John Downes – From Eccles Place to Suvla Bay and Palestine

Name of soldier : John Downes

Descendent : Dick Wynne

Dick Wynne is a sprightly and dapper 82 year old man who could pass for a man ten years younger, or more. He lives in Ashtown, North Dublin and used to work with the Office of Public Works, tending to public parks and monuments.

When his grandfather died, his mother was brought into a Catholic institution as a young woman. Unlike many, she and her son, Dick, were grateful for this route away from poverty and had good memories of the nuns.

Your own name: Richard Wynne

Your relative: Grandfather John Downes

Period of activity: World War One

Specific regiment: Royal Irish Fusiliers

Areas served in: Gallipoli, Salonika (Greece), Palestine, the Western Front

Did you have much contact with him?

No, he died when I was very young

Service medal form for John Downes

What are your most striking memories of him?

That he went to many places in World War One!

Where is he buried?

Glasnevin cemetery

Do you have any mementos of him?

Just the Army papers reproduced here.


James Downes, brother of John, also served

John Downes brother, James, also served in World War One, first in The Leinster regiment and later with the Royal Army Medical Corps.

But there is much less known about him. He lived at Eccles Place, just behind No 7 Eccles Street, which is immortalised as the home of Leopold and Molly Bloom in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses.

Pictured below is James’s discharge paper. His date of birth is stated as 1884 but it should be 1894.

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