William Monahan (1887 – 1941)
William Monahan was born in New Ross, Wexford. He married Sarah Mullens and their children were Mary, Philomena, Gerard and Madeleine. William worked as a butler. Sarah died on the 4th April 1920 aged 49. His mother Mary Anne Monahan, who practiced as a midwife, having trained in Sir.Patrick Dun’s Hospital, brought up his younger children. She died on the 1st August 1937 at the age of 88.
He married again on 28th January 1926 to Rose Gallagher in Buncrana, Donegal. They had two sons, Patrick and William.
Service In The ‘Royal Dublin Fusiliers’.
Many of the service records of World War One were destroyed during the ‘blitz’ on England during the Second World War. However, the Public Records Office, at Kew, was able to provide some limited information on his army service in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. The surviving records indicated that he had served in the 2nd and 8th battalions and that he had entered the field of battle in France in December 1915. The Medal Roll showed that he had been awarded the 1914-1915 Star and two other medals, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. So, he was the holder of the triple medals of World War One. He had attained the rank of Sarjeant.
Service In The National Army.
Back in Ireland he initially worked as a canteen manager/barman in Monaghan He then enlisted, for a period of six months, in the National Army on 18th July 1922. (Oglaigh na h-Eireann, Voluntary Reserve). His first posting, as a sergeant, was to the Special Infantry Corps at Portobello Barracks, Rathmines, Dublin. He was discharged on the 18th January 1923 and reattested on 20th February 1923 retaining his rank of sergeant and was posted to the 35th Infantry battalion at Sligo in the Donegal Command (Service Number 884). On the 3rd June 1924 he was promoted to Company Quartermaster Sergeant and posted to Finner Camp in Buncrana. Further promotion followed on 26th August 1924 to Acting Battalion Quartermaster Sergeant. Following a course of instruction, 14th February to 3rd May 1925, at the Curragh he was promoted to Battalion Quartermaster Sergeant and posted to West Command HQ in Custume Barracks, Athlone.
In 1927 the Defence Forces were going through a period of reduction in strength. He was not retired due to this reduction in the Establishment of Ranks but was posted to 4 Garrison Transport Company at Athlone.
On the 16th July 1927 he was discharged - “Time Expired” - having served for four years and one hundred and forty seven days.
Service In The Local Defence Force.
Following his discharge from the army, his days in uniform were not over. After the outbreak of World War Two, he joined the Local Defence Force which was formed in response to “The Emergency” in Ireland. Although, the records of the LDF in Buncrana have been lost, the local newspaper’s report of his funeral with Full Military Honours provided some information. He was a Section Leader and died on 21st April 1941 on duty and the newspaper speculated that he was the first LDF casualty in Donegal. He was awarded the Emergency Service Medal posthumously.
William Monahan – Date Of Birth.
There is some doubt as to his actual age on discharge from the Irish Army. His Army records show a variation in the data on his age. It states that his date of birth was 30th March 1884. So, on discharge in July 1927 he would have been 43 but the Discharge Medical Board Form shows his age at discharge as 50 years, this implies that the year of birth was 1877. The Death Certificate states he died on 21st April 1941 at age 64, this would give credence to the year of birth being 1877. Without the assistance of the Irish Army Archives much of his military service would not have come to light and one is very grateful to them for that.
In 2012 his British War Medal and Victory Medal were stolen. The inscription on the medal rims was “21367 SJT.WILLIAM MONAHAN. R D Fus.” Any information about these two medals and the lost 1914-1915 Star would be appreciated and sent to the Editor.