribute to the Irish medical personnel who risked everything and gave their lives. Speaking at the launch, RCSI President Mr. Declan Magee said: ‘The heroic contribution of Irish doctors who served in the First World War has largely gone unrecognised until now. It is timely as we commemorate the centenary of World War I, that we remember all Irish doctors who served in the conflict and made great sacrifices in service of their fellow-man, caring for the sick, wounded and dying. This period in history is of immense significance to our College with 1,086 doctors and 180 students listed on the Roll of Honour for RCSI, who served in some capacity during the conflict’.
REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 59
BOOKS ON THE SHELVES
Waterford The Irish Revolution, 1912–23 By Patrick McCarthy Paperback €19.95
This is the first comprehensive history of Waterford during the turbulent and extraordinary years of the Irish Revolution. Drawing on an impressive array of sources, Pat McCarthy reveals what life was like for the ordinary men, women and children of Waterford City and county during a period that witnessed world war as well as political and social strife in Ireland. As the home constituency of John Redmond, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, Waterford City shared in his apparent triumph between 1912 and 1914 when he was on the cusp of achieving home rule. The city faithfully supported his wartime policies and benefited from the consequent economic boom. on the occasion of Redmond’s death, that loyalty was transferred to his son amid bitter political violence. After the general election of 1918, Captain William Redmond described his Waterford city constituency, the only one outside Ulster to return an Irish Party MP, as: ‘an oasis in the political desert that is Ireland’. Waterford City’s allegiance to the Redmonds, its support for the British war effort and a strong labour movement combined to make the city a social and political battleground. By contrast, Waterford county reflected the nationwide trend and was swept along by the rising Sinn Féin tide. It also participated actively in the War of Independence. In 1922 and 1923, both city and county were convulsed by the Civil War and bitter labour disputes. This wide-ranging study offers fascinating new perspectives on Waterford during the Irish Revolution.
Between Two Flags: John Mitchel & Jenny Verner By Anthony Russell Paperback €19.99 Hardback €65.00
A uniquely romantic account of the love & marriage of Irish nationalist activist, solicitor and political journalist John Mitchel and his wife Jenny Verner. Between Two Flags is the compelling story of two remarkable yet flawed people, who endured great tragedy, and were both supporters of physical Irish republicanism. The gripping story of the turbulent yet enduring and loving marriage of John Mitchel and Jenny Verner is powerfully retold by Anthony Russell. Their courtship was opposed by both families and their elopement and marriage caused public consternation, but this remarkable couple went on to live through and influence the politics of mid-nineteenth century Ireland and the United States. Both ardent supporters of physical force Republicanism and also of the American Confederates, their story spans the landscape of Ulster, Europe, the Americas and Van Diemen’s Land on a journey through the Great Famine, the American Civil War, Fenianism, revolution and deportation. Beset by tragedies within their family life, theirs was a world of paradox and adventure counter-pointed by sacrifice to shared political ideals. Controversially, their enthusiastic support of the institution of slavery is a subject Anthony Russell meets head on in his evocation of the period and its context. Destined to be separated by death in different continents, Mitchel and Verner’s heroic relationship is sympathetically documented and analysed in this engaging and captivating story.
ON STAGE REVIEW
Pals: the Irish at Gallipoli From February 2nd-April 30th the National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts and History, Collins Barracks, hosted “Pals: the Irish at Gallipoli”. This World War One interactive experience was produced by the award-winning theatrical producers ANU Productions. The performance was based on the events surrounding the campaign at Gallipoli in Turkey and inspired by the previously untold stories of the 7th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers – and the everyday lives of Irish people who were affected by the Great War. The performance was set in Collins Barracks for at the time of the war it was known as the Royal Barracks and home to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. This interactive theatrical piece was a partnership between ANU Productions, the National Museum of Ireland and the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht in association with the National Archives of Ireland. Director Louise Lowe the performance focuses on four men, three of a middle-class background, and a fourth, a working-class man who “only signed up for the boots” and to keep his wife quiet with the “separation allowance”. The style of the performance is for all ages. It encompasses both the comical horseplay soldiers go through when in training and the realities of the home front and the hardships endured at the frontline along the Turkish coast. Pals is a must for students of history and newcomers to the subject alike. It is not often you get to be in the middle of a show and delve into the class divides of the early 1900s or get an eyewitness account of the Gallipoli front. Keep an eye out for a possible return of Pals later this summer.
REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 61
ON STAGE REVIEW
Barbara Dempsey playing Madame de Markievcz.
Madame de Markievicz on Trial by Ann Matthews Directed by Anthony Fox The New Theatre (April 20th – May 2nd)
The year is 1917 and Constance Markievicz is on trial for allegedly shooting an unarmed Police Constable, Michael Lahiff, on the Easter Monday, during the Rising. Generations of romanticism surrounding the Rising have blurred what really happened. The prominent figures of the Rising have over time become icons without question. What really happened that day? Was Markievicz a marksman? Did she really give up a life of luxury? Historian and writer Ann Mathews presents the primary evidence to you in this courtroom drama. Madame de Markievicz was certainly an unusual figure to say the least. She was born Constance Georgine Gore-Booth and lived in Lissadell House in the north of Co. Sligo. She later rejected her Anglo Irish upbringing and became involved in nationalist politics. During the 1916 Rising she was appointed second in command to Michael Mallin in St. Stephen’s Green. The play takes us past the warrior figure in uniform and delves into her past, her marriage and the child she left in Sligo. 62 |
Markievicz is played by Barbara Dempsey whose stern glare commands the stage. The intimate setting of the New Theatre give the feeling that she is talking directly at you as if you are the jury. Markievicz is certainly convincing in her convictions The crown prosecutor, William May; is played by Neil Fleming. He is a powerful Ann Mathews character. Certainly not the type of man who you’d want to be going up against in court. Witness after witness is made fret with his questioning. The characters are a mix of wonderfully performed witnesses. Some are very much on the Countesses side. May however, is certainly a hard questioner. Margaret Skinnider, played by Amy O’Dwyer, had herself taken part in the 1916 Rising. Afterwards she wrote a book about her experiences. But as May hammers home, how much of it is fact and how much is fabricated purely to sell?
ON STAGE REVIEW
Two witnesses that do not go in Markievicz’s favour are Mrs Lahiff, played by Andrea Kelly, and Síofra O’Meara as the nurse who treated the wounded. A grieving wife and a nurse who give details of streets covered in blood are a prosecutor’s final blow to the defendant. Markievicz though is far from defeated. She is a powerful figure. In her final speech she is very clear in her cause and very convincing. With stirring emotion it is hard to say what the jury will decide. Madame de Markievicz on Trial will be staged in Paris at the Irish Cultural Centre on April 23rd and 24th, 2016. CAST Barbara Dempsey Neill Fleming Andrea Kelly Amy O’Dwyer Ian Meehan Síofra O’Meara Lighting Design: Cathy O’Carroll Set Design: Martin Cahill Sound Design: Shane Fitzmaurice Costume Design: Jessica Dunne Stage Management: Céin Sookram
The crown prosecutor, William May; played by Neil Fleming.
REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 63
BATTALION AND REGIMENTAL ASSOCIATIONS 2nd Field Artillery Regiment Association E: [email protected]
Web: www.2fara.wordpress.com Twitter: @2farassociation 5th Infantry Battalion Association c/o NCO’s Mess McKee Barracks Blackhorse Ave Dublin 7 E: [email protected]
Web: www.5thbattalionassociation.com Irish Naval Association c/o Naval Service Reserve HQ Cathal Brugha Barracks Dublin 6 Rep. of Ireland E: [email protected]
Tel: +353 (01) 2986614 Web: www.homepage.eircom. net/~navalassociation Irish Guards Association Republic of Ireland Hon Sec Mr. Emmett Bourke E: [email protected]
Web: www.roimicks.com Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association E: [email protected]
Web: www.greatwar.ie Royal Munster Fusiliers Association Hon Sec Ms. Colette Collins Main Street Liscarroll Co. Cork E: [email protected]
Connaught Rangers Association c/o King House Main Street Boyle Co. Roscommon E: Hon Sec Mr. Paul Malpass via submission form on website. Web: connaughtrangersassoc.com 18th Regiment of Foot Royal Irish Regiment Association E: [email protected]
Web: www.firstandlast.ie Combined Irish Regiments Association 7, Nethercombe House, Ruthin Road, Blackheath London SE3 7SL United Kingdom E: [email protected]
Web: www.ciroca.org.uk The Prince of Wales (Royal Canadians) Leinster Regiment Association Hon Sec Mr. David Ball 7 Nethercombe House Ruthin Road Blackheath London SE3 7SL United Kingdom E: [email protected]
Web: www.leinster-regiment-association.org..uk Our contacts page is for veteran, battalion/regimental, historical, and living history associations/charities/groups. Contacts are rotated each issue. It is free of charge. To include your association/group please contact the editor at: [email protected]
Members Wanted For New Battalion Association
Irish Guards Association Republic of Ireland Branch
The 2nd Infantry Battalion Association was formed last October. Membership is open to all ranks who served in the Irish Defence Forces 2nd Infantry Battalion or those attached to the unit for a period of no less than 2 years. The Association Pennant was kindly donated to the Association by Mr. Vinny Kearns MD of Xpert Taxis. Vinny was a member of 2nd Field Supply & Transport Company and was attached to the 2nd Infantry Battalion for a number of years. 2nd Infantry Battalion Association E: [email protected]
Web: www.2battvikings.com FB: 2nd Infantry Battalion Association
George O’Dowd with Association Pennant.
Machine Gun Corps Old Comrades’ Association Hon Sec Ms Judith Lappin Penfro, 111 Main Street, Pembroke SA71 4DB, United Kingdom E: [email protected]
Web: www.machineguncorps.co.uk The Association is looking for members in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. All are welcome to join.
The Association is looking for volunteers to photograph Machine Gun Corps graves in the Republic of Ireland. Balla Old Catholic Cemetery Co. Mayo 43021 Private William Dockrey Died October 5th, 1917 Headstone is standard CWGC – probably marked ‘buried in this churchyard’ Ballynaneashagh (St Otteran’s) Catholic Cemetery Co. Waterford 49045 Private J. Hanrahan (formerly 9638 Royal Irish Regiment) Died July 2nd, 1920 Grave reference F A 16 – type of headstone unknown but probably private Tralee (Ratass) Cemetery Co. Kerry 9457 Private Joseph Lucitt (formerly Connaught Rangers) Died April 14th, 1918 Grave in north part marked by a tall stone celtic cross on a raised plinth. Detailed geographical location details of each cemetery can be obtained via Commonwealth War Graves Commission website: www.cwgc.org Photographs should be landscape giving the general layout of the cemetery, a portrait shot of the actual headstone taking in surroundings, a close up and especially any inscription at the bottom. The Association will post a little wooden cross to anyone willing to visit each grave so that the soldier is remembered by his Old Comrades’ Association.
OUR BRANCH NEEDS NEW MEMBERS NOW IF YOU ARE A “MICK” AND ARE READING THIS
JOIN US NOW !
For Information on The Irish Guards and the Association IF a family member has served in the regiment and you are looking for information, why not join us in fund raising for the many service welfare organisations we support: uu uu uu uu uu
Irish Guards Appeal Fund SSAFA Royal British Legion Not Forgotten association Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women Ireland Information on our website: www.roimicks.com
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Calendar of events DATE
June 11th 19:00
Western Front Association lecture: Denis McCarthy ‘16th Irish Division’.
The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), 2 Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. Co. Antrim.
June 13th 13:00
The Prince of Wales’s (Royal Canadians) Leinster Regiment Association Regimental Lunch.
Civil Service Club, Whitehall, London, England.
June 14th 11:00
Combined Irish Regiments Association’s Annual Parade, Commemorative Service & Wreath Laying Ceremony.
The Cenotaph, Whitehall, London, England.
June 14th 10:30
The Parade of the Disbanded Irish Regiments. Muster at 10:00. March at 10:30 to the Cenotaph Whitehall. Organised by the Combined Irish Regiments Association. Muster:
King Charles Street, SW1A 2AH, London, United Kingdom.
June 18th 12:00 (TBC)
Glasnevin Trust: Waterloo 200, remembering the bicentenary of the historic battle, including the unveiling of restored headstones.
Glasnevin Cemetery, Finglas Rd, Glasnevin, Dublin 11
June 19th 19:30
2nd Infantry Battalion Association Annual General Meeting.
Michael Collins Club, Cathal Brugha Barracks, Military Rd, Rathmines, Dublin 6.
Multi-Period Living History and Re-enactment.
Camden Fort Meagher, Camden Rd, Crosshaven, Cork Harbour.
Armed Forces Day.
Ballymena Showgrounds, Warden St., Ballymena, Co. Antrim
Irish Military Vehicles Group Annual Military Vehicle and Re-enactors Show.
Naas Racecourse, Tipper Rd, Nass, Co. Kildare.
June 20th 10:00-15:00
Militaria and Collectables Fair: organised by the International Militaria Collectors Club.
Old School Corey, Co. Wexford.
Multi-Period Living History and Re-enactment.
Camden Fort Meagher, Camden Rd, Crosshaven, Cork Harbour
Multi-Period Living History and Re-enactment.
Camden Fort Meagher, Camden Rd, Crosshaven, Cork Harbour.
July 11th 11:00
The Prince of Wales’s (Royal Canadians) Leinster Regiment Association Ordinary General Meeting.
Arbour House, Mt. Temple Rd, Arbour Hill, Dublin 7.
July 11th 14:15
The Royal British Legion Annual Ecumenical Ceremony of Remembrance and Wreath Laying.
The National War Memorial, Islandbridge, Dublin 8.
July 12th 10:30
National Day of Commemoration.
Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Military Road, Kilmainham, Dublin 8.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
For more events around Ireland visit Ireland at a click.ie Please contact us if you would like your events added to our calendar
On What’s ers l Off Specia ons titi Compe ness usi Local B Westmeath
July 18th 14:00
Western Front Association lecture: Bill Fulton ‘The Machine Gun Corps’.
National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Benburb St, Dublin 7.
War and Peace Revival Military and Vintage Festival.
Folkestone Racecourse, Stone Street, Hythe, Co. Kent, England.
Ulster Military Vehicle Club Annual Summer Show.
Portrush, Co. Antrim. Beside the ‘Inn On The Coast’, Portstewart to Portrush coast road.
The Annual Battle of Vinegar Hill Re-enactment.
Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford.
Cork City Military Show
MAS Show Grounds, Curraheen Rd, Cork.
August 15th 10:00-15:00
Militaria and Collectables Fair: organised by the International Militaria Collectors Club.
North Star Hotel Amiens Street Dublin 1.
Multi-Period Living History and Re-enactment.
Camden Fort Meagher, Camden Rd, Crosshaven, Cork Harbour.
Association of Irish Military Enthusiasts Annual Military Show ‘Salute’.
National Show Centre, 14 Harold’s Cross Rd, Swords, Co. Dublin.
September 5th 10:00-15:00
Militaria and Collectables Fair: organised by Tullarmore Phoenix Militaria Club.
The Foresters Hall, Tullamore, Co. Offaly.
September 12th 14:00
Irish Defence Forces Veterans’ Parade.
Collins Barracks, Old Youghal Rd, Cork.
September 19th 14:00
Western Front Association Lecture: Ian Montgomery from the Public Records Office Northern Ireland TBC.
National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Benburb St, Dublin 7.
September 23rd 17:30
Lecture: John Home ‘Ireland and the Great War’.
Little Museum of Dublin, 5 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.
Irish Guards Association Republic of Ireland Branch Annual Dinner.
Davenport Hotel, 8-10 Merrion Street Lower, Dublin 2.
REVEILLE MAGAZINE | 67
COMPETITION This issue’s competition is sponsored by Camden Fort Meagher – Crosshaven, Cork Harbour. Camden Fort Meagher is internationally recognised as being “One of the finest remaining examples of a classical Coastal Artillery Fort in the world”. For almost 400 years the fort played a key role as a strong strategic position for the defence of Ireland, the west coast of England and Wales. 65% of Camden Fort Meagher is located underground in a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers. The fort is a prime location to watch ships passing through Cork Harbour, the second largest natural harbour in the world. For this month’s prize Camden Fort Meagher have kindly offered a private tour of the fort for up to ten people. Please submit your answers along with your name, address, email and or contact number to: [email protected]
(Please mark subject Competitions) or Competitions Reveille Publications Ltd PO Box 1078 Maynooth Co. Kildare
To be in with a chance to win simply answer the following: 1: What beach did the Royal Dublin and Royal Munster Fusiliers land on during the Gallipoli campaign on April 25th, 1915? Answer: 2: Who was Irish Veterans’ Chapter 1 named after? Answer: 3: What town in Co. Kerry was liberated by re-enactors over the May bank holiday weekend? Answer:
Irish Courage Foreign Uniforms
Find out more at the award winning
Soldiers and Chiefs exhibition Admission free. Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm. Sunday 2pm to 5pm. Closed Mondays
Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, Dublin 7. Tel: 01 6777 444 www.museum.ie
An Extraordinary Exhibition
The Evolution of The Birth of a Nation Irish Nationhood 1641-1916 open from feb 2015 until APRIL 2016
For further information please contact
042 9327056 WWW.DUNDALKMUSEUM.IE