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Wednesday 16 January 2019

Wexford Great War Dead website is officially launched

Website has details of Wexford people who died during the war

County librarian, Eileen Morrissey; acting Cathlaoirlach Wexford County Council, Cllr Paddy Kavanagh; Dr Joseph Quinn, UCD; Cllr Pip Breen, Hugh McShane, guest speaker; Peter O’Connor, chairman North Wexford Historical Society; and Susan Kelly, librarian local studies
County librarian, Eileen Morrissey; acting Cathlaoirlach Wexford County Council, Cllr Paddy Kavanagh; Dr Joseph Quinn, UCD; Cllr Pip Breen, Hugh McShane, guest speaker; Peter O’Connor, chairman North Wexford Historical Society; and Susan Kelly, librarian local studies
Librarian Martina Halford and guest speaker Hugh McShane
Barbara Nolan, Breda Phelan and Margaret Gilbert
The large attendance at Gorey Library

Sara Gahan

A new website which has extensive detail on 868 people from County Wexford who lost their lives during World War One was launched last week at Gorey Library.

The launch included a fascinating lecture by historian Hugh McShane focusing on wills and letters written by Wexford soldiers from the battlefront during the Great War.

Cllr Paddy Kavanagh, who deputised on behalf of Wexford County Council chairman Cllr Keith Doyle, launched the Wexford Great War Dead website that has been developed based on the work undertaken by Hazel Percival and Susan Kelly of Wexford County Council in conjunction with local historians.

The website was launched to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI and to commemorate the men and women from county Wexford who lost their lives in the war.

The aim of the project is to engage with the public online with the view to developing the information to hand on all the Wexford war dead.

'Already the response from members of the public has been phenomenal with a large number of people contacting the Library service eager to have their relatives' stories documented as part of their process,' said Cllr Kavanagh in his speech. 'This project provides them with an opportunity, in many cases their first opportunity, to speak openly about their relatives who died in the Great War.'

In conjunction with the launch, Hugh gave an insight into Wexford's Great War soldiers' wills and letters that survived. The illustrated talk looked at Ireland's involvement in WWI and the many young soldiers from county Wexford.

County librarian Eileen Morrissey said Hugh described very poignantly the wills and letters of many of the Wexford soldiers who died in war. She added that the evening was very well-attended.

The criteria set for inclusion in this list of Wexford Great War dead, are persons who were: born in Wexford, lived in Wexford and were casualty (Wexford) of the Great War 1914-1918, persons who were injured in the war and died later from wounds or illnesses relating to their time of service are included.

The research conducted provides the basic date to invite people to participate in an online history project for Wexford. Everyone is encouraged to add to this record by telling Wexford Libraries stories of people they knew who died as a result of the war. People can leave a comment on the website or email Wexford County Council Public Library Service at libraryhq@wexfordcoco.ie.

Records used include Ireland's Memorial Records, published in eight volumes in 1923, It recorded that 18,946 died from the twenty-six counties of Ireland.

However over the years, with the release of other records online, historians realised that while Ireland's Memorial Records was valuable, it was not complete. It did not record Royal Airforce, US, Canadian and other Commonwealth casualties nor Mercantile Marine casualties.

The researchers also used www.findmypast.ie, Ireland's Memorial Records 1914-1918, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. ancestry.co.uk UK, Royal Navy War Graves and the National Archives Soldiers' Wills website. The two sites were invaluable to the project as they helped verify place of birth and age in many instances. Records were also consulted and cross checked against the online databases newly released pension records and additional sources.

Gorey Guardian

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