Author Archives: Damian Shiels

About Damian Shiels

I am an archaeologist based in Ireland, specialising in conflict archaeology.

In Search of Rostellan Castle, Part 1: Sieges, Parties & Regicides in the 16th and 17th Centuries

As a resident of Farsid, I am fortunate during our current lockdown to have Rostellan Woods within my 2km exercise area. I have written about aspects of Rostellan on the site before (see e.g. Cork’s Workhouse Children Visit Rostellan 1866-7), but I thought I would take the opportunity the crisis presents to do a series of posts that explore the history and surviving archaeological landscape of Rostellan Castle, Demesne, and Gardens. Though most of us are familiar with the woods and the Aghada GAA pitches, the fascinating history behind this location is less widely known. I hope through these posts to share some of the available information about this location’s past, and also to raise awareness of the need to take action to preserve some of surviving fragments of this landscape, which are currently degrading at an alarming rate. This first post looks at the early castle of Rostellan, and its story in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Down Survey and Castles

The parish of Rostellan (left) and the two depictions of the 17th century castle of Rostellan from the 1650s Down Survey (Trinity College Dublin Down Survey Project/National Library of Ireland)

The Fitzgeralds of Rostellan Castle

While it is probable that a medieval fortification was sited at Rostellan, it is in the 16th century that Rostellan Castle begins to make regular appearances in the historical record. In 1565 the land here passed into the hands of the FitzGeralds, an event recorded in the Patent Rolls of the High Court of Chancery:

…whereby Gerald Fitz-James McSleyney, captain of his nation in the cantred of Imokilly, and proprietor and true lord of Rostelan and Culbaine, for a certain sum of money, sold and conveyed to John Fitz-Edmond James de Geraldinis, gentleman, Cork County, his manor of Rostelan, containing 1 carucate or plowland, and a particle of land of Culbaine, with its wood…

According to R.G. Fitzgerald-Uniacke, John Fitzedmond was around 37-years-old when he acquired Rostellan in 1565. He was married to a daughter of the O’Brien Earl of Thomond, a family who would become intrinsically linked with Rostellan over the next 300 years. Rostellan was just one of John’s possessions, which he seems to have increased as he successfully navigated the Desmond Rebellions which devastated Munster. Apparently a loyal-Crown man, he was rewarded for his support of Elizabeth I with a knighthood at Cloyne in 1601. By then he had passed Rostellan Castle over to his third-son, Thomas FitzJohn Gerald, who seems to have been resident there. Thomas had become the formal owner in 1594, when he obtained “The manor and castle of Rostiellane, and all the lands, tenement, and hereditaments of Ballynamony, Cruoghane, Kayall, Cwylbane, Moynivorrin, Ballynyclassy, Ballygoyre, Ballyncattanaige, and Ballynvollin, in the territory of Rostiellane [and] Ballyknoick and Collraghe in the territory of Doungvornay” from his father.

Final Image

The Rostellan Peninsula in the 1650s (left) and today (right). The Down Survey mapping demonstrates that the early castle was certainly on the same site as the later 18th-century house. Most of the landscape changes owe their origins to undertakings in the 1700s, as will be explored in a subsequent post (Trinity College Dublin Down Survey Project/National Library of Ireland/Google Maps)

Whatever about his father’s relationship with the Crown, Thomas (perhaps as part of a family strategy) was one of those who hedged his bets during the Nine Years War (1594-1603). When Munster was ablaze in the late 1590s he seems to have taken Rostellan into rebellion, as “Thomas fitz John Fitz Edmond of Rostellan” is among a list of men who were pardoned by the Crown in 1600. Seemingly none the worse for his flirtation with Hugh O’Neill, by 1606 Thomas had been granted a licence to hold a Saturday market at Rostellan by the new monarch, James I. Thomas passed away in 1628, leaving Rostellan Castle in the hands of his son, James Fitz Gerald. When he died in turn seven years later, he left behind no children. The lack of a surviving male heir meant that the interests of most of his lands fell to Fitz Gerald relatives, who controlled the bulk of the locality. However, his widow, Mary Burke Fitz Gerald, was permitted to maintain her living at the 252 acre Rostellan Estate. According to Fitzgerald-Uniacke, Mary later wed another of the Fitz Geralds, Richard, who was son and heir of Edmond Fitz Gerald of Ballymartyr (now Castlemartyr). This was the state of play when war came knocking at Rostellan in the 1640s.


Rostellan Castle Besieged

The most dramatic incident in Rostellan Castle’s history came in the midst of the Eleven Years War (1641-1653). Richard Fitz Gerald apparently served as a Royalist officer during the conflict, and the castle of Rostellan followed his allegiances. It was 1645 when the war landed on Rostellan’s doorstep. The man who set his sights on it was Murrogh O’Brien, Lord Inchiquin. In this complex war that was characterised by shifting allegiances and an often dizzying array of competing military forces, Inchiquin, formerly a Royalist, was now in the service of Parliament. He would become known to history as Murchadh na dTóiteán [Murrogh of the Conflagrations/Murrogh the Burner]. As a mark of the castle’s strategic importance on the eastern side of Cork Harbour, that summer Inchiquin’s forces invested the castle and prepared artillery positions in order to bombard it into submission. Rostellan promptly surrendered, and the campaign moved on. Lord Inchiquin would soon be developing a long-term association with Rostellan, but in 1645, his men’s stay would prove brief.

Rostellan Today

The location where Rostellan Castle stood in the 16th and 17th centuries. Top Left: The cropmarks of the site, largely related to the 18th century house, remain clearly visible. Bottom Left: The view from the entrance to Aghada GAA, looking directly at where the castle once stood. Right: The location of the 16th and 17th century Rostellan Castle and later house, marked with a red circle (Damian Shiels/ Google Maps)

The main opposition to Inchiquin in East Cork in 1645 were the Confederate forces under James Tuchet, 3rd Earl of Castlehaven. While encamped at Castlemartyr–which had recently been taken and burned by Inchiquin–Castlehaven hatched a plot to take Rostellan back, an operation he described some years later:

I got intelligence that Colonel Henry O’Brien (brother to the lord Inchiquin), and Lieutenant-Colonel Courtney, with several other officers, were come by boat to Rostellan, to make merry; that the tide falling, their boats were aground, and so would continue till high-water. On the certainty of this I lost no time, but sent immediately a party to seize the boats, lying more than a musket shot from the castle, following as fast as I could with the army; which being come up, I presently fell to the work planted my guns on the batteries made by my lord Inchiquin, not yet destroyed, and in the morning the place yielded on discretion.

James Tuchet 3rd Earl Castlehaven

James Tuchet, 3rd Earl of Castlehaven, who retook Rostellan Castle in 1645 (National Portrait Gallery London)

A Regicide at Rostellan?

Despite this reverse, it wouldn’t be long before Inchiquin and his family were back at Rostellan. Antiquarians state that the property was officially granted to Inchiquin in 1648, a property title that would endure into the 1850s. However, in the short-term, the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland and the victory of Parliament forced Inchiquin–who was once more in Royal service–to flee to France. Afterwards the lands at Rostellan were recorded as part of the 1650s Down Survey, the major surveying and mapping project initiated to aid the transfer of land from Irish Catholics into the hands of those who had supported Parliament. It lists that the lands of Rostellan were still held by “Richard Fitzgarrald in right of his wife”. The Survey includes a fantastic early description of Rostellan:

The soyle is Arable and good pasture and Conteineth these ensueing Denominations, viz. Rostellane, Balltnemonie, Cnockane, Ballinauwillen, Ballineclassey, Ballydeere, Lisard-Irensy, Gilkaghmore and Carrigcottie. The improvements are a Castlehouse in Rostellane standing by the sea side, a Castlehouse on Carrigcottie; a mill on Ballynauwillen, as alsoe in many places farme houses and Cabbins

What became of Rostellan Castle during the 1650s? With Inchiquin and Fitz Gerald out of the picture, it was at this juncture that another individual enters the story of Rostellan–Irishman Robert Phayre. Lieutenant-Colonel Phayre (sometimes Phaire) had previously served under Inchiquin, but subsequently commanded a regiment under Cromwell during the conquest. He had a particularly notable claim to fame, for Robert Phayre was classified as a regicide. The Irish officer had found himself in England in 1649 when the warrant ordering the execution of Charles I was issued, and his position meant that he was one of the officers to whom it was officially addressed. Given a role in Munster under the Commonwealth, according to Sidney Lee’s 1909 Dictionary of National Biography he “retired to Rostellan Castle” in the mid-1650s. W.H. Welply recorded that Phayre leased the four ploughlands of Rostellan in 1653-4, and that he was given permission to cut 100 trees for the building of a dwellinghouse and out-offices there. He presumably remained there until the 1660 Restoration of the monarchy and his subsequent arrest– luckily for him, his 1649 refusal to sign the execution warrant meant his life was spared.


The Death Warrant of Charles I. Robert Phayre, an Irish Parliamentarian Officer who appears to have lived in Rostellan Castle in the mid-1650s, was one of the men to whom it was addressed (Parliamentary Archives)

The Restoration brought with it the return of Inchiquin, who was now an Earl. A future post will look at the story of his family’s development of Rostellan Castle, a period when much of the landscape that still exists came into being. But there is a postscript to the story of 16th and 17th century Rostellan worth noting here. Though the 18th century would see this once defensive landscape transformed into a famous house and gardens, vestiges of its strategic past survived. In his 1861 History of the County and City of Cork, the Reverend C.B. Gibson recorded that within the part of the gardens known as the battery (which we will discuss in a later post) there were four brass artillery pieces. One was inscribed “ASSUERUS KOSTER ME FECIT AMSTELREDAM, AO. 1646” [Assuerus Koster Made Me, Amsterdam, 1646]. The other three were dated to 1786, and were likely placed there during the Napoleonic threat. As an aside, by then 19th century Rostellan Castle had also become the home of another interesting military artefact, a rare Scottish claymore sword of 16th century date that was later described by the National Museum of Ireland. Whether it had any ties to the Castle, or was simply a later purchase by the O’Briens, remains unknown.

Wright, John Michael, 1617-1694; Murrough O'Brien, 1st Earl of Inchiquin

Murrogh O’Brien, Lord Inchiquin who took Rostellan Castle in 1645, and who later became its owner (Manchester Art Gallery)


Trinity College Dublin Down Survey Project.

J.C.Q. 1936. “Rostellan Castle and Its Owners”, Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society Volume 41, Number 154, 109-111.

R.G. Fitzgerald-Uniacke. 1895. “The Fitzgeralds of Rostellane, in the County of Cork”, The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Volume 5, No. 2, 163-170.

Reverend C.B. Gibson. 1861. History of the County and City of Cork. Volume 2.

Andrew Halpin. 1986. “Irish Medieval Swords c.1170-1600. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Section C, Volume 86C, 183-230.

Sidney Lee. 1909. Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 17.

James Touchet, Earl of Castlehaven. 1815. The Earl of Castlehaven’s Memoirs. 

W.H. Welply. 1925. “Colonel Robert Phaire ‘Regicide’. His Ancestry, History and Descendants (Contd.)” Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society Volume 30, Number 151, 20-26.





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The Experiences & Photographs of a US Navy Chief in USNAS Aghada, 1918-1919

During the last few years the site has shared a lot of material relating to the presence of American troops in East Cork during the First World War. You can check out all those posts on our U.S. Military in Ireland Centenary Project page.The major centre of the American presence on the eastern side of the harbour was the United States Naval Air Station at Aghada. Last year we were greatly fortunate to welcome Thom Dickerson to the area, whose father Thomas Dayton Dickerson served at the base during the war. Aside from bringing great knowledge of the base and his father’s experiences, Thom is also the curator of a wonderful collection of photographs that his father captured while stationed here in Cork. He shared that story with us during a public lecture in Midleton Library, and now has kindly agreed to expand on that for us in a guest post on a site. What follows is the story of US Navy Chief Thomas Dayton Dickerson, as told by his son Thom.

WWI ID Thos D Dickersonlowres

The First World War Identity Card of Thomas D Dickerson (Copyright Dickerson Collection)

Back in a time of peace, good times, and growing up in Summerland, California, my father, Thomas Dayton Dickerson joined the US Naval Reserves in Santa Barbara, California. It was the year 1915 and WW1 was already one year into the breach of a madness of what was to be the first taste of carnage and battle that our world would experience. His peace time job was being a chauffeur/ mechanic. His experience with automobile engines and aviation power plants began as a ride along mechanic racing on speedways in San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Those race car drivers he participated with were Eddie Rickenbacker, Barney Oldfield, and one racer he personally worked with as a ride along mechanic was Glover Ruckstell. His first involvement with aviation was getting Lincoln Beachy’s aircraft ready to cross the Goleta valley in 1914. My father also worked with Alan Loughead (later changed to Lockheed) who had built a seaplane plant in Santa Barbara 1912. During the 1915 Pan Pacific International Exhibit in San Francisco, my father Tom also worked on Loughead’s F1 Flying boat. Mr Loughead gave patrons rides across the San Francisco Bay for $10.00 during the exhibit. (1)

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Photos from the Dickerson Collection– A depth charge in the Channel; A ship underway; a submarine in the Irish Sea; A ship at her mooring (Slideshow)

Skipping to April 20, 1917, my father shipped out on the USS St Louis as a QM2 for convoy duty to Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland. He made three convoy trips from April 1917 to November 1917 and was awarded two convoy chevrons for making the crossings in harm’s way of German subs patrolling the coastal waterways. He was then transferred to the USS Melville and was assigned to the signal bridge. His assignment to the USS Melville went from December 31, 1917 to April 16, 1918. 

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Images of officers, sailors and locals around the Aghada Base from the Dickerson Collection (Slideshow)

A new assignment started on June 30, 1918 at USNAS Queenstown, Ireland. During his time on assignment my father served between USNAS Queenstown and USNAS Aghada. He was assigned to transportation where he was part of the support staff building the bases and later for aircraft support. His travels took him between Queenstown, Dublin, Cork, Castletownbere (kite balloon station), Killarney, Wexford, Bantry, and Aghada. He assisted in assembly of the aircraft, Curtiss H16s, ferrying the aircraft as an aircrew mechanic with the pilot to the bases around Ireland. While serving in many duties during his service in Ireland, he was the official photographer who recorded people, places, and events during his tour. Many of the photographs and documents you will see in this article are from his albums he had collected during his time in the US Navy from 1917 -1946. 

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Images of the Aghada Base buildings and surrounds taken by Thomas during his service, from the Dickerson Collection (Slideshow)

On July 1 1918, Thomas D Dickerson’s rate was changed to Machinist Mate 2nd Class from Quarter Master 2nd Class. The Quarter Master rate was not his actual area of expertise or training in civilian life. It was his US Navy Reserve training where he became Quarter Master, but that rating was not suited to the skills he was required to utilise during the war. He continued his work in Queenstown and Aghada as transportation chief and plane captain on the H16s as the base was built and operations began on September 30, 1918. His role in the immediate conflict was to build the seaplanes from incoming aircraft parts received from the shipping docks landing in Queenstown. In addition to his duties he drove various vehicles to pick up messengers and officers for Admiralty HQ. Those operations would continue until November 11, 1918, when all hostilities ended the immediate conflict of the war. 

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Images of American seaplanes at the Aghada base from the Dickerson Collection (Slideshow)

The number of aircraft in operation in Aghada at the end of the war were 28 seaplanes. The number of flights totalled 64 sorties with 11,568 nautical miles covered during patrols over the Irish Sea and surrounding waterways. 

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Images of Officers, sailors and locals in and around the Aghada Base and in Ireland, from the Dickerson Collection (Slideshow)

After the war was over, Tom was advanced to MM1 on January 1, 1919 and on March 3, 1919 he was assigned to the Naval Supply base in Dublin, Ireland in charge of transportation. From March 31, 1919 to July 25, 1919, his last duty station in Ireland was Dublin, Naval Air Detachment. Not to top his extraordinary assignments in Ireland he was then advanced to CMM on June 1, 1919 to Naval Air Force, London, UK

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Photos Tom took during his various trips around Britain and Ireland from the Dickerson Collection (Slideshow)

Tom Dickerson CMM US Navy, was next placed in charge of transportation for the Allied Peace Mission going between the US Embassy in London and the US Embassy in Paris France.

The duties which followed were:

Naval Forces Europe, London from September, 30, 1919 – January 22, 1920 and confirmed Rating CMM on Oct 1,1919; 

Naval Commission, Paris France from March 31, 1920 – June 25, 1920;

Paris Staff Office, Paris France from June 30, 1920 – August 4, 1920. Then on to the UK, assigned to the “Howden Detachment” in Bedford, England. Tom Dickerson and his US crew mates trained on rigid airships that were being built and sold to the US for convoy fleet support. He missed the tragic flight of the R38 (ZR2). His last assignment in the UK was the London Staff Office from September 30, 1921 – Oct 6, 1921. He then returned to America to assist building the ZR1 which was christened the USS Shenandoah and he flew on the entire maiden voyage across the United States and back, a story told in the National Geographic Jan 1925.


All images in this blog post remain the Copyright of the Thomas Dickerson, and cannot be reproduced without permission.

Thomas Dayton Dickerson ACMM National Archive Records and traveling personnel records.

Thom Dickerson Personal collection; Photographs and negative scans.

1915 Pan Pacific International Exhibit Fair

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Revealed: The Life Experiences of One of Cork’s First World War American War Brides

Readers may recall past work on the site that compiled a database of local Irish women–the vast majority from Cork–who married First World War U.S. servicemen and began new lives across the Atlantic (you can see the database here). Working with the National Archives in Washington D.C., the Port of Cork and the Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh, I subsequently curated an exhibition featuring a number of these women’s passport images for the 100th anniversary of the U.S. arrival in 2017. That exhibition has since been on display in Cork City Library, and from late July will be in Midleton Library (where I will be giving a free public talk on the topic on Saturday 21st July at 12.15pm). Due to the nature of the sources, we could uncover only fragments of the lives of these women after they went to live in America. I have been fortunate since first making the research available to be contacted by a number of their descendants, who have greatly increased our knowledge of the later lives of the Irish “War Brides.” Among them were Eve and Bob Pranis, the grandchildren of one of the women– Alice Maud Pain from Cork City. I was delighted to recently meet Eve and Bob when they visited from America, and show them around some of the sites associated with their grandparents. Eve kindly agreed to share some recollections of her Cork grandmother and her experiences with us, and these are reproduced below.


Eve and Bob Pranis at the door in Cobh–formerly the entrance to the Queenstown American Consulate– which their grandmother passed through when she applied for her passport to begin a new life in the United States (Damian Shiels)

To provide some background, Alice married U.S. Navy man Joseph Pranis in Cork in 1917, where Eve and Bob’s father, Jospeh Junior, was born to the couple on 17th October 1918. In 1919 Alice applied for a passport to go an live with her new husband in America, including as her passport photograph and image of her, her baby son and the family dog at their house at 5 Langford Terrace in the City (one of the images featured in the exhibition). But what happened next? Eve takes up the story.

Rediscovery # 29656

The passport photo that Alice Maud Pranis submitted with her passport application. Taken in her parent’s back garden in Cork City, with her new son Joseph (Eve and Bob’s dad) and the family dog (National Archives)

Grandma Alice Pranis Recollections 1896-1999

My grandmother Alice’s parents were James Arthur Pain who lived to age 76 and Susan Clarke who lived to 83. Alice told us that her father, James Arthur Pain, who was born in Cork, was a protestant who preferred that she didn’t play with the Catholic children. Her mother, Susan Clarke, was a bit more broad-minded. Alice married my grandfather, Lithuanian-American, Joseph Pranis, in Cobh in 1917 when he was stationed with the U.S. Navy. Joseph stayed in the Navy after Alice went to America, and each of Alice’s children were born in a different country or city depending on where her husband was stationed.

Grandma pranis4 large-colorized-family_print

A family photo of Alice and her siblings (partially colourised) taken in Cork during the early twentieth century, and which remains in the family (Pranis Family)

Alice’s eldest son, my father, was born Joseph Arthur Porter Pranis in Cork in 1918. (He passed away in 1995.) Note, the second middle name Porter was selected by Alice’s husband, Joseph, because he was stationed on the USS Porter, a US destroyer that was based in Cork. When the family was later stationed in the Phillipine Islands, my father was introduced to the library by a serviceman, and he learned to love reading. His dad wanted to “make him a man,” but he didn’t want to consider the service. Hence, he dropped the name Porter. He remained a Pacifist, making an exception for WWII.


Alice and Joseph’s Cork-born son Joe Junior (Eve & Bob’s dad) when he was three-years old (Pranis Family)

Alice talked – not wistfully – about being put on a “coal boat” along with baby Joseph after arriving in New York in 1919. That took them to Cleveland to stay with Alice’s husband’s “big, boisterous, non-English speaking family.” Alice was evidently not treated very warmly by her in laws. She recalled, however, that on her arrival in Cleveland, she met a Black woman named Effie who took grandma under her wing and helped orient her. They remained friends and grandma eventually named her daughter Elizabeth Effie Pranis.

An image of Alice taken in Cork during the earlier twentieth century (Pranis Family)

An image of Alice taken in Cork during the earlier twentieth century (Pranis Family)

Alice traveled, moved to and lived in a great many places, sometimes on short notice. Being married to a navy man meant frequent moves. After her stay in Cleveland, the family moved to Newport, Rhode Island, where her daughter Elizabeth was born in 1921. By 1926, they were in the Philippine Islands where her son Robert was born. By 1928, she boarded a ship in China with her children in tow and landed in San Diego, California. At age 42, Alice had her fourth child Mildred, who was born with fairly serious cerebral palsy. (Before settling for good in San Diego, the family had one more stint in Norfolk, Virginia.) 


Alice Pranis (centre) with her family in the United States (Pranis Family)

By the time Mildred was coming of age, Alice’s other children were out of the house. She was determined to keep Milly, who was very bright, but spastic and wheelchair bound, as active and engaged in life as she could. This included going to the enormous San Diego zoo, museums, summer camps, and theaters; traveling with her annually to Spain (where the climate agreed with Milly); and getting her a typewriter so she could correspond with “pen pals” around the world. Alice was a very tiny but strong woman who did most of the physically demanding work to keep Milly active. She lifted her out of her wheelchair and into tubs for decades. As they traveled, the two collected dolls from around the world. Alice and her husband chose to stay in San Diego because the school system had good programs for children with special needs.

Alice in 1986 (Pranis Family)

Alice in 1986 (Pranis Family)

We didn’t see as much of our grandmother Alice as we would have liked. We lived in New York State and our grandparents remained in San Diego, which is 3,000 miles away in Southern California. Travel was expensive then for our working-class family. But my brothers and I, along with cousins, have some vivid memories of our visits back and forth.

Alice had a delightful personality and a fairly bright outlook on life. She was never one to hold grudges and had a “live and let live” attitude. All this despite having to pack up home and children and move countless times — and having a husband who was a bit of an authoritarian (and drinker) who spent much time with his retired Navy buddies. Her memory was also fantastic. Twenty-five years after taking her the 12 miles from her house to Tijuana, Mexico for lunch, I asked if she recalled our outing. “Oh, wasn’t that a delicious fish dinner,” Alice accurately recalled at age 99.

Alice in later life (Pranis Family)

Alice in later life (Pranis Family)

Alice was a strong and active walker. She and I spent hours walking around the San Diego zoo. She walked to church every day until she was in her mid-80s – and had knee surgery in her 90s.

Although Alice was an American citizen in many ways, she retained her sweet Cork lilt until she passed away at nearly 104. (She explained that her longevity was due to never eating salty snacks. That said, she loved eating Kentucky Fried Chicken on her birthdays and other special events.) She made a mean Irish stew, celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, and kept loads of photos of her life in Cork. Sadly, most of the latter were destroyed by her husband when he had dementia, which she took in stride. After her husband passed away (26 years before she did), she returned to Ireland several times with her daughter Elizabeth. Word has it that Alice met an Irish gentleman in a bar with whom she had a long correspondence.

Sadly, Alice outlived three of her four children.

Alice in the 1990s (Pranis Family)

Alice in the 1990s (Pranis Family)

I would like to thank Eve and Bob for sharing these recollections of their Grandmother with us. Hers was a life forever altered by the arrival of the Americans in Cork Harbour in 1917, and it is magnificent to have a flavour of where that life took her in the many decades that followed her departure. If you are a descendant of any of the War Brides identified in the database (or indeed of any First World War American War Bride from Ireland) and would like to share their story with us, please email me at 

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Midleton WW1 Memorial Unveiling: Videos

On Sunday last a Memorial Wall commemorating 200 men from East Cork who lost their lives during the First World War was unveiled at the Baby’s Walk in the town. Among those in attendance was Tánaiste Simon Coveney T.D., who delivered the main speech during the ceremony. Made of Portland stone, the memorial is extremely impressive, and a credit to the committee who conceived of the project and saw it through to completion. Below are three videos from the event, the first two contributions by two of the descendants of men remembered on the memorial, the final one the speech delivered by the Tánaiste.

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Midleton’s 19th Century American Soldiers & Sailors

On the site we have previously explored some of Midleton’s connections with the United States, and American military service. Probably our most influential discovery was the forgotten story of John Joseph Coppinger, as our research into him led to the naming and theming of Coppingers pub on Midleton’s Main Street. Though Coppinger is certainly Midleton’s most famous “forgotten” American serviceman, he is far from alone. This post takes a brief look at just three of many others from the area who entered American military service in the 19th century– one during the American Civil War, another immediately after that conflict, and one who served in both the American West and during the Spanish-American War. 


The grave of John Joseph Coppinger in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, photographed during a visit to the site in 2014 (Damian Shiels)

John Quinn, 16th New York Cavalry, American Civil War

The American Civil War saw more Cork men fight and die in uniform than any other conflict in the county’s history, including the First World War. It is probable that the same is also true for Midleton men, and those from the immediate area. One of a number we have uncovered was John Quinn. John was born in East Cork around 1826. On 25th May 1845 he married 18-year-old Margaret Hennessy in Dromada, Castlemartyr, part of the parish of Midleton.

John Quinn

Marriage certification for John Quinn and Margaret Hennessy of Castlemartyr in 1845. Margaret supplied this evidence in her claim for an American pension after John’s death (NARA)

The couple went on to have at least two children, Margaret and Michael, both born in the early 1850s. They emigrated to New York and by the eve of the American Civil War were living in city of Troy, probably with other emigrants from East Cork. John enlisted in the 16th New York Cavalry on 10th August 1863 but illness soon caused him to be transferred to the Invalid Corps. He died in Alexandria, Virginia of chronic pneumonia on 11th February 1864. After John’s death, Margaret successfully applied for an American Military Pension based on her husband’s service. John’s resting place can today be found in Alexandria National Cemetery.

John Quinn Alexandria National Cemetery (Stan Jett)

The grave of John Quinn in Alexandria National Cemetery, Virginia (Stan Jett via Find A Grave)

John J. Bransfield, USS Brooklyn, USS Ohio, USS Jaunita, Post Civil War

Born in Midleton, John was a 22-year-old sailmaker when he enlisted in the United States Navy in September 1870. His main service was aboard the famed sloop-of-war USS Brooklyn, and he spent his time deployed with her on her extended visit to Europe and the Mediterranean. John took ill while on the voyage, and while in Toulon, France was deemed unfit for service due to palpitations of the heart. He was discharged on 24th August 1872.

USS Brooklyn, on which Midleton's John Bransfield served (United States Navy)

USS Brooklyn, on which Midleton’s John Bransfield served (United States Navy)

John received a pension for rheumatism and heart disease caused by his service. After leaving the navy he first lived at 140 Prince Street in Boston, and as was common, spent much of his time with other Midleton emigrants. Richard Morgan of Midleton remembered meeting him there when they worked together at the same employment. Eventually John returned to make his home on Midleton’s Main Street, where he spent the remainder of his life. He married Hannah Walsh on 7th November 1879; their son Maurice was born in 1880, and was followed by John in 1882, Dora in 1884 and Mary in 1885. John died in Cork’s North Infirmary on 12th November 1902 during an operation that was attempting to remove his kidney, and was buried in Midleton’s Holy Rosary Cemetery.

Bransfield Baptism

John Bransfield’s Certificate of Baptism from 1851. Supplied as part of his American pension application (NARA)

John Stanton

1903 Memorandum of Midleton’s John Stanton, Clerk of the Union, relating to the pension application of John Bransfield’s widow Hannah (NARA)

John Leahy, United States Marine Corps, Spanish-American War

John Leahy was born in Aghada around 1864, but his family ultimately made their home at No. 10 William Street (New Cork Road), Midleton. They would later move to No. 15. John had long service in the U.S. military. He was a 20-year-old labourer when he entered the 4th United States Cavalry in New York on 25th November 1887, serving in the American West with Company D. Discharged in 1891, he returned to the military in 1898 at Mare Island, California, when he re-enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. All the while John was sending money home to support his ageing parents in Midleton. During the Spanish-American War of 1898, John took part in some of the major actions of the conflict. He was a participant in the landing at Guantánamo, Cuba on 10th June 1898, the bombardment of Santiago de Cuba on 21st June and 2nd July 1898 and the destruction of Admiral Cervera’s fleet on 3rd July 1898.

US Marines entrenching in Cuba, 1898

U.S. Marines entrenching in Guantánamo, Cuba in 1898, an operation Midleton’s John Leahy participated in (U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command)

John survived these engagements only to fall ill and die on 7th October 1900. He was interred at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington D.C. His parents William and Ellen, who had partially relied on John’s financial  support, were entitled to seek a U.S. Government pension in Ellen’s name, as William was no longer able to work. She duly applied for it.

John Leahy

The grave of Midleton’s John Leahy at Congressional Cemetery, Washington D.C. (Historic Congressional Cemetery Archivist via Find A Grave)

When seeking her pension, Ellen wrote from Midleton to the American Bureau of Pensions explaining her circumstances:

…my only outlook now is to look forward to the graciousness of the U.S. Government, as I was almost entirely dependent on my deceased son’s remittances to me, and my husband being unable to work owing to his advanced age, I now sadly miss my son’s remittances, owing to his untimely death in service to his adopted Country.

Leahy letter

Letter written by Ellen Leahy from Midleton to America in support of her pension application based on her son’s U.S. Marine Corps service (NARA)

John wasn’t the only one of the Midleton Leahys in America. In fact his mother Ellen took the time in 1902 to explain to the American Government just where all her children were, and why they couldn’t support her:

(1) Michael Leahy (son) aged 40 years who is a Hospital Steward in [the] United States Army and is at present stationed at Angel Island, California…He is married and doing for himself and family and consequently is no help to me.

(2) Ellen Leahy (daughter) aged 37 years who is presumably in some part of the United States, but as she never writes home I have no account of her.

(3) Margaret Barry (daughter)…is wife of John Barry of Midleton County Cork Ireland. Her age in 1901 was 34 years.

(4) Mary White (daughter)…aged 31 years; wife of John White of Midleton County Cork Ireland.

(5) William Leahy (son); 28 years; is living with me at home.

(6) Kate Leahy (daughter); 26 years; is at present in some part of the United States.

(7) Patrick Leahy (son), 23 years, is living with me at home. [he suffered from fits]

(8) Annie Leahy (daughter), 20 years, is living with me at home.

My husband, William Leahy, aged 74 years is also alive an has never rendered any military or naval service. [he had worked as a labourer until he was 70, but was now too old to work for her support]

The impact of emigration in splitting families apart is readily apparent in Ellen’s account of her children. She and her husband provided lots of additional detail about their lives in their pension application, including the fact that they were renting their home on a weekly basis from Lord Midleton for a sum of one shilling and six pence. Other Midleton residents rallied around the couple to try and help them get a pension; among those who gave statements were Timothy O’Leary of 9 Railway Terrace, and Denis O’Keeffe of No. 19 William Street (New Cork Road). When Ellen herself fell ill, her daughter (and U.S. Marine John’s sister) Hannah Aherne, then living at No. 15 Cork Road, supplied receipts for her medical care to the U.S. Government, which are still preserved in Washington D.C. today. Among them is a bill from Doctor M.P. Desmond, which you can view below.

Doctor Desmond Receipt

Receipt from Dr. Desmond for care of Ellen Leahy on the Cork Road (NARA)

After Ellen’s death on 10th March 1919, Hannah also passed a copy of the funeral expenses on to America, preserving the details of the costs issued by Dr. Patrick D. Moore of 3 Broderick Street for the provision of, among other items, a coffin, bier and horses. Hannah was entitled to be repaid the costs for both her mother’s illness and funeral because Ellen had been a pensioner of the United States– even though she had never visited the country.

Patrick D. Moore

Funeral expenses issued by Patrick D. Moore of 3 Broderick Street, Midleton, preserved in the National Archives, Washington D.C. (NARA)

Hannah Letter 1920

Hannah Aherne’s 1920 letter to the American Bureau of Pensions seeking a contribution towards her mother’s funeral expenses to which she was entitled as her mother was a U.S. Pensioner (NARA)

The stories of these three men and their families are some of the thousands from East Cork that were created as a result of the mass emigration from the locality in the 19th and 20th centuries. That emigration led many to the service of the United States military, and unfortunately for some, it led to their deaths. We hope in the future to share more similar stories of Midleton and East Cork emigrants on the site.

This post would not have been possible were it not for the efforts of the National Archives and Records Administration staff in Washington D.C., who preserve and have digitised this material.


National Archives Pension Files

Find A Grave

U.S. Army Register of Enlistments

New York Muster Roll Database

Categories: General, Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cork’s Workhouse Children Visit Rostellan, 1866-7

Rostellan Castle and demense were once among the best known “pleasure-gardens” in Cork. Through the 19th century it was a popular destination for visitors to the harbour, and was a frequent venue for excursions and concerts, including a fireworks display on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s visit. But in 1866 and 1867 visitors of a different sort made their way from the pier in Aghada across the bridge into Rostellan demesne. There were hundreds of them, and unlike those that had gone before they were not from the upper echelons of Irish society– rather they were amongst the poorest and most underprivileged in the entire county. 

The bridge and lodge at Rostellan. The Workhouse children would have made their way into Rostellan Castle from this route (Sara Nylund)

The bridge and lodge at Rostellan. The Workhouse children would have crossed here and made their way through the Schoolmaster’s Meadow en-route to Rostellan Castle and gardens. The Castle stood until the 1940s, on a site to the right of the present-day driveway of Aghada GAA Club (Sara Nylund)

On Saturday 17 August 1867, 530 children left Cork City for Rostellan. They had come from the Cork Union Workhouse (now St. Finbarr’s Hospital), and were embarking on a trip to which they had long been looking forward. Boarding the steamer Citizen at Merchant’s Quay a little after 9 o’clock, they were joined by Mr. Steele, master of the house; the matron Mrs. Steele, the school teachers, and Rev. Mr. O’Mahony, the Catholic chaplain. Another stop was scheduled for Glenbrook where the Rev. Dr. Webster, Protestant chaplain and Mr. Mullan, J.P., came aboard. As the steamer made its way across Cork Harbour, the Workhouse Fife-and-Drum band entertained the children on their way to the pier in Aghada. From there they walked to Rostellan, crossing the bridge to enter the demesne of Rostellan Castle, then in the ownership of Dr. T.A. Wise, who had given permission for the children to access the grounds for the day:

…the children were encouraged to amuse themselves in every pleasant way child nature could devise. Some went bathing; some played carious childish games; racing matches were organised…and the winning boys were rewarded…with what in the eyes of workhouse boys were splendid prizes, though consisting only of a few coppers and diminutive silver pieces.

At intervals the band would strike up, accompanied by around 50 of the children who were part of the Workhouse singing class. Among the tunes heard across the demesne were Lily of the Vale, Morning Bells, Come to the Hedgerows and Good News from Home, with the children finishing with God Save the Queen. 

An 1867 broadside of "Lily of the Vale", sung by the Workhouse children in Rostellan (National Library of ScotlandL.C.1269(166b) )

An 1867 broadside of “Lily of the Vale”, sung by the Workhouse children in Rostellan (National Library of ScotlandL.C.1269(166b) )

At 2 o’clock a dinner of roast beef, ham and bread was served, after which the children were given the freedom of the grounds until 5. Then they were given tea, coffee and bread before being addressed by the adults with remarks “of an encouraging and hopefully character” and promises of “another and even a better trip soon.”

Leaving Rostellan at 6 o’clock, by 7 the children were back aboard the steamer heading for Cork, receiving a final meal of buns before returning to the Workhouse–and reality– at 9.

The Workhouse officials were true to their word, and only a few months later, on 11 July 1868, the children were once again making their way to Merchant’s Quay and boarding the Citizen. The excursion was reported in the Cork Examiner:

The expeditionary party was composed of the pauper children of the Cork Workhouse…a repetition of the experiment of last year, the event far exceeded it in the amount of enjoyment it yielded to the poor children, and its marked success in every respect was worthy even of the holy cause of humanity and benevolence in whose name it was undertaken.

The money for the trip had been raised through public subscription, and this time the main party consisted of 236 boys and 180 girls, all between the ages of nine and fifteen and accompanied by their Workhouse teachers. There were also 153 infants and 78 children from the hospitals, the grand total for the excursion being 650 children and 33 adults. The Workhouse Fife-and-drum band were also back. These children were representing the Workhouse, and so were dressed accordingly. The boys wore “smart grey suits” and the girls “blue dresses, white pinafores and light cotton sun-bonnets.” The Examiner correspondent noted that the children looked a lot healthier than they had on their previous visit to Rostellan, adding somewhat condescendingly:

Amongst both boys and girls there [are] many pretty, intelligent, and interesting children– indeed the entire aspect of the band, as it set out, was utterly at variance with the conventional estimate of the workhouse children.

Milestones in place on the bridge at Rostellan, with Rostellan Lake in the background, and the main site of the former pleasure gardens at left (Damian Shiels)

Milestones in place on the bridge at Rostellan, with Rostellan Lake in the background, and the main site of the former pleasure gardens at left (Damian Shiels)

This second visit also left behind a description of the set-up aboard the steamer Citizen: 

The quarter-deck, sheltered by an awning, being assigned to the girls and infants; and the steerage or forward deck to the boys. Amidships were several large hampers, baskets and barrels…two of the largest baskets contained 750 parcels of meat, consisting of ham and beef, roast and boiled; two or three other baskets also contained meat; there were 2,000 loaves of bread, besides six barrels of biscuits; seven large cases of lemonade; three large casks of fresh water, iced; a hue basket of ripe cherries, & c.

Stops at Glenbrook and Monkstown brought aboard Reverend Webster and Felix Mullan J.P., the latter armed with two large hampers of gooseberries, footballs for the boys and smaller balls for the girls. On arriving at Aghada at 11 o’clock, the boys:

Headed by their band, they marched to the strand, and a curious scene followed. There was a simultaneous flutter of garments–the grey gave place to white linen, and that was as quickly discarded for nature’s own covering. A simultaneous rush into the sea ensued, and for the next half hour, nearly three hundred boys were gambolling boisterously in the flood.

Meantime the girls were all to taken on a trip to East Ferry, with both groups making for Rostellan demesne afterwards. After playing in the woods for a few hours, the feast began “beneath the pleasant shade of the trees”:

The boys were arranged on one side, the girls on the other; and the infants formed a separate division in the background…the several officers present, served out the food to the children according to age. All did ample justice to the viands, of which there was more than sufficient. Dr. Wise kindly added a large supply of new potatoes, hot from the kitchen of Rostellan Castle. After dinner, the girls sang a number of songs with great sweetness and singular accuracy as to time. The boys’ band also came into effective service, and two hours more having being passed in a variety of pleasant ways, the party returned to Aghada in high delight.

As the Cork Examiner noted, it does need much imagination to realise how strongly excursions such as those to Rostellan demesne “contrasted with the ordinary routine of a workhouse child’s life.” In an era when the poor were viewed as either “deserving” or “undeserving” depending on their circumstances, Workhouses were intentionally made to be unpleasant places lest the “lazy” try and exploit them. It was usually left to benevolent societies or individuals to offer additional assistance, such as raising the funds to allow for the trip to Rostellan. Visitors to the demesne today can still view the tantalising remnants of this once extravagant landscape, which in 1866 and 1867 offered Cork’s least fortunate children a few hours respite before a return to the hardship and toil that was the reality of their everyday existence.

Remains of an icehouse at Rostellan, with surviving traces of the walled garden beyond (Sara Nylund)

Remains of an icehouse at Rostellan, with surviving traces of the walled garden beyond (Sara Nylund)


Cork Examiner 19 August 1867

Cork Examiner 13 July 1868


Categories: Rostellan | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Search of Cork’s First World War American Doughboys: New York

Recent years have seen a dramatic upsurge in interest in Irish participation in the Great War, particularly with respect to service in the British military. Thousands of Irish men and women also served in the armed forces of other Allied nations, particularly those of the United States. However, little work has been carried out on their experiences, largely because it is extremely difficult to uncover details regarding the nativity of those who went into the conflict wearing the uniform of Uncle Sam. This is principally due to the catastrophic 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri, which destroyed vast numbers of 20th century American military personnel records. As part of our U.S. Military in Ireland Centenary Project, we decided to take a look at one surviving record source, the New York State Abstracts of World War I Military Service, in an effort to determine how many had been identified as being from Cork. That search revealed the names of almost 450 men and women. A portion of the database we compiled is presented below, providing information on the name, place of birth, rank, age at enlistment, unit, overseas service and fate of these hundreds of Cork emigrants.

Men of the 77th Division on the front line, 1918 (History of the Seventy Seventh Division)

Doughboys of the 77th Division on the front line, 1918. The 77th had large numbers of Irishmen in the ranks (History of the Seventy Seventh Division)

The database on which this listing was based was prepared by Paul Higgins, who carried out the work while on placement in our Rubicon Heritage offices. Our full database contains additional information which space constraints prevent us from including here, such as the actions some of the men were recorded as serving in, whether they were disabled as a result of their service, and whether they had received a gallantry award. Paul also sought to uncover additional detail on the individuals listed where possible. Readers should note that the detail should be taken as a guide only– during our work we have identified that the card details are not always 100% accurate. The cards themselves were transcribed in 1920 as abstracts of the military service records. The database provides only a small snapshot of Irish service in the American military during the Great War; even with respect to Corkonians and New York, there were undoubtedly many more who went into American service not recorded here. The creation of the database has brought to light numerous interesting stories, which we intend to return to in future posts. As an introduction to what the material can reveal, we take the opportunity to here to briefly explore one aspect– those men from Cork who were killed in action.

Doughboys of the 77th Division waiting for the Jump Off, France, 1918 (History of the Seventy Seventh Division)

Doughboys of the 77th Division waiting for the jump off, France, 1918 (History of the Seventy Seventh Division)

Killed in Action

A total of twenty of the men in the database were recorded as having being killed in action (see Table 1 below). Undoubtedly the most famous of these is Daniel Buckley from Ballydesmond. He lost his life while serving with the 165th Infantry on 17th October 1918. Daniel has a particular claim to fame in that he survived the sinking of RMS Titanic in 1912. His service in the 165th Infantry is no surprise, given that this was the designation of the 69th New York National Guard, the famed Irish unit. As the full database shows, it was a regiment filled with Irishmen during World War One.

Daniel Buckley, survivor of the sinking of the Titanic, who was killed in action as an American Doughboy in World War One (Image via Wikipedia)

Daniel Buckley, survivor of the sinking of the Titanic, who was killed in action as an American Doughboy in World War One (Image via Wikipedia)

The 69th or 165th went to war as part of the 42nd “Rainbow” Division. Another of the Cork men to fall in its ranks was Sergeant William O’Neill, from Bantry. During fighting in Champagne in July 1918 he continued on the line despite being wounded, “till death claimed him in the heat of the fray”(Duffy 1919:138)His death has added poignancy given the fact that two of his brothers, Eugene and Jerome, were also serving with the regiment. The regiment’s chaplain, Father Francis Duffy (who is remembered with a monument in Time Square) recalled that ‘”The three O’Neills and Bernard Finnerty as also Sergeant Spillane of Machine Gun Company came from the town of Bantry. “Rebel Cork” added new leaves to its laurel wreath of valor in this battle on the plains of Champagne”‘ (Ibid.).

William Donovan 69th New York

During the war the 1st Battalion of the 165th (69th New York) was led by William “Wild Bill” Donovan. A proud Irish-American with family origins in Skibbereen, he earned the Medal of Honor and later became the first head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War Two, the forerunner of the CIA. He is often referred to as the “Father of American Intelligence.” (United States Army)

Perhaps the greatest number of Irishmen served with the 77th Division, which was drawn from New York and was often called the “Liberty Division.” They are also a reminder that although those Irish who served from Ireland in the war were all regulars or volunteers, many of the Irish who went to the front as doughboys were conscripted. There were three main types of American divisions during the war– the Regular Army Divisions, made up of professional soldiers, the National Guard Divisions (such as the 42nd Division of which the 69th New York was a part) and the National Army Divisions, which was made up of men inducted into the military by draft boards. The 77th Division was one of the latter, and was the first National Army Division to go to Europe (77th Division Association 1919: 7). So many Irish served in the 77th Division that the regimental history carried a cartoon of the Irishmen’s reactions upon seeing the coast of Ireland while the troops traveled to Europe– and war– in 1917.

When the Irish Sighted Ireland (History of the Seventy Seventh Division)

‘When the Irish Sighted Ireland’ (History of the Seventy Seventh Division)

The 77th Division consisted of the 305th, 306th, 307th and 308th Regiments along with the 305th and 306th Machine Gun Battalions, the 304th, 305th and 306th Field Artillery Regiments and the 302nd Trench Mortar Battery. Readers will come across these units frequently in the database below, and a number of the Cork men who died served in its ranks. Some of them fell in actions that have become part of American military legend. One such engagement was that of the “Lost Battalion”. In October 1918, nine companies of the 77th were cut off for days in the Argonne Forest– an incident that inflicted not only severe hardship but horrendous casualties on the men engaged. One of those to fall early in the fighting was James Lynch of the 308th Infantry. A native of Youghal, he was mortally wounded while trying to carry news to the rear early in the advance. The divisional history records the moment he went down:

The forest at this point was infested with German machine gun nests and snipers, the enemy having brought up strong reinforcements, which made rapid advance extremely difficult and precarious. Private James Lynch, one of the runners of the Company, was sent from here with a message to the rear by the Company Commander. When gone only a short distance he was mortally wounded by machine gun fire, later dying in the advanced First Aid Station. His death was an extreme loss to the Company, since he was an able and fearless dispatch carrier. (Hussey & Flynn 1919:48)

The area where the 'Lost Battalion' were engaged in 1918 (History of Company E, 308th Infantry)

The area where the ‘Lost Battalion’ were engaged in 1918 (History of Company E, 308th Infantry)

Another Cork man in the 77th Division was Patrick Shea from Adrigole on the Beara Peninsula. The young man was in his mid-twenties at the time of the war, and was a majorly popular figure in his regiment, the 305th Infantry. When the unit history was written in 1919, he featured prominently. One of the stories told about him related to the time when the men were still in training. With the approach of Yom Kippur, it was announced that any man of the Jewish faith would be permitted passes to go to New York. As the history told it ‘a knock was heard at a certain orderly room door. In the gloomy hallway stood a big, strapping fellow who made known his desire for a pass. “You want to to go in for Yom Kippur?” “Yiss, sorr.” “What’s your name?” “Patrick Shea”‘ (Tiebout 1919: 18)Patrick was killed in action in the final days of the war. His comrades never forgot him:

Good old Pat; one of the best fighting Irishmen that ever struggled through the Argonne with his back-breaking burden, a Hotchkiss machine gun. Nearly everybody in the Regiment knew Pat Shea, of the Machine Gun Company, and felt mightily bitter when he lost his life at the Meuse, in the last few minutes of the war. (Ibid.)

Cartoon accompanying the story of Pat Shea in the History of the 305th Infantry (history of the 305th Infantry)

Cartoon accompanying the story of Pat Shea in the History of the 305th Infantry (History of the 305th Infantry)

Another Cork man to serve in the 305th was Sergeant Michael Kelleher. Like Pat he would not survive the war. He received a posthumous divisional citation for his actions on the Western Front:

G.O. 36, May 8, 1919.

Kelleher, Sgt. Michael (deceased), 1692867, Co. K, 305th Inf.– On Sept. 26-27, 1918, with his platoon performed the duties of a combat liaison group in the Argonne Forest between the 77th Division and the 28th Division on our right. At one time the artillery fire to which he was periodically subjected became particularly severe, 16 men of his unit being wounded. Despite this fact, Sgt. Kelleher, with cheerful disregard for his own safety, personally dressed and aided his wounded men and successfully maintained the morale of his unit, held his position and continued efficiently to carry out his mission without interruption. He was later killed in the Bois de la Naza, Oct. 5th, while gallantly leading his platoon in action.

Next of kin– Mrs. M. Donnell, aunt, 178 Devoe Street, Brooklyn (Ibid., 282).

Troops of the 307th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division on the march in France, June 1918 (Imperial War Museum via Wikipedia)

Doughboys of the 307th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division on the march in France, June 1918 (Imperial War Museum via Wikipedia)

The details of the twenty Cork men we identified as being killed in action while serving with New York units during the First World War are outlined in Table 1 below.

Name Place Rank Age at Enlistment/Induction Unit (Final) Actions Recorded Killed Date Award/Citation
Buckley, Daniel Cork Private First Class 26 K Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Rouge Bouquet Campagne; Chateau Thierry; Argonne Yes 17/10/18
Byrne, Patrick J Cork Private 29 69 New York National Guard Champagne; Ourcq, Luneville Yes 26/07/18
Crowley, Timothy John Dunmanway Segeant 27 C Company, 306 Infantry Yes 20/08/18
Donovan, Denis Cork Private First Class 30 A Company, 69 Infantry NYNG(165 Infantry) Foret Porroy; Baccaret; Champagne; Chateau Thierry Yes 29/07/18
Driscoll, William Cork Private 23 I Company, 307 Infantry. Yes 09/09/18
Fitzgibbon, Michael Cork Corporal 27 C Company, 310 Infantry Bois de Montague Yes 19/09/18
Hourihan, John J Cork Private 30 B Company, 9 Machine Gun Battalion Second battle of Marne; Chateau Thierry; Jaulgonne; Vesle River; St. Mihiel; Verdun. Yes 12/10/18 Yes
Kelleher, Michael Cork Sergeant 28 K Company, 305 Infantry, Yes 05/10/18
Lynch, James Youghal Private 26 Machine Gun Company, 308 Infantry Yes 07/10/18
Lynch, John Bantry Private 26 H Company, 115 Infantry Yes 18/09/18
Mahony, Patrick Cork Private 25 B Company, 147 Machine Gun Battalion Northwest of Verdun; Belgium Front Yes 02/11/18
Murphy, Daniel Mitchelstown Private First Class 21 C Company, 305 Machine Gun Battalion Yes 07/09/18
O’Connell, Thomas Cork Private 27 Machine Gun Company, 308 Infantry Yes 16/10/18
O’Leary, Bartholomew Castletown Berehaven Sergeant 29 D Company, 14 Machine Gun Battalion Yes 29/10/18
O’Neill, William Bantry Sergeant 23 H Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Rouge Banquet; Luneville; Ancerviller; Baccorat; Anherine; Champagne Yes 15/07/18
Ring, William J Cork Private First Class 25 K Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Champagne; Chateau Thierry; Chausailles. Yes 28/07/18
Shea, Patrick Adrigole Private 26 Machine Gun Company, 305 Infantry Yes 01/11/18
Sullivan, John Skibbereen Private 28 C Company, 308 Infantry Yes 24/06/18
Sullivan, Patrick J Charleville Private 29 C Company, 308 Infantry “June24/18. No specific battles shown” Yes 24/06/18
Sullivan, Patrick Cork Private 25 C Company, 308 Infantry Yes 01/10/18

Table 1. Those in the database recorded as killed in action. 

77th Division Dressing Station in a Church in La Chalade, October 1918

77th Division Dressing Station in a Church in La Chalade, October 1918 (History of the Seventy Seventh Division)

Future posts will explore different aspects of the database, such as those who were cited for bravery, and an examination of the Cork nurses who served in the American forces from New York. You can explore the full database, listing all of the Cork natives we have identified, below.


Name Place Rank Age Unit (Final) Overseas Killed Date Wounded Date
Ahearn, Cornelius F Cork Master Engineer 31 HQ Detachment 5 Grand Division Transport Company Yes
Ahearn, Jerry Joseph Kinsale Private 21 6 Company Engineers Fort Schuyler No
Ahern, William Joseph Midleton Lieutenant (J.G.) 48 USS Hercules (lighter) N/A
Ahern, John J Cork Master Engineer 38 HQ Company 701 Engineers Yes
Ahern, Cornelius Cork Cook 32 12 Infantry No
Ahern, John Cork Private First Class 28 Motor Transport Department Machine Gun School No
Ahern. William C Mallow Private 24 Brooks F Flying Detachment Squadron A No
Ahern, Eugene F Cork Private First Class 23 Base Hospital Camp Upton No
Aherne, Michael Whitegate Private First Class 29 302 Ammunition Train Yes
Allen, Henry J Queenstown Sergeant 26 3 Regiment Motor Mechanics Yes
Armstrong, Edward Cork Sergeant 21 5 Track Mortar Battalion Yes
Bannon, William J Ballymore (Cork?) Private 32 1 Replacement Depot Yes Severely 28/07/18
Barrett, Robert J Cork Musician 31 HQ Company 106 Field Artillery Yes
Barrett, Michael T Cork Private 30 Medical Detachment Camp Eustis No
Barrett, Patrick R Cork Wagoner 28 Battery B 57 Artillery Coast Artillery Corps Yes Severely 09/11/18
Barrett, Cornelius J Cork Private 24 L Company, 105 Infantry Yes Slightly 20/10/18
Barrow, David Mallow Private 28 D Company, 501 Engineers Yes
Barrow, John Cork Sergeant 21 M Company, 69th Infantry NYNG(165 Infantry) Yes Severely 07/11/18
Barry, Joseph C Queenstown Private First Class 30 F Company, 163 Infantry Yes
Barry, Daniel Cork Private 25 A Company, 109 Infantry Yes Severely 11/11/18
Barry, Daniel Cork Private 24 B Company, 12 Infantry NYNG No
Barry, Richard Cork Private First Class 22 7 Company, 2 Motor Mechanised Yes
Bennet, Michael Cork Master Engineer 29 HQ, 301 Stevedore Yes
Bennning, Geoffrey J Youghal Corporal 23 I Company, 52 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Blake, William Cork Bugler 31 HQ Company, 1 infantry Yes
Bohan, Thomas Cork Private 23 G Company, 165 Infantry (69 New York National Guard) Yes Slightly 30/07/18
Bohan, Peter J Cork Private 23 G Company, 165 Infantry (69 New York National Guard) Yes Undetermined 03/05/18
Bowles, Richard J Cork Private 21 A Battery, 42 Artillery Coast Artillery Corps Yes
Bradley, Dennis Cork Private 43 C Company, 22 Infantry No
Bradley, Jeremiah Cork Private 24 D Company, Ordinance Det, Aberdeen proving ground No
Brady, Joseph F Cork Cook 23 M Company, 165 Infantry (69 New York National Guard) Yes Severely 21/03/18
Bray, John H Cork Corporal 28 A Company, 16 Infantry Yes Slightly 09/10/18
Breen, David J Cork Private 26 B Company, 504 Engineer Battalion Yes
Brennan, Patrick F Cork Sergeant 41 A Company, 32 Infantry No
Brown, John F Cork Private 39 O Company, 21 Engineers No
Brown, Vincent Cork Private 20 D Company, 51 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Buckley, Patrick J Cork Corporal 27 I Company, 9 Infantry Yes Slightly 01/07/18
Buckley, Daniel Cork Private First Class 26 K Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes Yes 17/10/18 Slightly 21/03/18
Buckley, John Cork Private First Class 23 Machine Gun Company, 308 Infantry Yes
Buckley, John Timothy Cork Private First Class 24 27 Company, MPC Yes
Burke, Thomas Cork Private First Class 31 K Company, 324 Infantry Yes
Burke, James J Cork Private 22 33 Field Artillery No
Burns, Andrew Cork Private First Class 24 E Company, 307 Infantry Yes Slightly 15/09/18
Byrne, Cornelius Cork Corporal 31 HQ Company, 3 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Byrne, Patrick J Cork Private 29 69 New York National Guard Yes Yes 26/07/18 Slightly 22/03/18
Callahan, John J Cork Private 31 152 Depot Brigade No
Callahan, Michael P Cork Cook 31 53 Depot Brigade No
Callahan, John F Cork Private First Class 26 L Company, 28 Infantry Yes Slightly 18/07/18
Callahan, William Skibbereen Sergeant 23 E Company, 307 Infantry Yes
Callan, William H Queenstown Private 23 Aut Replacement Draft Fort Totten NY No
Canavan, David F Cork Wagoner 29 Support Company, 42 Infantry No
Carey, Michael Cork 21 USMC, Bks Det, Hingham Mass No
Carmody, Joseph Francis Cork Lieutenant (Temp) 30 Duty Naval Ammunition Depot, Hingham Mass No
Carr, Patrick J Cork Private 18 D Company, 304 Ammuntion Train Yes
Carroll, Michael J Cork Corporal 29 152 Depot Brigade No
Carver, Patrick Cork Private 28 C Battery, 315 Field Artillery 15/04/18
Casey, John Patrick Cork Sergeant 49 USMC, Mare Island, CA No
Casey, Mathew Cork Private 32 Ordinance Depot, Panama No
Casey, Mathew Cork Private 33 B Company, 4 Infantry Yes Severely 23/07/18
Casey, Harry D Newmarket Private First Class 26 331 Infantry Yes
Casey, Charles Cork Private 26 160 Company, RTC Yes
Casey, Michael Cork Private 25 HQ Company, 323 Infantry Yes
Casey, Joseph Cork Private First Class 23 C Company, 130 Engineers Yes
Casey, Thomas Charleville Corporal 21 B Company, 329 Battalion, 305 Tank Brigade Yes
Clancy, Michael Enaughter Corporal 41 USMC, R.R. Quantico, VA No
Clark, Thomas J Cork Private 25 G Company, 168 Infantry Yes Slightly 12/09/18
Clarke, Benjamin Bantry Private 24 Motor Transport Company 741 No
Clifford, Richard P Queenstown Private 29 G Company, 48 Infantry No
Coakley, Cornelius Cork Private 27 C Company, 51 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Coakley, John J Cork Private First Class 27 F Company, 323 Infantry Yes
Coakley, James Joseph Cork Corporal 24 G Company, 52 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Coffey, William J Cork Private 22 Medical Department Base Hospital 214 Yes
Collins, Daniel J Cork Private 35 A Battery, 37 Artillery, Coastal Artillery Corps No
Collins, James Cork Wagoner 26 HQ Company, 308 Infantry Yes
Collins, John J Cork 2nd Lieutenant 27 Camp Devens, Mass No
Collins, John J Cork Sergeant 23 HQ COTS, Camp Pike, Ark, No
Collins, Patrick J Queenstown Private First Class 27 F Battery, 309 Field Artillery Yes
Collins, John Joseph Cork Private 26 G Company, Sec B Syracuse University Students Army Training Corps Syracuse No
Collins, Cornelius Queenstown Corporal 24 G Company, 324 Infantry Yes
Comerford, John Patrick Cork Corporal 24 A Company, 306 Infantry Yes Slightly 24/08/18
Condon, Jeremiah Queenstown Sergeant 29 Med Storage Station, MD Yes
Connaughton, Michael Joseph Ballymore (Cork?) Corporal 28 M Trk Co 464 M Sup Tn 417 Yes
Connors, James Cork Sergeant 46 Ordinance Corps Yes
Conway, Maurice Millstreet Private 23 L Company, 303 Infantry Yes
Corcoran, Patrick J Cork Sergeant 40 Military Police, Company 1 Yes
Costello, Peter Matthew Bantry Sup Sergeant 27 M Company, 52 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Cotter, Garrett T Cork Private First Class 32 10 Company, 20 Engineers Yes
Coughlan, Cornelius Schull Private 29 L Company, 328 Infantry Yes
Coughlin, Edward Cork Private 29 H Company, 303 Infantry Yes
Coughlin, Timothy Cork Private 30 21 Company, Machine Gun Division, Machine Gun Training Center No
Cowhig, Daniel Cork Private 29 M Company, 2 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Cronin, Thomas J Cork Private 25 Depot Regiment 304, No
Cronin, William Edward Cork Private 22 B Company, 310 Infantry Yes Slightly 26/09/18
Croston, Jobe Cork Private 22 B Battery, 43 Artillery CAC Yes
Crowley, John J Cork Corporal 29 Chemical Warfare Service Camp, Kendrick NJ No
Crowley, Timothy John Dunmanway Segeant 27 C Company, 306 Infantry Yes Yes 20/08/18
Crowley, Patrick J Cork Private First Class 27 G Company, 311 Infantry Yes
Crowley, Stephen Cork Private First Class 22 B Company, 302 Engineers Yes
Curran, Owen Newmarket Sergeant 27 E Company, 302 Ammunition Train Yes
Curtin, Denis D Rockchapel Sergeant 23 HQ Company, 44 Artillery CAC Yes
Cusack, Thomas Cork Private 27 33 Prisoner of war Esctort Company Yes
Daly, John J Cork Private 41 F Company, 104 Infantry Yes
Daly, Patrick Cork Private First Class 31 C Company, 318 Machine Gun Battalion Yes
Daly, Thomas Cork Private 30 152 Depot Brigade No
Daly, Timothy Cork Wagoner 29 Support Company, 303 Infantry Yes
Daly, Edward M Newmarket Private 27 A Company, 305 Machine Gun Battallion Yes
Daly, John Cork Sergeant 23 D Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes
Daly, John J Schull Corporal 27 Quartermaster Corps No
Daly, Thomas Cork Private 24 299 Aer Provisional Service Squadron No
Daly, Thomas S Cork Private First Class 23 279 Aer Squadron ASSC Yes
Daly, Arthur J Cork Corporal 22 330 Infantry Yes
Daly, Nicholas A Cork Sergeant 25 RTC Receiving depot MG training center Camp Hancock No
Davis, William B Queenstown Wagoner 23 C Battery, 309 Field Artillery Yes
Deasy, John M Cork Private 28 A Company, 306 Engineers No
Desmond, Daniel Cork Private 29 B Company, 51 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Dillon, Jerome Schull Private 30 D Company, 11 Machine Gun Battalion, Yes
Dilworth, Daniel Cork Corporal 28 L Company, 306 Infantry Yes Slightly 14/10/18
Dinan, Bartholomew J Cork Private 28 C Company, 69 Infantry NY National Guard No
Dineen, John Cork Private First Class 28 MD Base Hospital 135 No
Doherty, Daniel D Rathmore Private 27 Provost Guard Company, Camp Hancock GA No
Donegan, James J Cork Private First Class 26 Ordinance Casual Company 67 Yes
Donnellan, Thomas West Cork Private 27 MD No
Donoghue, Daniel J Riverstick Private 28 L Company, 346 Infantry Yes
Donovan, Denis Cork Private First Class 30 A Company, 69 Infantry NYNG(165 Infantry) Yes Yes 29/07/18
Donovan, Denis J Cork Sergeant 26 M Company, 69th Infantry NYNG(165 Infantry) Yes Slightly 22/03/18
Donovan, James Kinsale Private 30 G Company, 52 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Donovan, Joseph D Cork Private First Class 29 Camp Utilities Det QMC Camp Upton, NY No
Donovan, Michael Bauravilla Private 29 4 Co CAC Ft Warren Mass No
Donovan, Charles Cork Private First Class 28 A Company, 312 Machine Gun Battalion Yes
Donovan, Cornelius Cork Private 29 E Battery, 30 Artillery CAC No
Donovan, Jeremiah Cork Private 26 D Battery, 306 Field Artillery Yes
Donovan, Jeremiah J Cork Sergeant 26 825 Aero Squadron Yes
Donovan, John Joseph Bantry Private 26 M Company, 348 Infantry Yes
Donovan, John V Cork Corporal 25 COTS Camp Lee, VA No
Donovan, Henry J Skibbereen Private 24 HQ Company, 348 Infantry Yes
Donovan, Michael Skibbereen Private First Class 22 C Company, 59 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Donovan, Michael P Cork Private 19 G Troop, 12 Cavalry No
Dowling, Hugh Cork Private 26 Vet Hospital # 13 Yes
Driscoll, John Queenstown Bosun (Prov) 55 Mine Sweeping Division, Tompkinsville S.I., NY N/A
Driscoll, Michael P Cork Private First Class 30 Sup Company, 305 Infantry Yes
Driscoll, Denis J Bantry Sergeant 28 Quartermaster Corps, Fort Slocum, NY. No
Driscoll, John J Cork Private 27 340 Motorised Truck Company No
Driscoll, Jerry Cork Private 25 Quartermast Corps, Service Company 3, Camp Johnston, FL No
Driscoll, Dennis Cork Sergeant 24 TC at large AEF Yes
Driscoll, William Cork Private 23 I Company, 307 Infantry. Yes Yes 09/09/18
Driscoll, James Kinsale Corporal 22 E Company, 307 Engineer Yes
Drislane, Kennis, J Fermoy Mechanic 25 B Battery, 15 Field Artillery, Yes
Duffy, James Cork Chief Water Tender 41 Headquarters, 3rd Naval District N/A
Dwyer, Neil Patrick Cork Corporal 46 USMC, Ft. Lafayette NY No
Dwyer, Robert Bantry Private First Class 24 Machine Gun Company, 308 Infantry Yes
Dwyer, Jeremiah Cork Private 22 11 Company Nov Aut Repl Draft, Camp Wheeler, GA No
Dynan, William G Cork Sergeant 26 I Company 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes Slightly 14/10/18
Evans, Daniel Cork Sergeant 26 C Company 307 F Signal Battalion, Yes
Farley, Patrick Stephen Cork Lieutenant (J.G.) 50 (USN), Det. HELUNTA to receiving ship, Norfolk VA. N/A
Feore, James Cork Private 25 D Company, 306 Infantry, Yes
Fitzgerald, Thomas D Cork Private 28 A Company, 56 Machine Gun Battalion No
Fitzgibbon, Michael Cork Corporal 27 C Company, 310 Infantry Yes Yes 19/09/18
Fitzgibbon, John Fermoy Private First Class 22 HQ Company, 305 Infantry yes
Fitzpatrick, William Cork HS Mechanic 27 E Battery, 80 Field Artillery Yes
Fitzpatrick, Dennis Millstreet Private First Class 26 77 Military Police Company Yes
Flynn, Daniel J Cork Private First Class 29 H Company, 310 Infantry Yes
Foley, William Youghal Private 28 C Company, 9 Battalion US Gds No
Foley, Bartholomew Cork Private 21 E Company, 11 Engineers Yes
Ford, Denis Cork Private 21 15 Company, Coast Artillery Corps No
Ford, Daniel Cork Private First Class 19 I Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes Severely 28/07/18
Forde, Michael J Cork Sergeant 31 Brd Sup Det Raritan Arsenal NJ Yes
Galvin, Denis D Cork Private 24 H Company, 26 Infantry Yes Severely 05/10/18
Geaney, William V Cork Private 25 2 Ordinance Company, 2 Co Ord Repair shop Yes
Godson, John J Cork Private 30 B Company, 303 Infantry. MD to discharge Yes
Goggin, Frank J Cork Private 29 Machine Gun training center, Camp Hancock, GA No
Goggin, Cornelius Cork Private 27 C Company, 2 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Gould, Denis Cork Private First Class 24 E Company, 2 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Goulding, John J Cork Private 27 C Battery, 31 Field Artillery No
Gregory, Michael J Cork Corporal 33 L Company, 37 Infantry No
Griffin, Michael Cork Private First Class 32 Ordinance Depot, 117 Ordinance repair Shop Yes
Griffin, John A Cork Private 22 C Company, 16 Engineers, Yes
Griffin, Gerald J Cork Bn Sergeant Major 18 HQ Company, 52 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Hagerty, John Cork Private 30 H Company, 164 Infantry Yes
Hagerty, Timothy H Cork Private 28 Camp Wheeler, GA. Nv Aut Repl Draft No
Halliday, Robert Ballymore (Cork?) Chauffeur 23 HQ Detachment, 102 Field Signal Battalion Yes
Halpin, John Cork Sergeant 22 M Company, 12 Infantry NYNG (52 Pioneer ) Yes
Harrigan, Jeremiah Cork Saddler 38 B Battery, 104 Field Artillery Yes
Harrington, James J Adrigole Private First Class 29 L Company, 307 Infantry Yes Slightly 23/08/18
Harrington, Jeremiah Cork Private First Class 29 H Company, 326 Infantry Yes Slightly 11/10/18
Harrington, Peter J Cork Private 30 G Company, 58 Infantry Yes Slightly 04/10/18
Hart, Maurice Cork Private 33 L Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes Slightly 28/07/18
Hart, Thomas H Garryduff Private First Class 23 M Company, 67 Infantry No
Hartnett, Jerry Cullen Private 31 5 Company, Coast Artillery Corps, Portland Ft William ME No
Hartnett, James Cork Private 29 74 NY Infantry NG No
Hartnett, Thomas C Cork Private 24 E Battery 2 Field Artillery NYNG (105 Field Artillery) Yes Slightly 06/11/18
Harty, John Cork Private 30 156 Company, C Def of NH, Ft. Constitution No
Hawkins, Thomas P Cork Private 23 C Battery, 305 Field Artillery Yes
Hayes, Patrick B Cork Sergeant 36 M Company 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes Slightly 22/03/18
Healy, Lawrence J Cork Corporal 22 B Battery, 309 Field Artillery Yes
Heany, Patrick J Cork First Sergeant 25 D Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes Degree Undetermined 30/07/18
Hickey, Andrew Cork Private First Class 33 F Company, 21 Engineers Yes
Higgins, Denis Queenstown Corporal 32 6 Provisional Ordinance Depot, Camp Stanley, TX No
Hill, Thomas P Cork Private First Class 29 C Company, 302 Field Signal Battalion Yes
Holland, Michael Bantry Sergeant 31 Depot Quartermaster, Camp Hancock, GA No
Holland, Patrick Cork Corporal 24 92 Motor Transport Company, Motor Transport Corps Yes
Horan, Peter Cork First Sergeant 26 G Company, 69 Infantry No
Horgan, Cornelius Cork Corporal 28 I Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes Slightly 14/10/18
Hosford, John W A Cork Private First Class 24 HQ Company, 15 Field Artillery, QMC to discharge Yes
Hourihan, John J Cork Private 30 B Company, 9 Machine Gun Battalion Yes Yes 12/10/18
Howard, James Cork Private 30 K Company, 307 Infantry, Yes Severely 14/09/18
Humphries, James Cork Private 30 A Company, 51 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Hurley, Daniel Cork Corporal 28 C Battery, 38 Artillary, Coast Artillery Corps No
Hurley, Jeremiah Cork Private First Class 26 F Company, 308 Infantry, Yes Slightly 30/09/18
Hurley, Jerome Bernard Cork Private 24 A Company, 302 Engineers Yes
Hurley, Richard Cork Private 24 H Company, 305 Infantry No
Johnson, James H Cork Reg Sergeant Major 45 HQ Company, 7 Infantry Yes Slightly 04/10/18
Johnston, George William Cork Lieutenant (J.G.) 27 Naval School, Columbia University, USN N/A
Jordan, Eugene Cork Private First Class 24 HQ Company, 347 Infantry Yes
Kane, Lawrence J Cork Private First Class 29 MD General Hospital 14 Ft. Oglethorpe No
Keane, Thomas L Cork Private 23 H Company, 108 Infantry Yes Slightly 29/09/18
Kearney, Michael Newmarket Captain 43 Jd. Mare Island CA. No
Keating, Daniel Cork Corporal 30 Ordinance C, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD No
Keefe, John J Cork Private 40 A Company, 215 Engineers No
Keleher, Dennis Cork Sergeant 37 School for bakers & Cooks, Camp Dix, NJ Yes
Kelleher, Michael Cork Sergeant 28 K Company, 305 Infantry, Yes Yes 05/10/18
Kelleher, Cornelius Macroom Private 27 E Company, 51 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Kelleher, Michael Cork Private 27 MD to discharge No
Kelleher, Patrick Cork Private 27 G Company, 328 Infantry Yes
Kelleher, Cornelius Cork Private 27 F Company, 355 Infantry Yes
Kelly, James Youghal Corporal 29 C Company, 305 Machine Gun Battalion Yes Degree Undetermined 07/09/18
Kelly, John J Cork Private 27 G Company, 166 Infantry Yes Slightly 13/09/18
Kennedy, Joseph H Cork Private First Class 30 B Company, 33 Engineers Yes
Kennedy, Edward Thomas Cork Private 23 A Company, 316 Machine Gun Battalion Yes
Kennedy, William V Cork Private 21 E Company, 308 Infantry Yes Degree Undetermined 14/08/18
Keohane, Denis Bantry Private First Class 26 Machine Gun training center, Camp Hancock, GA No
Keohane, Jeremiah Bantry Private 24 3 Company, 25 Ordinance supply No
Keyes, John Michael Cork Captain 42 Camp Dix, NJ Yes
Kiely, Michael Anthony Cork Lieutenant 30 461 Aer Squadron, No
Kingston, William Ballydehob Private 29 F Company, 25 Engineers Yes
Kingston, George S Drimoleague Private 25 A Battery, 304 Field Artillery Yes
Kinkead, Thomas M Cork Private 31 C Company, 105 Infantry Yes Severely 29/09/18
Kinnery, William A Cork Private First Class 29 D Company, 5 Machine Gun Battalion Yes
Landers, Robert F Cork Private 29 G Company, 45 Infantry No
Landy, Albert Cork Private 27 D Company, 501 Engineers Yes
Leahy, William Cork Private 29 224 Aero Squadron, Yes
Leary, Cornelius D Cork Private 29 A Company, 309 Infantry No
Leary, Timothy Cork Private First Class 29 B Company, 307 Infantry Yes Severely 28/08/18
Lenihan, Patrick Cork Cook 25 B Company, 163 Infantry/POW escort to discharge Yes
Long, Edward D Cork Private 27 Construction Co 9 Kelly F Tex Yes
Looney, James Cork Private 27 Engineers C Camp Humphreys, VA No
Looney, John J Cork Corporal 27 Med Det 9 Inf to discharge Yes Severely 01/06/18
Lucey, John J Kanturk Sergeant 23 MD 305 Infantry Yes Severely 07/11/18
Lucey, William Queenstown Ensign 22 Naval Auxilliary Reserve, NY/N.O.T.S. Baltimore N/A
Lynch, Jerome Mosley Cork Lt. Commander 47 Naval Hospital NY “America” N/A
Lynch, James J Cork Sergeant 39 HQ Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes
Lynch, James Youghal Private 26 Machine Gun Company, 308 Infantry Yes Yes 07/10/18
Lynch, Jeremiah S. Cork Private 26 B Battery, 305 Field Artillery, Yes
Lynch, John Bantry Private 26 H Company, 115 Infantry Yes Yes 18/09/18
Lynch, Michael Cork Private First Class 25 D Company, 305 Infantry Yes Slightly 16/08/18
Lyons, Daniel Bartholmon Cork Private First Class 30 B Company, 347 Infantry Yes
Madden, Stephen J Cork Private 34 Repl Engineers, Ft. Foote, MD Yes
Magner, Michael J Cork Sergeant 28 MD Post Hospital, Madison Barracks, NY No
Magner, William J Cork Corporal 26 Support Company 332 Camp Merritt, NJ No
Mahony, Michael Cork Sergeant 54 B Company, 443 Reserve Labor Battalion No
Mahony, James J Cork Private First Class 31 D Company, 38 Infantry Yes
Mahony, Stephen Cork Private First Class 25 Base Hospital #85 Yes
Mahony, Patrick Cork Private 25 B Company, 147 Machine Gun Battalion Yes Yes 02/11/18
Mahony, Michael J Cork Sergeant Mechanic 21 Quartermaster Corps Camp Greene, NC No
Maloney, Dan(iel) Cork Cook 21 B Company, 10 Infantry NYNG (51 Pioneer Infantry) Yes
Marks, James Christopher Jr. Cork 1st Lietenant 28 Infantry ASP No
Mason, Harry Cork Private First Class 30 D Company, 38 Infantry Yes
Massey, Arthur B Cork Private 32 157 Depot Brigade No
Maume, Gerald V Cork Private First Class 30 C Company, 345 Infantry, Yes
McAuliffe, Julia Cork Nurse 44 Post Hospital, Belgium, Camp Devens, Mass Yes
McAuliff, Cornelius J Cork Sergeant 30 General Hospital # 8, No
McAuliffe, Michael J Cork Sergeant 30 D Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes Slightly 15/10/18
McAuliffe, Denis Cork Corporal 26 D Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes Severely 14/10/18
McCarthy, Lawrence Clonakilty? Wagoner 21 MD F Hospital, 305 302 Sn Tn Yes
McCarthy, William Cork Private 31 K Company, 348 Infantry Yes
McCarthy, Denis Cork Sergeant 25 M Company, 69th Infantry NYNG(165 Infantry) Yes Twice, Slightly and Severely, 30/07/18
McCarthy, Michael J Skibbereen Private First Class 29 B Company, 321 Machine Gun Battalion Yes Slightly 16/10/18
McCarthy, Patrick Skibbereen? Private First Class 29 I Company, 306 Infantry Yes
McCarthy, William Cork Private First Class 29 231 MPC Yes
McCarthy, Edmond Finbar Cork 2nd Lieutenant 29 1 Replacement Depot, Yes
McCarthy, Frank Cork Private 28 M Company, 141 Infantry Yes Gassed severely 07/10/18
McCarthy, William Cork Private First Class 25 162 Dep Brigade No
McCarthy, Eugene J Cork Corporal 27 MD No
McCarthy, Alexander J Cork Private First Class 24 C Battery, 306 Field Artillery Yes
McCarthy, Eugene Cork Sergeant 24 A Company, 3 Infantry No
McCarthy, Bartholomew Cork Corporal 24 152 Depot Brigade No
McCarthy, Harry Cork Private 34 E Company, 42 Infantry No
McCarthy, Patrick J Cork Cook 21 L Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes
McDermott, Michael F Cork Sergeant 29 HQ Det Army Service Corps A PO 117 Yes
McDonald, Michael Youghal Private First Class 22 F Company, 108 Infantry Yes Slightly 29/09/18
McGillicuddy, John Cork Private 22 E Company, 69 Infantry NYNG No
McNamara, Bart Cork Corporal 29 F Battery, Field Artillery, NYNG (104 Field Artillery) Yes
McNamara, John Finbar Queenstown Lietenant (J.G.) 27 Naval Overseas Transportation Service NY “America” N/A
McSweeney, Myles J Cork Private First Class 31 47 Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps, No
McSweeney, Jeremiah W Bantry Private 27 HQ Company, 127 Field Artillery, Yes
Mills, George Glanmire Private 29 AS Mechanic School Det, St. Paul, Minn. No
Monahan, John J Cork Boatswain 44 On duty Armed Draft Detail, Navy Yard, NY N/A
Moore, John J Cork Private 22 I Company, 326 Infantry Yes
Morrissey, Michael Cork Wagoner 47 HQ Det, 102 Am Tn, Yes
Moynihan, Joseph P Cork Wagoner 31 Support Company, 18 Field Artillery, Yes
Moynihan, Eugene Cork Private 29 D Company, 7 Machine Gun Battalion No
Moynihan, Jerome Cork Master Sargeant? 29 A Company, 9 Machine Gun Battalion Yes
Moynihan, James J Ballingeary Private 21 B Company, 164 Infantry Yes
Mulcahy, Michael J Cork Private 26 C Company, 162 Infantry Yes Severely 09/10/18
Mullane, John Cork Private 30 C Battery, 304 Field Artillery Yes
Mullane, John Cork Private 27 Ambulance Company, 108 Sn Tn Yes
Mullane, John Cork Private 25 K Company, 350 Infantry Yes
Murphy, Daniel Cork Reg Sergeant Major 47 Infantry School of Arms Det No
Murphy, Dennis J Cork Private First Class 30 C Company, 318 Machine Gun Battalion Yes
Murphy, Patrick Cork Private 30 Quartermaster Corps No
Murphy, Jerome Cork Private First Class 27 Machine Gun Troop 3, Cavalry Yes
Murphy, Michael Kiskeam Private First Class 27 B Company, 30 Machine Gun Battalion No
Murphy, Peter Cork Private 28 A Company, 19 Battalion, US Guards No
Murphy, Cornelius Cork Private First Class 25 MD No
Murphy, Cornelius Cork Private 25 Machine Gun training center, Camp Hancock, GA No
Murphy, Denis Cork Sergeant 23 D Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry)/329 MG Battalion Yes Slightly 02/08/18
Murphy, Jeremiah Cork Corporal 24 G Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes
Murphy, Patrick J Cork Private 25 D Company, 302 Infantry Yes
Murphy, John P Queenstown Sergeant 23 H Company, 16 Infantry Yes Slightly 20/07/18
Murphy, Jeremiah Michael Cork Private 22 G Company, 2 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Murphy, Daniel Mitchelstown Private First Class 21 C Company, 305 Machine Gun Battalion Yes Yes 07/09/18
Murray, Thomas Cork Private 22 C Company, 305 Infantry Yes Severely 12/10/18
Nash, Robert Arthur Collenstown Cork? Machinist 26 Naval Auxilliary Reserve, N/A
Newman, Thomas P Cork Private 34 Provost Guard Company, Camp Jackson, SC. No
Newman, Denis Cork Private First Class 26 F Battery, 1 Field Artillery NYNG(104 Field Artillery) Yes
O’Brien, Jeremiah Cork Private 31 1st Company, 1st Battalion, 153 Dep Brigade No
O’Brien, Michael Cork Cook 27 K Company, 69 Infantry NYNG(165 Infantry) Yes Slightly 21/03/18
O’Brien, Thomas Cork Private 28 E Company, 108 Infantry Yes Degree undetermined 29/09/18
O’Brien, Daniel Cork Private 27 I Company, 18 Infantry Yes Slightly 02/10/18
O’Brien, Daniel Cork Wagoner 27 D Battery, 60 Field Artillery No
O’Brien, Michael D Clonakilty Private 26 Machine Gun Company, 105 Infantry Yes Slightly 29/09/18
O’Brien, Denis Cork Corporal 23 D Company, 69 Infantry NYNG(165 Infantry) Yes Slightly 12/09/18
O’Connell, Thomas Cork Private 27 Machine Gun Company, 308 Infantry Yes Yes 16/10/18
O’Connell, Dennis Grenagh Private 25 H Company, 308 Infantry Yes
O’Connell, John J Cork Chauffeur 23 HQ Det Rents Requisitions and Claims Co 41 Yes
O’Connor, Jeremiah Cork Mechanic 29 K Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes Slightly 20/03/18
O’Connor, Jeremiah Cork Sergeant First Class 28 Motor Transport Corps Yes
O’Connor, Denis M Cork Sergeant 27 G Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) yes Slightly 31/07/18
O’Connor, Michael Cork Corporal 23 Bks Det No
O’Connor, William Cork Sergeant 27 Support Company, 306 Infantry Yes Severely 20/08/19
O’Connor, Bartholomew Cork Mechanic 26 E Battery, 306 Field Artillery Yes
O’Connor, David S. Cork Musician First Class 25 HQ Company, 322 Infantry Yes Slightly 09/11/18
O’Connor, Elizabeth Cork Nurse 25 General Hospital Fort Sheridan, IL Yes
O’Connor, Michael Cork Private 25 D Company, 307 Ammunition Train Yes
O’Donnell, James Cork Private 23 4 Grand Division Yes
O’Donohue, Denis Cork Private 30 K Company, 18 Infantry Yes
O’Donovan, Patrick J Cork Corporal 22 Quartermaster Corps Camp Wadsworth No
O’Dwyer, Patrick Cork Private First Class 21 B Company, 130 Engineers Yes
O’Gorman, James J Cork Private 21 E Company, 53 Infantry No
O’Hanlon, John Francis Cork Sergeant 33 626 Aero Squadron No
O’Keefe, Timothy Cork Private First Class 22 K Company, 9 Infantry Yes Slightly 15/07/18
O’Leary, Bartholomew Castletown Berehaven Sergeant 29 D Company, 14 Machine Gun Battalion Yes Yes 29/10/18
O’Leary, Daniel Cork Private First Class 31 806 Aero Squadron Yes
O’Leary, Timothy Blarney Corporal 29 Machine Gun training center, Camp Hancock, GA No
O’Leary, James Cork Private 27 D Company, 9 Machine Gun Battalion Yes Slightly 26/07/18
O’Leary, Timothy Cork Private 23 D Company, 69 Infantry NYNG No
O’Leary, Timothy Cork Private 24 14 Provisional Engineers Camp Humphreys* Yes
O’Leary, Patrick Cork Corporal 23 55 Company, Tank Corps Yes
O’Neill, Jerome Bantry Sergeant First Class 22 H Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes
O’Neill, William Bantry Sergeant 23 H Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes Yes 15/07/18
O’Neill, Michael J Kanturk Private First Class 25 B Battery, 308 Field Artillery Yes
O’Regan, Jeremiah Cork Private First Class 32 C Company, 58 Infantry Yes
O’Reilly, Patrick Cork Private First Class 22 K Company, 9 Infantry Yes Slightly 01/11/18
O’Sullivan, Frank Theobald Cork 2nd Lieutenant 49 Veterinary Corps, AEF Camp Dix NJ Yes
O’Sullivan, William Cork Sergeant 28 HQ Company, 19 Infantry No
O’Sullivan, Patrick Cork Stable Sergeant 21 A Battery, 14 Field Artillery No
O’Sullivan, Patrick J Cork Private First Class 23 D Company, 52 Pioneer Infantry Yes
O’Sullivan, Timothy Cork Private First Class 23 E Company, 64 Infantry Yes
O’Sullivan, Frank Cork Private 21 M Company, 53 Infantry Yes
Owens, Bernard J Dromore Private First Class 18 H Company, 106 Infantry/Cas (in hosp) to discharge Yes Severely 28/09/18
Pattison, John Cork Private 26 56 Depot Brigade No
Perrott, Edward T Cork Private 29 E Company, 22 Infantry No
Phillips, Walter Passage West Corporal 27 Quartermaster Corps Yes
Powers, Bart T Queenstown Private 40 F Company, 12 Engineers Yes
Prendergast, Richard Francis Kinsale Lietenant (J.G.) 28 To duty reserve ship, New York N/A
Reen, John Cork Corporal 24 D Company, 307 Infantry Yes Slightly 14/09/18
Regan, Timothy Cork Recruit 28 31 Company, 8 Battalion, 152 Depot Brigade No
Regan, Daniel Cork Private First Class 26 A Battery, 78 Field Artillery Yes
Regan, Patrick Cork Sergeant 23 G Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes Severely 28/07/18
Reilly, Cornelius Cork Private First Class 32 B Battery, 12 Field Artillery Yes
Ring, John M Cork Mechanic 25 K Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes Severely 02/08/18
Ring, William J Cork Private First Class 25 K Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes Yes 28/07/18 Slightly 14/03/18
Riordan, Francis Cork Gunnery Sergeant 46 USMC, Barrack Det Navy Yard, DC. No
Roche, John Dripsey Private 27 Aux Reg Dep 306 Quartermaster Corps No
Rogers, Joseph Cork Mess Sergeant 28 B Company, Gr # 2 MTD Machine Gun Training Center Camp Hancock, GA No
Ronan, John J Cork Corporal 25 L Company, 23 Infantry Yes
Ronan, Michael A Buttevant Private 19 Student Army Training Center, St Johns College, Brooklyn, NY. No
Ryan, Dennis J Cork Sergeant 22 25 Battalion, Co Aviation Center Camp Morrison VA, No
Ryan, Donald David Cork Private 19 A Battery, 106 Field Artillery Yes
Scannell, John J Farran? Corporal 29 Service Company, 60 Infantry Yes
Scannell, William Cork Private First Class 22 B Company, 35 Machine Gun Battalion No
Sexton, Richard Cork Wagoner 30 Support Company, 38 Infantry Yes
Shannon, Thomas F Bantry Private First Class 30 77 Company, Military Police Yes
Shea, John Queenstown Ensign 53 Never Mobilised N/A
Shea, Peter J Bantry Private First Class 28 H Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes Severely 29/07/18
Shea, Patrick Adrigole Private 26 Machine Gun Company, 305 Infantry Yes Yes 01/11/18
Shea, John Cork Private 25 L Company, 106 Infantry Yes
Sheedy, David Cork Captain 42 59 Infantry Yes
Sheedy, Frank J Cork Cook 30 E Battery, 57 Coast Artillery Corps Yes
Sheehan, Joseph P Cork Private 29 3 A A Machine Gun Battalion, Yes
Sheehan, Timothy Cork Private 26 D Battery, 305 Field Artillery Yes
Sheehan, James P Cork Private 23 Rep Unit 320 Motor Transport Corps Yes
Sheehan, Jeremiah Cork Private 23 E Battery, 335 Field Artillery, Yes
Sheehan, Jerry Cork Private 23 M Company, 16 Infantry Yes Slightly 19/07/18
Sheehan, Thomas J Cork Private 24 Veterinary Hospital 13 Yes
Sheehan, Timothy Cork Private First Class 24 D Company, 304 Machine Gun Battalion Yes
Sheehan, John Cork Corporal 21 E Company, 305 Infantry Yes Slightly 27/09/18
Shinnick, William Cork Private 29 A Company, 106 Infantry Yes Severely 27/08/18
Smith, Edward James Queenstown Private First Class 28 317 Company, Tank Corps, Yes
Smith, Harry Cork Private 18 17 Company, 9 Coast Artillery Corps, NYNG No
Spillane, Michael Cork Sergeant 44 Mtd Service School Det, Fort Riley, Kans No
Spillane, John J Cork Sergeant 27 MG Company, 69 Infantry NYNG(165 Infantry), Yes Slightly 14/10/18
Stack, Richard Theodore Fermoy Sergeant 30 K Company, 305 Infantry, Yes Slightly 08/11/18
Stephens, Nassau Somerville Queenstown Captain 50 Quartermasters Corps, No
Sullivan, Bartholomew Alphonse Adrigole Sergeant 43 USMC, Cas Det ? Yes
Sullivan, Cornelius Adrigole Wagoner 31 Support Company, 309 Field Artillery Yes
Sullivan, Daniel Francis Cork Private 30 152 Depot Brigade No
Sullivan, Jeremiah Cork Lietenant (J.G.) 28 Mine Sweeping Division, Tompkinsville S.I., NY N/A
Sullivan, Patrick Tracashel Private 30 Quartermasters Corps at large Yes
Sullivan, Benjamin Cork Private 28 B Company, 306 Infantry Yes Degree undetermined 12/10/18
Sullivan, Jeremiah Cork Private First Class 28 B Company, 306 Infantry Yes Severely 27/09/18
Sullivan, John Skibbereen Private 28 C Company, 308 Infantry Yes Yes 24/06/18
Sullivan, Patrick J Charleville Private 29 C Company, 308 Infantry Yes Yes 24/06/18
Sullivan, Patrick Cork Sergeant 26 45 Battery 5 AA Sect Yes
Sullivan, William O Cork Sergeant 28 HQ Company, 19 Infantry No
Sullivan, Daniel J Newmarket Private 25 4 Company 152 Depot Brigade Yes
Sullivan, Patrick Cork Private 25 C Company, 308 Infantry Yes Yes 01/10/18
Sullivan, Daniel Joseph Bantry Corporal 25 C Company, 114 Infantry Yes
Sullivan, Michael J Cork Private 24 G Company, 52 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Sullivan, Cornelius Cork Private First Class 22 F Company, 2 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Sullivan, Michael F Cork Corporal 22 234 Company, Military Police, Yes
Swanton, Richard P Queenstown Private 30 MD Base Hospital 123 Yes
Sweeney, Mortimer Millstreet? Sergeant 27 Base Hospital 113, Yes
Sweetman, James Ballydehob Private 27 K Company, 348 Infantry Yes
Sweetman, George Cork Corporal 25 C Company, 306 Field Signal Battalion, Yes
Tarrant, George Cork Private First Class 26 D Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) No
Tobin, Robert Richard Cork Private 28 HQ Company, Cas Det Camp Wordsworth, SC. No
Twomey, Jeremiah Lacka Co. Cork Private First Class 25 C Company, 26 Infantry Yes Slightly 07/10/18
Wade, Cornelius Ballymore Private First Class 28 HQ Company, 326 Infantry Yes
Walsh, David Cork Private First Class 33 D Company, 69 Infantry NYNG (165 Infantry) Yes Slightly 19/07/18
Walsh, John Cork Private 26 B Company, 320 Infantry Yes Degree undetermined 01/11/18
Walsh, John J Cloyne Private 24 B Company, 130 Engineers Yes
Warner, Robert Cork Private First Class 23 I Company, 3 Prov Regiment No
Waters, Grames P Cork Private First Class 28 HQ Company, 22 Infantry No
Watson, George H Cork Cook 27 M Company, 52 Pioneer Infantry Yes
Whalen, John Cork Mechanic 28 I Company, 69 Infantry NYNG No
Wood, Rebecca Mary Cork Nurse 40 Debark H 3 Greenhut Building, NY No
Wood, Joseph F Cork Sergeant 37 C Company, 10 Infantry NYNG (51 Pioneer Infantry) Yes
Men of the 77th Division pause during the advance, September 1918

Men of the 77th Division pause during the advance, September 1918 (History of the Seventy Seventh Division)

References & Acknowledgements

*This database was compiled by Paul Higgins under the direction of Damian Shiels for the Midleton Archaeology & Heritage Project. Paul’s dedication to uncovering these men and women’s stories and his efforts at locating additional detail on their service added greatly to the project. Thanks are also due to Pat Sullivan, a Cork New Yorker whose own family served in the 77th Division, for drawing my attention to the fantastic cartoon depicting the reaction of Irish troops in the division to sighting the coast of Ireland while on their way to Europe. 

New York State Archives. New York State Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917–1919.

77th Division Association 1919. History of the Seventy Seventh Division August 25th 1917–November 11th 1918. 

Duffy, Francis P. 1919. Father Duffy’s Story: A Tale of Humor and Heroism, of Life and Death with the Fighting Sixty-Ninth. 

Hussey, Alexander & Flynn, Raymond. 1919. The History of Company E, 308th Infantry (1917-1919).

Tiebout, Frank B. 1919. A History of the 305th Infantry. 

Categories: World War One | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Children’s Christmas in Midleton Workhouse

Through the second half of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century Christmas brought with it an expectation of charitable aid to the poor around the town, manifested through initiatives like the Christmas Coal Fund, which aimed to help those less fortunate in meeting the added burden of heating their homes during Winter. The unfortunate inmates of Midleton Workhouse (now Midleton Hospital) were another group who benefited from Yuletide initiatives, offering an all too brief respite from the desperate conditions in which they found themselves. During the late 19th century, one of the biggest Christmas events in the town was the annual event held for the Workhouse children, when presents and entertainments (such as music, magic lantern shows and even hypnotists) were laid on by the town’s more fortunate inhabitants.

Midleton Workhouse, now Midleton Hospital (

Midleton Workhouse, now Midleton Hospital (

One of the earliest references to Christmas in Midleton Workhouse appears in the Leinster Express of 25th December 1852. At the conclusion of the Famine, the paper noted that the poor in Waterford Workhouse were being given 1lb of beef each for dinner on Christmas Day, while at Midleton “the paupers have been treated to reduced rations.” Later Christmases did bring some respite, as noted by the Cork Examiner on 20th December 1875. By that date the tradition of giving gifts to the Workhouse children each year had been established. On 23rd December 1875 some of the most notable people of the locality– including Mrs. T.S. Coppinger, Mrs. Ashlin, Mrs. S. Coppinger, Miss. Fitzgerald, Miss Power, Rev. D. Lynch and the Rev. PJ Horgan– arrived to distirbute the gifts. They were handed out in the girls’ school room, which was decorated for the occasion with laurels and “appropriate mottoes” including a “Caed-mille-failthe” display made from ivy leaves intertwined with shamrocks. One of the boys in the Workhouse read out an address, which thanked Mrs. Coppinger and the Board of Guardians for their interest in the children’s welfare. Father Lynch responded to express his:

“satisfaction…at the good order and regularity which they saw exhibited by the children; exhorted them to be always kind and forebearing to each other; obedient and respectful to their superiors, and by doing so, to merit a renewal of the favours shown to them by Mrs. Coppinger and the other kind ladies who had come forward so generously to contribute to their happiness at this holy season.”


Children at Crumpsall Workhouse in England, c. 1895. The Midleton children likely presented a similar appearance (Manchester Archives)

In line with Victorian concepts of the deserving poor, Father Lynch also exhorted the children to:

“pay the greatest attention to their school studies and the other duties appertaining to their station in life, reminding them that they were in possession of advantages denied to a great many poor children in the world. By doing so they would make themselves respectable and useful members of society…”.

Following the speeches Mrs. Coppinger distributed the gifts, which included sweetmeats and toys, while the children also sang a number of songs. The newspaper noted that:

“The joy shown on the faces of the little ones as each new and wonderful toy was presented, created the greatest amusement to the visitors, who, when departing, declared themselves highly gratified with the day’s proceedings, which wound up with a three times three for the ladies.”

Victorian Christmas Tree

A Victorian-era Christmas Tree. The gifts for the Midleton Workhouse children were placed on the tree and a draw was held to see who received what. There were usually different gifts for girls and boys, and in addition sweets and exotic fruits were often also to be found on the tree (Harper’s Bazaar)

Christmas entertainments for the poor children remained a common theme at the Workhouse, and Mrs. T.S. Coppinger maintained a long association with it. More than a decade later, the 24th December 1887 edition of the Cork Examiner recorded that she had brought the children tea, sweets, sweetcakes, toys and books, and noted that she:

“has never forgotten to visit the Midleton Workhouse at this festive season of Christmas, and her efforts to afford the juvenile inmates of the Midleton Workhouse a happy Christmas will bring to herself many happy returns of the coming New Year.”

The tradition of giving to the children was still alive in the 1890s. On 11th January 1896 the Cork Examiner reported that the poor children of the Workhouse had been given their Christmas treat “through the generosity of the kind-hearted people of the town,” and a Christmas tree laden with “dainties and nick-nacks” was also provided for them. The children were allocated their gift from the tree via a draw (among the exotics that adorned it were fruits, such as oranges).

Christmas also saw the annual erection of a crib in the Workhouse Chapel. There was often additional charity for the older inmates of the Workhouse as well. In 1897 all the Workhouse residents were able to enjoy an evening of vocal and musical entertainment, together with a magic lantern show of continental scenes put on by P. Hallinan of Avoncore. The room in the Workhouse where the show was held was festively decorated, and during intervals songs and piano forte solos were given by local amateur musicians. A similar gift-giving exercise for the children in 1897 also included the distribution of tobacco and snuff to the aged and infirm inmates, though bad weather that year meant that the “kind ladies and gentlemen of the town, who annually patronise the workhouse entertainments were precluded from attending on this occasion” (Cork Examiner 9th January 1897, 11th January 1898).


In 1897 P. Hallinan of Avoncore put on a magic lantern show at the Workhouse. This was an extremely popular form of entertainment in the late 19th century. This image shows a magic lantern show in the United States in 1897, where an image of St. Peter’s Basilica is being shown to the audience (T.H. McAllister Company)

The Christmas Fete at Midleton Workhouse continued into the 20th century. One wonders what became of many of these children who, at least for one day, found themselves a focus of attention. To give readers a flavour of how the event was reported, below is a full transcript of the article on the proceedings from the Cork Examiner of 9th January 1901:


The annual fete and entertainment for the enjoyment of the children at the Midleton Workhouse came off in the schoolroom of that institution on Sunday last, in the presence of a large number of the townspeople. The general attendance also included- the Very Rev Canon Hutch, PP, DD, VF, Midleton; Rev CS O’Connor, CC, do, and the Nuns of the Workhouse. The room was tastefully decorated with evergreens and suitable mottoes, and in the centre was a large Christmas Tree heavily laden with a fine selection of toys and other gifts for the children, kindly provided through the generosity of the townspeople. When the proceedings began at two o’clock the whole surroundings presented a very pleasing aspect, and one could not fail being struck by the bright and happy faces of the little ones as they filed into their allotted seats under the care of their teachers, Mr and Mrs O’Sullivan, their school-teachers. A beautiful supply of cake, tea, and fruit was distributed amongst them by the good nuns, and whilst engaged in the agreeable occupation of doing justice for the good things provided, the entertainment of vocal and instrumental music was proceeded with. The first item was a song with chorus, “The Holy City,” by Mr W Ronayne, who was heard with much pleasure, and being loudly encored he sang with much feeling and expressions, “The Tempest of the Heart.” Mr D O’Sullivan, a Cork baritone of great promise, sang tastefully, “Savourneen Deelish,” his rich deep voice and fine intonation being highly appreciated. Mr John Bastible acquitted himself well in the rendering of “Queen of the Earth,” and was followed, by Mr William Cashman, whose fine tenor voice was heard in the singing of “When other Lips,” for which he was deservedly encored. The selections from “Les Cloches de Cornville” played on the violin by Miss Fitzgerald, with piano accompaniment by Mr C Byrne, was admirably performed, the uniqueness of touch and execution displayed by this youthful performer being much appreciated. The principal feature of the entertainment was the hypnotic exhibition given by Mr P C Leahy, Midleton, which was simply marvellous, the audience being amazed at the many strange feats in the hypnotic trance. This concluded the entertainment, after which the different prizes on the Christmas Tree were drawn for and distributed by the nuns. The Rev Canon Hutch then addressed a few felicitous remarks to the children, congratulating them on the success of the entertainment, and on their behalf he thanked the Nuns, the Master (Mr Daly) Mr and Mrs O’Sullivan, and also the various gentlemen who contributed to the entertainment. Three hearty cheers were then given by the youthful audiences for all the visitors who had so kindly attended, and did so much brighten and relieve the monotony of their Workhouse lives, and lusty cheers were also given for the esteemed Pastor, the Nuns, and the Master, Mr Daly, to whom much credit is due.

Hypnotism Show

Hypnotism Shows were popular forms of entertainment at the turn of the 20th century. PC Leahy of Midleton put on such a show at Midleton Workhouse in 1901 (Extravagance of Hypnotism).

Further Reading Midleton Workhouse

Categories: Nineteenth Century | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The People Seem Odd & Talk Funny”: US Sailors Write About Cork During World War One

Between 1917 and 1919 thousands of American servicemen were stationed in Cork during World War One. What did they make of their surroundings? Back in the United States, local newspapers were eager to get correspondence from them, and family’s regularly contributed letters for local publication. We have identified a number, and reproduce them in full below. Here are descriptions from Americans based in Cobh, Aghada, Berehaven and Whiddy, with fascinating insights into both their service and their thoughts on Ireland and Irish people.

The first letter was written by Berkley Harker, who served aboard USS Trippe out of Cork Harbour. Berkley was also the pitcher for the vessel’s baseball team, and participated in the famous baseball game at the Mardyke Cricket Grounds in 1917. The letter was published in The Morning New Bernian in North Carolina on 18th August 1917.


Berkley Harker Writes of Picking Up British Crew, and of Sinking U-Boat


Mr. Berkley Harker, who is serving in the navy on one of Uncle Sam’s fighting ships, has written a most interesting letter to his mother, Mrs. James A. Harker, of this city. The letter was written in Queenstown, Ireland, on the first of August, and mailed in Newark, N.J., on the fifteenth by a member of the crew of an American oil tanker which sailed from Queenstown on the first. The letter in part follows:

“We have had some of the war and came out successful, no one being hurt. One time we picked up seventy-five survivors from an English merchant ship which had been sunk by a submarine. We were unable to find the sub, as it disappeared. We have seen three subs so far and dropped mines for them, and we are sure we got one, as we saw oil and some wood come up after we dropped the mine. The mine is set to explode at a certain depth, so when we sight a sub we run right over it and drop one of them.

We have a good baseball team, and I am the pitcher. We play every time we come in, but that is not often as we go to sea for five days and only stay in three. We have been to France and to Liverpool since we have been over here and we expect to go to London the last of this month for two weeks.

We are now on County Cork and only thirty-five miles from City Cork. The city has a population of about seventy-five thousand and is just about as lively as Beaufort.”

Mr. Harker enclosed a clipping from a Cork paper giving an account of a game of baseball played there between teams from the U.S.S. Trippe (Mr. Harker’s team) and the U.S.S. Melville, which is very interesting [the report of the game for the Cork Examiner clipping follows]

The Morning New Bernian 18th August 1917


USS Trippe, victors of the Cork baseball game and the vessel on which Berkley Harker served (Naval History and Heritage Command)

The next letter was written by Lieutenant John Herlihy, who was based at the USNAS base in Aghada. He had interesting things to say about visits to a local castle (likely Rostellan) and the situation of people in Ireland. It was published in the Massachusetts Fitchburg Sentinel on 1st June 1918.


Lieut. John E. Herlihy, formerly a dentist in this city, is now stationed at the U.S. Naval air station at Queenstown Ireland [Aghada]. In a letter to his brother, Dr. David J. Herlihy, 304 Main street, he gives a description of his work and tells of a visit to an old castle that is located near the station.

He writes:

I have been fairly busy for a couple of weeks now and as a result I have not had any time to take any jaunts into the country.

I am operating here with a portable field outfit, collapsible chair, foot engine, and student case to hold instruments, something very similar to the outfit we used in school. The office cannot begin to compare with my office on the Missouri, but of course I can do the necessary work and that is all that is wanted.

There is hardly anything to do for excitement around here and in time I imagine it will get quite monotonous, though we are kept busy.

I generally go to town for weekends to meet the boys and to get the latest information about the war. We very seldom see any regular papers around here and I imagine you know more about what is going on on the western front than I do. I have many opportunities to talk with allied officers who have returned from the front and it is mighty interesting to listen to their experiences.

There is an old landowner who lives quite near here. I go over to have tea with him quite often. He has a wonderful estate of 1000 acres and some of the most beautiful gardens that I have ever seen. He lives in an old castle over 600 years old and he has taken me all through it. The walls of the castle are six feet thick and, of course, were built that way as a protection against attack in the old feudal period.

He showed me one room that had been built especially for King George IV who made a visit to the castle and who always objected to sleeping in a room that had ever been used by any one else. He showed me curios, antiques and paintings that he has collected from all over the world and they in themselves are worth a fortune. He and his wife live all alone in the castle and have a large coterie of servants.

After seeing how people have to live in this part of the world and what little they have to be glad about I am fully convinced that a man in the States even working for a salary is better off than a man with money over here– at least as far as enjoying life is concerned.

I know that by the time I see Fitchburg again, I will have had enough of traveling around, and I will be perfectly satisfied to settle down. By the looks of things now I do not expect to see the States again for a couple of years. Of course we can not tell just how long this war is going to last but we do know the allies are in for a finish fight.

I see Harold Pierce quite often and talk over old times. Try to write when you can as I would like to keep in touch with the latest news.

Fitchburg Sentinel, 1st June 1918

The video we recently produced on the WW1 USNAS Base at Aghada, where Lieutenant John Herlihy was based.

The next letter was published in Pennsylvania’s Wilkes-Barre Record on 27th August 1918. Thomas Bedner was also stationed at Aghada. He describes their pastimes in Cobh, their reception from the locals, and also a trip to the Blarney Stone.



Thomas R. Bedner, son of A. Bedner, of North Main street enlisted in the naval aviation service early last fall, and is stationed at Queenstown, Ireland, at the naval air station. Before his enlistment he had been employed in mechanical capacities in Detroit automobile capacities in Detroit automobile work and at Bridgeport, Conn. Although not in the draft, Mr. Bedner decided to give his country the benefit of his skilled mechanical training and enlisted in the naval aviation. He writes to his father that he is in line for promotion and that his mechanical ability has stood him in good stead at the training station.

The following letter was received by his father. It contains interesting information of Ireland, the quaint customs and the conditions surrounding the navy boys stationed there:

“Dear Father– Well, everything is going fine with me here. We get ‘liberty’ every night and many of these free evenings we go to Queenstown where the Y.M.C.A. and Sailors’ Club have been established. Here we have movies every night– concerts by the ship’s band every Thursday night and a show and pictures every Saturday night. It’s about the only place in Ireland where we can buy ice cream.

“About a half mile from the club we have a dance auditorium. All civilians are excluded. The ship’s orchestra usually plays only American dance music, but once in a while they strike up an Irish tune, and then believe me the coleens are right there to whirl us around.

“These are about the only amusement places. If we do not feel like attending any of these we take long walks and visit some of the queer old villages. No street cars are seen around here. In some of the places they never saw a ‘Yank’ before. As soon as they see one or a group of us passing there is a general popping of heads out of windows as if there was a circus coming.

“During the summer there is only about five hours of darkness here. It is about 11 o’clock before it even starts to get dark. While I am writing this letter it is 9:30 and the sun is still bright in the sky. We don’t have to worry about lightless nights.

“Was to Blarny Castle when I first landed here and enjoyed the interesting experience of kissing the blarney stone. I almost broke my neck though before I managed to reach it. To kiss this stone, which is said to bless the person with ‘the gift of gab,’ it is necessary to go inside the castle, climb to the top window and then have someone you know who has a strong right arm to hold you by the feet with head down.

“A cemetery in which the Lusitania victims are buried is situated about two miles from Queenstown. All the sailors march there in a body on Decoration Day to decorate the graves with flowers. Many of the monuments and tombstones contain the inscription, ‘A Lusitania Victim; Foully Murdered by Germany.’

“It has been raining about every day this month. The weather is more like December than July and the mornings are very chilly.

“Would like to get the Record once in a while. I haven’t seen a Wilkes-Barre paper since I have been here.

“Give my regards to all and write soon,

“Your son,


The Wilkes-Barre Record 27th August 1918


An image of Thomas Bedner that accompanied his letter in the Wilkes-Barre Record (Wilkes-Barre Record)

There was another USNAS base on Whiddy Island in Bantry Bay. C.E. Durgee had correspondence about their 4th July celebrations published in The Daily Gate and Constitution-Democrat of Keokuk, Iowa on 14th September 1918.



With more of our men coming in here now, there is plenty of work to do. On the Fourth of July we had a great day– a baseball game in the morning, score 8-10, and in the afternoon a field meet, with the usual entries. The captain and officers attended; some played ball, and the men all voted it a great success. In the evening there was a mock trial, and a sing-song rounded out a most perfect day. The weather could not have been improved upon, and many of the men said they would never forget the Fourth of July on Whiddy “island.”

The captain sprang a surprise in the way of a flag raising, and now Old Glory floats in the breeze and cheers the hears of the brave men who are willing to lay down their lives in her defense. E. Evans has been quite ill and was sent to Queenstown by the doctor for observation. He is a very valuable man as an educator and in religious lines.

Arrangements are being made to chaperon a party to Killarney next Sunday. The captain here is very helpful and gracious, and told me that as long as we kept the men satisfied, to go as far as I liked. A number of fellows are wanting to send money home, and I think it should be encouraged. I don’t want the least opportunity to escape to be of service to these fine fellows. We have a dandy camp; the water supply is a problem, but the men are happy and willing to do anything.

Last night after “chow” we converted an almost impossible stony field into a respectable diamond. We had two auto trucks and hauled dirt and filled up holes, and all worked very hard. You can count on our sticking tight and making the best of whatever we have on hand here.

The Daily Gate and Constitution-Democrat, 14th September 1918


The memorial to the Lusitania victims in Cobh Old Church Cemetery. The site was regularly visited by US sailors during the war. (Bjorn Christian Torrissen)

The most detailed description covered here was an account of Cobh from a Mr. Lockey in the Oregon Daily Journal of 26th November 1918. He spoke about the surrounds of the town in detail, together with a visit to the Lusitania graves and conversations he had alone the way with local children and a U.S. sailor from Idaho.


At Queenstown Mr. Lockley reverently makes a pilgrimage to view the graves of those murdered on the Lusitania. He falls in with a bluejacket from Idaho, whose remarks are entertaining. There is also a word picture of Cork harbor.

Queenstown is on an island in Cork harbor. In the old says the city was called Cove, or the Cove of Cork. When Queen Victoria visited the city in 1849 it was renamed in her honor, Queenstown. Hundreds of thousands of Irish who are now Americans have had their last sight of Ireland at Queenstown as they stepped from Irish soil to the steamer that took them to the land of promise, for Queenstown is the principal port of embarkation for America. “You will see sailors from all the world ports on our streets in peace time,” said the hotel proprietor to me, “but nowadays the streets are thronged with men of the British navy, and your lads.”

R.J. Wynne, a Welshman who was born at North, Kan., and who is Y.M.C.A. secretary at Queenstown, said to me: “On Sunday, September 15, I had every bluejacket who came in register. Here is the list. There were 366 bluejackets who dropped into the ‘Y’ during the day. Every state in the Union but Idaho and Wyoming was represented.”

Cork harbor, from the heights above Queenstown, is a sight worth coming far to see. Scores of ships of every description ride at anchor in the harbor– transports and trawlers, destroyers and square-riggers, warships and tiny gasoline launches. Late one afternoon I decided to walk across the island beyond Spy Hill, where the farmer folk still speak their native Irish tongue. I stopped a black-haired, bright eyed little girl of 12 or 14 and asked her if I was on the road to Spy Hill. “Sure, sir, you are on the wrong road, altogether. You are going entirely away from it, sir.” “Where am I going?” I inquired. “I don’t know, sir, but if you keep on the road you are on now you will be after going to the cemetery. Many Americans go there to see the graves of the people who were drowned on the Lusitania. There are 260 buried in three big graves.” “How do I get there? Are there any turns in the road?” I inquired. “You will be after going straight along and the first you know straight ahead, sir. The road is very crooked, but just follow the turns you’re there.”

Presently I met a sailor lad who came onto the main road from a country lane. I said: “Do you know where the Lusitania victims are buried?” “Yes, sir. I’ll be glad to go with you and show you the place,” he said. The stone walls on both sides of the road were covered with blackberry vines that were loaded with ripe berries. We stopped now and then to eat berries. “My name is Ben Potter,” said the bluejacket. “My home is at Swan valley, in Idaho. It is about 30 miles from Idaho Falls, on the road from Pocatello to Butte, Mont. I just got a letter today from my mother. She says my youngest brother, 17 years old, has enlisted. there are four boys in our family, and all are in the service now. Say, this is some different from running a disc harrow on our 320-acre ranch in Idaho. The other day I had a seven-day furlough. I went to visit my brother in England. We went out to see a big Handley-Page plane go up. We asked the officer if we could do up. He said he was sorry, but it was against orders. he started the propeller. It made so much racket you couldn’t hear anything else. My brother said, “Let’s climb in just as he starts. he won’t know, and when he gets up he won’t throw us out.” So we got aboard. We hadn’t been up more than a minute or two till the officer looked back and saw he had some stowaways. He grinned at us and then turned around and headed the plane towards the seacoast. We got up about 4000 feet, and his engine died. he got it started again, and in about an hour we flew back to where we started. When we landed we thanked him. He said, “It is against orders to take up passengers. I didn’t have any. I took up some ballast. If the ballast enjoyed the trip, I am glad of it.” He was a pretty good sport, all right.”

We turned in at the old graveyard with its old world orderliness and its ancient Irish crosses over the graves. Soon we came to three large mounds, each of which was about 20×30 feet. The inscription stated that here were buried the victims of the Lusitania, torpedoed near that port. We stood silent. Finally my companion said, “Well, I would like to be home, but I don’t want to go till Germany is taught, and taught for all time, that murdering women and children can’t be done. I guess it’s up to us to help make the world a safe and decent place to live in.”

We started for the crest of a nearby hill, from which, like a panorama, the whole harbor was unrolled like a scroll before us. “I weigh 187, and I have to train down to 175 within the next 10 days, as I represent my ship in a wrestling match that is being pulled off,” said my companion. “I met a likeable chap recently– one that could ask as many questions as you can. His name was Peter Clark McFarlane. He invited me to his room and I spent the evening with him. He told me he was writing a series of articles for the Saturday Evening Post. I am going to watch and see if he mentions Queenstown and the fleet here, and if he does I am going to send the copy of the Post to my mother.”

Presently we found a sunken road bordered with ancient elms and beeches. I said: “Here is a regular trench, or ravine. We can make our way down it to the harbor.” “They drive their cows down these sunken roads, so I guess its name is a bovine rather than a ravine,” said my friend, the bluejacket. It was getting dark, so he hurried down to the dock to catch the “liberty boat” back to his ship, while I stood on a high point and looked out toward Forts Camden and Carlisle, which face each other across the entrance of the harbor. In the foreground was the lofty spire of the granite gray cathedral of St. Colman. Across the water a few miles lay Aghada, our naval aviation station, and not far from it was Crosshaven, near which is the amber-colored Owenabwee river, referred to in the plaintive Jacobite ballad of which the following is a verse:

“On Carrigdhoun the heath is brown,

The clouds are dark on Ardnalee,

And many a stream comes racing down

To swell the angry Owenabwee

The moaning blast is whistling past,

Through many a leafless tree,

But I’m alone, for he is gone;

My hawk has flown. Ochone Machree!”

The Oregon Daily Journal 26th November 1918


Blarney Castle and the Blarney Stone was a popular destination for American sailors during their service in Ireland in World War One (Guilhem D.)

The San Francisco Chronicle of 22nd December 1918 brought a letter from a sailor who described his work aboard USS Allen, attacking U-Boats from Cork Harbour. He had also made a visit to the Blarney Stone, and was very protective of service in the Navy.


Destruction of a German submarine by the explosion of an “Ash Can” dropped from a destroyer, the deck of which is seen in the photograph, which was sent to George A. Tracy by his son in the Navy.


Personal experiences in dropping “ash cans” on German submarines from the after deck of a United States destroyer are recounted in a letter received by George A. Tracy, president of the Civil Service Commission, from his son, George A. Tracy Jr., who has been in very active service off the Irish coast.

Remarking that now the censorship is lifted he can tell his story with more detail, young Tracy begins by stating that the base of operations of the U.S.S. Allen, to which he was attached, and known as Base 6, is at Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland.

Queenstown looks “half as large as Redwood City” to this San Franciscan, who says that in the early days of the war the shore liberty of the boys of the destroyer flotilla included the city of Cork, but that owing to a rather vigorous celebration there, the shore liberty was cut down to the limits of Queenstown.

“Tell your Irish friends I kissed the Blarney Stone,” he writes, “The Lusitania was sunk just five miles off the coast at Queenstown, and there is a buoy that marks the spot today.”

Patrolling the Irish coast and convoying ships on the run from Queenstown to Liverpool and to Brest was the work of the destroyer squadron to which young Tracy was attached, and to illustrate the character of the work sends a photograph taken from a destroyer and showing a German submarine being lifted from the water by the explosion of an “ash can.”

Expressing a high regard for the work of the land forces, young Tracy instructs his father to reprimand anyone who may express the idea that the boys of the Navy have not been doing big things while the censorship prevented the telling of all the details.

“If they boost soldiers too high, we might go on strike, and, now that we have got them over here, refuse to bring them back,” he says. “But, believe me, the trips from now on will be pleasure trips, rather than the hunting variety.”

In the course of his service in the war Tracy writes he had the opportunity to visit London and Southampton in England, and Brest and Harve in France, and take a three days inland journey in that country.

San Francisco Chronicle 22nd December 1918


The image of a German U-Boat being destroyed by an “Ash-Can” that was carried in the San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco Chronicle)

Our final letter comes from a sailor serving aboard USS Oklahoma in Bantry Bay, one of the vessels that would later be one of those attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor in 1941. William Hoffman was somewhat ignorant of the history of the area, believing that before the American arrival Bantry had been a German U-Boat base, though his views do provide an insight into some of the tensions that often existed between locals and American servicemen. He nonetheless though it a beautiful country, but confessed that he thought the people talked funny. His letter was published in the Lincoln County News, North Carolina on 20th December 1918.


Mr. Fred L. Hoffman of this city, has received a letter from his son, Sailor William Hoffman, a portion of which we are printing below. The letter is dated U.S.S. Oklahoma, “Bantry Bay”, Ireland, Nov. 20, 1918.

“Well I am in Ireland. Our base has been here in Bantry Bay since we came across to this side. It is as you can see on the map in the Southern part of Ireland. It lies between high mountains which are in every direction you look. Before the U.S. entered the war it was a German submarine base and the Irish supplied them with provisions, etc., as a good many of them were in sympathy with Germany. But now it is an American naval base and there are battleships, cruisers, destroyers, submarines, sub-chasers, mine sweepers and layers and all other kinds of vessels here. Zed Crawford is in here on a submarine chaser but I haven’t seen him. We have been operating and conveying in the most dangerous part of the war zone. Before we came over more than 500 ships had been sunk here off the Irish coast where we are on duty. We have convoyed thousands of troops ammunition and food supplies, etc., and have been along the coast of France, England, Scotland and Ireland. Of course besides convoying, our main object over here was to fight the German highseas fleet when she came out, but they didn’t come out.

The country of Ireland is beautiful. It is always green and is terraced in plots or squares so that it looks exactly like a checker board. There are very few trees and it rains about 9 out of every 10 days. The people seem odd and talk funny. You can’t hardly understand a word they say. Their shoes are very thick and heavy, many of them have iron soles, and the women most always wear shawls. Most of the horses and mules are very small and their buggies or carts have seats on the sides and are much higher from the ground than ours. And their trains are just like toys beside those in America. there are many saloons but it a very serious offense for an American sailor to get drunk and the very few that do are severely dealt with. I don’t see how the people live around here as their gardens are very small. They raise lots of sheep and cattle. there are many old castles and things of that kind to see.

We go on recreation and liberty in Bere Island, Castletown and Bantry. On Bere Island there are British soldiers, some who have already been in the trenches and others who are preparing to go. They have barbedwire entanglements, real trenches and everything there is in this modern warfare. In a little house they have every kind of poisonous gas the Germans use. All of us went through it, of course with our gas masks on. Some gas, believe me.

We have aboard very often many big speakers from over here, also from the States, who have given us very fine and interesting lectures of the war, etc. We have shows from London and other places and moving pictures every night. I have been getting your letters and papers and you can’t imagine how much they are appreciated all the boys shout with joy when mail comes aboard. I am in excellent health and have been exceedingly lucky in the way of sickness for there was about 200 cases of “flu” on here awhile back. Six of our boys and our ordnance officer died. They were buried in Queenstown, Ireland. A good many of our ships, submarines etc., are going back to the States pretty soon, but I think we will be over here some little time yet. William.

The Lincoln County News 20th December 1918

We hope to share many more of these letters from U.S. servicemen stationed in Cork during World War One in the months ahead.


USS Oklahoma in 1917, which William Hoffman served on in Bantry Bay. 429 of the crew died when she capsized following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941 (Naval History and Heritage Command)

Categories: World War One | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Visualising the Journeys of Irish Women who Married U.S. Navymen in World War One

We recently published the images and short biographies of 99 Irish women who applied for U.S. passports, based on either their marriage to a U.S. serviceman or their own services in support of the American military-effort during the First World War (see here). The data we collected offers us many potential insights, and we intend to use it to explore a number of different themes. In this post we have taken some of the data specifically relating to local women who married U.S. Naval personnel, and used it to visually map where they were from, and where they intended to make their new lives.

We identified 73 Irish women in the Passport applications who married U.S. Naval personnel serving in Ireland and Great Britain during the First World War. It should be noted that the vast bulk of these women had never been outside of Ireland prior to their marriage, and their intention to travel to the United States represented the first prospect of foreign travel for most of them. Up to 8,000 U.S. sailors served in or around Ireland at one time or another during the Great War, and it is no surprise that many struck up local romances. These liaisons with local women were often not welcomed by the local population, and occasionally led to violent clashes, particularly in Cork and Queenstown (Cobh) where the majority of bluejackets were based. The research of Dr. John Borgonovo of U.C.C. has shed considerable light on the often intense level of ill-feeling this created, and it will be something we explore further in a later post. Before looking specifically at the visualisations, it is worth remembering that in almost every case the women who married these sailors were very young. The graph below demonstrates this. Of the 73 women, only three were over the age of 30. The vast majority (64, or 90.9%) were aged between 17 and 25.

Age of U.S. Passport Applicants (Damian Shiels)

Age of Irish women who had married U.S. Naval personnel at the time of their U.S. Passport Applicants (Damian Shiels)

In order to visualise the data we have turned to Palladio, a web-based platform developed by the Humanities & Design Research Lab at the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis, Stanford University. Palladio was developed for the visualisation of complex, multi-dimensional data. It is free to use– all that is required is having the information in tabular format to upload and the time to prepare it appropriately. For that purpose we decided to spatially explore two elements of the data– where the Irish women who married these U.S. Naval personnel were born, and where they intended to travel to in the United States.

The different locations where Irish women who married U.S. Naval personnel as a result of the First World War were born (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

The different locations where Irish women who married U.S. Naval personnel as a result of the First World War were born- Click image to enlarge (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

The first map above presents each of the locations where Irish women who married U.S. Naval personnel were born. One of the most significant aspects of this is that women from every location where the Americans were based during the war are represented, including Queenstown (Cobh), Aghada, Passage West, Haulbowline, Bantry Bay, Wexford, Donegal and Dublin. The next map indicates the relative concentrations of women in these birthplaces, with 1 being the lowest and 18 the highest.

The relative concentrations of women who married U.S. Naval personnel by birthplace (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

The relative concentrations of women who married U.S. Naval personnel by birthplace- Click image to enlarge (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

Unsurprisingly Dublin offers one of the main concentrations, but by far and away the most heavily represented area is Co. Cork, a result of the fact that the bulk of U.S. servicemen were based there during the war, particularly around Cork Harbour. Of the 73 women identified, 50 were from Co. Cork. That concentration warrants a closer look.

The relative concentrations

The relative concentrations of women who married U.S. Naval personnel by birthplace, focus on Co. Cork- Click image to enlarge (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

A focus on Co. Cork shows that Cork City dominates with 18, followed by Queenstown (Cobh) with 13 and then Youghal with 4. The majority of the other Cork women came from the east of the county, with outliers in locations such as Bantry, likely associated with the U.S. Naval presence in Bantry Bay and on Whiddy Island.

Each of these Irish women took had decided not only to the marry an American, but also to leave all they had known behind for the United States. Though there is some evidence to suggest that not all of them would ultimately travel across the Atlantic, the majority of them undoubtedly did. We turn now to the other side of the Atlantic, to see where they hoped to end up.

USA location only

The locations in the United States where the Irish women intended to make their initial home following their departure- Click image to enlarge (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

As is evident in the visualisation above, these Irish women were spread across the length and breadth of the United States, particularly in the east and mid-west. The map below illustrates their relative concentrations.


The locations of densest concentration for the Irish wives of U.S. Naval personnel departing for the United States- Click image to enlarge (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

There is a notable concentration on the east coast, particularly in New York and in states such as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, while some went initially to centres of the U.S. Navy where their husbands were based.

The final sets of visualisations are perhaps the most poignant. In them the data of the Irish women’s birthplaces and intended destinations are linked, showing how far from home they were travelling. They were journeying into the unknown, to meet up with husbands with whom they had at best spent only a few months, and often to locations where it is doubtful they knew a soul. There is also little doubt that for some, their decision to marry an American serviceman had met with the disapproval of, and potential estrangement from, their family in Ireland, another aspect we will return to in a later post.


The intended destinations of the Irish women relative to their place of birth in Ireland- Click image to enlarge (Damian Shiels/Palladio)


The intended destinations of the Irish women relative to their place of birth in Ireland, with relative concentration illustrated- Click image to enlarge (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

We will continue to analyse the data we retrieved relating to these Irish women in future posts. To view the data upon which these visualisations were based, you can view the original post here.


Palladio at Stanford

Categories: 20th Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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