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Soldiers of Great War 'adopted' by pupils

A COUSIN of Sean Lemass died in the Battle of the Somme just months after the future Taoiseach was fighting in the 1916 Rising.

Second Lieutenant Herbert Justin Lemass (inset), from Rathmines, is one of the World War I soldiers researched by secondary school students as part of the 'My Adopted Solider' project.

Katharine Woods (16), from Balinteer has researched Lemass, who died aged just 19.

He came from a relatively well-off family and attended Trinity College before the war.

"In January, we were assigned a random soldier from our county to research.

"I was able to find his second cousin, Owen, who had found documents relating to Herbert three years ago in his attic in Dundrum," Katharine said.

"What was interesting was that [while he was fighting in the War], his cousin Sean was fighting in the GPO," she said.

Katharine is part of group of students from every county who are meeting President Michael D Higgins before flying to Belgium where they will visit some of the battlefields.

The students will also visit the European Parliament and are to be joined by an RTE camera crew who are making a documentary about the project.