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WW1


dorgie

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WW1 history was something that was rather left (significantly) in the shadows in history lessons here in Ireland due to other goings on in Dublin at the time. It's something that I've only really started reading about in the last few years. I've really enjoyed Sebastian Barry's books realting to WW1.

 

Any forumites got any good stories on it, particulary with respect to their own forefathers/relatives?

 

Or better still, if Murph can give any first hand accounts to generate debate.

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WW1 history was something that was rather left (significantly) in the shadows in history lessons here in Ireland due to other goings on in Dublin at the time. It's something that I've only really started reading about in the last few years. I've really enjoyed Sebastian Barry's books realting to WW1.

 

Any forumites got any good stories on it, particulary with respect to their own forefathers/relatives?

 

Or better still, if Murph can give any first hand accounts to generate debate.

 

My Grandfather fought in the Battle of the Somme. Royal Welsh Fusiliers I believe. He was machine gunned and the worst wound was one he took in the front of his thigh. It blew the back of his thigh out. They tried to fix him up but called his Mother to request permission to cut it off. She not only refused but spent all of her money to go to France to insist that they didn't cut his leg off. She acted as a nurse while she was there.

 

He ended up working as a drayman for the rest of his life so it was a good move not chopping his leg off.

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Finally a topic on here that I can enjoy...

 

I'm at work today (feck off Kahnee) but I'll delve into this deeper later on, Dorgie. You got any preferences as to story types? I can do individual histories of various soldiers I've been researching, odd stories I've picked up from assorted places or I can do a bit on how various battles were played out.

 

Roll up, roll up, for stressederic's tedious WW1 express.

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Finally a topic on here that I can enjoy...

 

I'm at work today (feck off Kahnee) but I'll delve into this deeper later on, Dorgie. You got any preferences as to story types? I can do individual histories of various soldiers I've been researching, odd stories I've picked up from assorted places or I can do a bit on how various battles were played out.

 

Roll up, roll up, for stressederic's tedious WW1 express.

 

Nice one ! Up to you what stories to relay. I find it facinating the conditions they had to endure. It really is unamiginable to us what it must have been like for them.

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Nice one ! Up to you what stories to relay. I find it facinating the conditions they had to endure. It really is unamiginable to us what it must have been like for them.

 

No worries. Though in exchange you'll have to buy my book when/if it gets published.

 

There was something that looked alright on the telly last night about airmen taking battlefield photos but then the x factor came on so that was the end of that.

 

It was pretty good actually. A bit AJP Taylor-ish in places but the aerial footage was very interesting.

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How is it going with that? Thought you had a publisher - Liverpool Uni or something or was that something else?

 

Yep that's the one. We've got a tentative agreement that, once I finish my PhD, I'll get back in contact with them and we'll start to sort things out. I'm still aiming to finish maybe the end of next year or beginning of 2012. It'll then probably take a year or so to get the book version done so maybe a release around 2014-ish in time for the 100th anniversary. If all goes according to plan.

 

would deffo buy that book. Just let us know when it's out.

 

It'll be on relations between British and French soldiers on the Western Front. Bedtime reading for every household.

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My granda was a Sgt in the Connaught Rangers...we think he fought at the Somme too...he took a pretty bad hit to his arm with shrapnel supposedly.

 

Thats all his family know cause apparently he never talked about it and his kids never asked him about it.

 

 

Why not? Was he dead?

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WW1 history was something that was rather left (significantly) in the shadows in history lessons here in Ireland due to other goings on in Dublin at the time. It's something that I've only really started reading about in the last few years. I've really enjoyed Sebastian Barry's books realting to WW1.

 

Any forumites got any good stories on it, particulary with respect to their own forefathers/relatives?

 

Or better still, if Murph can give any first hand accounts to generate debate.

 

 

My great Grandfather on my mums side was a captain in the trenches in World War I. I have some photos of him and his batman. I also have a photo of him (A copy) recieving the Victoria Cross from the Queen.

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My great Grandfather on my mums side was a captain in the trenches in World War I. I have some photos of him and his batman. I also have a photo of him (A copy) recieving the Victoria Cross from the Queen.

 

Nice one Andy. He survived the war ?

 

My granda was a Sgt in the Connaught Rangers...we think he fought at the Somme too...he took a pretty bad hit to his arm with shrapnel supposedly.

 

Thats all his family know cause apparently he never talked about it and his kids never asked him about it.

 

Was he an Irish Catholic ? This is the angle Sebastian Barry takes in most of his books on it. If he was a Catholic, have you any accounts of any grief the family got for him signing up to the Great War rather than the war at home ?

 

From what I understand, it's very difficult for us to understand what it was like at the time. Some accounts seem to suggest that it wasn't a major thing for Irish Catholics to sign up, but other reports suggest it was. Perhaps it depended on timing and where the person was from.

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My Grandad on my Dads side was the only male left in the family after the 1st world war, he'd already lost his father, but then lost all his uncles and the husbands or engaged husbands to be of his 7 elder sisters.

 

My Grans family, again from my dads side, were unscathed bar one who suffered from shell shock in the trenches and was sent to rehabilitate. They accepted he didn't want to fight at the front again so allowed him train for the medicle core and became a stretcher bearer. However, they thought his previous experience of fighting at the front in the trenches was invaluable, so that was where they sent him to be a stretcher bearer. :wacko:

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Was he an Irish Catholic ? This is the angle Sebastian Barry takes in most of his books on it. If he was a Catholic, have you any accounts of any grief the family got for him signing up to the Great War rather than the war at home ?

 

From what I understand, it's very difficult for us to understand what it was like at the time. Some accounts seem to suggest that it wasn't a major thing for Irish Catholics to sign up, but other reports suggest it was. Perhaps it depended on timing and where the person was from.

man wish I could answer that (well apart form the Irish Catholic bit...yes he was)..but as I said info is pretty short....when he signed up obviously Ireland was still under British Oppression but we're not too sure where he signed up, he was born in Clones but his part of the family had moved to Holywood apparently around 1912 as there was family up there at that time and we assume work was the main reason, so I dont think theyd be getting s*** from anyone there as its a garrison town in North Down and obviously when he signed up there was no war at home though in the aftermath Im sure some who had signed up got some s*** for their choices...maybe if they had still been living in Clones there mightve been words had...but in Holywood...nah..doubt it very much.

 

One thing though with Republican revisionism after War of Independence etc was the down playing of the numbers of Irishmen who'd been in the britsh army (whether Irish Battalions or not) and fought in the world wars and their lack of being able to commemorate.

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One thing though with Republican revisionism after War of Independence etc was the down playing of the numbers of Irishmen who'd been in the britsh army (whether Irish Battalions or not) and fought in the world wars and their lack of being able to commemorate.

 

Agreed. It seems that it is only in the last few years that we can actually talk about these brave men without the Republican agenda drowning you out.

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Was he an Irish Catholic ? This is the angle Sebastian Barry takes in most of his books on it. If he was a Catholic, have you any accounts of any grief the family got for him signing up to the Great War rather than the war at home ?

 

From what I understand, it's very difficult for us to understand what it was like at the time. Some accounts seem to suggest that it wasn't a major thing for Irish Catholics to sign up, but other reports suggest it was. Perhaps it depended on timing and where the person was from.

 

The southern Irish regiments -Connaught Rangers, Munster Fusiliers, Royal Dublin Fusiliers etc- would have been predominantly Catholic, certainly among the rank and file anyhow -officers would have been more likely to be drawn from the Protestant Anglo-Irish class as I understand it. It was only in the aftermath of 1916 that there would have been a swing of opinion against the idea of Irish in the British army.

 

I recently saw a production of Sean O'Casey's WW1 play The Silver Tassie and there was a fascinating article in the programme which pointed out that the economic benefits to families of their men being in the army was substantial. Quite apart from the soldier's own salary, there was a generous allowance paid to the womenfolk, whether wife or mother, left behind at home and at a time of widespread hardship that income was hugely appreciated.

 

Also, WW1 commemorations were quite common in Ireland in the 1920s etc it was actually much later that the whole official "amnesia" about the conflict and Ireland's part in it really set in.

Edited by heighway
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The southern Irish regiments -Connaught Rangers, Munster Fusiliers, Royal Dublin Fusiliers etc- would have been predominantly Catholic, certainly among the rank and file anyhow -officers would have been more likely to be drawn from the Protestant Anglo-Irish class as I understand it. It was only in the aftermath of 1916 that there would have been a swing of opinion against the idea of Irish in the British army.

indeed and lets not forget Redmond and the IPP's determination not to just have unionists making up the majority of those enlisted from Ireland, they honestly believed that nationalists must take part to ensure That Home Rule came through after the war and that the idea of Ulster Prods and Irish Catholics fighting together in the war would have good repercussions later on when it came time for Ulster to be brought in line.

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indeed and lets not forget Redmond and the IPP's determination not to just have unionists making up the majority of those enlisted from Ireland, they honestly believed that nationalists must take part to ensure That Home Rule came through after the war and that the idea of Ulster Prods and Irish Catholics fighting together in the war would have good repercussions later on when it came time for Ulster to be brought in line.

 

Interesting.

 

Would it ever have been something you, or your mum/dad felt they had to hide when growing up in Northern Ireland ? i.e. the fact that you had a grandfather and either your mum/dad had a father that fought in the Great war ?

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Very interesting stuff.

 

My own Grandfather, who was a Catholic from West Belfast, was a Corporal in the Connaught Rangers. His name was Thomas James Connolly and is listed in the book which OM linked to. He was wounded and medically retired after fighting in Ypres. He was a fascinating character, a real all rounder. A Miner in Scotland, Poet, Bookie, Artist, Sculptor, etc etc. all self-taught. Some of his works were displayed in the Regimental mess and during a visit by George V he was summoned to meet His Majesty who was apparently very impressed with his work. (This account is from a whole page article about him in the Belfast Telegraph in the 1930's which I have a copy of.) Apparently the KIng thought that he should be offered a commission. My Grandfather declined. He most likely had more sense than to accept.

 

He was also very good friends with Stephen Gwynn - which was frowned upon by the brass. Gwynn was his Captain in the Connaught Rangers and fraternising with the lower ranks was not the done thing. Gwynn was MP for Galway and was in the Irish Parliamentary Party. Their friendship continued after the war and Gwynn did his best to encourage my Grandfather into poltics. He declined this too! We still have letters written by Gwynn and he would visit as often as he could.

 

Like others have said he didn't talk much about his experiences. I think that there has been a softening of attitudes towards the idea of recognition/commemoration for these men. Surely it's the least they deserve.

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