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Book Review: Ireland's Unknown Soldiers - The 16th (Irish) Division in the Great War

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Written by Terence Denman.
Hardback 209 pages with b/w illustrations and maps.
Irish Academic Press 1992. 

The war of 1914-1918 saw the Irish soldier make his greatest sacrifice on Britain’s behalf. Nearly 135,000 Irishmen volunteered - there has never been conscription in Ireland - in addition to the 50,000 Irish who were serving in the regular army and reserves on the outbreak of war in August 1914.
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Colonel Courtenay’s Conferring

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by James Scannell

At Lanark on Thursday, the honorary freedom of that royal and ancient  Burgh was conferred on Colonel Courtenay, C.B., of Newtown Park, Master of the Court of King’s Bench in Ireland. Colonel Courtenay is now Brigadier, in command of a Militia division composed of several thousand officers and men.
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Irish WW1 Dead Who Died in Flanders Remembered

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On Saturday 9 June 2007 at a ceremony to commemorate the 70,000 dead and wounded Irish soldiers during the First World War from what are now the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, President Mary McAleese laid a laurel wreath, and Northern Ireland Minster for Arts and Culture Edwin Poots, a wreath of poppies, at the cross in the Island of Ireland Peace Park at Wijtschate, in Messines, Flanders.

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Irish burials in West Point Cemetery, New York

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by Conor Dodd

West Point cemetery is located on the grounds of the United States Military Academy overlooking the Hudson River north of New York city. The cemetery itself contains many reminders of the long running link between Ireland and the U.S. through the countless numbers who emigrated through the years.

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The Cross in Heraldry and Medallic Art

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by Eamonn O’Toole

The cross, probably the most common device found in orders and decorations, exists in almost four hundred forms in armoury. When it was first assumed during the Crusades there is no doubt that those who blazoned it on their shields and banners intended it to represent the Cross of Christ but, like so much in heraldry, it has developed strangely over the centuries. In many cases it now has no Crhistian significance and is in fact used in the insignia of countries which are not Christian at all.
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The German Internment Camp at Oldcastle

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by Norman Nicol

I came across the name of this camp, in County Meath, in a book by Robert Jackson (Routledge, 1989) The Prisoners 1914-1918.

In the final chapter he states a camp was established at Oldcastle in the old Fever Hospital, since demolished, in the closing months of 1914.

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New Publication on Irish Medals

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Call for submissions

Members of the Medal Society of Ireland are currently working on a new book on Irish Medals for publication in the near future.

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Deaths of Old I.R.A. Men

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by Liam Dodd

(A list containing the name, date and place of death, and service in the old I.R.A.)

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Pte. Denis Dempsey V.C.

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by James Scannell 

Lecture presented to the MSOI meeting on Saturday May 27th 2006 

The first Victoria Cross awarded was to an Irishman, 20-year old David Charles Lucas, Acting Mate Royal Navy, serving on HMS Hecla which was part of a Royal Navy fleet which attacked Russian shipping and installations in Finland which was part of Russia at that time. On 21 June 1854 HMS Hecla took part in the bombardment of the fortress on the island of Bormasund in the middle of the Baltic. During the engagement, a live Russian shell landed on the deck of this warship and all hands were ordered to take cover. Lucas ignored this order, coolly picked up the shell and threw it overboard. For this act of spontaneous bravery, he was immediately promoted to the rank of lieutenant and also nominated for the Victoria Cross and was one of 62 medal recipients who received their medals personally from Queen Victoria at the first Victoria Cross investiture held in Hyde Park, London, on 26 June 1857. Lucas eventually reached the rank of rear admiral. He died on 7 August 1914 in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich currently holds his Victoria Cross.

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United Nations Membership Commemoration

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50th Anniversary of Ireland’s United Nations Membership Commemorated

by James Scannell

On Wednesday 13 December the 50th Anniversary of Ireland’s membership of the United Nations was celebrated with a ceremony in Dublin’s McKee Barracks attended by Willie O’Dea, T.D., Minister for Defence, Dermot Ahern, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lt.-General Jim Shreenan, Defence Forces Chief-of-Staff and current and former members of the Defence Forces who served with the U.N. During the ceremony the pennants of all overseas units were paraded followed by a review of U.N. veterans, 4 of whom currently serving with the Irish Defence Forces were deployed in the Congo during the 1960’s.

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Wicklow Militia

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William Dodd, in 1795, was a distiller of Smithfield and Bow Lane, Dublin and had worked his trade for almost twenty years. In that year he decided to move his family and business to Ballynaclonagh, Co. Westmeath. He immediately established a distillery and malting concern. Dodd found that he could fit in well in the community, enjoying the natural hospitality and entertainment of the locals, from humble farmers to the local gentry. All levels of society were open to him. He payed tithe without much complaint but found rising taxation on everything from salt, milling, and brewing to be vexatious, and such tax was payable only in cash. He and his sister, wife, and eight children enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle.

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The Irish Divisions

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by Liam Dodd

Standards to be borne on Battlefields Pilgrimage then the Irish contingent on the Battlefields Pilgrimage leaves Westland Row station on Saturday evening next, they will be accompanied by Major-General Sir William Hickie as party conductor, Mr A.P. Connolly Chairman of the Irish Free State area of the British Legion, assistant party conductor, Captain P.J. Lyne M.C. train party leader, Major Tynan assistant train party leader and Colonel E.J. Hart chief accommodation officer.
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Oh, We Don't Want to Lose You

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by J. Morton

During the early years of the 1914-18 War young men in Great Britain, and to a certain extent in Ireland, were encouraged by various means to volunteer for service in the armed forces.

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A Visit To Dublin In Search Of Medals 50 Years Ago

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by Patrick Casey

The following is a short report of a visit to Dublin recorded in War Medals Notes and News in Seaby’s Coin and Medal Bulletin No.499, October, 1955.

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“The Old Dirty Shirts”

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Many old comrades and associates of the late Company Sergt. Major Martin Doyle V.C. M.M. Royal Munster Fusiliers will be pleased to hear that a suitable memorial stone is now erected on his grave at the Military Cemetery Blackhorse Lane Dublin by his old comrades who served with him 1914-18 war. After his discharge from the British army he became an instructor with the Irish army, where he was most popular. On his discharge he obtained a position as policeman at St. James’s Gate Brewery, where he remained up to the time of his death.
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An English Country Churchyard

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by Dan Finnigan

For many years I have been interested in most aspects of the Great War, particularly the role played in it by the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. My father, Lance-Sergeant Thomas Daniel Finnigan served with the 9th and 10th Battalions of the regiment on the Western Front. The occurrence at St. Quentin was something that I had known about a long time ago and I had formed my own opinion on the lasting punishment meted out to the two men at the centre of it.

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The Reverend Alexander Hamilton Synge

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by George Callaghan

Alexander Hamilton Synge entered Trinity College, Dublin on 14 October 1836 at the age of 16. The University’s List of Graduates shows that he was born in Dublin, the son of John Synge, gentleman.

The Gentlemen’s and Citizen’s Almanack for 1821 in its section ‘Nobility and Gentry’ showed only one person with the Christian name of Synge, John, with addresses at 8 Ely Place and Glanmore Castle, Wicklow (near Ashford). The entry for Synge of Glanmore in Burke’s Landed Gentry (1863 edition) confirmed that Alexander Hamilton was, indeed, a member of this family. He was the second son of John and his wife Isabella (daughter of Alexander Hamilton, Q.C. of Newtown Hamilton, Co. Dublin), His paternal grandparents were Francis of Glanmore and Elizabeth (nee Hatch). He also numbered among his ancestors a Bishop and an Archbishop so it was not unusual for him to decide to study for the priesthood.

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Identification Parade - What is it No 21

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by Tadhg Moloney

Medal of the Emerald Society of the New York Police Dept - presumably with Irish associations. Obverse, silver gilt with a wreath of oak leaves round the edge. In the centre a shield bearing the coat of arms of New York superimposed upon a green enamelled shamrock or trefoil and a white enamelled band around with the legend EMERALD SOCIETY - POLICE DEPT N.Y.C. The ribbon is half green and half white and is suspended from a pinback brooch in gilt bearing the words FOR VALOR. Society awards abound in the USA and this is clearly one such but the words on the suspension brooch indicate that it is a special decoration and not just a service or membership medal.
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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Part 1

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by Evans E. Kerrigan

It was decided almost from the very beginning of NASA, that some sort of decorations and awards system should be created to reward and recognize members and employees of the agency, as well as those attached temporarily to NASA projects. These awards would be in the fields of personal heroism or endurance, notable scientific achievements and breakthroughs, plus high levels of leadership and administrative accomplishments. All of these decorations and awards with the exception of The Congressional Space Medal of Honor, were established by NASA on July 29, 1959. There seems to be no specific designer of these awards, they are the product of many individuals within the agency. The Institute of Heraldry has assisted in the design of ribbons and provided sources for the actual manufacturing of these awards.

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Arthur Samuel Buchanan Tutty

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by Kevin Myers

It being that time of year, it’s only right to pay homage to that soldier son of Clontarf, Arthur Samuel Buchanan Tutty, details of whom appear in James W. Taylor’s The 1st Royal lrish Rifles in the Great War; and no, this is not another tale of gallant but forgotten Paddys at the front. This is a story of the most craven poltroon ever to leave Ireland’s shores. This a tale of cowardice at its most heroic.

Arthur was educated at Howth Road School, Dublin. He was a Methodist and, clearly, an ornament to his religion. When he joined the British army in 1915, he was 5ft 6ins, weighed eight stone, and had a chest size of about 33 inches. He was, in brief, a weed.

Yet stay: are not small men often brave men? And they often are, when they’re bantam cocks. But our Arthur was actually more of a bantam hen.

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Wearing the Wrong Ribbon

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by Liam Dodd

At the Clerkwell Police Court before Mr. D'Eyncourt today, Stephen Hayes, 39, a telegraphist of King Street Mitchelstown County Cork, was charged with wearing the medal ribbon supplied for the King's South African medal 1901-02, without being authorised, the prisoner pleaded guilty to displaying the wrong ribbon.

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