This new book contains a full record, for the first time, of some 840 soldiers, officers, sailors, airmen, nursing sisters from County Wicklow, 752 from WW1, together with the names of casualties who listed their next of kin as residents of Co.Wicklow. Casualties named, died during WW1 and WW2 while in the service of the British Army, the Australian Army, the NewZealand Army, the American Army, the Indian Army, the Nursing Service, the Canadian Army, Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps, Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, the South African Army, the Royal Navy and lastly the Mercantile Marine.
There were seven children born to Patrick (Pakie) and Peggy (Margaret) Burnell in Finglas, Dublin during the 1950s. Margaret, Paddy, Tom, Seamus, Paul, Greg and Michelle and four of the lads served in the Irish Defence Forces here at home, on the South Armagh, Monaghan, Cavan, and Louth borders, during the ‘troubles’ and overseas with the United Nations on peace keeping duties. Their relations have fought in World War 1 and World War 2 and two of them died during the Irish Civil War. It is therefore no mystery that the author and his brother still hold an interest in all things military.
Like most Dublin families at least one of their parents came from outside The Pale, so it was not surprising that every one of Pakie Burnell’s children moved out of Dublin to the countryside to enjoy a more peaceful and a slower pace of life. Some things are taken for granted by people who reside in rural areas, not least of which is that they are surrounded by history and solitude.
This new book contains not only all the casualties of two World Wars buried in County Wicklow but also includes those who were not native to Irish soil. The disproportionate amount of Wicklow casualties sent to watery graves by German torpedoes, mostly men from Arklow in Co.Wicklow, were one of the major surprises in this research, as were the number of unfortunate airmen who came to rest here in the Garden of Ireland from places far afield. Wicklow men were involved in every action of both wars on land, sea and in the air. Some of them died of their wounds in England after receiving a ‘blighty wound’. However the majority of them died on varying battlefields. A surprising amount of these have no known graves and remain just a name on a cold stone memorial.
If no one-else remembers these unfortunate men and women, their sacrifice will at least be recorded thanks to this little book ‘ The Wicklow War Dead’.