Today, 13th July, 2014, the Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke attended at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham for the National Day of Commemoration ceremonies organised in memory of all Irishmen and Irishwomen who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations. Participants usually arrive for this event at 10:30. but the Lord Mayor of Belfast Nichola Mallon arrived at 10:00 for the presentation of a wartime Emergency Service Medal (Air Raid Precautions variant) to Mr. Pierce Moran and I joined her with Charlie Bennett, Secretary of the Somme Association and his wife Mavis.
The Chief Fire Officer outlined the history and citation for the issue for the medal which was then presented to the fireman, Mr Moran’s son. The association of the Lord Mayors with the event would be very welcome. Photographs with the Mayors were taken and then the Mayors continued on with the arrangements for the National Day ceremonies.
Mr. Moran is the son of Pierce Moran senior who was a member of the Dublin Fire Brigade Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS). Mr. Moran was attached to Tara Street Fire Station and on the night of 14/15 April 1941 he was one of the Dublin firemen who volunteered to go to Belfast to aid that city after a major German air raid.
On that night six fire engines from Dublin, three regular fire service and three AFS, traveled to the aid of Belfast along with fire appliances from Dun Laoghaire, Dundalk and Drogheda. Further assistance was sent after another heavy raid on 5 May 1941.
As the help, given at the request of the Northern Ireland government was in breach of Irish neutrality, few records were kept. Last year a historian Donal Fallon did a piece on his ‘Come Here To Me’ history blog about the firemen who travelled north in 1941 and following on from it, Mr.Moran contacted his site to say that his father had driven one of the engines. Mr Fallon’s father, Las Fallon a specialist in the history of the Dublin Fire service, contacted Mr. Moran and spoke to him. He described how his father had left the fire service prior to the end of the war and therefore had missed out on a medal issued by the government of the day to all who served during the Emergency. Fireman Moran’s service was traced through DFB records. It was decided to see if it was possible that a medal might still be issued. The Chief Fire Officer, Pat Fleming lent his support to the project and the Dept. of Defence was informed of the details.
Thanks to the help of the Dept.of Defence Admin Section the last Emergency Service Medal for the ARP which was still available was secured and the Chief Officer presented it to Mr. Moran today in recognition of his father’s service during the war and specifically to remember his bravery and the bravery of those members who crossed the border to assist the people of Belfast in their hours of need in April and May 1941.