Saturday 23 June 2018

Families of the Great War who paid a dreadful price

What do Joseph Pierce Murphy, of 2 Thorncastle place, Ringsend, Dublin, and Joseph Lynch, of Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, have in common? It is that on August 6, 1914, they were the first Irish servicemen to be killed in action in the Great War after their vessel, HMS 'Amphion', hit a mine in the opening naval battle in the North Sea.

At least two other sailors, Martin Murphy and Jeremiah Minahane, who were lost on the 'Amphion', were probably Irish, but are not listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission official lists. They are thus doubly forgotten.

One of the midshipmen saved from HMS 'Amphion' was young Stephen Fogarty Fegen, of Tipperary. Twenty-five years later, in 1940, while skippering HMS 'Jervis Bay', he ordered a suicidal assault on the German pocket battleship 'Admiral Scheer' in defence of the convoy he was escorting.

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