Dubliner Edward Gerrard – Fought in Gallipoli and Gaza, wounded in the 1916 Rising

Name of soldier : Edward Gerrard

Name of descendent : Ailbhe Gerrard

Ailbhe Gerrard is the creator of Brookfield Farm, which produces honey and beeswax candles near beautiful Lough Derg, in Tipperary.

More here :
Brookfield Farm – Producer of Raw Irish Honey & Beeswax Gifts https://www.brookfield.farm/

Ailbhe comes from a large and talented family, including siblings Joy and Johnny Gerrard, who are acclaimed artists.

Her grandfather Edward Gerrard is a very interesting Irish military figure, rarely spoken about. He was wounded trying to defend Beggars Bush barracks during the Easter Rising of 1916. Home on leave from Egypt, Captain Gerrard found the barracks completely unprepared for a rebellious attack and tried to muster arms and men for its defence.

Captain Gerrard recuperating in Portobello Hospital, 1916

Gerrard later gave a vivid and highly revealing account to the Military Archives Archives Bureau (BMH). He describes the defence of Beggars Bush and the counter attack on rebel forces at South Lotts railway and at Northumberland Road.

But, in his short statement, Captain Gerrard also gives other insights and details on the revolutionary period in Ireland, offering a quite rare perspective on British military thinking. He had had many conversations with other military figures. (Link at bottom of page).

Edward describes the bravery and determination of the 1916 rebels, including the condemned Kevin Barry in custody, as well as the ambitious half plans of Prime Minister Lloyd George to re-establish control of the island.

At ease in Eqypt. Gerrard is smoking a pipe.

After the Rising, Gerrard was with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, and was active in 1917-18 in the Sinai campaign against the German Allies, the Turks. There were engagements in Gaza, Palestine and what is now modern day Syria.

Gerrard served with T.E.Lawrence – the famous Lawrence of Arabia – who was assisting the Arab Revolt against Ottoman rule in the region.

The Arab Revolt was led by Sharif Hussein, described as the King of Hejaz, as the area was known, and Gerrard rode into Deraa with the Sharif’s son. (Deraa is now in modern Syria and was the scene of intense fighting in the recent Syrian civil war.) Edward heard about the atrocities at nearby Tafas, so graphically described by Lawrence in his famous account, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

Your own name : Ailbhe Gerrard

Your relative : Grandfather, Edward Gerrard

Period of activity: World War One, the 1916 Rising

Specific regiment: Royal Field Artillery

Areas served in: The Dardanelles, Gaza and Arabia, and Dublin

Did you have much contact with him?

No, he died in 1969. But there were many family stories and my father had lived with him in Kilmashogue, near Rathfarnham in County Dublin.

Gerrard, in action with his cannon, in Gaza

What are the most striking memories of him?

That he was shot in the arm in 1916. And that he had fought in the Arabian desert.

Also, that his own father – and my great grandfather – had been a publisher on St Stephen’s Green. He had published some early writings by James Joyce and by Francis Sheehy Skeffington.

Skeffington, a well known activist and pacifist, was subsequently shot in the 1916 Rising, by an unhinged British officer, Captain Bowen Colthurst. In his BMH statement, Edward Gerrard described seeing Bowen Colhurst, during the Rising, ranting angrily in Portobello barracks.

Where is Edward buried?

In Cruagh Cemetery, Rockbrook, County Dublin

Details here :

Capt Edward Gerrard (1892-1969) – Find A Grave Memorial https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/74904025/edward-gerrard

Do you have any mementos of Edward ?

Yes, my father has many items, including about 40 letters and photos from Edward’s time in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. And some diaries.

Edward’s uniform, pictured below, was donated to the Irish Military Archive.

An East Wall docker and a Dorset Street plumber who joined the War

Name of soldier : William O Brien

Name of descendent : Bernard Edwards

Bernard Matthews and his partner Pat, pictured below, are based in Phibsborough, off the North Circular Road. They live in a charming small pocket called Cherrymount close, so named because of its profusion of cherry trees in the Spring and Summer. On one side is the old Cherrymount House, which the residents successfully had listed some years ago.

Both Mary and Pat had relatives involved in World War One. Bernard’s maternal grandfather was William O Brien, from Dublin’s North Wall and his granduncle David Edwards was from Ballybough in the capital’s inner city area.

Their stories are typical of the participation of ordinary Irish people in the Great War. William was a docker, as were many in the East Wall area, and later moved to the relatively ‘new’ area of Cabra on the northside.

Your own name : Bernard Edwards

Your relative: Grandfather, William O Brien

Period of activity: World War One

Specific regiment: (Apparently) the Lancashire Regiment

Areas served in: The Western Front

Did you have much contact with him?

No, I never knew either of my grandfathers, as they had both passed away before I was born.

What are the most striking memories of him?

William lived in the North Wall area near Abercorn Road. He then moved to Newgrange Road in Cabra in the early 1930’s and worked as a charge handler on the Dublin Docks.

Where is he buried?

In Glasnevin cemetery.

Do you have any mementos of him?

Just the photograph of him above.

More about the Lanchashire Regiment here :
The Regiments In The Great War 1914-18 | Lancashire Infantry Museum https://www.lancashireinfantrymuseum.org.uk/the-regiments-in-the-great-war-1914-18-3/
………

Bernard Matthews also had a Grand Uncle who fought in the trenches

Name of soldier : David Edwards

Name of descendent : Bernard Edwards

David Edwards joined the Dublin Fusiliers, having been a plumber and hackney driver. There are no photographs of him but his work documents are reproduced here. Again, the north inner city area features, as it so often does for these Dublin veterans.

The Hackney licence is addressed at Hutton’s Lane off Mountjoy Square. Bernard’s father had lived on nearby Rutland Street, as a child and as a young man.

The indenture for the plumbers apprenticeship, meanwhile, has an address for David Edwards in Temple Street. At a family funeral many years ago, Bernard Edwards discovered he had distant relations that he didn’t know about, still living in what he describes as ‘George’s Pocket’ off Temple Street.

This is Georges Place, directly behind St Georges Church on Temple Street, facing Hardwicke Place. Like many once congested areas of the inner city, it has now been impressivly upgraded as a community space.

The Temple Street Church area is a significant cross roads in the city centre, with many associations to James Joyce and the First World War.

The contract for plumbers apprentice is dated 1886, suggesting that David Edwards was at least 28 when World War One started. An interesting feature of the document is that David’s father could not write and his ‘x’ mark was witnessed by another adult.

Your relative: Grand Uncle, David Edwards

Your own name: Bernard Edwards

Period of activity: World War One

Specific regiment: Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

Areas served in: The Western Front.

Did you have much contact with him ?

No, he had passed on.

Above : His work contract – ‘so long as he conducts himself to my satisfaction.’

What are your most striking memories of him?

How my Dad would describe my Uncle dry shaving, a habit formed in the trenches during the war. My Dad was particularly impressed by watching him one time when a small piece of metal or shrapnel broke the surface of the skin and was picked out.

Where is your grand uncle buried? In Glasnevin.

Do you have any mementos of him?

Yes, these old work documents, which are precious to us. My Dad gave me them to me as our son is the next ‘David’ in our line of the Edwards family.

William Byrne – A Corkman who was gassed twice, but lived

Munster Fusiliers on the eve of World War One

Name of soldier : William Byrne

Descendent : Liam Byrne

In 2013, Phibsborough resident Liam Byrne died tragically in an accident on his beloved Inishbofin Island, off the Galway coast. The small island was, and still is, a family holiday destination and bolthole, and the original homeland of the family of his wife Carmel.


Liam is pictured above, rowing a boat, and below, with his wife Carmel, in the doorway of their Inishbofin house. Liam was a lively and curious character and is still greatly missed by his family and friends. He was involved in the truck leasing business, and had travelled the world as a truck driver, including much of the Middle East

Liam’s Uncle William, a Corkman, fought in World War One where he was gassed and wounded twice and, at one stage, left for dead on a stretcher until he showed signs of life. His brother, John – Liam’s other Uncle – was in the British Navy.

Liiam’s daughter, Sarah Anne, describes the family memories of William below. Sarah has already described the wartime experiences of her granduncles on her mother Carmel’s side in another post on the site, including the rueful warnings of her Great Aunt Sally.

Great Aunt Sally – ‘You’ll get no more sons from me’ – The Lion and the Shamrock https://thelionandtheshamrock.com/2021/03/21/sarah-byrne/

Sarah Anne Byrne

Your father’s name : Liam Byrne

Your veteran relative: Grand Uncle, William Byrne

Period of activity: World War One

Specific regiment: The Royal Irish Munster Fusiliers

Areas served in : The Western Front.

Did you have much contact with him?

No, he died in his eighties sometime in the 1970s. He was born in Cork on January 08, 1894 and there were 15 years between him and my grandfather who was born in 1909.

Dad’s grandfather was William and he named his eldest son William after his father as was the custom. Also, Dad’s father was the youngest of 9 and so Willam was much older.

Above : Carmel and Liam Byrne in Inishbofin

What were your family’s most striking memories of William Byrne ?

According to Grandad, William was wounded and gassed twice. On one occasion, William was being put on a stretcher by the burial squad but he moaned or otherwise showed that he was alive and recovered.

Grandad also said that he remembered a telegram coming to his home and his father said ‘I suppose this is it’ thinking that he was being notified of his son’s death.

Where is he buried? In a cemetery in Cork.

Do you have any mementos of him?

No, just the memories. We have no photos of him.

Munster Fusiliers leave for France, 1914

Michael Scully – From the Liberties to the Somme

Worcestershire Regiment taking in German prisoners

Name of soldier : Michael Scully

Descendent : John McDonnell

John McDonnell must have been the happiest street cleaner in North Dublin before he stepped down from Dublin City Council in 2017. He was a regular sight to be seen around Phibsborough crossroads in the morning pushing his dust cart and lifting people’s spirits with a greeting and a broad smile. He is now retired and lives on Dowth avenue in Cabra.

The Worcester Regiment traces its origins back to 1694 and spent its early years in Ireland before amalgamation with other regiments. It suffered heavily in World War One, losing 9,000 of its 15,000 officers and men. Its battalions most fought on the Western Front but also in Gallipoli, Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), Italy and in Russia.

Your own name : John McDonnell

Your relative : Grandfather Michael Scully

Period of activity: World War One

Specific regiment: Worcestershire Regiment

Areas served in: Belgium and France. The Somme.

Did you have much contact with him?

No, he died in 1920 before I was born.

What are your most striking memories of him?

He came from the Liberties in Dublin. He had a tough time of it at the Western Front and never really recovered.

Where is he buried?

In Grangegorman military cemetery.

Do you have any mementos of him?

There were some in the family but they got sold, much to our annoyance. I hear this happens often with the families of veterans.

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More about the Worcester Regiment on this excellent website about World War One created by the University of Limerick and based on archive of the Armstrong family of Moyaliffe Castle, County Tipperary

Worcestershire Regiment | It’s a Long Way To Tipperary https://longwaytotipperary.ul.ie/the-military/worcestershire-regiment/

Aidan Byrne – From North Circular Road to the North African campaign

Soldier’s name : Aidan Asquith Byrne

Descendent : Frank Keane

Aidan Byrne was living on Dublin’s North Circular Road (NCR) when he joined the Second World War as a doctor with the Royal Medical Army Corps. He worked with the field ambulance in North Africa for which he was awarded the Military Cross, and later in Europe. After the war, he worked with the British civil service in Malaya.

His nephew Frank Keane also has an interesting story, connected to the war : or at least to its aftermath. Frank worked fitting artificial limbs in 1950s Germany, where disability was now common after the intense bombing raids. His patients were very appreciative of this pioneering work, including one lady who gave him a present of a Nazi medal, awarded to German mothers when they had given birth to six children!

Today, Frank lives in a large house off the NCR, with a motorcycle collection in the basement and a first floor decorated in the style of 19th century Vienna. By coincidence, his home faces a house (visible over his left shoulder below) once occupied by Corporal Digby Burns who was, also an army doctor, but in the First World War. Digby Burns died in the sinking of the RMS Leinster in 1918.

Your own name :Frank Keane

Your relative : Uncle Aidan

Period of activity: World War Two

Specific regiment: Royal Medical Corps Service

Areas served in: The North Africa Campaign : Egypt and Libya. Picture below.

Did you have much contact with Uncle Aidan ?

Yes, we saw him a lot when we were kids.

What are your most striking memories of him?

One day, in the back garden, he told us that he was throwing away his medals and mementos. He was angry because he said that the Americans gave demobbed soldiers an education, whereas the British gave you a civilian suit and sent you on your way.

Where is he buried?

In Alberta, Canada where he had settled. He died in 1997.

Do you have any mementos of him?

Not many. We might have got his medals but he threw them away!

Aidan is listed here :
British Army Officers 1939-1945  — B https://www.unithistories.com/officers/Army_officers_B05.html

Edward Keegan – Sudan War veteran with a Republican son

Name of soldier : Edward Keegan

Descendent : Marie Fitzgerald

Edward Keegan had a military career which took him far from his home in the Liberties in Dublin city. A member of the Royal Irish Regiment, be fought in the Egypt and Sudan campaign in the 1880s and was part of the Nile Expedition of 1884-5. Back in Ireland, however, Edward Keegan he would later see his son, Thomas, join the Irish Republicans.

Perhaps Thomas was inspired by his father”s military adventures. Or maybe it was an act of fillial rebellion. Or more likely, Thomas was just caught up in the revolutionary fervour which had developed in Ireland.

It is a fascinating story and we are grateful to Thomas’s Granddaughter Marie for the details and photographs. Keegan is here pictured in his Royal Regiment with blue faced collar and cuffs, and wearing his campaign medals, including the Egypt medal with a clasp for the ‘The Nile 1884-85’ and the Khedive’s Star – the Khedive was the ruling British ally in Eqypt.

The Egypt – Sudan campaigns were a significant series of military operations which secured the British Empire in north east Africa : especially important given that this cornerstone region oversaw the Suez Canal and the naval journey east to Asia. But it was not without difficulty, especially in Sudan where there was an ongoing Mahdi resistance to Egyptian – and British – rule.

The 1st Battalion, Royal Irish had been stationed in Meerut in India when they were ordered to Egypt in August 1884.

The Battle of Tamai in the Sudanese War, 13 March 1884

Apparently, the regiment had originally wore an ugly grey serge similar to that of convicts, and issued from store. But a new fighting kit was devised by their commanding officer Colonel M.J.R MacGregor.

This consisted of a Khaki coloured frock and trousers of cotton drill, and a helmet covered with the same material. Under Colonel MacGregor they were considered ‘the best dressed regiment in India’, where one of their first duties had been to attend a durbar in Rawalpindi.

In the extract below, from a history of the Sudan campaign, the Royal Irish are described as ‘intensely Irish’ and ‘…..easily brightening into excitement when their own stirring national airs are played by the band’.


However, their appearance, on return from Africa, was a different matter. They sailed on the SS Stirling Castle from Alexandria to Plymouth on the 24th August 1885 and on their arrival, ‘want of sleep, and prolonged exertion’ had put its ‘stamp upon every soldier in the campaign. The account describes them looking like’ tramps when they marched in : ragged clothes, almost no boots at all, dusty and very thirsty’.

The whole campaign had been a mixed success. Part of its purpose was a managed withdrawal from Sudan in the face of Mahdi pressure, including the rescue of an ill-fated evacuation mission by General Gordon in Khartoum. However, in the 1890s, the British and Eqyptians tried to reassert control, leading to new hostilities, such as the infamous Battle of Omdurman in 1898, led by the Kerry-born Lord Kitchener.

Your own name : Marie Fitzgerald

Your relative: Great grandfather Edward Keegan

Period of activity: Egypt-Sudan campaign 1880s, Nile Expedition, 1885-86

Specific regiment: Royal Irish Regiment

Area served in : Egypt, Sudan

The Battle of Abu Klea, September 1885, painting by William Barnes Wollen.

Do you have any mementos of Edward, or of his Republican son Thomas ?

Just the photograph of Edward above, in his uniform. And the correspondence relating to Thomas below.

Where are they buried?

My grandfather Tom Keegan (IRA) is buried in Deansgrange cemetery. My great grandfather Edward was apparently buried near St. Nicholas church in Francis Street.

Edward’s son Thomas joined the Anti-Treaty Republicans

Anti Treaty rebels in the Four Courts, under attack from Pro Treaty forces., 1923

Edward’s son Thomas would later join the Irish Republicans and fought in the Irish Civil War, on the Anti Treaty side. He was aged about 19. He lived in North King Street, itself a scene of significant conflict in 1916. His pension details are below. Edward had been living with his family at 54 Francis Street, before moving to North King Street.

Reproduced beneath is the 1911 Census return for 54 Francis Street. James’s mother Elizabeth is listed as a fish dealer and his brother William as a porter at the Abbey Theatre.

Reproduced below is the application form from Thomas Keegan for an Irish War of Independence pension. There was some controversy about the applications for such pensions from Anti-Treaty Republicans, who had, after all, opposed the State and taken up arms against it.

Great Aunt Sally – ‘You’ll get no more sons from me’

Name of soldier : Michael Lavelle

Descendent : Sarah Anne Byrne

Sarah Anne Byrne grew up in Phibsborough with her Mum Carmel and her late father Liam, who is still sadly missed. Every year the family go to Inishbofin Island, off the coast of Mayo, for a long holiday. The house originally belonged to her great Aunt Sally, pictured on the island in 1939.

Great Aunt Sally had a son killed at the Second Battle of Ypres in 1917, while another son, Peter, fought and in the Boer War with the Connaught Rangers and came back traumatised. When the army came looking for another family recruit for World War One, Sally apparently told them ‘you’ll get no more sons from me!’

Your own name : Sarah Anne Byrne

Your relative : Great Grandfather Michael Lavelle

Period of activity: World War One

Specific regiment: Royal Scots, 13th Battalion

AWinston Churchill served in WW1 with the Royal Scots regiment

More about the Royal Scots here :The Royal Scots Fusiliers | World War 1 | VisitScotland https://www.visitscotland.com/about/history/ww1-centenary/scottish-regiments/royal-scots-fusiliers/

Areas served in: Belgium and France. Second Battle of Ypres

Did you have much contact with him?

No, he died there on 1st of August 1917

Where is he buried?

His body was not found, but his name is on Menin Gate memorial

Do you have any mementos of Michael?

No, we just have the stories. ……………………………………………………………………………………..

Michael’s brother Peter was in the Boer War

Your other relative: Great grandfather Peter

Period of activity: Second Boer War, 1899-1902 (Image of soldiers crossing a river below)

Specific regiment: Connaught Rangers

Areas served in : South Africa

Did you have much contact with him?

No, he died in 1932, aged 52

What are your most striking memories of Peter?

Apparently, he was an excellent flute player

Where is he buried?

On Inishbofin Island

Above : As a millennial Christmas present, Queen Victoria sent all soldiers serving in the Boer War the gift of a tin of chocolate. This one still has its chocolate inside.

John Coyle – Chain smoking veteran who never spoke of war

German WW1 army belt, kept by John Coyle

Name of soldier : John Coyle

Descendent : Gary Coyle

Gary Coyle is an artist, originally from Dun Laoghaire and now living on Dublin’s Northside. He exhibits with the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery and was elected a member of artists body Aosdana in 2009. He was elected a member of the Royal Hibernia Academy in 2007.

Gary’s work embraces various media, including drawing, photography and spoken art/performance. In 2018, he had a one man show spoken word show at the Project entitled My Magnetic North.

Gary’s grand father and great uncle, who were second generation Irish born from Glasgow, both served in the First World War.

Your own name : Gary Coyle

Your relative: Grandfather John Coyle

Period of activity: World War One

Specific regiment: Don’t know

Areas served in: France

Did you have much contact with him?

No. He smoked himself into an early grave, 13 years before I was born. Apparently, he never spoke about the war. I think it completely traumatised him.

Where is he buried?

In Mount Jerome cemetery (pictured above)

Do you have any mementos of him?

Yes, a leather belt and buckle (pictured at top).

My grandfather got it off a German soldier and wore it until he died. It’s a standard issue army belt, and the motto on the buckle says ‘Gott Mit Uns’, which means ‘God is With Us’. And now I wear it.

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Gary Coyle’s Great Uncle also served

Your other relative: Great Uncle Thomas Maguire

Period of activity: World War One

Specific regiment: The Royal Dragoons

Areas served in: Belgium. Second Battle of Ypres

Did you have much contact with him?

No, he was killed in action in 1916 and his body was never found.

Where is he buried?

My Great Uncle’s body was never found. His name is on the Menin Gate at Ypres (above).

Do you have any mementos of him?

I have my grandfather’s German belt, as I said, which I sometimes wear. And someone else in the family has the Great Uncle’s campaign chest


Christopher Mulligan – From Nelson Street to Second Ypres

Name of soldier : Christopher Mulligan

Descendents : Stella Geragthy and her brother Aidan Maher

Nelson Street is a small, narrow street linking Eccles Street with Berkeley Street on Dublin’s North city. It is named after the British naval hero, Admiral Horatio Nelson, whose column adorned Dublin’s O’Connell Street before it was bombed in 1966. In Brendan Behan’s play The Hostage the street is the location for the kidnapping of a British soldier by Republicans in 1958.

Christopher Mulligan lived at No 33 Nelson Street before he left for the First World War. He was about 24 when he joined the army and was trained in Cork. Today his granddaughter Stella Geragthy lives in Malahide and her brother Aidan Maher lives in Point Roberts, Washington, USA. Both have kindly shared below images of Christopher’s army paybook and postcards sent from the Western Front.

According to Stella, Christopher had been working a printing company in 1914. ‘He was told to go and fight for Little Belgium and his job would be there for him on his return. His step brother wouldn’t speak to him when he returned, presumably because of the 1916 Rising !’

Above : No 33 Nelson Street : home of Christopher Mulligan.

Your own name: Stella Geragthy and Aidan Maher

Your relative: Grandfather Christopher Mulligan

Period of activity: World War One

Specific regiment: Royal Artillery

Areas served in : Belgium, Second Battle of Ypres

Above : painting of Second Battle of Ypres

Did you have much contact with him?

No, he died in 1944 before we were born

What are your most striking memories of him?

We don’t remember too many stories about Christie. He played piano at social events and pubs. We were told that in the pubs, men would just leave a beer for him on top of the piano by way of appreciation. This contributed to his heavy drinking which began as soon as he returned from the trenches. He was affected by his experience, as so many were.

Where is he buried?

Glasnevin cemetery

Do you have any mementos of him?

Yes, his army paybook and two postcards sent to our mother when she was 2 years old in 1916 from “somewhere in Flanders”. All are pictured below.

Our cousins sold his sword and hat which we used to play with when we visited our grandmother who lived in Mount Prospect Road, Glasnevin .

Christopher ‘s army paybook, from 1916, above and below

‘Instructions to Soldier’

Above: Officers signatures firmly inscribed.

Above : A check on equipment and clothing

Above : Christopher’s Last Will, hastily drawn in.

Above : Cover of Army paybook.

Postcards home. Christopher was injured in 1916 and moved to France

‘Bon soir’ : inscription on postcard

Above : postcard from ‘Somewhere in Flanders’

Below : Newspaper report on Christopher Mulligan’s funeral in 1944. Note the attendance of the Irish Bookbinders and Paper Rulers Union, of which Christopher had been a member.

Note also, the adjoining newspaper story about the developing suburb of Crumlin, to which people were then transferring from inner city areas and tenements, like Nelson Street. Coincidentally, Crumlin was where Brendan Behan’s family were relocated to.

Below is a drawing of ‘the’ Nelson Street doorway in Behan’s play The Hostage. The drawing, by English artist Paul Hogarth, is from the book Brendan Behan’s Island (1962) which has many fine drawings of Ireland at this time. The book’s text is by Behan.

Below : A similar perspective on a Nelson Street doorway, 2021. Renovations are in progress.

As it happens, the occupants of No 30 and 32, who lived right next door to Christopher, were also in World War One. But they didn’t come home.

William Lawler from No 30 was killed in June 1916 and is buried at Vermelles British cemetery and John Newman from No 32 was killed at Ypres in June 1917 and remembered on Menin Gate. This is a high number of combatants from one small street, not to mention the many who enlisted from the adjoining streets.

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.

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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.