Saturday 27 December 2014

Sinkhole swallows grave of Irish WW1 soldier

Work set to resume this week on saving final resting place of Irish Private Francis Ryan

Published 01/03/2014 | 16:30

WORK is to resume this week to save the grave of Irish Private Francis Ryan whose final resting place was swallowed up by a sink hole in a military cemetery in Wales.

The soldier from Co Longford died during WW1 in 1915 at the age of 40 and was resting peacefully at the Pembroke Dock war cemetery until a prolonged spell of heavy rain last week ruptured the limestone layer underneath Pte Ryan’s coffin, causing it to shift.

The soldier, who formally served with the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) was born in Longford in 1875. It’s understood that the UK Ministry of Defence has been unable to trace any living relatives of the soldier.

In the meantime, the MOD is working to prevent Pte Ryan’s headstone from collapsing into the pit while trying to save five other soldiers’ graves that are thought to be at risk of falling into the pit.

 “Work to fill the sink hole will begin next week and will be completed by the end of March. The chosen option does not involve exhumation,” a spokesman for the MOD said.

The cemetery contains the graves of 23 Commonwealth soldiers who were killed during WW1 as well as 51 other servicemen who were killed in action during the Second World War.

The giant sinkhole, meanwhile, has been covered up with a protective metal grille to deter would-be “tomb raiders” while the area of the cemetery has been cordoned off from the public.

Irish Independent

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