Wednesday 22 November 2017

Veterans' graves are rededicated

The Wexford and Waterford branches of the Royal British Legion.
The Wexford and Waterford branches of the Royal British Legion.

Padraig Byrne

Army veterans of every rank and era gathered with members of the public at St Mary's Cemetery on Wednesday morning for the re-dedication of five refurbished graves of war veterans buried there.

Of the five servicemen, four of them are known to have fought in World War I, while the other served in World War II. Three of the men are known to have served at Mons and the subsequent withdrawal to Aisne in August of 1914, so it was particularly apt that this ceremony was taking place almost 100 years to the day after they disembarked in France.

The soldiers remembered at the ceremony included Pte Aidan Nolan who died in 1919, either from wounds sustained or from an illness contracted while he was a prisoner of war in France. Pte Patrick Brien died in 1916 from wounds sustained during the Great War, as did Pte James Carty who died in March 1919 and whose family members were present at the ceremony.

Also remembered were William Murphy, about whom very little is known apart from the fact that he died in 1920. He served in the Royal Engineers and as a result of the sheer size of that organisation, it has been increasingly difficult to pin down any information.

Finally remembered was Pte James Fortune who served in World War II and died in August 1945. His records are still in the army personnel office and have not yet been released into the public domain.

There was a great attendance at the ceremony, including representatives of The Irish United Nations Veterans Association, The Organisation of National Ex-servicemen & Women, The Dublin Artillery Association, The Royal British Legion – Wexford Branch and the Royal British Legion – Waterford Branch, both of whom formed the Guard of Honour behind their respective Standards and the National Flag.

An ecumenical service was conducted by the Ven Chris Long from the Church of Ireland and Fr Richard Lawless and the last post was played by trumpeter Anthony Nolan after a wreath was laid on each of the graves.

Enniscorthy Guardian

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