Memorial to honour the Wexford 800



Thursday 30 May 2013  David Tucker

Memorial to honour the Wexford 800


A MEMORIAL to the Wexford men who died in the First World War is to be created at Redmond Square in Wexford.  Mayor Jim Allen said the memorial would be set into the ground to commemorate the Wexford deaths in the Great War which lasted from 1914 to 1918.  ‘It will be set flat into the ground. We are currently working on the wording with the British Legion,’ said Cllr. Allen.  The Mayor said he expected the memorial to be in place by late June, following the rededication in Fethard on Sea of World War One graves.  And he said while the plans might stir some controversy, it was time to move on.

‘My great grandfather Michael Golden, from Wygram, died in the First War One when his ship was sunk by a submarine as it returned from Gallipoli.  Like many in Wexford we have nowhere to pay our respects to those who died. This will fulfill that need.  Time has moved on, we have had the visit of the Queen and society has changed. These people left Wexford in good faith and deserve to be commemorated,’ he said.

Among those who died in the war were 15-year-old Charles Brown, from Gorey, and Nicholas Sane, from Rowe Street, in Wexford, killed on November 11, 1918, the day the Allied powers signed the Armisitice with Germany ending the war to end all wars.

One of the Wexford men to be commemorated will be Willie Redmond, a nephew of John Redmond after whom the square is named.

More than 800 Wexford men fell in the war, in actions from Palestine to Chile, from Mesopotamia to Malta, from Singapore to Salonica, although most were killed in France.  Historical records of those who died show there were four Patrick Doyles, from Ferns, Enniscorthy, Kilmore and Wexford.  The Patrick Doyle from Kilmore, a sergeant in the Royal Irish Regiment, died from his wounds in Palestine, in September, 1918. The other Patrick Doyles were killed in action in France between 1914 and 1917.The youngest to be killed in the fighting was 15-year-old Charles Brown, from, Gorey, a lance corporal in the 1st Leinster Regiment killed in action in France on April 6, 1915.  Not surprisingly there were deaths at sea as well. William Barry from Kilmore, who served on the warship HMS Agincourt, died on April 2, 1916.  And Francis J. Boxwell, from Tacumshane, was killed in action off Chile on the armoured cruiser HMS Good Hope on November 1, 1914. 

The failed Allied action at Gallipoli accounted for a large number of Wexford deaths between 1915 and 1916.  These include Garret Byrne, from Gorey, killed in April 1915, Nicholas Harpur, from Wexford, who died in jUNE, 1915, John Carthy, from Wexford, Pat Archibald Cullen, from Clongeen, Patrick Fitzhenry, from New Ross, and Thomas McGee, from Ballintubber, all killed in August, 1915, and Charles Jones, from Enniscorthy, killed in June, 1915, as was Patrick Long, from Piercestown. Thomas Monaghan, from Taghmon, who served with the Royal Munster Fusiliers, was killed in action at Gallipoli on October 9, 1915.

Few actions are cited in the records, however, a James O’Connor, from Ferns, is listed as being killed in action at the Battle of Loos, one of the major British offensives on the Western Front in 1915 .  Few officers are among the lists of those killed in the war, but Edward Leigh, from ‘Co. Wexford’, a major killed in Gallipoli in May, 1915, is amongst them.  One of the best-known Wexford men to be killed in the Great War was 56-year-old Major Willie Redmond, killed at the battle of Messines Ridge in June, 1917.  Upon going over the top Redmond, one of the first out of the trenches and leading his men, was hit almost immediately in the wrist and then, when hit in the leg, could do no more than urge his men on. Stretcher bearers carried him to Casualty Clearing Station at the Catholic Hospice at Locre (now Loker) in Dranoutre where he died that afternoon – almost certainly from shock.

Almost all the newspapers in Britain and Ireland, both local and national, reported his death. His wife and his brother John Redmond received over 400 messages of sympathy. Lloyd George introduced the Irish Convention on 11 June quoting Redmond’s sacrifice. The French Government posthumously awarded him the Legion of Honour.

Some of the actions took place much further from home, in places which are still unstable.  John Ryan, from Wexford, was killed in action in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) in March, 1917.  There are few street addresses contained in the list of the county’s war dead. However, the records show that two men from St. Mary’s, Enniscorthy were killed: Richard Toole and Patrick Walsh, died respectively in 1916 and 1918.  Patrick Whelan, of St. Mary’s, in Wexford, died from his wounds in France on August 27, 1917. Patrick Ryan, from Bride Street, Wexford, died on April 17, 1916, and Nicholas Sane, of Rowe Street, Wexford, was killed in action in France on November 11, 1918.


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