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Thurles To Commemorate Towns WW1 Dead

Ecumenical Solemn Commemoration Service on the Centenary of the outbreak of WW1

“If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields.”
( Extract from the poem ‘In Flanders Fields,’ by Canadian Physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.)

And the band plays Waltzing Matilda, and the old men still answer the call,
but year after year, their numbers get fewer; someday, no one will march there at all.
( Extract from the song ‘The Band Played Waltzing Matilda,’ written by Eric Bogle.)

At the very least, some 75 soldiers and their officers from Thurles and its immediate environs, saw fit to enlist in the British Army, fought and died bravely between 1914 to 1918, and indeed even later, from wounds received, after that ” war to end all wars” period of our history.

Tomorrow night (October 28th 2014) in St Mary’s Church, here in Thurles, an Ecumenical Solemn Commemoration Service on the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War (WWI) will be held, beginning at 7.30pm sharp, to which all are invited to attend. The service of Prayer, Music and Poetry will be conducted jointly by clergy representing both traditions of the Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland communities, led by Rev. Ian Coulter.

Music for the event will be provided by renowned local pianist M/s Mary Rose McNally, with special guest; composer, guitarist and much-loved folk singer M/s Nora Fogarty.  Retired former aide-de-camp to H.E. the President of Ireland and Co Galway native, Commandant Michael Walsh, will give the commemorative address, with a poetry reading by Mr Shane Willoughby.

Names Of Known Thurles Area Officers and Men Who Died In and Following WW1

(Our thanks to published author Mr Tom Burnell for his research.)

Anderson John, Armstrong William Maurice (Capt) M.C., Beirne John, Bermingham Patrick, Bourke James, Brett Timothy, Butler John, Byrne Patrick, Carroll Martin, Carroll Thomas, Carty John, Cassidy John, Cleary Joseph, Cleary Patrick, Cleary Thomas, Coady Edward, Coady Joseph, Coady Richard, Coffey Michael, Cooke Henry F, Cooney David,Cummins John, Conway Denis, Cunningham John V.C., Cunningham Patrick, Cusack Oliver, Dea Patrick, Dwyer Cornelius, Egan Martin, Fitzpatrick Joseph, Gouldsborough Patrick, Griffin Thomas, Hackett Martin, Hanrahan Daniel, Hayes Daniel, Hayes Thomas, Hennessey Thomas, Horan Joseph, Jordan Denis, Kelly James, Kelly William, Kennedy, Matthew, Kiely Owen, Knox Hubert Lt Col., Knox William Lt Col., Lawyer Joseph, Maher Frank, Maher James, Maher James Bernard, Maher John, McCormack Francis, McCormack Thomas, McLoughlin James J, Meany James, Mockler Patrick, Moyler George, O’Brien Lawrence, O’Grady Patrick, O’Shea John, Power Michael, Purcell Philip, Quinlan Joseph, Ryan Andrew, Ryan James, Ryan John, Ryan Martin, Ryan Michael, Ryan Patrick, Scally Patrick, Shields Matthew, Stapleton John, Sullivan Patrick, Terry Timothy, Walsh James.

A ‘Cross of Sacrifice’ was erected in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, earlier this year, to coincide with the centenary of the beginning of World War One and in particular to commemorate the many thousands of Irish soldiers nationally who lost their lives as a result of both World War One and World War Two.

In his speech at the dedication and unveiling of this ‘Cross of Sacrifice,’ on Thursday, July 31st 2014, President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins stated; “We cannot give back their lives to the dead, nor whole bodies to those who were wounded, or repair the grief, undo the disrespect that was sometimes shown to those who fought or their families. But we honour them all now, even if at a distance, and we do not ask, nor would it be appropriate to interrogate, their reasons for enlisting.
To all of them in their silence we offer our own silence, without judgement, and with respect for their ideals, as they knew them, and for the humanity they expressed towards each other. And we offer our sorrow too that they and their families were not given the compassion and the understanding over the decades that they should have received.
Let us now, together, cultivate memory as a tool for the living and as a sure base for the future – memory employed in the task of building peace.”

Military personnel in particular, community elected representatives and indeed all residents of the town of Thurles are invited to attend and the short Commemoration Service will be followed by a cup of tea and some seasonal “buttered bairín breac,” plus the chance to view a rare display of primary source WWI artefacts’ pertinent to Tipperary and indeed to Thurles.

Admission is free, however a collection will be made during the service with proceeds going to the upgrading of St Mary’s War Museum. (Latter presently under re-construction and due to be reopened as a local tourist attraction on May 1st 2015 next.)

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