Remembering the Forgotten Heroes of World War 1

Armistice Day which marks the anniversary of the ending of World War 1 (1914-1918) takes place on November 11 next. A wreath laying ceremony will take place at the market Square at 11am to commemorate the Longford men who lost their lives during the Great War. This year marks the 89th anniversary of the ending of one of the worst human atrocities in modern times, and recent research into Longford's involvement in World War 1 estimates that 314 Longford men who served in various capacities died during its four year duration.

Based on this number of fatalities it is estimated that approximately 2,000 County Longford men served during the period 1914 - 1918, with the majority enlisted in the British Army. Many others served with the Australian, Canadian, US and other armies.

Lord Granard (Newtownforbes), Commander of the 5th Service Battalion of the 18th Royal Irish Regiment and Sir Henry Wilson (Clonbroney), Field Marshal and subsequently Commander of the British Army in 1918 are among the most notable longfordarians who died during the war and decorated soldiers included, Captain Edwin Boyers (Longford), Military Cross, Lieutenant George RT Mayne (Longford), Military Cross, Rev. Peter O'Farrell (Lanesborough), RC Chaplain, Military Cross and Sergeant Patrick Dempsey (Edgeworthstown), Military Cross.

A distinguished Conduct Medal was bestowed upon Sergeant Thomas Leavy (Longford) and Sergeant Michael Conway (Longford). Private William McCormick (Killloe) received a Military medal and Private George B. Reilly (Granard) and Lance Corporal George Wakefield (Longford) were bestowed with a 1914 Star.

Longford Chaplains who served during World War 1 included Rev. Peter O'Farrell (Lanesboro), RC Chaplain, Military Cross, Rev William Henry Moorhead (Drumlish), Anglican Chaplain to the Canadian Field Artillery and subsequently Bishop of Fredericton, Canada, Fr James Magan (Killashee), and SJ Chaplain to 6th York and Lancaster.

Among the many casualties of the war was a father and son team from Longford. In September 1916 Thomas Crosbie joined the Connaught Rangers and had been training in Cork when he arrived back home to Longford on a holiday preceding his journey to the front. He became involved in some melee and upon his arrival to Cork to rejoin his regiment, he was sent to hospital where he died from the injuries he sustained. The young man's father was drowned at Calais when returning from the front the previous April. (Longford Notes, A Soldier's Death, Longford Leader, September 16, 1916, p.1).

A report in the Edgeworthstown Notes - Another young Edgeworthstown Soldier Killed, Longford Leader, August 14, 1915 stated: "We regret to announce the death of Private Richard Dempsey, 2nd Battalion Leinster Regiment of this town, who was killed in action at Hooge, Belgium on 4th August last. He was one of six brothers, one of whom was killed some months ago in France, and another was quite recently wounded in 17 places by shell fire, the rest are still in the fighting line."

In a debate in the House of Commons, the then Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, was asked the age of the youngest member of the armed forces in The Great War, 1914 - 1918. The British Prime Minister replied that the youngest member was Gabriel Farrell from Longford who was 14 years old. A letter to The Longford Leader the following week said that Mr.Patrick Belton, Chapel Street, Longford joined the Connaught Rangers when he was 14. He saw combat in the Dardanelles and was a prisoner of war. He returned to Longford when he was 19. (The Longford Leader Centenary magazine 1897-1997, September 16 1944).

In September 1916 information from a Catholic Census of the town and parish of Longford indicated that there were 40 houses in Chapel Lane where 40 men have gone to the war. Of those 40, 10 were killed and 18 wounded. (Longford Notes, Longford Leader, September 9, 1916, p.1).

The current provisional list for county Longford's fallen heroes includes: Alfred W. Allen, John Amooty, Robert E. Atwell, Patrick J./Joseph P. Barden, Henry R.W./ Walter H.R. Beech, Patrick Berrigan, C.Berriman, william Berry, George T.Boyd, Edwin Boyers, Patrick Boylan, Bernard Brady, James Brady, James Brady, Thomas R.Brady, Thomas Brardy, Arthur V.Bridge, George Brockie, Robert Brunton/Bruton, Patrick Burke, Corry Burnett, John Byrne (Coundland), Michael Cahill, Owen Cahill, Thomas Callaghan, Bernard Carberry, Michael Carrol, William Carroll, Edward Carry, Frank Casey, Patrick Casserly, Francis Cassidy,James Cassidy, Patrick Caulfield, Joseph Christy, Thomas Clinton, Edmund P. Coen, Peter Collumb, John Conduland, John Connolly, John J.Connolly, M. Connorton, John Conway, Michael Conway, Hubert Cooper, Bernard Corcoran, John J. Cosgrove, John Cox, James/Thomas Crosby, Michael Crosby, John Cullen, James Cunningham, Michael Cunningham, George Curran, James Curran, Patrick Curry, Francis Daly, Laurence Davis, Henry Day, James Dempsey, John Dempsey, Patrick Dempsey, Peter Dempsey, Richard Dempsey, Terence Dempsey, John Dermody, John Devaney, Michael Devlin (see John Duggan), F.R. Dimond, William Docherty, James Doherty, M Doherty, Stephen Docherty, James Doherty, M.Doherty, Stephen Doherty, Patrick Dolan, Peter Dolan, David Donovan, John Dowler, Michael Dowler, John Dugdale, John Dugan (served as Michael Devlin), Patrick Earley, Jack Earley, Michael Egan, Patrick Egan, Thomas Elliott, James Fagan, Owen Fallon, Francis Farrell, George Farrell, John/James Farrell, James Farrell, John Farrell, Louis Farrell, Luke C.Farrell, Patrick Farrell, Robert Farrell, Francis Faughnan, Patrick Faulkner (Faughnan?), Edward Finnan, James Foley, George F.R. Forbes, Hon. Fergus G.A Forbes, Patrick Fox, Thomas Fry, William B. Fussell, Gavin Francis, W. Gerety, Bernard Gibney, James Gilchrest, George Glanfield, William Glenn, James Glennon, Michael Glennon, James Greeley, Michael Greeley, Patrick Green, Thomas Green, Patrick Greene, Edward Grimes, Charles Gunn, John Gwynne, James Hagan, John Hagan, William Hamilton, John Hampson, Joseph Hanley, Thomas Harold, Christopher Hayden, Michael Hayden, Thomas Hayden, John/James Healy, Thomas Heavey/Heaney, Patrick Heslin, Joseph Hewitt, John Higgins, Francis W. Howden, James Hughes, Laurence Hyland, Joseph Ireland, Francis Jennings, George W. Jones, Thomas Jones, Joseph P./Patrick J. Kane, Michael Kearns, Michael Keating, James J.Keegan, Patrick Keena/Kenna, James Keenan, George Kells, Francis Kelly, Joseph Kelly, Joseph Kelly, Michael Kelly, Patrick Kelly, Patrick Kelly, Christopher Kennedy, Francis Kennedy, Francis Kenny, Francais JL. Kenny, John Kenny, William Kenny, Michael Kielty, Peter Kiernan, Patrick Kiernan, Patrick Killian, william King - Harold V. Kincade, J.Knox, Thomas Lally, John Lane, AA J Lauder, Albert V. Lea, Bernard Leavy, Thomas C. Leavy, Frank Lee, Rowland Lerhinan, Thomas Lock, Right Hon. Earl of Longford K.P Hugh Loughrey, Thomas Lyons, Patrick Mack, Simon Macleod, Peter Magan, Thomas Maguire, William Mahady, John Mallen, R.R. Mangan, John Masters, Alfred Maybury, George R.T Mayne, John McBurney, William B.McBurney, Patrick McBrien, Patrick McCauley, Patrick McConathy, Charles McConnell, Edward McCormack, William McCormick, John McDermott, Michael McDermott, James McDonagh, John McDonald, P.McDonnell, Robert McGarry, Peter McGrath, John McGuire, Patrick McKeon, Quartermaster, Sergeant McLean, Cornelius McManus, Eugene/J. McManus, J.McNally, Joseph McNally, Patrick McNally, Patrick McNally, Robert McNally, James McNamee, John McNamee, Cornelius McVenea, Patrick Meehan, William Merrick, Daniel M. Millar, Robert Mills, Patrick Mollaghan, James Molloghan, Robert Molloy, James Monaghan, Patrick Monaghan, Henry Moorhead, Edward Morrissey, James Moxham, Daniel Mulcahy, , Arthur P./John Mulhill, John J./T. Mulhill, Thomas Mullaly, Patrick Mulleady, Patrick Mullen/Mullins, Patrick Mullin, Francis Mulligan, Edward J.Mullins, Edward Mulvihill, M.R.Murray, Michael murray, Thomas Nolan, William Norman, James Norris, Arthur W.North, John Nugent Captain O'Callaghan, P. P'Connor, George Oates, William O'Brien, Cecil H.O'Dell, Robert J./John R. Ogle, Francis O'Hara, Thomas O'Neill, Thomas O'Rourke, Patrick/John O'Toole/Toole, William Pakenham, Gerald Plunkett, Thomas Plunkett, William M.N. Pollard, Thomas Pugh, James Quinn, John Quinn, Earnest Ransley, Thomas Rhatigan, George B.Reilly, Patrick Reilly (Served as Patrick Smith), Thomas Reilly, J.J.Reynolds, John Rock, Dominick Rogers, James Ruttledge, Francis Ryan, William H. Sargaison, Patrick/John Seery, Patrick Secxton, James Sheridan, Michael Smith, Patrick Smith (See Patrick Reilly), Patrick Stafford, Thomas Stannett, George Stephenson, Martin Stokes, F.Stritchoseph Stritch, Jem Sullivan, John Thompson, Richard Thompson, John J.Tierney, John Travers, Clement D.Turner, William Tynan, William H.H.Vincent, George Wakefield, Phil Wallace, Henry Walsh, James T. Ward, Joseph Ward, Edward White/ Whyte, James White, W.B.Willimite, Henry D.Wilson, Robert Wilson and Francis/John Wrenn.

World War 1, also known as the First World War, the Great War and the War to end all wars, was a global military conflict which took place primarily in Europe from 1914 to 1918. Over 40 million casualties resulted, including approximately 20 million military and civilian deaths. The conflict had a decisive impact on the history of the 20th century.

The Entente Powers, led by France, Russia, the United Kingdom and its colonies and dominions, and later Italy (from 1915) and the United states (from 1917), defeated the Central Powers, led by the Austro-Hungarian, German and Ottoman Empires. Russia withdrew from the war after the revolution in 1917.

The fighting that took place along the Western Front occurred along a system of trenches, breastworks, and fortifications separated by an area known as no man's land. These fortifications stretched 475 miles and defined the war for many. On the Eastern Front, the vast eastern plains and limited rail network prevented a trench warfare stalemate, though the scale of the conflict was just as large as on the Western front. The Middle Eastern Front and the Italian Front also saw heavy fighting, while hostilities also occurred at sea, and for the first time, in the air.

The war caused the disintegration of four empires: the Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman and Russian. Germany lost its colonial empire and states such as Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Yugoslavia gained independence. The cost of waging the war set the stage for a crippling of the British Empire and left France devastated for more than a generation.
World War 1 marked the end of the world order which had existed after the Napoleonic Wars, and was an important factor in the outbreak of World War 2.

Courtesy of the Longford Leader