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                     (Compiled by Declan Quaile)




Introduction:

2014 marks the centenary of the start of the Great War in Europe in which, along with most other villages and towns in Ireland, Termonfeckin sent its share of men to far flung fronts to fight in that great conflagration.

The following article is a biographical list of those from the greater Termonfeckin area who participated in some way in the war, whether it was in the trenches of the western front or on various ships on the high seas.

These men came from all walks of life; some were sons of farm labourers, others came from the landed classes; yet all offered their lives and many tragically never came home.     

This compilation includes brief biographies of those men from Termonfeckin known to have been killed in the conflict. It is hoped that the article will encourage further information on other men-and indeed women- from the area who may have been involved in the conflict.



                                      ____________



Richard BOWDEN, Termonfeckin

Richard was born at Sheetland Rd, Termonfeckin in c1879, son of Patrick and Elizabeth Bowden. He died on 6th January 1952 and was buried in Termonfeckin graveyard with his headstone inscription reading: In loving memory of Richard Bowden Sheetland Rd. Died 6th Jan 1952 aged 72 years. His obituary in the Drogheda Independent of 19th Jan 1952 noted that,

“He fought in the First World War in France as a member of a British tank crew.”

 

 

John BOYLAN, Baltray

Born c1870 and son of John & Bridget Boylan of Baltray, he served with the mercantile marine on the SS Thracia out of Liverpool. He lost his life as a result of an attack on the ship by a German submarine (UC69) off the coast of Brittany, France, on 27th March 1917 while en route from Bilbao to Glasgow.  He was 47 years old. Thirty-six of the thirty-eight man crew died, including the captain.  John’s name is listed on Tower Hill Memorial in London.

 

 

Peter BOYLAN, Baltray

From headstone in Termonfeckin graveyard:

IHS In loving memory of Julia Boylan nee McGuirk Baltray who died 1 Jan. 1953. Her husband Peter who was lost at sea 23 Aug. 1917…. 

Peter is recorded as a 27 year old in the 1901 census, his parents being William & Elizabeth Boylan. There is as yet no evidence to suggest that his death was linked to a naval incident nor do we know what ship he sailed on; whether a fishing vessel, merchant ship or warship.

   

 

Laurence BYRNE, Termonfeckin

Laurence was born in Termonfeckin on 20th June 1887. His parents were Patrick Byrne and Elizabeth Leonard and he was brother of Patrick Byrne who was killed in 1915 (see below). He emigrated to the USA and was living at 50 Main St., Peabody, Massachusetts in June 1917, when he joined the US army. Whether he fought in the First World War in Europe hasn’t been determined but his name reappears again in Peabody in the 1920 census.


 

Patrick BYRNE, Termonfeckin

Patrick Byrne, born c1885, was one of the blacksmith family from Byrne’s forge in Termonfeckin.  He enlisted as a private in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers1 in Drogheda along with fellow Termonfeckin man James (Jack) Lennon from Nunneryland. The battalion was engaged in the Second Battle of Ypres in May 1915 and on 24th of the month suffered some of the earliest gas attacks of the war2.  Patrick is recorded as being killed in action a few days later, on 27th May 1915. His name is recorded on Panel 42, Ypres (Menin Gate) memorial in Belgium, signifying that his body was not recovered from the battlefield.3 His name is also listed on the War Memorial at the bottom of Mary Street in Drogheda.

 

 

Christy KANE, Termonfeckin

Christopher (Christy) Kane (also spelled Kain) was born at Big Street, Termonfeckin in c.1860.

His father was Arthur Kane who, on the 1854 Griffith Valuations survey, was a tenant of a house and garden in Big Street.

Christy went to sea as a young man, spending most of his adult life on the oceans. Christy was not listed on the 1901 or 1911 Census, probably being away at sea on both occasions. In his mid to late fifties he was serving with the British mercantile marine during the First World War. On one occasion when contact was lost between Christy and his family, it was assumed that his ship had been sunk. Locals called to his wife to offer their condolences.

However, Christy eventually resumed contact and he received, at wars end, two medals:

The British War Medal and the Mercantile Marine War Medal for his service during the conflict.

He retired in the early 1920s and spent the rest of his life in Termonfeckin.

Christy_Kain_WWI_medal_edit 



(Photo of Christy Kane’s British War medal with his name engraved on the edge.        Photo by Jimmy Greene.)

 










Lionel T. H. LELAND, Beltichburne

Born on 20th Nov 1881, into the Leland family of Beltichburne, Lionel was a Lieutenant in the 61st company, 17th Battalion of the Imperial Yeomanry during the Boer War (1899-1902).  He later served as Lieutenant with the 4th Battalion the Worcestershire Regiment (8th Battery Motor Machine Gun Section) and was wounded in the attack at Beaumont Hamel on the 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme.4  He achieved the rank of Major at a later date.  Invalided home he died from the effects of his injuries seven years later, on 5th July 1923. He is buried in the Leland family grave in Beaulieu while his name also recorded on the War Memorial in Drogheda.

 




















(Photo of the Leland headstone in Beaulieu cemetery where Lionel Leland is buried.) 



James (Jack) LENNON, Termonfeckin

Born in Nunneryland, Termonfeckin. James Lennon was a twelve year old boy in the 1901 census. He enlisted in 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers along with a neighbour Patrick Byrne (see above).  Jack survived the war and lived in Naas, Co Kildare.6

 

 

Patrick MAXWELL, Termonfeckin/Drogheda

The Commonwealth War Graves records along with other First World War records indicate Patrick was a son of Bernard Maxwell of Termonfeckin. However the 1901 census shows Patrick as a six year old boy living with his family at Newtownstalaban, while the 1911 census indicates the Maxwell’s living at Francis Street, Drogheda. Patrick enlisted in the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in Drogheda and fought with them on the Western Front. He was killed on 7th March 1917 in the Sailly-Saillisel area north of the river Somme and was buried in the military cemetery there. His name is also included on the Drogheda War Memorial.

(From the Drogheda Independent of 16/11/2011: ‘Paddy Maxwell proudly pointed to a name on the monument, Pte P Maxwell, RIR. Paddy is perhaps best known as the husband of the poet, Bridie Maxwell. “He was my uncle,” Paddy stated. “I don't know a lot about him really, but my sister has his medals.”)

 

 

Geoffrey MCCLINTOCK, Termonfeckin

Eldest son of Mr F F McClintock, Rath House, Termonfeckin. Geoffrey was a midshipman on board HMS Centurion during the First World War.7

 

 

John MCDONNELL, Canonstown

John McDonnell, son of Patrick and Mary Ann McDonnell was born around 1891 at Canonstown, Termonfeckin.8

He enlisted in the 1st Battalion Irish Guards at Drogheda who arrived in Europe on 13th August 1914, becoming part of the British force being formed to counter the German attack through Belgium. He was killed in action, just over two months later, on 31st October 1914, during the First Battle of Ypres (October – November 1914). The following extract is from Rudyard Kipling’s, The Irish Guards in the Great War:

[on 31st October] …The Battalion… was shelled from seven in the morning till eleven o’clock at night in such trenches as it had been able to construct during the night; while machine-gun and infantry fire grew steadily through the hours…There were many casualties in the front trenches, especially among No. 3 Company, men being blown to pieces and no trace left. The depressing thing, above all, was that we seemed to have no guns to reply with”.

John McDonnell’s name is recorded on Panel 11, Ypres (Menin Gate) memorial in Belgium, signifying that his body was not recovered from the battlefield. His name is noted on the War Memorial in Drogheda, while his war medals are in the possession of Millmount Museum in Drogheda.

 



(Photo of John McDonnell’s 1914 Star (Mons) medal. Inscribed on back: 3458 Pte J McDonnell Irish Guards. Image courtesy of Millmount Museum, Drogheda.)

















Peter MCDONNELL, Canonstown

Born c1894 (aged seven in the 1901 census) Peter was the younger brother of John McDonnell (see above). The following article about him is taken from the Dundalk Democrat of 20th January 1915:

“Private Peter McDonnell of Termonfeckin a member of the 88th Connaught Rangers, has returned to his native home from the front wounded. He was in the fighting at Ypres and went through several hard fought fights. His hands were all scarred with bayonet thrusts. On 2nd December (1914) he was in the trenches (and) being anxious to know how matters were proceeding he took a look over the brow of the trench. No sooner had he done so than a German sniper fired at him. The bullet struck him in front of his cap from which it was directed by the brass badge of his regiment, and glancing off it, passed down his forehead and face, making an ugly wound. Poor Peter fell unconscious, and there he lay from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. the same day, when he was picked up and carried to a field hospital at the rere. He is fast recovering strength and hopes to rejoin his regiment in a few days” 9

Peter appears to have survived the war however his name is not recorded on any headstone in Termonfeckin graveyard

 

   

George C. C. PENTLAND, Blackhall

George Charles Croker Pentland, born on 15th February 1890, was the son of George H Pentland of Blackhall, Termonfeckin. On the 1901 UK census he was recorded as attending a school in Tunstall, Kent. He later attended Malvern School in Worcestershire and afterwards Cambridge.

George served as lieutenant in the 10th Battery, Motor Machine Guns during the First World War. Also served as lieutenant in RAF and received the ‘1914-15 Star’ after the war.

He resided at ‘The Hutch’, Chinthurst Lane, Shalford, Surrey until his death on 18th November 1969.

George was engaged to Ursula Margaret (1890-1972), youngest daughter of Mr. J.A.H. Jameson of Kilsaran House, Co. Louth in September 1913. They were married the following year, on 5th September 1914. They had one son, who died in infancy.10

 

 

illmount Museum, Drogheda.)u cemetery wher Lionel leland ______________________________________________________________________Alexander PENTLAND, born 4th January 1853 at Blackhall, Termonfeckin. He trained as a doctor and became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1877. He achieved an M.B. from University Dublin in 1878.  He emigrated to Australia in the 1880s and established a medical practice at Maitland, New South Wales.  Alexander enlisted as major with the Australian Army Medical Corps on 18th December 1915 and his duties were on board hospital ships between the Mediterranean, England and Australia in 1916 and 1917. He retired from the post in 1917 and was subsequently awarded the 1914/15 Star, Victory Medal and British War Medal. 

Alexander died in Australia on 19th October 1943, aged 90.

 

 

Patrick REYNOLDS, Banktown

Born around 1878 and son of Matthew and Frances Reynolds, Banktown, Baltray, Patrick Reynolds was a Petty Officer Stoker on board HMS Cassandra. In November 1918 just after the end of the Great War,11 the warship was part of a British light cruiser squadron sent into the Baltic to support the newly independent Baltic States against Bolshevik attack from Russia. On the night of 4/5th December, while travelling in the Gulf of Finland, the Cassandra hit one of the many German mines that had been laid in the area during the war. The ship sank a short time later with eleven of its crew of 400 losing their lives, with Patrick Reynolds being one of those fatalities.12 His body went down with the ship and was not recovered. His name is recorded on the east wall of the Navy aisle in Portsmouth cathedral13 and is also listed on the War Memorial in Drogheda.

 

 

Finlay F. RYAN, Cartown

A Military Cross recipient and youngest son of Edward and Florence Ryan of Cartown House, Finlay Francis Ryan was in Montevideo, Uruguay when war broke out and quickly returned to England where he received a commission as captain in the 8th Battalion, the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment. The battalion was assigned to the 165th Brigade, 55th (West Lancashire) Division, and from October 1916 was stationed in the Ypres area.

The first half of the year (1917) was spent in the salient, which had a comparatively quiet time, if being surrounded by enemy on three sides and under constant artillery fire could be described as quiet.” 14  It was here that Captain Ryan was killed in action on 25th June 1917 whilst leading his company into a German trench. 

He was buried in the Gorre British and Indian Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

 

 



SOURCES:

 

The Unreturned Army - County Louth Dead in the Great War 1914-1918 by Donal Hall (Dundalgan Press 2005)

 

Donal Hall’s The Returned Army at www.jbhall.freeservers.com

 

http://royalirishrangers.co.uk/irish.html


www.cwgc.org

 

www.memorials.inportsmouth.co.uk/churches/cathedral/baltic.htm

 

www.inmemories.com

 

www.1914-1918.net




ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:


Thanks to Betty Quinn and Kevin Somers at Millmount Museum, Drogheda, for their assistance with this article.




____________________________________________________

 

  1. This battalion was famously known as The Faugh-a-Ballaghs . The Byrne and Lennon enlisting told by Noel Phillips, Grangebellew. 

  2. Details from http://royalirishrangers.co.uk/irish.html.

  3. The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is a war memorial in Ypres, Belgium dedicated to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of World War I.  

  4. http://www.worcestershireregiment.com/bat_4_1916.php. The 4th Battalion suffered over 100 casualties, killed and wounded, on the 1st July 1916. 

  5. Details from Leland gravestone inscription in the 1983 Journal of the Old Drogheda Society (Post 1900 Gravestone Inscriptions from Bealieu, James Garry).

  6. Details per Noel Phillips, Grangebellew.

  7. Roll of Honour, Drogheda Advertiser, 15 April 1916. Sub Lieutenant (McDonnell, St Peter’s C of I, JODS 2000)

  8. John is noted as being 10 years of age in the 1901 census.

  9. Extracted from Donal Hall’s The Returned Army at www.jbhall.freeservers.com.

  10. Details from the Pentland genealogy on this website.

  11. Though not strictly deceased during the period of the Great War his death is recorded in Donal Hall’s book and also in the CWGC records.

  12. www.naval-history.net/xDKCas1918postArmistice.htm.

  13. www.memorials.inportsmouth.co.uk/churches/cathedral/baltic.htm.

  14. http://www.1914-1918.net/55div.htm


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