Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
M_J_Robinson_Dur

History MA Dissertation: The experiences of Irish Veterans in Ireland

Recommended Posts

M_J_Robinson_Dur

Hello all!!

I am currently doing a Postgraduate Masters course in Modern History at Durham University, and I am researching for my 15,000 word dissertation which is due in September. The topic I have decided to undertake is to discuss the post-war experiences of Southern Irish soldiers after they had de-mobilized in 1918. I chose this topic because I found that, despite the recent revival in interest of Ireland's role in the Great War, very little remains to be written about how the soldiers switched from combat on the Western Front and Gallipolli and assimiliated back to their lives in Ireland.

I was hoping some of you could offer guidance or information which could help me as I research what I consider a fascinating topic. If any of you have any advice, tips or information which you believe may be helpful then I really would appreciate it. As I said before, very little has been written on this topic so this forum was my next port of call after having exhausted every publication (to my knowledge) that I believe has been published on the subject thus far.

I feel it is important to add that my study is hopefully going to be far more than assuring me a good mark in my Masters Degree. I have attained good feedback from both Northumbria and Trinity College Dublin and I am hoping that a good mark could help me go onto partake in a PhD on this, or another very similar, subject.

Thanks again for reading this,

Michael Robinson.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pob9937

Hello,

What an interesting topic.

I believe that some veterans were involved in the war graves and erection of memorials.

a good place to investigate this would be with the Office of Public Works in Trim, County Meath. They have an archive.

A book that might be worth looking at is Remembering the War Dead by Fergus A. D' Arcy. You might find something in that.

best of luck

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
M_J_Robinson_Dur

Thanks Paul! I will do just that. Thanks for the heads up on that book also. I've read the contents page on the net and it looks very useful and have ordered it into my library.

Thanks again,

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande
how the soldiers switched from combat on the Western Front and Gallipolli and assimilated back to their lives in Ireland.

Not all of them did

Some fought with the IRA in the War of Independence and with either side in the Civil War.

Some remained in the British Army, or worked for the British in one way or another. For example in the Black and Tans or the ADRIC

Many left the new republic and moved to Northern Ireland, Britain or further afield

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CarylW

Michael

First of all welcome to the forum

This is a subject I would be very interested to read more about, given the fact that five of my great uncles were Irish soldiers in the British Army during the Great War. They were career soldiers though and at least one of them remained in the UK post war (one died 1918) Sadly the family lost touch with those who went back to Ireland so I can't add anything about their experiences in post war Ireland.

Have you read Irishmen or English Soldiers? The Times and World of a Southern Irish Catholic )1876-1918) Enlisting in the British Army during the First

World War, Thomas P. Dooley. Liverpool University Press 1995

I haven't read this yet, but intend to when I can get hold of a copy, so I have no idea if it would add to your research into post-war experiences of Southern Irish soldiers after they had de-mobilized in 1918.

There is a review by Martin Bates on JSTOR that doesn't really mention the aspect you are interested in, which of course doesn't mean that it wasn't covered. The author is supposed to have trawled through every available source for his research.

There is a copy available on Abe Books (pricey at £40, which is why I haven't bought it!) You've probably read it anyway (if so I'd be interested to hear what you thought of it)

Just one thing. You wrote "...very little remains to be written...". then later in the post wrote "...As I said before, very little has been written on this topic"

Was it an error? Just wondering because I'd like to read more on the subject and hope that more remains to be written

I've read the odd Irish novel that describes a family member formerly in the British Army during WW1 as "someone we don't talk about", but nothing factual as yet

Good luck with the dissertation

Caryl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
M_J_Robinson_Dur

Firstly, thanks for your response Corisinade. I don't think I made myself clear in my OP. You are, of course, correct in stating that some veterans joined the IRA/Black and Tans/emigrated and they will of course be mentioned in my dissertation (I think some good examples are in Peter Hart's study of Cork if my memory serves me correctly).

Thanks Caryl! Yes I have read through Dooley's book and, although being very informative and well researched, it does not cover my dissertation in much detail at all. That is exactly why I think there is scope for my dissertation as the majority of books stop writing about the soldier's experience concluding abruptly with the Armisitice peace and demobilisation. That is not say, of course, that NOTHING at all has been written on my subject. One example being Neil Richardson's 2010 book 'A Coward If I Return, A Hero If I Fall.' In the book, Richardson dedicates the topic 55 pages (albeit with photos and large writing) under the chapter headline: 'Homecoming'. He researches individual stories rather than a broad study, but it has some very interesting and depressing case studies which deal with veterans suffering from depression, alienation, shell shock and sometimes even suicide. I think it's available at around £10 on Amazon.

Thanks again,

Michael.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corisande

Michael

I was not intending to be carping - really just trying to find out what exactly you were going to write about.

I have read 'A Coward If I Return, A Hero If I Fall.' and as you say interesting and depressing cases.

As you say little has been written, but perhaps the reason is that it is very difficult to research as much/most has been forgotten. The stuff I have been doing is looking at the individual soldiers who did join ADRIC or stayed in the military in Ireland in one way or the other. What has astonished me is the lack of knowledge today that families have about what their grandfathers did in the immediate post war period. Whether that grandfather was in Collins Squad or in British Intelligence. Nothing seems to have been committed to paper

I assume you are researching "papers" rather than "reminiscences" (which would be second hand anyway. The Manuscript room in the NLI has a lot of original material - I found for example POW letters there.

I note wryly that you have till September for the dissertation - you are certainly going to be busy :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dfaulder

With the Queen's visit coming up, it may well be worth keeping an eye on the Irish Press for "historical pieces"; they may give some pointers towards possible sources.

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BrendanLee

Try the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, any employee who enlisted was guaranteed their job when they returned and as the Brewery now has an excellent archive section they may be able to give you information. Over 800 Guinness employees enlisted during the war, you can get a book from the Naval and Military Press with the names of all those who enlisted.

You could also try Trinity College Dublin as there is a list of all those who attended the College and served in WW1, I am not sure if they would have records of what happened them after the war but it would be worth making an inquiry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dfaulder

>><<

You could also try Trinity College Dublin as there is a list of all those who attended the College and served in WW1, I am not sure if they would have records of what happened them after the war but it would be worth making an inquiry.

I have noticed that in Northern Ireland, the Presbyterian church honour boards often included "those who dared to die, survived:". Did some of the other churches (e.g. CoI) in the South do the same?

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BrendanLee

I have noticed that in Northern Ireland, the Presbyterian church honour boards often included "those who dared to die, survived:". Did some of the other churches (e.g. CoI) in the South do the same?

David

I have seen a few rolls in Church of Ireland churches which contain the names of all those who served but in view of the time constraints on Michael I though Guinness or Trinity might have their records computerised and would be able to give him bulk information within a reasonable time frame. One of my local C of I churches displays a roll containing about 100 names, all hand written with hand drawn decorative borders, every year on the 11th of the 11th a wreath is laid under the roll and prayers said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Magnumbellum

I am currently doing a Postgraduate Masters course in Modern History at Durham University, and I am researching for my 15,000 word dissertation which is due in September. The topic I have decided to undertake is to discuss the post-war experiences of Southern Irish soldiers after they had demobilised in 1918.

It should not be assumed that the Armistice of 11 November 1918 enabled the demobilisation of any significant number of troops, from Ireland or elsewhere in the UK, before the end of 1918.

The majority of those who volunteered "for the duration" were not demobilised until 1919..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tharkin56

i believe you would have a good element if you spoke to the daughters of one of the VC winners, James Duffy, when he returned to Ireland those who knew him simply called him VC. I think you'll find a difference to the way VC winners were treated back in Southern Ireland to those in the UK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
M_J_Robinson_Dur

Thanks to you all for your great responses thus far, they really are providing new perspectives that I had never previously considered. Tharkin56, I'm not a great expert on Irish winners of the VC during the War but it is definately a worthile subject to pursue further and I have just ordered Irish Winners of the Victoria Cross by Richard Doherty. It would definately be a great addition to my study if I could get frst hand testimony from his daughters but there is also the fact that I would have to track them down and then get their permission to talk to them. I'll give it my best shot!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sherpamick

You need to get to Ireland and talk to the diminishing numbers of the children of Great War Veterans. The few I know all have the same story, "he never spoke much about it". I have seen a documentary about a WW1 survivor who lived under a rock near Coumshingaun in Co Waterford, his name was Lackendara Jim and became a minor local celebrity towards the end of his life. The documentary was made as part of a project and never commercially released. In Clonmel there is a small housing estate that was built for WW1 vets, while the Town of Carrick - on - Suir depended on the pensions of veterans. My friend tells the story of how it was his grandfathers pension that bought his communion outfit and that would have been in the seventies. Another friend tells me how his wife's granfather in his dying days had sever flashbacks to the Western Front and was tormented crying out orders and he was a blacksmith in the great war.

The economic consequences of the army pension has never been looked at especially in garrison towns.

Sherpamick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
edgoodwin1

Michael,

It might be a good idea to talk to some of the guys in the RDFA; many of the current RDFA members have stories from family members.

EdG

http://www.greatwar.ie/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tharkin56

Speak to the Royal Inniskilling Museum, they hold his VC i guess due to data protection they could pass on your request. I beleive they are in the Letterkenny region

Trevor

forgot to add the Donegal museum bought out a DVD a few years ago called Donegal in the Great War, maybe worth a look

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
isadore

Michael, try the Irish Parlimentary Debates they may give you a flavour of how these veterans were viewed politically.

http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/

Search for something like British Ex-Servicemen

Best of luck with your research

Isadore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rflory

Not all Irish officers were happy about the manner in which they were treated upon leaving the service. The following was taken from the service papers of Lieut. Joseph James Anthony Halpin, RFA (WO339/30207):

He was disembodied from the Special Reserve of Officers on 22 October 1919. In a letter to The Secretary, War Office on 30 October 1919 he complained about getting only one month’s leave when he returned home from two years of foreign service, writing: “I must say as an Irishman and all my brothers having joined the army I do not consider the treatment I am receiving is quite nice.”

On 21 November 1919 he again wrote to The Secretary, War Office complaining that his demobilization was cancelled, indicating: “I consider the treatment I have received since I returned here from the War as an Irish Officer, who was not conscripted, has been uncalled for. How is it that you come to write one day extending leave and the next day cancelling it, and by whose authority is this done. I am now without employment. I may point out that in the present condition of Ireland, treatment such as I have received tends to make loyal officers disloyal.”

Regards, Dick Flory

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Murrough

Michael, you should try to get in touch with the Royal British Legion as they were very active in post war Ireland and many towns and villages had branches throughout the country. In Willian Henrys "Galway and the Great War"Mercier Pess 2006, there is a great picture of veterans outside the British legion hall,Piggots Lane,Loughrea,Co Galway in 1921.Estimates of Irish participants in the war vary between 200,000 - 250,000 (maybe more in my opinion) so you should have plenty to work on.I feel that the socio-economic backrounds of veterans played a big part in their post war experiences, much more than political affiliations or loyalties.I wish you well in your endeavour,it is a subject that needs to be written so that these men and their experiences are recorded.

Regards,

Murrough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rob elliott

MJR,

I think it might be useful if you can to get more information on James Duffy as i think he is a particularly unusual case.

He was from Letterkenny, Donegal which then went into the Free State, but he regularly attende the rememberence service in Londonderry, along with many other Donegal veterans.

There are photos of him laying one of the main wreaths in the 20's-30's.

He also has the VC engraved onto his headstone.

I understand it is known the IRA planned to kidnap him in the 1920's but thought better of it due to the fallout that would come back off the locals.

The Londonderry Sentinel had an article about him a few years ago.

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Murrough

You will enjoy Richard Dohertys book on the VC winners, another interesting case is Martin Doyle VC,MM, of the Munster Fusiliers,he joined the old IRA after the Great war and was an intelligence officer in the East Clare brigade,he later became an officer in the Free State army.In 1929 he attended the VC renuinon dinner in the Royal Gallery, House of Lords, Palace of Westminister.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...