Cork’s Darkest Day of World War Two? Cork Losses on HMS Glorious, 75 Years Ago

The 8th June 2015 marks the 75th anniversary of one of the Royal Navy’s costliest engagements of World War Two. This date also has significance for Cork, as it almost certainly represents the worst single day’s loss of Cork men serving in Allied forces during the entire conflict. On that day at least 22 natives of the Rebel county were killed when HMS Glorious, HMS Ardent and HMS Acasta encountered the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau off the coast of Norway. The vast majority of them were in their late teens and early twenties. 

HMS Glorious in May 1940 (U.S. Naval Historical Center)

HMS Glorious in May 1940 (U.S. Naval Historical Center)

In early June 1940 the Royal Naval Aircraft Carrier HMS Glorious had been sent to Narvik to assist with the evacuation of British forces from Norway. Early on the morning of 8th June, she set through the Norwegian Sea for her return trip to Scapa Flow, accompanied by her two destroyer escorts, HMS Ardent and HMS Acasta. Around 4 o’clock that afternoon the Glorious spotted two vessels on their western horizon. Disastrously for the isolated vessels, these proved to be the extremely formidable German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.

HMS Ardent was the first to close with the Germans as she sought to identify the ships; she came under fire from them just before 4.30. In an effort to protect the Glorious from the enemy, Ardent released smoke to conceal her charge. Before the smoke took full effect, Glorious was struck for the first time. The distance at which the Scharnhorst hit her– 24,000 metres, or some 24km– illustrates the extreme range under which naval combat could commence. Over the course of the next two hours the Glorious sought to escape while the Ardent and Acasta tried desperately to protect her. Their efforts were doomed. Ardent was the first to be sunk, going down at around 5.25 pm. Glorious was sent to the bottom around 6.10, followed by Acasta some ten minutes later. There were few survivors; for those who did succeed in getting off the ships, the failure of the German vessels to pick up survivors consigned many to death by exposure. Only around 45 men survived– a staggering 1,519 sailors were lost. (1)

Each of the three Royal Naval ships carried Irishmen among their compliments. Below are details on the 22 Corkmen and 15 other Irish Free States sailors who we have identified as being lost that day. Where possible we have sought to uncover more detail about their origins through baptismal records and Census returns, but we are eager to hear from readers who may have additional information on any of them. Behind each of their names are individual stories of life and, ultimately, loss. Among their number are young men like 19-year-old Patrick Pearse Murphy from Cork City, a boy clearly named for the 1916 Revolutionary leader, who ultimately gave his life fighting for the British against Nazi Germany. Tragically the list also includes brothers James and Joseph Regan; it is hard to imagine what it must have been like for their family in Leap, Co. Cork, when word came through that both had been lost aboard Glorious, 75 years ago next week.

The Scharnhorst (German Federal Archives)

The Scharnhorst (German Federal Archives)

HMS Glorious 

Barrett, James. Leading Seaman, age 26. Son of William and Margaret Barrett, Bandon. Co. Cork. The 1911 Census records James’s father William (34), a shoemaker, living with his wife Margaret (26), son John (3) and daughter Elizabeth (2) at 24 Cavendish Quay in Bandon.

Calnan, Timothy. Stoker First Class, age not given. Son of Timothy and Hannah Calnan, Lispatrick, Co. Cork. Timothy Senior was recorded as a39-year-old fisherman in the 1911 Census. He lived at a house in Lispatrick Lower, Ballymackean with his new wife Hannah (31) and niece Maggie (16).

Daunt, James. Chief Petty Officer, age 37. Son of Thomas and Teresa Daunt of Rostellan, Co. Cork. The 1911 Census records the Daunt family at house 12 in Farsid, Rostellan. James was then 9-years-old and living with his 28-year-old mother Teresa and 2-year-old sister Emily. 

Hayes, Denis Anthony. Able Seaman, age 22. Son of Timothy and Helena Hayes, Skibbereen, Co. Cork.

Holland, James Christopher Holland. Stoker First Class, age 25. Son of James and Mary Holland of Kinsale, Co. Cork.

Kelly, Joseph Patrick. Petty Officer Writer, age 23. Son of Patrick J. and Helena M. Kelly, Summerhill, Co. Cork.

McCarthy, John David. Stoker First Class, age 21. Son of Timothy and Mary McCarthy, Kinsale. Co. Cork.

Minihane, Denis John. Stoker First Class, age 23. Son of Denis and Mary Minihane, Rosscarbery, Co. Cork. The only Denis Minihane on the 1911 Census was a 21-year-old agricultural labourer and is likely Denis John’s father. He lived in Downeen.

Murphy, John Stanislaus. Stoker First Class, age 22. Son of John T. and Sheila Murphy, Youghal, Co. Cork.

Murphy, Patrick Pearse. Able Seaman, age 19. Son of Patrick J. and Ellen Murphy of Cork. Born in Cork City in 1920. 

O’Brien, James Francis. Stoker First Class, age 25. Son of Denis and Mary O’Brien of Cork.

O’Leary, Joseph. Stoker First Class, age 21. Son of Daniel and Mary O’Leary, Clonakilty, Co. Cork. In 1911 Joseph’s parents Daniel (a 30-year-old agricultural labourer) and Mary (20) had just celebrated the birth of their son Michael John who was 6 months old. They lived with Mary’s parents and siblings at a house in Knockskagh, Clonakilty. 

Regan, James. Leading Stoker, age 24. Son of Jeremiah and Margaret Regan, Leap, Co. Cork. His brother Joseph died with him. As far as I can establish the Regan’s father Jeremiah was originally from Brulea, Co. Cork.

Regan, Joseph. Stoker First Class, age 22. Son of Jeremiah and Margaret Regan, Leap, Co. Cork. His brother James died with him.

Regan, Timothy. Able Seaman, age 33. Son of Jeremiah and Mary Regan, Rosscarbery, Co. Cork.

Roche, John Michael. Stoker First Class, age 21. Son of Nicholas John and Margaret Roche, Rosscarbery, Co. Cork.

Russell, Denis Augustine. Stoker Second Class, age 20. Son of Jeremiah and Catherine Russell, Cork. Denis was born in Cork City in 1919.

Stack, Thomas. Petty Officer Stoker, age 36. Son of Michael and Hanna Stack, Youghal, Co. Cork. In 1911 the Stacks lived at 4 Foxes Lane, Youghal. Thomas was (incorrectly?) recorded as a 2-year-old boy living with his father Michael, a 34-year-old general labourer, his mother Johanna (30), sisters Mary (3) and Ellen (1).

Thornhill, John. Able Seaman, age 19. Son of John and Mary Thornhill, Watergrasshill, Co. Cork.

HMS Ardent (Imperial War Museum FL870)

HMS Ardent (Imperial War Museum FL870)

HMS Ardent

Hegarty, Michael John. Able Seaman, age 28. Son of Michael and Anne Hegarty of Castletownshend, Co. Cork.

Lucey, James Joseph. Leading Seaman, age 26. Son of Denis and Mary Lucey of Cork.

HMS Acasta (Wikipedia)

HMS Acasta (Wikipedia)

HMS Acasta

Kiernan, Francis Augustin. Supply Assistant, age 25. Son of Francis R. and Margaret M. Kiernan of Cork. Francis was born in Cork City in 1914. 

Kevin Myers has noted that 65 men from the island of Ireland died as a result of the sinkings of Glorious, Ardent and Acasta. Aside from the 22 Cork men outlined above, I have identified a further 15 men from the then Irish Free State who perished on that June day. Their names are recorded below. (2)

The Gneisenau (German Federal Archives)

The Gneisenau (German Federal Archives)

Other Irish Free State Casualties

Byrne, Patrick William. HMS Glorious. Stoker Second Class, age 23. Son of Peter and Mary Byrne, Dublin.

Collins, James. HMS Glorious. Stoker First Class, age not given. Son of Michael and Mina C. Collins, Kilnaboy, Co. Clare.

Doyle, Benedict Leo. HMS Glorious. Able Seaman, age 24. Son of Michael and Mary Doyle, Dublin.

Duggan, Dermot Harry Tuthill. HMS Ardent. Surgeon Lieutenant, age 27. Son of Captain George Grant Duggan (Royal Irish Fusiliers) and Dorothy De Courcy Duggan, Foxrock, Co. Dublin. Dorothy not only lost her son in World War Two, but her husband in World War One. George, an Irish international cross-country runner, was killed in Gallipoli on 16th August 1915 and is remembered on the Helles Memorial.

Fogarty, Marcus. HMS Glorious. Leading Sick Berth Attendant, no age given. Son of William and Ellen Fogarty, Killenaule, Co Tipperary.

Forsyth, John Thomas. HMS Glorious. Able Seaman, age 20. Son of John and Amy Forsythe, Sandycove, Co. Dublin.

Keogh, Patrick Kevin. HMS Glorious. Able Seaman, age 19. Son of Mary and Jane Keogh of Dublin.

Koyce, John. HMS Acasta. Stoker First Class, age 21. Son of Patrick and Hannah Koyce of Limerick.

Langan, Maurice. HMS Glorious. Stoker First Class, age 33. Son of Peter and Anne Langan, Tarbert, Co. Kerry.

McGhee, Edmond. HMS Glorious. Ordinary Seaman, age 18. Son of John and Elizabeth McGhee, Kilkenny

Pearse, George Passmore. HMS Glorious. Surgeon Lieutenant, age 31. Son of Charles Perrin Pearse and Ellen Gertrude Pearse, Glenageary, Co. Dublin.

Pender, John. HMS Glorious. Ordinary Seaman, age 19. Son of Mrs. C. Pender, Gorey, Co. Wexford.

Porter, William. HMS Glorious. Able Seaman, age 26. Son of William and Mary Porter, Annamore, Co. Wicklow.

Stuart, Francis. HMS Glorious. Petty Officer Stoker, age 31. Son of James and Alice Stuart, Marino, Co. Dublin.

White, William Patrick. HMS Glorious. Able Seaman, age 27. Son of Christopher and Catharine White, Dermotstown, Delahasey, Co. Dublin.

(1) Howland, McMurtie; (2) Myers;

References

Howland, Vernon M. Loss of HMS Glorious

McMurtie, Francis E. 1946. The Tragedy of HMS Glorious

Commonwealth Wargraves Commission

Myers, Kevin., 9th June 2010, Irish Independent. Let Us Not Forget Irish Deaths in Calamitous Events of 1940. 

Categories: 20th Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Cork Men Who Died at Dunkirk & in the Fall of France, 75 Years Ago

On 10th May 1940, 75 years ago, the German army swept into the Low Countries and France. It was a campaign that culminated in Operation Dynamo– the famed evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk a little less than a month later. The Irish Free State remained neutral during the conflict, but despite this large numbers of Irishmen served in Allied forces during the war. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary we have been looking at local men who were involved in the 1940 fighting, and also taking a wider look at the impact of the Fall of France on Cork families.

The Commonwealth Wargraves Commission records 14 men with Cork connections who died during the campaign. There are undoubtedly many more– if you have details of any please pass them on to us. They include Private John Cashman of the Leicestershire Regiment, formerly of 12 Railway Terrace in Midleton. He was killed in action on 26th May 1940 and is remembered on the Dunkirk Memorial. You can see a photo of John on service in Egypt here). Another is Stoker Patrick Stanton of H.M.S. Havant, from Rostellan. He was killed during a Stuka attack on 2nd June 1940. It is worth sparing a thought for these and the other Cork men who lost their lives trying to stem the Nazi onslaught in the summer of 1940, 75 years ago.

British troops wading out to a destroyer to evacuate at Dunkirk © IWM (HU 41240)

British troops wading out to a destroyer to evacuate at Dunkirk © IWM (HU 41240)

2nd Class Aircraftman (Wireless Operator) Patrick Aherne, 110 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Age 20. Son of William Aherne and Bridget Aherne (Shanahan) of Youghal. Died 14th May 1940. Buried Sedan-Torcy French National Cemetery. Patrick served on a Bristol Blenheim light bomber and died when his plane was taken down while attacking German forces around Sedan. You can find more details on his plane here.

A Blenheim of 110 Squadron in August 1940 © IWM (HU 104641)

A Blenheim of Patrick Aherne’s 110 Squadron in August 1940 © IWM (HU 104641)

Private Patrick Daniel Foley, 7th Royal Sussex Regiment

Age 21. Son of Richard and Hanna Foley of Cork. Died 20th May 1940. Dunkirk Memorial. Patrick served in A Company, and died in the battalion’s first encounter with German troops. You can read about their experiences facing German tanks and infantry on 20th May in the battalion War Diary here.

Flying Officer (Pilot) Francis Derek Bird, 59 Squadron, Royal Air Force

Age 23. Son of John Bowyer Bird and Elizabeth Mary Bird of Buttevant. Died 22nd May 1940. Winner 440 yards and equal first in the Long Jump, Inter Services Athletic Meeting, 1937. Francis’s father John appears on the 1911 Census living as a boarder in the Nice residence at 150 Davis Street, Mallow. He was a Detective Inspector in the R.I.C. Like Patrick Aherne, Derek flew a Bristol Blenheim. His aircraft was shot down near Fricourt.

Blenheims of 59 Squadron taking off in France in 1940 © IWM (C 1166)

Blenheims of Francis Bird’s 59 Squadron taking off in France in 1940 © IWM (C 1166)

Guardsman Brian O’Flynn, 2nd Irish Guards

Age 20. Son of William and Kate O’Flynn of Cork. Date of death unknown, but between 23rd May and 4th June 1940. Buried Outreau Communal Cemetery.The 2nd Irish Guards were particularly heavily engaged around Boulogne. You can read more about that engagement here.

Fusilier William Joseph Steele, 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers

Age 20. Son of William and Annie Steele of Cork, husband of Kathleen Josephine Steele of Spangle Hill, Cork. Died 26th May 1940. Buried Dunkirk Town Cemetery.

The 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers in France, 1940 © IWM (O 159)

Joseph Steele’s 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers in France, 1940 © IWM (O 159)

Fusilier Michael Keating, 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers

Age 22. Son of Michael and Christina Keating of Carrigrohane. Died 26th May 1940. Buried Shorncliffe Military Cemetery.

Men of the 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers manning a French anti-tank gun in France, 1940 © IWM (F 2149)

Men of the 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, Michael Keatings regiment, manning a French anti-tank gun in France, 1940 © IWM (F 2149)

Private Timothy Patrick Cronin, 2nd Dorsetshire Regiment

Age 27. Son of Stoker 1st Class Christopher Cronin, Royal Navy and Christine Cronin of Cork. Died 26th May 1940. Dunkirk Memorial. Christine Cronin not only lost her son at Dunkirk– her husband Christopher had also died on active service while serving on H.M.S. Swindon on 30th November 1919. He is buried in Lyre Catholic Churchyard. You can read about the Dorsetshire actions along the La Bassée Canal where Timothy was killed here.

Inspection of men of the 2nd Dorsetshires in France, 1940 © IWM (F 2572)

Inspection of men of the 2nd Dorsetshires in France, 1940, the regiment in which Timothy Cronin served © IWM (F 2572)

Private John Cashman, 2/5th Leicestershire Regiment

Age 31. Son of Thomas and Margaret Cashman of Midleton. Died 26th May 1940. Dunkirk Memorial. The 1911 Census shows the family living at 12 Railway Terrace in Midleton. Then 3-year-old John was living with his sisters Mary (7) Margaret (6), mother Margaret (30), father Thomas (40) who worked as a carrier, and grandfather John (70) who was a retired groom. You can see a photo of John and details of his service here.

Stoker 1st Class William John O’Shea, H.M.S. Pangbourne

Age 28. Son of Dennis and Maria O’Shea of Drishane. Died 31st May 1940. Dover (St. James’s) Cemetery. The 1911 Census shows William’s parents Dennis (34), a farmer, and Maria (22) living with Dennis’s brother Cornelius (26) and parents William (69) and Margaret (68) at 13 Drishane More. William died as a result of wounds inflicted during a Stuka dive bomber attack on his vessel as part of the evacuation. For an extremely graphic account of this attack and its impact on Pangbourne click here.

HMS Pangbourne © IWM (FL 17237)

HMS Pangbourne, the vessel on which William O’Shea suffered his mortal wound © IWM (FL 17237)

Able Seaman Harry Vincent Hazeldene, H. M. Tug St. Abbs

No age given. Son of William and Elisabeth Hazeldene of Blackrock. Died 1st June 1940. Portsmouth Naval Memorial. Harry lost his life when the St. Abbs was sunk by German aircraft off Dunkirk during the evacuation. You can see details of where the St. Abbs now rests on the seafloor here.

Leading Stoker Patrick Stanton, H.M.S. Havant

Age 40. Son of Patrick and Bridget Stanton of Midleton. Died 2nd June 1940. Plymouth Naval Memorial. Patrick was killed when Stukas bombed the Havant during the Dunkirk evacuation. The 1911 Census records Patrick aged 12 living at 21 Ballynafarsid, Rostellan with his parents Patrick (42), a coachman, mother Bridget (43) and large group of siblings; Margaret (17), Bridget (14), Sarah (11), Christina (7), Daniel (6), Richard (5), Thomas (4), William (3) and baby Francis. You can read about the Havant here.

HMS Havant (Wikipedia)

HMS Havant, on which Patrick Stanton died (Wikipedia)

Sapper John Healy, 2nd Stevedores, Royal Engineers

Age 46. Husband of Ellen Healy of Spangle Hill. Died 3rd June 1940. Buried Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre.

Sapper David Fox, 2nd Stevedores, Royal Engineers

Age 40. Son of Patrick Fox and Catherine Fox (Helleher) of Cork, husband of Mary Fox (O’Connor) of Cork. Died 3rd June 1940. Buried Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre. The 1911 Census shows 12-year-old David living in an apartment at 41 Boyce’s Street in Cork with his mother Kate (54), laborer brothers William (23) and John (21) and sister Bridget (15). It is interesting to note that David served in the same unit as John Healy, they died on the same day, and are buried in the same cemetery.

Lance Corporal Robert Allen, 1st Supply Base Depot, Royal Engineers

Age 26. Son of John George Allen and Susan Allen of Cork. Died 17th June 1940. Dunkirk Memorial.

Royal Irish Fusiliers in France, 1939 © IWM (O 758)

Royal Irish Fusiliers in France, 1939 © IWM (O 758)

Categories: 20th Century | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Searching for East Cork’s 19th Century Emigrants: New York ‘Information Wanted’ Ads

Modern technology means that today’s East Cork emigrants can stay in almost constant contact with their families at home. Such was not the case in the 19th century. When people took the ’emigrant boat’ to the United States in the 1800s, it was entirely possible that parents, brothers, sisters and friends would never hear from them again. This problem of communication was accentuated by the fact that so many were illiterate. What to do then, if you were seeking to find friends and loved ones in America?

How the 'Information Wanted' advertisement for Jeremiah Hegarty, Midleton, appears in the New York Irish American Weekly (New York Irish American Weekly)

How the ‘Information Wanted’ advertisement for Jeremiah Hegarty, Midleton, appears in the New York Irish American Weekly (New York Irish American Weekly)

Many Cork people arrived in the United States following in the footsteps of family members, and often had to try to find them. One of the most common ways of attempting this was by taking out a ‘Information Wanted’ advertisement in Irish newspapers like the New York Irish American Weekly and the Boston Pilot. In the 1850s you could have your ad placed in four issues of the Irish American for $1. These New York advertisements have been gathered together by Laura Murphy DeGrazia and Diane Fitzpatrick Haberstroh in their book ‘Irish Relatives and Friends’. We decided to look at some of the New York entries of people from East Cork, arranged by location below. The advertisements from the Boston Pilot have been made available online for free by Boston College, so you can explore them here. Through these ads we gain a glimpse of the realities of emigration– people like Dan Flavin from Killeagh, searching for his parents who went to Louisiana 15 years before him; like Ann Dunlay of Lisgoold, who was searching for her sisters who had been in New York’s Deaf and Dumb Institute; and people like Mary McGrath from Cloyne, who was being sought by an admirer who met her on Hudson River boat.

Ballymacoda

21st July 1855

INFORMATION WANTED of Patt Shanahan, Parish of Ballymacody, County Cork, Ireland. Address Thomas Carroll, Orderly of Ward 28, Ward’s Island, N.Y.

Carrigtwohill

18th April 1868

INFORMATION WANTED of Michael Spillane, of Carrigtwohill, County Cork, Ireland. When last heard from he was in Middletown, Conn. [Connecticut]. Information of him will be gratefully received by his brother, Cornelius Spillane, who has just come to this country, at 62 Fayette Street, Lowell, Mass. [Massachsetts].

Castlemartyr

3rd February 1866

INFORMATION WANTED of Norrey Connell, daughter of James Connell, a native of Castlemartyr, County Cork, Ireland. She will confer a favor by calling on Jeremiah McCarthy, Mo. 15 Thames Street, New York.

28th May 1870

INFORMATION WANTED of John Harnett, a native of Castlemartyr, County Cork, Ireland, who left New York for Alton, Ill. [Illinois], in 1850; or his wife Anastacia Ryan. Any information concerning them will be thankfully received by Mrs. Mary Hynes, No 310 E. 49th Street, New York City. Alton, Ill. [Illinois], papers please copy.

Cloyne

9th August 1862

INFORMATION WANTED If Miss Mary McGrath, a school teacher by profession, and formerly of Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland, will make known her address, through the Irish American, or the “personals” of the New York Herald, she will hear from a friend whom she met about two years ago on board a Hudson River Passenger boat, while in company with another young lady named Maggy.

12th May 1866

INFORMATION WANTED of Ellen Fitzgerald, daughter of Michael Fitzgerald and Ellen Wallace, of Kilbree, Parish of Cloyne, Barony of Imikelly, Diocese of Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland, who arrived in New York two weeks ago in the City of New York, from Queenstown, Ireland. Her uncle’s son, David Wallace, of Middletown, Conn. [Connecticut], would be thankful to any one who would inform him of her whereabouts. Any information of her will be received at the office of this paper.

15th February 1868

INFORMATION WANTED of John and Thomas Lewis, who left Ballintrim, near Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland, twenty-seven years ago. When last heard of, they were in New York City. Maurice Lewis, their brother, would be thankful for any information of them – He resides at Eagle Mills, Rensselaer Co., N.Y.

7th November 1868

INFORMATION WANTED of Thomas Finn, a native of the Parish of Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland. When last heard of he was in Richmond Iron Works, Mass. [Massachusetts]. Intelligence of him will be thankfully received by his brother, William Finn, Portland, Conn. [Connecticut].

6th March 1869

INFORMATION WANTED of John Hogan, son of Michael Hogan and Ellen Wheelihan, a native of Ballywilliam, Parish of Cloyne, County of Cork, Ireland, who left Albany, N.Y., about thirteen years ago, and went to Chicago, ILL. [Illinois]- Any information concerning him will be thankfully received by addressing his cousin, Catherine Battersbee – maiden name, Catherine Higgins – as he will hear something to his advantage. Address John Battersbee, West Merriden, Conn. [Connecticut]. Western papers, please copy.

4th September 1869

INFORMATION WANTED of Margaret Cullinane, of the commons of Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland, who came to this country April 21, 1854, from Queenstown. When last heard from she was in Brooklyn, N.Y., about 11 years ago. Any information of her, dead or alive, will be thankfully received by her sister, Hanora Cullinane (who came to this country 4 years ago), in care of Patrick Curtis, Dedhan, Mass. [Massachusetts].

Cobh

23rd June 1866

INFORMATION WANTED of Michael Fitzgerald, a native of Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland. Information of him will be thankfully received by his brother, John Fitzgerald, Portland, Conn. [Connecticut].

4th March 1871

INFORMATION WANTED of Robert Miller, a butcher by trade, and a native of Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland. Information of him will be thankfully received by his daughter Catharine. Address Mrs. McCloskey, 180 Lorimor Street, Williamsburgh, Long Island, N.Y.

Dungourney

21st May 1864

INFORMATION WANTED of Coleman Ahern, a native of Ballyknock, parish of Dongourney, County Cork, Ireland. He left Ireland 11 years ago. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his brother, Michael Ahern, by addressing him care of Thomas Downing, to No. 335 West 26th St., New York.

Killeagh

26th May 1855

INFORMATION WANTED of Daniel Flavin, of the County Cork, Parish of Youghal, near Killeagh, or of Johanna, his wife, who is about fourteen or fifteen years in this country; supposed to be in New Orleans; when last heard from about twelve years ago were in New Orleans. Any information from them will be thankfully received by their son, Dan Flavin, who arrived in this country a few weeks ago, and wishes to hear from his parents. A line can be addressed to Thomas Egan, Waterford, Saratoga County, New York.

18th January 1862

INFORMATION WANTED of Richard Maguire, of Killeagh, County Cork, Ireland, will be thankfully received by his brother James, of whom he may hear something to his advantage by addressing James Carroll, No. 3, Catherine Slip, New York.

9th October 1869

INFORMATION WANTED of Wm. Kalerher, who left Danning, Parish of Kileagh, County Cork, Ireland, and came to Boston, Mass. [Massachusetts], with his aunt Mary Smiddy, about 17 years ago, and was not heard from for the last two years. Information of him will be thankfully received by his brothers, Simon and Patrick Kalerher, Portland, Conn. [Connecticut], or by P.H. Hodnett, Middletown, Conn. [Connecticut].

Lisgoold

26th August 1854

INFORMATION WANTED of Denis O’Brien, from the parish of Lisgoold, County Cork, Ireland, who left Chicago a year ago last Spring and went to Minnesota Territory. When last heard of he was in St. Paul’s. Any intelligence of him directed to this office will be thankfully received by his sister Mary.

2nd October 1869

INFORMATION WANTED of Elizabeth and Mary Dunlay, natives of the Parish of Lisgold, County of Cork, Ireland, who emigrated to this country about thirty years ago, and lived fifteen years in the Deaf and Dumb Institute, New York. They are daughters of Edward Dunlay and Mary Cotter. Information of them will be thankfully received by their sister, Ann Dunlay. Inquire of Stephen O’Reilly, 44 Essex Street, New York.

Midleton

17th December 1853

INFORMATION WANTED of Jeremiah Hegarty, Tailor, of Middletown, Co. Cork who left Cork, Ireland, about August, 1850. Any information concerning him will be very thankfully received by his last employer of the Brickfields, Cork, (Wm. F.) who now follows business in North Orange, Essex Co., New Jersey, who would wish to see him as soon as possible.

4th September 1869

INFORMATION WANTED of Mary Draddy, a native of Loughaderry, Parish of Middleton, County Cork, Ireland, who emigrated to America about 15 years ago. When last heard of she was in New York. Information of her will be thankfully received by her brother, John Draddy, at Wm. O’Leary’s, 318 East 11th Street, New York. Western papers, please copy.

Youghal

10th February 1855

INFORMATION WANTED of Michael Walsh, of Youghal, and his wife, Catharine Clooney of Waterford, Ireland, by Johanna Clooney, her sister, and Ellen Clooney, her niece. When last heard from was in Buffalo, but is supposed to be now in Canada. Address Johanna Clooney, in care of Michael Comber, 20th Street, between Walnut and Georges Sts., Philadelphia.

13th June 1863

INFORMATION WANTED of Timothy Whealan and Mrs. Whealan, of Youghal, County Cork, Ireland. When last heard from (13th June 1862), they were in Boston, Mass. [Massachusetts]. Any information of them will be thankfully received by writing to Eliza Canty, Elizabethport, New Jersey.

27th June 1863

INFORMATION WANTED of John Hennessy, of Youghal, County Cork, Ireland, who left Liverpool for Boston in 1852, aged about 49 years. When last heard from was in the state of Illinois. Any information of him will be most thankfully received by his old friend, Catherine Foley, 939 North Second Street, Philadelphia, PA [Pennsylvania].

9th July 1864

INFORMATION WANTED of Michael O’Keefe, a native of Youghal, County Cork, Ireland. When last heard from (seven years ago0 he resided in New York. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his brother, James O’Keeffe, by writing to him to 116 Cedar Street, New York.

3rd March 1866

INFORMATION WANTED of Ellen Hannon, a native of Youghal, County Cork, Ireland, who was married to William Healy, of the same place. When last heard from, five years ago, she resided at Greenpoint, Long Island, N.Y. Information of her will be thankfully received by her brother, Richard Hannon, by writing to him in care of Mr. John Kane, 79 Roosevelt Street, N.Y.

9th April 1870

INFORMATION WANTED of John Griffin, a basket maker, a native of Youghal, County Cork, Ireland. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his first cousin, Johanna Griffin, daughter of James Griffin, by writing to her husband, Martin Hurley, Waverly Heights Post Office, Montgomery County, PA [Pennsylvania].

References

Laura Murphy DeGrazia & Diane Fitzpatrick Haberstroh 2001. Irish Relatives and Friends: From “Information Wanted” Ads in the Irish-American, 1850-1871.

Categories: Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Story of Ambrose Haley: The World War One Australian Digger Buried in Midleton Graveyard

On 30th December 1918 a party of mourners were led by Canon O’Connor to an open graveside beside the main path at the Church of the Holy Rosary cemetery in Midleton. Those in attendance had walked to the church from the railway station at the other side of town, where they had met and formed a cortège behind a flag-draped coffin. The elm casket had been carried to the church by Timothy Murphy undertakers, who were based on the Main Street. Passers-by would have noted a number of unusual aspects to the funeral; the flag was not the Union Jack, as might be expected, but rather was adorned with the Southern Star. As well as that, the soldiers in attendance wore the slouch hat that marked them not as British troops, but men of the Australian Imperial Force. The young man in the coffin– Ambrose Augustine Haley– was laid to rest in the cemetery following a requiem mass. But he was not a local; indeed he had been born and raised on the other side of the world, thousands of miles away in Tasmania. How was it that he had come to be buried in East Cork? We decided to explore his story. (1)

Gunner Ambrose Haley (Australian War Memorial)

Gunner Ambrose Haley (Australian War Memorial)

Ambrose Augustine Haley was born to Thomas Haley and Mary Ann Haley (née Fox) on 7th December 1892 in Portland, Tasmania. Thomas worked as a clerk, and not long after Ambrose’s birth the family moved along the coast to St. Helens. There Thomas ended up working for J.C. Mac Michael & Co. General Merchants and Importers, who had branches in both St. Helens and Lottah. As Ambrose grew to adulthood he embarked on a career as an accountant, but also found time for more martial pursuits, spending a year in the cadets. (2)

Ambrose was not among the first rush of volunteers for service in the army; indeed he was not the first of his family to join the colours. His younger brother Jack enlisted in the recently formed 40th Battalion at Claremont, Tasmania on 8th March 1916. The 21-year-old shop assistant must have looked forward to heading to the seat of action, but he was to be disappointed. After just over a month Jack was discharged as medically unfit. The reason was the impaired vision he suffered in his left eye, the result of an accident with a whip when he was a child. Ambrose decided to take the plunge only a few months after his brother. On 7th November 1916, at the age of 23 years 11 months, the young accountant entered a Claremont recruiting office; when he emerged he was a gunner in the Australian army. The following year a third brother, Urban, would make the same journey. He enlisted on 23rd March 1917 at the age of 20– as he was under 21 his parents had to sign a permission slip for him to be deployed overseas. Thomas and Mary Ann consented, but his father stipulated that the consent was predicated on the fact that ‘he goes in a clerical position as promised by the Minister of Defence in the case of Military Staff Clerks.’ By this point in the war, everyone was aware of the risks. (3)

Australian artillerymen laying an 18 pounder at Maribyrnong in 1917 (Australian War Memorial)

Australian artillerymen laying an 18 pounder at Maribyrnong in 1917 (Australian War Memorial)

Ambrose spent the first few weeks of his service in Tasmania, before leaving his island home for what would prove the final time in January 1917. On the 9th of that month he sailed for the mainland, where he joined a pool of artillery reinforcements based at Maribyrnong near Melbourne. Here he waited for his deployment overseas while training continued. On 11th May Ambrose boarded the troop transport Ascanius, bound for Devonport, Plymouth. The young Tasmanian was off to join the Australian Imperial Force in Europe. The arduous journey to the other side of the world took more than two months, and Ambrose didn’t have a good time of it. He had to spend a day in the ship’s hospital en-route, and was no doubt delighted to finally arrive in England on 20th July 1917. (4)

The Ascanius which brought Ambrose to Europe (Australian War Memorial)

The Ascanius which brought Ambrose to Europe (Australian War Memorial)

It is difficult to imagine what it must have been like for the young Tasmanian arriving in England for the first time, but whatever his feelings, Ambrose was given little time to acclimatise. He was immediately whisked off to Larkhill in Wiltshire, home to the School of Instruction for Royal Horse and Field Artillery. For nearly eight weeks he continued his training as a gunner with No. 3 Battery, Reserve Brigade Australian Artillery, before word finally came that he was on the move again– this time to the Western Front. The 18th September 1917 found Ambrose in Southampton, boarding a vessel bound for France. (5)

Australian artillery in action in Passchendaele, October 1917 (Australian War Memorial)

Australian artillery in action in Passchendaele, October 1917 (Australian War Memorial)

In France Ambrose initially formed part of the 12th Reinforcements of the 15th Field Artillery Brigade, but within a few days he received his permanent assignment. He became a gunner in the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade, which formed part of the artillery compliment of the 1st Division, Australian Imperial Force. When he joined his new unit in Belgium on 5th October, they were in the midst of the bloody slog that was the Third Battle of Ypres, better known as the Battle of Passchendaele. Having spent months in training and traveling, Ambrose was finally at the front. It was not an environment he would experience for very long. (6)

Shell dump for Australian artillery at 'Birr Crossroads', near Ypres in October 1917, the mnth Ambrose was wounded © IWM (E(AUS) 1991)

Shell dump for Australian artillery at ‘Birr Crossroads’, near Ypres in October 1917– the month Ambrose was wounded © IWM (E(AUS) 1991)

Only six days after joining his unit, on 11th October 1917, Ambrose was shot in the left arm. He was rushed to 3rd Australian Field Ambulance at Wippenhoek, which was described as ‘an old and very well designed rest station to accommodate 300 cases.’ Among the facilities were a number of rudimentary buildings, including a hospital nissen hut and a small kitchen. Ambrose was one of 23 men admitted to the Field Ambulance on the 11th, which at the time was caring for 249 patients. (7)

Members of the 13th Australian Field Ambulance at Passchendaele © IWM (E(AUS) 839)

Members of the 13th Australian Field Ambulance at Passchendaele © IWM (E(AUS) 839)

From Wippenhoek, Ambrose was moved to the 17th Casualty Clearing Station. By the 12th October he was a patient in the 7th Canadian General Hospital at Étaples, the major depot area for British and Commonwealth troops in France. His long road to recovery was only just beginning. He was still in hospital in February 1918, four months after he was hit. Shortly thereafter it appears he had recovered sufficiently to be given some leave. It was probably at this time that Ambrose traveled to Ireland, although he may have done so when he initially arrived in Europe. The reason he visited is also the reason that would ultimately see him buried in the town. Midleton had been the home of Ambrose’s grandmother, Mary Josephine Lynch. Mary had apparently been one of the first pupils of Midleton’s Presentation Convent, before she emigrated to Colebrook, Tasmania in the mid-19th century. Ambrose’s mother Mary Ann Fox was her daughter. Apparently no fewer than six of Mary Josephine Lynch’s grandchildren and a son-in-law enlisted in the Australian military during World War One. According to the Irish Examiner, the same Midleton Lynch family also had men serving in the American army in France. Ambrose’s grandmother had lived on William Street (now the New Cork Road), and the young Tasmanian Digger still had Lynch relatives living there. The 1911 Census records them at No. 51, where 79-year-old Margaret Lynch resided with her daughters Helen and Elizabeth, granddaughter Eileen O’Sullivan and boarder Daniel O’Flaherty. Ambrose supposedly stayed in this house during his visit. (8)

Notification that Ambrose had been wounded in 1917 (Ambrose Haley Service Record)

Notification that Ambrose had been wounded in 1917 (Ambrose Haley Service Record)

Eventually recovered, Ambrose was finally able to rejoin his unit on 31st August 1918. However, the unfortunate young man’s front line service was to again prove brief. He reported sick on 27th September, apparently suffering from slight deafness, no doubt caused by the noise of the guns. On 29th September he was sent to the 1st Australian General Hospital in Rouen, before being shipped back to England aboard the Hospital Ship Essequibo on 2nd October. Ambrose finally ended up in the Graylingwell War Hospital in Chichester, where his condition continued to worsen. His parents, who had initially been informed that his condition was not serious, must have been shocked to receive a communication in Tasmania on 19th November that simply stated: ‘Now reported Gunner Ambrose Haley dangerously ill condition stationary further progress report expected.’ Ambrose’s brother Urban, who was serving as a Warrant Officer at Australian Imperial Force Headquarters on 130 Horseferry Road in London, likely tried to visit his stricken brother. It transpired that Ambrose’s body was ravaged with cancer; the disease had taken control of his pancreas lungs, spleen and ‘other organs.’ The 26-year-old Tasmanian succumbed to the illness on Christmas Day 1918. (9)

Notification of Ambrose's Death (Ambrose Haley Service Record)

Notification of Ambrose’s Death (Ambrose Haley Service Record)

So it was that five days later Ambrose’s brother Urban (who would soon receive the Meritorious Service Medal for devotion to duty during the period from September-November 1918) joined Australian Imperial Force representative Sergeant C.E. Hunkin in Holy Rosary cemetery, Midleton. The Haley’s Midleton relatives had offered their family grave as a final resting for their Tasmanian Digger cousin. One of those relatives– Timothy Christopher O’Sullivan– was of an age with Ambrose and probably attended the funeral. Less than three years later he would be the next person remembered at the plot, when he was killed while serving with the I.R.A. at the Clonmult Ambush on 20th February 1921, at the aged of 28. Military tragedy had not steered clear of the family for long. It is unlikely that Ambrose’s parents ever made it from Tasmania to Midleton to visit their son’s grave, but it must have given them some comfort to know that he rested with family. The story of their son, and that of the Lynches and O’Sullivans, is just one of thousands preserved in stone in the Midleton cemetery. (10)

The grave of Ambrose Augustine Haley in Midleton (Damian Shiels)

The grave of Ambrose Augustine Haley in Midleton (Damian Shiels)


Close up of inscription on the grave of Ambrose Augustine Haley in Midleton (Damian Shiels)

Close up of inscription on the grave of Ambrose Augustine Haley in Midleton (Damian Shiels)

(1) Irish Examiner, Haley Service Record; (2) Tasmanian Births, Ambrose Augustine Haley Service Record; (3) Ambrose Augustine Haley Service Record, John Marshall Haley Service Record, Urban Aloysius Joseph Haley Service Record; (4) Ambrose Augustine Haley Service Record; (5) Larkhill Camp, Ambrose Augustine Haley Service Record; (6) Ibid.; (7) Ibid., 3rd Australian Field Ambulance War Diary; (8) Ambrose Augustine Haley Service Record, Irish Examiner, 1911 Census of Ireland; (9) Ambrose Augustine Haley Service Record; (10) Ambrose Augustine Haley Service Record, Urban Aloysius Joseph Haley Service Record;

References

Irish Examiner 2nd January 1919. Southern Items

1414 John Marshall Haley Australian War Service Record

34423 Ambrose Augustine Haley Australian War Service Record

3441 Urban Aloysius Joseph Haley Australian War Service Record

3rd Australian Field Ambulance War Diary, October 1917

Diggers History: Larkhill Camp

Tasmanian Births in the District of Portland, 1892

1911 Census of Ireland, 51 William Street Midleton

Categories: 20th Century, World War One | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Commonwealth Wargraves in the Church of the Holy Rosary Graveyard, Midleton

We went to the main Catholic graveyard in Midleton to have a look at the Commonwealth Wargraves related to World War One and World War Two, and to see if we could find any details on the men themselves. Of course there are numerous military-related graves in the Church of the Holy Rosary cemetery, from the I.R.A. volunteers killed and executed following the Clonmult Ambush during the War of Independence, to veterans of the armies and navies of both Britain and the Republic of Ireland. Below are those men buried in Midleton who died while in British service, and who are recorded by the Commonwealth Wargraves Commission. We supply short biographies of each one, but are eager to uncover more detail on their lives from readers. One of these men, Tasmanian Ambrose Augustine Haley, will be the subject of a more detailed post over the weekend.

Shipwright 2nd Class William Froyne, HMS Roxburgh

William died of disease on 24th May 1915. He was 33 years of age and served aboard HMS Roxburgh, an armoured cruiser. He was the husband of Mary Froyne of 10 St. Mary’s Road, Midleton. William was originally from Kilmore, Co. Wexford, and had married Mary Ballick of Midleton.

Shipwright 2nd Class William Froyne, HMS Roxburgh

Shipwright 2nd Class William Froyne, HMS Roxvurgh

HMS Roxburgh (Image via Rootsweb)

William’s ship, HMS Roxburgh (Image via Rootsweb)

Mechanician Patrick Lynch, HMS Revenge

Patrick died at sea at the age of 35 on 10th November 1918, the day before the armistice. He was serving aboard the dreadnought HMS Revenge. Patrick was the husband of Norah Lynch of Avoncore Cottages in Midleton. He had been born in Carrigtohill on 28th December 1881.

Mechanician Patrick Lynch, HMS Revenge

Mechanician Patrick Lynch, HMS Revenge

Patrick's ship, HMS Revenge (Wikipedia)

Patrick’s ship, HMS Revenge (Image via Wikipedia)

Gunner Ambrose Augustine Haley, Australian Field Artillery

Ambrose died at the age of 26 on 25th December 1918. He was from Australia and served in the Australian Imperial Force. We have carried out research into Ambrose’s life, and what led to him being buried in East Cork. His story will be the subject of the next post on the site.

Gunner Ambrose Augustine Haley, Australian Field Artillery

Gunner Ambrose Augustine Haley, Australian Field Artillery

Able Seaman Peter O’Reilly, HMS Marlborough

Peter died of disease at the age of 30 on 12th February 1919. He was serving aboard the battleship HMS Marlborough. He was born in Killorglin, Co. Kerry; his father Edward was from Ballyera, Ballincurrig.

Able Seaman Peter O'Reilly, HMS Marlborough

Able Seaman Peter O’Reilly, HMS Marlborough

Peter's ship, HMS Marlborough (Image via Wikipedia)

Peter’s ship, HMS Marlborough (Image via Wikipedia)

Private Edward Hayes, 6th Connaught Rangers

Edward (sometimes referenced as Edmond) died at the age of 27 on 25th September 1919. He was the son of Mrs. Bridget Hayes, Upper Mill Road, Midleton. The 1901 Census showed that he grew up in Broomfield West with his mother Bridget, grandmother Norah O’Callaghan, aunt Julia, uncle Stephen and older brother Christopher. As yet we know little of Edward’s service. The 6th Connaughts served in France and Flanders with the 16th (Irish) Division from 1915-1918, taking particularly punishing casualties at engagments such as the German Kaiserslacht Offensive of March 1918.

Private Edward Hayes, 6th Connaught Rangers

Private Edward Hayes, 6th Connaught Rangers

Private William Bridgeman, Royal Army Ordnance Corps

William died on 26th October 1940. Born in Ireland, he lived in London before his enlistment. We currently know little regarding his service or death.

Private William Bridgeman, Royal Army Ordnance Corps

Private William Bridgeman, Royal Army Ordnance Corps

Sergeant Stephen Joseph Coleman, Royal Army Service Corps

Stephen died on 15th October 1942. He was 42 years of age and had also served in World War One. He was the son of Hannah Coleman of Midleton. We find them in the 1911 Census living at 5 Park Street, with Stephen’s father Thomas working as Town Watchman. Stephen was the eldest of six at the time; he had three younger sisters and two younger brothers. He served as a driver in the army.

Sergeant Stephen Joseph Coleman, Royal Army Service Corps

Sergeant Stephen Joseph Coleman, Royal Army Service Corps

Categories: 20th Century, World War One | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

‘I Have Secured Your Name & Address Off An Egg’: A Midleton Woman’s Letter From An Aussie Wounded in Gallipoli

100 years ago the Gallipoli campaign was in full swing. Many Midleton men were there, and the local newspapers were keen to keep those on the home front informed. For example the Examiner reported details when Lieutenant T.D. Hallinan of Avoncore and Second Lieutenant Michael Moloney– the son of well-known Midleton lawyer John Moloney– were wounded. Not all of these men would come home. Private Patrick Egan from Park Street, a member of the 6th Royal Munster Fusiliers, was killed in Turkey on 14th August 1915. He has no known grave, and is today remembered on the Helles Memorial. But the men at the front proved not to be Midleton’s only link with the soldiers of Gallipoli. On Saturday, 11th September 1915, the Examiner carried an extraordinary story of how one ‘Australian bushman’, wounded at Gallipoli, came to write a letter to Mrs. Fitzgerald of Ballyannan, Midleton– a woman he had never met. The reason behind the correspondence all boiled down to one thing– an egg…

WW1 National Egg Collection (Library of Congress)

WW1 National Egg Collection (Library of Congress)

TRAVELLED 13,000 MILES TO FIGHT

Midleton, Friday.

The following very interesting letter, written by Melrose Mailer, a Lancashire Fusilier, wounded in the Gallipoli, and now in Stepping Hill Military Hospital, Hazel Grove, near Stockport, Lancashire, has been received by Mrs. Fitzgerald, of Ballyanon, Midleton, wife of an agricultural labourer, in the employment of Mr. Michael Buckley, J.P. The letter has come to be written by the wounded soldier to Mrs. Fitzgerald under extraordinary circumstance, and the incident is one worthy of mention. For months past Mrs. Fitzgerald has been giving regularly every week a small contribution of eggs for wounded soldiers in hospitals to the Ladies Committee of Midleton in charge of the collection of such welcome gifts. In common with other donors of eggs Mrs. Fitzgerald’s name and address are usually written on the eggs so given by her, as her humble war contribution. In this peculiar way the wounded soldier in the Lancashire Hospital got the name and address of Mrs. Fitzgerald, which were written on the shell of an egg that happened to form an item in the rations served to him on a morning recently. The letter, which speaks for itself, is as follows:-

“Dear Mrs. Fitzgerald- These few lines to you are from an Australian Bushman, who has travelled 13,000 miles to do his duty to the mother country. After arriving here in February last, I enlisted in the Lancashire Fusiliers, and went to the Dardanelles, where we fought side by side with the famous Irish regiments, the Dublins and Munster Fusiliers. God bless them. I, as one soldier, will never forget the bravery displayed by these dear Irish boys. I have, indeed, something to long remember. I was myself wounded in a bayonet charge on the 4th June last, and that day I shall never forget. All the boys fighting for their lives, and we had a splendid gain on the day, killing many Turks. After two operations I have had two fingers and half the palm of my left hand removed. I was also hit in the breast, but luckily that was not serious. I have no regrets for my sacrifice– many are worse off. I am only glad to be on Australian, serving as I am in an English regiment. I have no friends here in this part of the world, but my people are always thinking of me, and that is some satisfaction. I have secured your name and address off an egg, so excuse me for writing you these few lines. I enjoyed eating that egg, and I thought it only right that you should know it. If you feel disposed to write back to me, I shall be only too pleased to receive a line from you. Believe me, yours faithfully,

Melrose Mailer.

WW1 Poster for the National Egg Collection (Copyright Imperial War Museum)

WW1 Poster for the National Egg Collection (Copyright Imperial War Museum)

Mrs. Fitzgerald had been giving her eggs as part of a campaign drive across the UK and Ireland– the National Egg Collection– which sought to provide eggs for the wounded. The grateful recipient of her charitable efforts, Private James Melrose Mailer, appears to have initially enlisted on 11th May 1904. He was discharged from the Lancashire Fusiliers due to his Gallipoli wounds on 20th April 1916. It is not clear if Mrs. Fitzgerald ever did decide to enter into correspondence with the wounded Aussie.

Medal Index Card James Melrose Mailer of the Lancashire Fusiliers (National Archives)

Medal Index Card James Melrose Mailer of the Lancashire Fusiliers (National Archives)

References

Examiner 11th September 1915

Imperial War Museum Image: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30089

Library of Congress

Categories: World War One | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Midleton Emigrants in 1940s America

After the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941 the United States mobilised for war. In 1942 men had to register for the draft, including those who were deemed to old for active service. The ‘Old man’ draft was targeted at men aged between 45 and 64 who were capable of providing assistance to the war effort on the Home Front. Those registered were born on or after 28th April 1877 and on or before 16th February 1897. Their official registration day for the draft was 27th April 1942. A number of the men who presented to provide their details were from Midleton, so we took a look at ten of them. You can find out who they were, and what information was recorded for them, below. 

Vincent John Egan

Vincent lived at 5324 Greenway Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was recorded as 59 years old, having been born on 22nd July 1882. His telephone was PH12A and he listed Mrs. Margaret Egan, 5324 Greenway, Philadelphia as the person who would always know his address. He was employed at the Pennsylvania Railroad Park Shop in Philadelphia. His height was recorded as 5 feet 6 1/2 inches, with a weight of 145 lbs. He had blue eyes, gray hair and a ruddy complexion.

Christopher Francis Collins

Christopher lived at 30 Lancaster St., Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts. He was 61 years old and had been born on 28th May 1880. His telephone was 2252M, and the person who would always know his address was Mrs. Florence E. Collins of 30 Lancaster St., Leominster. He was employed by the Northern Chair Company, 221 Lancaster Street, Leominster, Massachusetts. Christopher was 5 feet 10 1/2 inches tall and weighted 145 lbs. He had blue eyes, gray hair and a sallow complexion.

William Casey

William lived in Lincoln, New Hampshire. He was 60 years old and had been born on 23rd December 1881. The person who would always know his address was given as Sherman Adams of Lincoln, New Hampshire. He was employed by the Parker Young Company of Lincoln. William was 6 feet tall and 195 lbs. He had blue eyes, gray hair and a light complexion.

James Patrick Moore

James lived at 20 Clantoy, Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts. He was 53 years old and had been born on 6th June 1888. His telephone was 3-0662.The person who would always know his address was Mrs. J. Moore. He was employed at Gilbert & Barker on Union Street in West Springfield. James was 5 feet 8 inches tall, with brown eyes, gray hair and a ruddy complexion.

Michael John Murphy

Michael lived at 20 Linwood Square, Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. He was 59 years old having been born on 29th September 1883. The person who would always know his address was Mrs. Katherine Murphy of the same address. Michael worked for himself at 1260 Columbus Avenue in Roxbury. He was 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 140 lbs. He had blue eyes, gray hair and a light complexion.

No. 1 Wall Street in New York, where William Edward Charles Perrott from Midleton worked in 1942 (Gryffindor via Wikipedia)

No. 1 Wall Street in New York, where William Edward Charles Perrott from Midleton worked in 1942 (Gryffindor via Wikipedia)

William John Cotter

William lived at 20 Tower St., East Bolton in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. He was born on 14th November 1895 and was 46 years old. His telephone was East Bolton 1762W. The person who would always know his address was his wife Margaret Cotter. William worked for the First National Bank of Boston at 67 Milk Street in Boston. He was 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 195 lbs. He had blue eyes, grayish hair and a light complexion.

Michael Moore

Michael lived at R.F.D.L. Keyport in Monmouth, New Jersey. He was born on 8th June 1882 and was 59 years old. The person who would always know his address was his sister Mrs. Annie Eustace. He was described as self-employed, working on farms in Middletown Township. He was 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed 148 lbs. He had blue eyes, gray hair and a light complexion.

William Mansfield

William lived at 444 East 145th Street in the Bronx, New York. He was 48 years old and had been born on 11th May 1893. The person who would always know his address was Mrs. Nora Blackburn of 426 East 26th Street in New York. He worked for Mr. Redner at the United Fruit Company at Pier 9 in New York. He was 5 feet 9 inches in height and weighed 140 lbs. He had blue eyes, gray hair and a sallow complexion.

William Edward Charles Perrott

William lived at 148-02 Sutter Avenue, South Ozone Park, New York. He was 53, having been born on 11th February 1889. The person who would always know his address was his aunt, Mrs. E.C. Babcock of 145 95th Street in Brooklyn. William worked for the Irving Trust Company, at the notable address of 1 Wall Street in New York. He was 5 feet 9 1/2 inches in height, and weighed 145 lbs. He had blue eyes, gray hair and a light complexion.

James J. O’Brien

James lived at 418 Fifth Street in Brooklyn. He was 55 years old having been born on 1st January 1886. The name of the person who would always know his address was Anna O’Brien who shared his address. James worked for United Parcel at 338 East 38th Street in New York. He was 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 165 lbs. He had gray eyes, black hair and a light complexion.

Categories: 20th Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hanoverian Riflemen & Black Brunswickers: Midleton Barracks During the Napoleonic Wars

As this year is the 200th anniversary of Waterloo, our previous post looked at some Midleton men who served during the Peninsular War and at Waterloo. One of the reasons that many locals enlisted was the fact that they had a military barracks on their doorstep. During the Napoleonic Wars Midleton was teeming with soldiers of different nationalities, many stopping off on their way to and from the Iberian Peninsula where they were taking on French forces. We are very fortunate that the building these men were housed in still survives today- and forms a key part of what is now the Jameson Distillery. We have spent some time looking into the history of this Barracks, and some of the very interesting units that spent time there. 

The Barracks in Midleton with later attached waterwheel http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/34083)

The Barracks in Midleton with later attached waterwheel http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/34083

The barrack building within the Midleton complex did not spend long in army use. In fact it had already become a distillery by 1825, when it was purchased by the Murphy Family. It still forms a major part of the Jameson Experience tour, where visitors can view the impressive cast-iron waterwheel that dates to 1852. Neither did this building start life as a purpose-built army structure. It was constructed in 1793 to serve as a woollen mill, run by the Lynch family. With the renewed outbreak of war with France in 1803, and the army’s need for more accommodation around Cork Harbour, the mill was sold to the military. So began its brief but fascinating life as a military barracks. Remarkably, during the course of research, we discovered the original advertisement for the sale of the equipment from the Mill building, which you can see below. (1)

The Advertisement in the Cork Mercantile Chronicle of September 21st 1803 Announcing the Sale of Lynch's Equipment

The Advertisement in the Cork Mercantile Chronicle of September 21st 1803, announcing the sale of Lynch’s Equipment

We were interested in exploring just who served in Midleton during the conflict. In order to ascertain this with some degree of surety it would become necessary to travel to archives in locations such as the Public Record Office in Kew, to extract details concerning the British garrison in Ireland. This is (unfortunately!) currently beyond the scope of the project, but as an alternative we took to contemporary newspapers and a number of online sources to see if we could discover references to the types of troops stationed in the town. Although newspaper accounts have to be treated with caution, they nonetheless do give us an insight into the important military hub that Midleton became during this period. Indeed the first references to troops we come across relate to increased militarisation as a result of the 1798 Rebellion. To give a flavour of this information, we have created a table which chronologically lists the references we have uncovered:

Unit Date Details
Carlow Militia 1798 Stationed in Midleton (2)
Caithness Highlanders 1798 Public Meeting, 12 March, to express thanks to Regt for 2 years quartered there (3)
Barrymore Legion 1803 Entertained at Midleton’s Globe Inn following manoeuvres in the Deerpark of Castlemartyr (4)
96th Regiment 1804 No details (5)
62nd Regiment 1805 The regiment, quartered in Midleton, was to embark for foreign service. Convoy of HMS Narcissus, Sloops of War Favourite and Argus (6)
8th Regiment 1805 Marched from Cobh to Midleton, and embarked on transports at East Ferry (7)
50th Regiment 1805 Understood to be marching to Midleton from Clonmel (8)
German Regiments 1806 15 transports arrived in Cobh to take some of the German Regts, 2 battalions understood to be in Midleton, for embarkation to Gibraltar (9)
Hanoverian Rifle Corps 1806 The 2 battalions of Hanoverian Rifle Corps who had been at Tullamore are marching for Midleton where they will be quartered until transports arrive to take them with the 59th and 82nd Regiments, presently in Cork, for foreign service (10)
Donegal Regiment 1807 The remainder of the Donegal Regiment marched into Cork from Midleton (11)
26th Regiment, 3rd Battalion 1808 The 3rd Battalion of the 27th Regiment arrived at Midleton (12)
71st Regiment 1808 Quartered in Midleton (13)
27th Regiment 1808 3rd Battalion of 27th Regiment embarked at East Ferry from Midleton (14)
German Corps, Duke of Brunswick Oels 1810 Arrived from Jersey and Guernsey, light troops landed at Cobh and proceeded to Midleton (15)
Kerry Militia 1811 Earmarked to replace Longford Militia at Midleton (16)
Longford Militia 1811 To be replaced by Kerry Militia at Midleton (17)
Roscommon Militia 1813 Arrived in Cobh in ten transports from Plymouth, disembarked and marched to Midleton (18)
Londonderry Militia 1813 Marched into Cobh from Midleton to head for Ramsgate (19)
28th Regiment 1814 Reports 28th are ordered from Birr to Midleton preparatory to sailing for service in America (20)
34th Regiment, 2nd Battalion 1814 No details (21)
3rd West York Militia 1814 Marched into Cobh from Midleton to go to England (22)
26th Foot 1822 Stationed in Midleton (23)
Members of the King's German Legion, who were in Midleton in 1806, by Charles Hamilton Smith

Members of the King’s German Legion, who were in Midleton in 1806, by Charles Hamilton Smith

Some of the men station in Midleton even left an account of their views on the barracks and the town. Lieutenant Francis Simcoe of the 27th Regiment recorded in 1808 that ‘Middleton Barracks are much larger & handsomer than Enniskillen, the town very small & neat about 7 m. from Kilworth.’ (24)

The Totenkopf badge of the Brunswickers (Wikipedia)

The Totenkopf badge of the Brunswickers (Wikipedia)

Two of the units that stand out among those we know to have been quartered in Midleton are the Hanoverian Rifle Corps in 1806 and the Brunswick Corps of the Duke of Brunswick Oels in 1810. The Hanoverian Rifle Corps (who are the same unit as the ‘German units’ in the previous table entry) were better known as the King’s German Legion, an expatriate force of Germans who fought throughout the Napoleonic Wars and at Waterloo. The Brunswick men had fought in Germany from where they had fled in 1809, and were known as the ‘Black Brunswickers‘. They were passing through on their way to service in the Peninsula and ultimately Waterloo. Many of the other regiments of foot would later develop names that are familiar to us today- the 71st Foot were known as the Highland Regiment, while the 50th Regiment of Foot would become known as the ‘Queen’s Own’ later in the 19th century.

Brunswick Infantry in Action at Quatre Bras, 1815 by Richard Knötel

Brunswick Infantry in Action at Quatre Bras, 1815 by Richard Knötel

It is interesting to note that troops used Midleton as a staging area while heading to or returning from theatres such as the Peninsula. Also of note is that a number embarked from East Ferry; one can imagine the bustling route from Midleton to the Ferry, via the busy port at Ballinacurra- surely quite a sight during the Napoleonic Wars. This quick newspaper review offers us just a glimpse of the hidden history of the brief period when Midleton served as an important military base. There is little doubt that many other units were stationed here during this period, and that much historical detail remains to be uncovered. We hope to carry out more much more work on this in the future, and in the meantime would like to hear from any readers who can add to the story of Midleton’s Napoleonic Barracks. Although, as the table shows, military units would continue to use Midleton both before and after the Napoleonic Wars, the town would never again see the cosmopolitan military traffic that it grew accustomed to during the wars with France. Shortly after Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo, the British Army sought to reduce the number of barracks it held around the country. Although there is some evidence to suggest they may have initially considered keeping Midleton, ultimately it appears they decided to offload it, as the advertisement below suggests. By the 1820s it would become part of a new story, one that it still shares with locals and tourists alike today, as part of what would ultimately become one of the world’s major whiskey distilleries.

The Freemans Journal of 24th December 1816 which lists the intended sale of Midleton Barracks

The Freemans Journal ad of 24th December 1816, which lists the intended sale of Midleton Barracks

References

(1) National Inventory of Architectural Heritage Record; (2) Online History of Carlow Militia; (3) Aberdeen Journal 24th March 1800; (4) Cork Mercantile Chronicle 17th October 1803; (5) 96th Regiment of Foot, Wikipedia, drawing on National Archives records; (6) Belfast Newsletter 25th April 1805; (7) Finns Leinster Journal 11th May 1805; (8) Hibernian Journal 24th December 1805; (9) Belfast Newsletter 15th May 1806; (10) Caledonian Mercury 13th October 1806; (11) Hibernian Journal 8th July 1807; (12) Finns Leinster Journal 16th August 1808; (13) Online Record of Service of 71st Foot; (14) Mary Beacock Fryer 1996 “Our Young Soldier”: Lieutenant Francis Simcoe, 6 June 1791- 6 April 1812, pp. 95-6; (15) Freemans Journal 5th June 1810; (16) Freemans Journal 20th November 1811; (17) Ibid.; (18) Freemans Journal 30th April 1813; (19) Freemans Journal 3rd November 1813; (20) Centinel of Freedom 11th October 1814; (21) Online Record of Service of 34th Foot; (22) Freemans Journal 12th May 1814; (23) The Naval and Military Magazine, Volume 4, 1828, p. 56; (24) Fryer, op. cit.;

Categories: Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stories of Midleton Veterans of the Peninsular Campaign & Waterloo

We are currently in the midst of the 100th anniversary of World War One, but recent years have also marked the 200th anniversary of the Napoleonic Wars, a conflict in which tens of thousands of Irishmen fought. As anyone who has been on the tour of Midleton Distillery will be aware, part of that site was in use as a military barracks around this time. Unsurprisingly many men from Midleton and the surrounding parish ended up in the army- it is likely that recruiting parties were a regular sight around the town during the wars with France. Those that joined up embarked on lives that took them from East Cork to far flung locations, like the West and East Indies, to battles in Portugal and Spain, and even to Waterloo. After their service some went through soldier’s homes, such as the (still famous) Royal Hospital in Chelsea or the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham. The records of these institutions allow us to have a look at the service of some of these local men, many of whom were born well over 200 years ago. Here are the stories of 21 of them; some enlisted as young as 13; some were wounded multiple times, often in one of the great battles of the 19th century; some served in famous regiments, like the 95th Rifles (made even more famous by the fictional character Richard Sharpe); some stood in square while being charged by French cavalry at Waterloo. All had extremely hard lives. You can find out more about them below.

The Royal Hospital Chelsea (Wikipedia)

The Royal Hospital Chelsea (Wikipedia)

Private John Condon, Kilmainham Pensioner

John was born in the parish of Midleton around the year 1790. On the 9th February 1806, at the age of 15, the shoemaker enlisted in the 50th (West Kent) Regiment of Foot in Midleton, for unlimited service. He remained in the regiment for the next 12 years. In 1808 the regiment went to Portugal with Arthur Wellesley and fought the Battle of Vimeiro on 21st August that year, where the 50th participated in a number of bayonet charges which helped to win the engagement. During the fighting John was shot in the right leg. He recovered but suffered another gunshot wound in the Pyrennes on 25th July 1813. He was discharged in 1818 at the age of 27, when he was described as 5 feet 4 1/2 inches tall, with dark brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion.

Private David Glissane, Kilmainham Pensioner

David was born in the parish of Midleton around the year 1790. The butcher enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the 1st Royal Scots Regiment in Killarney, Co. Kerry on 11th September 1810, for life. He served for a total of 8 years and 55 days. At the Battle of Vitoria, Spain on 21st June 1813 he was hit in the right leg by a musket ball, and he was again shot at the Battle of the Nive, France on 10th December 1813. During Napoleon’s Hundred Days he fought at Quatre Bras, and at Waterloo stood in square formation with his regiment as they repulsed French cavalry attacks. He was discharged on 4th November 1818 and travelled to Kilmainham with his wife and child. He was then 28 years old, 5 feet 9 inches in height, with fair hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion.

Private Pat Leonard, Kilmainham Pensioner

Pat was born around 1795 in Midleton parish. On 14th July 1808, the 13-year-old laborer enlisted in the 88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers) at Maldon, Sussex. He signed on for life and would ultimately serve for more than 14 years. During the Peninsular War in Portugal and Spain he was a drummer/trumpeter, and was a private for the last two years of his service. He also served in Canada, and participated in the march to Paris with the army of occupation, where the regiment served until 1817. He spent 12 years as a drummer/trumpeter and two years as a private. He was 27 years of age when he was discharged, having suffered an injury to his elbow. He was described as 5 feet 6 1/4 inches tall, with brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion.

Private John Mullany, Kilmainham Pensioner

John was born in Midleton parish around 1791. Like John Condon he enlisted in the 50th (West Kent) Regiment of Foot in Midleton. The 15-year-old carpenter signed on for unlimited service on 12th February 1806. He would spend the next 12 years in the army. Like John he was wounded at the Battle of Vimeiro on 21st August 1808, when he was shot in the left leg. He was again shot, this time in the right leg, during the Battle of Corunna on 16th January 1809. He received a third wound at the Battle of Vitoria on 21st June 1813 when he was hit in the cheek. Along the way he found time to get married, and when he was eventually discharged he was 27-years-old. He was described as 5 feet 2 inches in height, with sandy hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion.

Sergeant John Ring, Kilmainham Pensioner

John was born in Midleton parish in 1781. On 7th January 1800 the laborer enlisted in the 68th Foot, better known as the Durham Light Infantry. He served with them in the West Indies between 1801 and 1806, and was present when it was converted to a Light Infantry unit in 1808. He participated in the 1809 Walcheren Expedition in the Netherlands and then served through the Peninsular War, a campaign in which they lost 364 men dead. John spent 7 years as a Sergeant in the 68th, and was wounded at the Siege of San Sebastián in Spain on 31st August 1813, when a musket ball entered his right cheek, before exiting his head behind the right ear. John recovered, and stayed with the regiment until 24th January 1820, when he was discharged due to disbandment. He joined the 3rd Regiment of Royal veterans on the 25th January 1820, staying with them until the 1st June 1821. John had spent 7 years as a Sergeant in the 68th Foot and was discharged due to disbandment. When he was discharged he was 40-years-old and was descried as 5 feet 7 inches in height, with brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion. He had been released as he had suffered a paralytic stroke, as a result of which he was described as being in a ‘state of insanity’. His submission went on to state that ‘his truly deplorable situation (which is easier felt than described)’ would lead to him being admitted into a ‘public asylum for lunatics’ as he was unable to care for himself.

A British square defends against French cavalry at Waterloo (Wikipedia)

A British square defends against French cavalry at Waterloo (Wikipedia)

Private Michael Walsh, Kilmainham Pensioner

Michael was born in the parish of Midleton around 1781. The weaver enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the 42nd (The Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot in the mid 1790s. After 10 years service he was discharged on 9th May 1806 as a result of bad sight and general bad health. He was given a bounty of 19 shillings and ten pence so he could get home from England.

Private John Crottie, Chelsea Pensioner

John was born in Midleton around 1791. The laborer enlisted in the 71st (Glasgow Highland Light Infantry) Regiment when they were stationed at Midleton on 11th May 1812. He was then 21, and signed on for unlimited service. The 71st left Ireland for the Peninsula in 1808 and served throughout that conflict. They were also present at the Battle of Waterloo, where they lost 16 officers and 198 men killed and wounded. They remained in France until 1818. John served the regiment for 17 years and 294 days until his discharge on 7th August 1829 at the age of 39. He had contracted pulmonary disease two years previously and it had now become too severe for him to continue in service. He was described as 5 feet 11 1/2 inches tall, with brown hair, brown eyes and a brown complexion. He had pulmonary disease of two years standing by the 7th August 1829.

Private Dennis Donovan, Chelsea Pensioner

Dennis was born in Midleton around 1772. He enlisted for unlimited service in the 38th (1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot in Midleton on 14th August 1803. He was then a 31-year-old laborer. They sailed for Portugal in July 1808 and later participated in the Netherlands expedition in 1809 before returning to the Peninsula where they fought in various battles and sieges until their return to Ireland in 1814. During their campaigns in Spain Dennis contract rheumatism, which was the cause of his ultimate discharge. In 1815 he transferred to the 3rd Garrison Battalion where he remained for 1 year and 119 days before his final release on 20th September 1816, at the age of 44. He was 5 feet 5 inches in height, with brown hair, grey eyes and a dark complexion

Private Frans Edborough, Chelsea Pensioner

Born in Midleton around 1791. The laborer enlisted in the 85th (Bucks Volunteers) Light Infantry Regiment in Ennis, Co. Clare at the age of 19 on 2nd May 1809, for unlimited service. He may have participated in the 1809 Walcheren Campaign in the  Netherlands but would certainly have gone with the regiment to the Peninsula in 1811, where they first saw action at Fuentes de Oñoro. They suffered severe casualties in the assault on Fort San Christobal and were sent home to recruit, returning to the Peninsula in 1813. They headed for North America in 1814. Edborough was transferred to the 3rd Garrison Company in 1815, until he was discharged on 24th August 1816 suffering from chronic asthma. He was then 25 years of age, and was described as 5 feet 7 1/2 inches tall, with light hair, grey eyes and a pale complexion.

Walcheren, Netherlands (Wikipedia)

Walcheren, Netherlands (Wikipedia)

Private David Farrell, Chelsea Pensioner

David was born in Midleton around 1791. He also enlisted in the 85th (Bucks Volunteers) Light Infantry in Ennis, Co. Clare on 2nd May 1809- the same day as Frans Edborough. David spent a total of 18 years in the service, leaving the regiment on 31st July 1831.

Private Owen Farrell, Chelsea Pensioner

Born in Midleton around 1788. The 18-year-old laborer enlisted in the 16th Regiment of Lancers at Castlmartyr on 10th May 1806, for unlimited service.He served throughout the Peninsula Campaign and was also present when the regiment charged at the Battle of Waterloo to cover the withdrawal of the Heavy Brigade. He spent 16 years and 138 days in the army, eventually being discharged due to pulmonic disease on 10th April 1822 at the age of 34. He was described as 5 feet 9 1/2 inches tall, with sandy hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion.

Private John Foley, Chelsea Pensioner

Born in Midleton around 1781. The laborer enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the 88th Foot (Connaught Rangers) at the age of 27 on 28th September 1808. He served for 2 years 255 days, and would have at the Battle of Busaco where the 88th charged the French with bayonets. His spine became diseased as a result of an accident while on duty in Portugal, forcing his discharge from the army on 6th June 1811. He was then 30 years old and was described as 5 feet 5 inches tall, with sandy hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion.

Private Edward Gallaghue, Chelsea Pensioner

Born in Midleton around 1797. He enlisted in the 44th (East Essex) Regiment of Foot in Midleton in on 15th December 1815. He was then an 18-year-old laborer. The regiment arrived in the Peninsula in 1810 and he may have served at Waterloo. He eventually went with the regiment to the East Indies. He was discharged on 26th February at the age of 29 after 10 years and 94 days service. The reason given was amputation of his left forearm which resulted from a gunshot wound in action. This may have occurred during the First Anglo-Burmese War. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall, with brown hair, hazel eyes and fair complexion.

The Battle of Vimeiro (Wikipedia)

The Battle of Vimeiro (Wikipedia)

Private John Hennessy, Chelsea Pensioner

John was born in Midleton around 1795. He enlisted in the 88th Foot (Connaught Rangers) at Fermoy on 12th January 1814, when he was 19 years old. He served for 12 years and 335 days but was described as an ‘indifferent’ soldier. He was discharged due to pulmonary problems and a liver complaint on 20th July 1826. He was then 32, was 5 feet 7 1/4 inches in height, with brown hair, hazel eyes and fresh complexion.

Private Richard Long, Chelsea Pensioner

Richard was born in Midleton around 1790. The tailor enlisted in the 57th (West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot at Portsmouth on 7th September 1811 at the age of 21. Shortly after his arrival in Portugal in 1812 he had an attack of rheumatism while at Abrantes. This would eventually result in his discharge years later, on 8th November 1818, after he had spent 7 years and 120 days in the army. He was then 28, 5 feet 4 inches tall, with brown hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion, by occupation a tailor.

Private Michael Nash, Chelsea Pensioner

Michael was born in Midleton in 1775. The 25-year-old laborer enlisted in Captain Darling’s company of the 68th Regiment of Foot (later the Durham Light Infantry) around 1800. He served 5 years and 5 months with the regiment and had previously served 4 years and 7 months in the Meath Militia. He was discharged on 31st May 1805, as he was incapable of further service due to lameness in the left foot.

Corporal William O’Brian, Chelsea Pensioner

Born in Imokilly, Midleton around 1776. He was a 24-year-old laborer when he enlisted as a private in the 95th Rifles, the green-jacketed regiment that would become famous (and in which the fictional character Richard Sharpe served). He was a member of the regiment from the 25th December 1802 until the 27th July 1813, serving throughout the Peninsula Campaign. While back home as part of a recruiting party he deserted on 14th June 1810, but surrendered himself on 4th May 1811 and returned to service in the unit. While on campaign in Spain in 1808 he contracted a disease of the heart which was what ultimately led to his discharge.He ended his service with 294 days a Corporal in the 2nd Royal Veteran Battalion before leaving the military on 14th May 1816.

Reenactors of the 95th Rifles from the Napoleonic Era (Wikipedia)

Reenactors of the 95th Rifles from the Napoleonic Era (Wikipedia)

Private Richard Quinlan, Chelsea Pensioner

Richard was born in Midleton around 1782.He enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the 43rd (Monmouthshire Light Infantry) Regiment on 7th May 1804. They went to the Peninsula in 1808 and took part in the retreat to Corunna, and then the Walcheren Campaign in the Netherlands before returning to the Peninsula. Richard left the regiment on 21st July 1810, joining the 4th Garrison Battalion on 22nd July 1810. When he was discharged on 12th December 1810 he was nearly blind. Now 38 years old, he was 5 feet 3 inches tall, with brown hair, grey eyes and a pale complexion.

Private Thomas Sage, Chelsea Pensioner

Thomas was born in Midleton around 1766. The 28-year-old served in 1st Battalion of the 82nd (The Prince of Wale’s Volunteers) Foot for only 9 months. Aged 28. He caught cold while on the march to Shrewsbury, which brought on consumption and made him unfit to earn a livelihood. He was discharged on 15th September 1794.

Private Jacob Towell, Chelsea Pensioner

Jacob was born in Midleton around 1764.He served in the 85th (Buck Volunteers) Foot from January 1792 to December 1794, before joining the 60th (Royal American) Foot in December 1794 and staying with them through to June 1804. Jacob joined the 4th Royal Veteran Regiment in August 1807, staying with them until August 1810, before serving in the 12th Royal Veteran Regiment until June 1814.

Private Thomas Vanston, Chelsea Pensioner

Thomas was described as being born in Glouthaune near Midleton around 1787. The weaver enlisted for life in the 37th (North Hampshire) Foot at Boyle, Roscommon on 5th May 1812, at the age of 25. He served in the regiment for 10 years and 227 days, before his discharge on 24th October 1822 as the result of a fractured arm.

The Storming of San Sebastian on the Peninsula (Wikipedia)

The Storming of San Sebastian on the Peninsula (Wikipedia)

References

Royal Hospital Kilmainham and Royal Hospital Chelsea records (original document scans viewed on FindMyPast)

Fletcher, Ian 2005. Wellington’s Regiments: The Men and their Battles 1808-1815

Categories: Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Midleton’s Most Famous Forgotten Son? General John Joseph Coppinger

Many of Midleton’s men and women have emigrated down through the years, settling all over the globe and becoming part of the Irish diaspora. Some went on to become relatively famous abroad- for example Nellie Cashman– a woman who will be the topic a future post. However one man, although his family name remains closely associated with Midleton, is not well-known in the town of his birth. This is despite the fact that he is undoubtedly one of the town’s most successful and colourful emigrants. His name was John Joseph Coppinger.

Coppinger was born in Midleton on 11th October 1834, into the powerful Catholic landowning family. He was one of six children of William Joseph Coppinger and Margaret O’Brien. We don’t know much about John’s early life, until he begins his first associations with the military- associations that would continue across more than half a century. He first tested out the military in the 1st Regiment of the Warwickshire Militia- The London Gazette of 12th October 1855 recorded that ‘John Joseph Coppinger Gent.’ was to be an Ensign from the 29th September. However, his life of adventure really started in 1860 when he became a Captain in the Papal Battalion, a group of Irishmen which travelled to Italy to defend the Papal States from the ongoing efforts to reunify Italy. During the fighting there the young Midleton man performed well- his defence of the La Rocca gateway that September earned him the position of Chevalier and two Papal decorations. (1)

Medaglia di Pro Petri Sede (For the Chair of Peter) awarded to members of the Papal Battalion, including John Joseph Coppinger (Robert Doyle)

Medaglia di Pro Petri Sede (For the Chair of Peter) awarded to members of the Papal Battalion, including John Joseph Coppinger (Robert Doyle)

When the Papal War was lost, John Joseph Coppinger was one of a number of men in the Battalion who elected not to return home permanently. Instead he travelled to the United States. According to one account, upon the outbreak of the American Civil War, Archbishop Hughes of New York sought advice from clergy in Ireland as to young Irishmen of influence who might come to America to become officers: …’Bishop Keane, the patriotic prelate of Cloyne, who had been parish priest of Midleton, recommended [Coppinger]…and he was one of six young Irishmen who came to the United States as commissioned officers.‘ (2)

So began John Joseph Coppinger’s long an extremely successful career in the United States military. In September 1861 he was appointed to the rank of Captain in the 14th United States Infantry. Joining the Union Army of the Potomac in July of 1862, he was severely wounded when he was shot through the neck at the Second Battle of Bull Run on 30th August. Lucky to survive, it took him six months to recuperate. John returned to active duty and in 1863 participated in the Battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. (3)

General Torbert and his staff during the American Civil War. John Joseph Coppinger is seated at the front left (Library of Congress)

General Torbert and his staff during the American Civil War. John Joseph Coppinger is seated at the front left (Library of Congress)

During the Civil War Coppinger was brevetted a Major for gallant and meritorious service at the Battle of Trevilian Station on 12th June 1864, and brevetted Lieutenant-Colonel for the same reason after the Battle of Cedar Creek on 19th October that year. At the time he had been serving on the staff of Cavalry General Alfred Torbert. Recommended for promotion by men such as George Armstrong Custer and Phil Sheridan, Coppinger was appointed Colonel of the 15th New York Cavalry on 19th January 1865, a position he held until the close of the war. (4)

Detail of the Civil War photograph showing Midleton's John Joseph Coppinger (Library of Congress)

Detail of the Civil War photograph showing Midleton’s John Joseph Coppinger (Library of Congress)

After the war Coppinger returned to the rank of Captain in the regular army and was transferred to the 23rd United States Infantry, with whom he served on the Western Plains. He earned another brevet, this time to Colonel in 1868, for ‘energy and zeal while in command of troops operating against hostile Indians in 1866, 1867 and 1868.’  In 1871 he returned to Cork to attend to family business resulting from a bereavement, and took the opportunity to visit Egypt. However, it was always his intention to return to the United States, and he was soon back in the American West. The Midleton man had a reputation as a dashing officer, and after his return to America he landed in hot water, when he was accused of seducing another man’s wife in California. Described by his accuser as ‘a gay Lothario in epaulettes…a…bold, unprincipled adventurer …a serpent’, Coppinger was outraged by what he described as ‘infamous falsehoods’, but whoever was in the right, the incident eventually died down. It did not hurt his military career, as John was promoted to Major in 10th United States Infantry in 1879 and Lieutenant-Colonel in the 18th United States Infantry in 1883. 1883 was also the year he finally married, tying the knot with Alice Stanwood Blaine (25 years his junior) in Washington D.C. on 6th February. The wedding was attended by President Arthur and his cabinet, a mark of how high Coppinger had risen. The couple would go on to have two sons, Blaine and Conor, but Alice would die tragically young just seven years later, during an influenza epidemic. (5)

John’s march through the ranks of the army continued. He was promoted to  Colonel as a result of service rendered against hostile Native Americans between 1886-1888, and took command of the 23rd United States Infantry in 1891. He finally became a Brigadier-General on 25th April 1895. When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, the Cork native took charge of the 1st Independent Division in Mobile, Alabama. He later served as Major-General of Volunteers commanding the IV Corps. John Joseph Coppinger retired from his 36 year career in the U.S. military on 11th October 1898. The Midleton man died in Washington D.C. on 4th November 1909, where he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. (6)

General Coppinger during the Spanish-American War, 1898 (National Archives)

General Coppinger during the Spanish-American War, 1898 (National Archives)

Today John Joseph Coppinger is all but forgotten in his home town. Indeed he is one of the many hundreds if not thousands of men from around Midleton and East Cork who fought in the American Civil War and who are no longer remembered at home. Surely one of Midleton’s most successful and noteworthy emigrants, remembering John Joseph Coppinger’s life is hopefully something that will improve in the future.

The grave of General John Joseph Coppinger in Arlington National Cemetery (Brian C. Pohanka via Find A Grave)

The grave of General John Joseph Coppinger in Arlington National Cemetery (Brian C. Pohanka via Find A Grave)

*The most comprehensive research on John Joseph Coppinger to date has been carried out by the late Brian C. Pohanka, who’s work is referenced in this article and should be rightfully acknowledged.

(1) Pohanka 2013, London Gazette 1855, Tucker 2009: 135, Irish Nation 1883; (2) Irish Nation 1883; (3) Foreman 1943: 125, Tucker 2009: 135; (4) Foreman 1943: 125, Hunt 2003: 84; (5) Foreman 1943: 125, Pohanka 2013, Irish Nation 1883; (6) Foreman 1943: 125, Tucker 2009: 135;

References

The Irish Nation 17th February 1883. Colonel Coppinger.

The London Gazette 12th October 1855. Commissions signed by the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Warwick.

Foreman, Carolyn Thomas 1943. ‘General John Joseph Coppinger Commandant Fort Gibson’ in Chronicles of Oklahoma Volume 21, No. 2.

Hunt, Roger D. 2003. Colonels in Blue: Union Army Colonels of the Civil War: New York.

Pohanka, Brian 2013. Defender of the Faith and the Union Cork Born John Joseph Coppinger 

Tucker, Spencer 2005 (ed.) The Encyclopaedia of the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars

John Joseph Coppinger Find A Grave Memorial

Categories: Famous Links, Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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