Sunday 19 November 2017

Ceremony honours a fallen soldier...

Hubert Murphy

Over the last few years and indeed, up to 2018, the anniversaries of many local men killed in World War 1 will be marked.

Hundreds perished in actions in various parts of the world, but mostly in the trenches of France and Belgium.

Later this year, the area will commemorate the soldier poet, Francis Ledwidge. It will be a special day.

But last Saturday, as a slight drizzle settled in, at the bottom of Mary Street, a simple soldier, who died without fanfare or glory, was recalled in a poignant ceremony.

Patrick Maxwell was a young man from Francis Street who died 100 years ago last week, on the Western Front.

Since a visit to the spot where he died a few years ago, Bridie Maxwell had vowed to mark his anniversary with something special.

The fallen soldier was an uncle of her husband, Paddy, who recalled growing up hearing stories about Patrick, his brother, Thomas, immensely proud of his sibling and often showing off his medals.

'I wanted to do something for Patrick, to remember him after all these years,' Bridie stated.

With Fr Phil Gaffney leading, the service was simple and inspiring, a token gesture to a man long gone, but living on in the memory of those left behind.

Bellewstown Heritage Group, local councillors, Mayor Tully, Cllr Tom Kelly of Laytown/Bettystown Municipal District and members of the ONE all played their part in making the event happen.

To end, Bridie performed one of her poems, written for the occasion and entitled 'On this Great Day'.

'Shattered silence takes this morn,

And tells its story to the Lord,

Slaughter upon the fields of France,

Took battalions of soldiers at one glance.'

Drogheda Independent

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