Former student honoured
To commemorate the 100th anniversary to the day of the death, at the age of 22, of past pupil 2nd Lt James Samuel Emerson VC, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Dundalk Grammar School held a special whole-school Remembrance Service.
Lieutenant 'Jim' Emerson, was remembered for his repeated acts of heroism and bravery during the First World War. He was killed in action at Cambrai having recently survived the Battle of the Somme.
The Chairperson of the schools' Board of Governors, Ms Alison Bothwell, welcomed The Most Reverend Richard L. Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh, clergy of many denominations, invited guests, as well as representatives from the Irish Army, An Garda Síochána, The Royal British Legion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and members of the Emerson family living in Ireland and Canada.
The Service of Remembrance was led by the school Chaplain Mr. Ian Moore. The Headmaster Mr. Jonathan Graham concluded the afternoon by thanking everybody who had been involved in organising this special event and was particularly grateful to Rural Dean, Canon Joyce Moore for her significant input to the event.
During a moving Commemorative Service, School Governor, Tristan Swan, spoke to the assembly about Jim Emerson's family background, and short life, drawing attention to the fact that this past pupil was little older than the school's current Leaving Certificate students when he died of bullet wounds.
Undoubtedly, when he enlisted it was for a big adventure with his friends that was to be over by Christmas. Instead by '6th December 1917 'he had been fighting for three years' and 'had earlier seen his battalion annihilated'. For us that are left, making a number's comparison between the school and his battalion of roughly the same size, it was a catastrophe equivalent to every single teacher being killed and just 150 students being left alive.