Sunday 18 November 2018

War heroes: Discovery reveals stories of fallen WWI Irish soldiers

Moving an injured colleague. PHOTOS: GETTY
Moving an injured colleague. PHOTOS: GETTY
Meal time. PHOTOS: GETTY
Delivering homing pigeons. PHOTOS: GETTY

Ryan Nugent

An Irishman became the first posthumous recipient of the highest British honour for his efforts in World War I, new records have revealed.

Research by Ancestry.ie has uncovered records detailing a number of the Irish soldiers who were killed during the war.

It is estimated that some 49,000 Irishmen died during World War I.

One of the men was Maurice James Dease, from Coole, Co Westmeath.

Mr Dease was a member of the 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers and was killed in action in Mons, Belgium, on August 23, 1915. He was honoured with the Victoria Cross for continuing to defend his position despite numerous wounds, the research revealed.

Also among those to be fatally wounded in battle was Arthur Moore O'Sullivan.

During the Christmas truce of 1914, Mr O'Sullivan and others from his regiment went into no man's land to meet German soldiers and exchange gifts. Mr O'Sullivan fired his pistol at midnight, ending the truce and resuming the war. Six months later, on Sunday, May 9, 1915, he was killed in battle.

Around 3,500 of the men who died during the war were killed during the Battle of Somme, in which more than a million soldiers were killed in total.

Irish Independent

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