IRISH GREAT WAR SOCIETY

Last Update - 19/05/2016 Photos

                              Introduction

Over the years we have had the pleasure to meet a great many people who have had their own stories to tell about a family member that served in the Great War; and because of the obvious pride and pleasure that was displayed to us, we have decided to create a section on our website just for them (and you).  

If you would like to let us know about your Great War relative then we would be honoured to include their story.   If you only have their name, rank, serial number and regiment, that's no problem, for we will include them so that their name can be remembered with respect and honour on this website, which is dedicate to the Irish men and women that served in the hell that was World War 1.    However, we would ask that you make you story as concise as possible so that we do not have to edit it.   If you wish that your details are not included and would prefer to remain anonymous, then please also let us know. 

You can submit your story via the following;

  • the 'Guestbook' page on this website.
  • by email at  igws1914_18@yahoo.com
  • by meeting us at one of our events where we will record your family memories. 

 

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Your Family's Great War Stories 

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27122 Pte. James Joseph Sullivan - Royal Dublin Fusiliers

 

Enlisted: 6th June 1916 at the Grafton Street recruiting office in Dublin. 

 

Age: 18 yrs.

 

Residence: Irishtown, Co.Dublin

 

Posted: 10th (Service) Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers at the Royal Barracks (later Collin’s Barracks), Dublin.   The 10/RDF joined the 190th Brigade of the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division in France. 

Action: The Battle of Ancre (13th-18th Nov. 1916) where Pte. Sullivan was wounded by shrapnel on the first day of the battle at Beaumont Hamel. 

Action: 2nd Battle of the Scarpe (23rd-24th Apr. 1917) where Pte. Sullivan fell ill. 

Posted: 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers - 16th (Irish) Division in 1917 after illness and appendix operation. 

 

Action: Ypres 

Posted: 75th Brigade HQ – 25th Division 

 

Demobilized: September 1919 - Cologne, Germany 

Pte Sullivan’s granddaughter Rosemarie Meleady has published his memoires in an interesting short book entitled, ‘James Sullivan’s First World War Diary’ ISBN 978-0-9567233-9-0 and is priced at €10 (or €5 download).

 

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4161 L/Sgt. James Gerard Egan - Irish Guards

 

Maurice John Malachy Egan’s great uncle, 21 year old Lance Sergeant JAMES GERARD EGAN, Service No. 4161, of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards was killed in action on the 22/02/1915 in the trenches at Cuinchy.  Apparently, he did not die instantly and was able to speak to his comrades for a short time before he passed away. It appears that although John Gerard survived for a short while after receiving his mortal wound(s), he died before medics could treat him.

He was present with the battalion when it left Locon on the 30th January with the 2nd Coldstream and marched via Béthune to Cuinchy.  The 1/Irish Guards were in the Line engaged in repairs and improvements to the trench system while still engaging the enemy’s trench around 70 yards away.  In the month that L/Sgt Egan was killed a further 4 officers and 33 other ranks were also killed by either sniper fire or enemy shelling with 5 officers and 85 other ranks wounded.  

L/Sgt Egan was eventually laid to rest at the Pas de Calais Cuinchy Communal Cemetery in grave No. II.D.3. He was the son of John and Margaret Egan of Elerton, Loughrea Co. Galway.

For further information on the Irish Guards engagements, please see the history of the Irish Guards in the ‘Regimental Histories’ section.

 

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This next article for 'Your Stories' was given to us by Avril Daly from Cork.  It is an extract from her grandfather's memoires, which were written when he was around 90 years of age and used in the BBC series and accompanying book called 'the Veterens'.

 

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 7542 Pte. Denis Kavanagh - Royal Dublin Fusiliers

 

Born: October 1893 in Sallynoggin, Co. Dublin

Occupation:  Farm Labourer

Enlisted:  5th Royal Dublin Fusiliers in December 1910 at North Brunswick Street at age 17.

Landed in France with the British Expeditionary Force May 1915.

Suffered gas inhalation during the 2nd Battle of Ypres at Mousetrap Farm,.   Denis was hospitalised in Etaples (France), London and eventually Dublin, (then King George V hospital at Arbour Hill.

He was discharged as being 'fit only for home service but volunteered for the front again in 1916',  -  excerpt from his service record.  Pte. Kavanagh suffered Valvular Disease of the Heart, then known as 'D.A.H.' (Disorder Activity of the Heart), now recognised as shell shock.

Pte.  Denis Kavanagh succumbed to his injuries on 9th November 1918 aged 25 years at the Royal City of Dublin Hospital in Baggot Street.   He is buried at Deans Grange cemetery with his parent Ann and Thomas, also his sister Bridget.

'NOT GONE FROM MEMORY OR FROM LOVE'

Remembered by his proud family including nieces Mary and Nancy, great nieces Sandra and Susan and all of the Kavanagh extended families.



 

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 Gunner Malachy Goode-Royal Field Artillery

 (On the Left)

 

 

My Granddad Malachy Goode was born in the the next door to the interpretive centre in the year 1895. He died in 1990 aged 95, leaving about 75 direct descendents  

On leaving school in 1909 at the age of 14, he started work in Keary’s General Merchant Aughrim, but he told me he didn’t like it much, as there was a lot of heavy lifting involved and early morning starts.

He remembered having to drive an ass and cart to the Grand canal in Ballinasloe, to collect 20 stone bags of flour from a barge. A tough job for a 14 or 15 year old boy! Needless to say, he began looking for another job, and found one in Galway city as a groom in a big house.

This job gave him a love of horses that lasted all of his life.

 It was also in Galway city he would have been exposed to the might of the British Army recruiting drives, which had the desired affect, and he decided to enlist.

 Malachy was attested into the British Army in Ballinasloe on the 6th of November 1916, as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery. He said he only joined the artillery because they had the most horses. (Just as a side note: General Tom Barry had also joined the RFA the previous year and was trained in Athlone as well)

 Horses were used to pull the 18 pounder gun carriages and each gun carriage required  6 horses to pull it. Each set of 2 horses had a rider on the left horse. (This will become relevant later in the story!) The rear 2 horses were called “wheelers” and were the strongest or biggest of the 6. The middle 2 were called “centres” and were of medium build, with the final lightest pair as leaders. Each rider was trained to ride all of the pairs.

 After 4 months training in Athlone he was sent to France on the 13th March 1917. (At this time Russia had pulled out of the war due to the Revolution, but the USA had also just declared war on Germany.)

After 2 weeks induction in France he was posted to No.2 section of the 42nd (East Lancashire) Divisional Ammunition Column. This unit had just arrived from Palestine, and was sent into the line at the village of Epehy after the German retreat to the Hindenberg Line.

4 months later in July, he was posted to Z/42, the Medium Trench Mortar Battery, and saw action during the The Battle of Havrincourt-Epehy in the first week of September.

In October he was admitted to the Field Hospital suffering from a severe kidney infection. The infection was so severe he was sent by hospital ship to the UK where he remained until May 1918.

 

On his return to France in May 1918 he was posted to C battery 76 Brigade.

4 months later, during an attack south of  Ribecourt on September 28th, he was wounded by artillery fire.

This brings us back to the riders on the horse drawn gun carriages.  

He told me a shell exploded beneath the horse he was riding, but the horse took the brunt of the explosion and saved his life. He received burns to his face and hands and a small piece of shrapnel hit his chin.

Luckily the wounds were just enough to keep him out of the front line until the wars end in November 1918.

On his return to Dublin he met and married his sweetheart Ellen in 1919 and lived happily ever after!