“Irishmen In The Great War” By Tom Burnell

“To all of the fallen 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.”

(Extract from the speech by Irish President Michael D Higgins during the dedication of the Cross of Sacrifice at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin this week.)


Dublin born author, Mr Tom Burnell, now resident here in Holycross, Thurles, Co.Tipperary, has penned yet another remarkable factual history book; launched just yesterday entitled “Irishmen In The Great War.”  Many of our regular readers will be familiar with Tom’s other publications including “The Wicklow War Dead,” and “Tipperary Casualties of the Great War,” and of course his valued assistance through this website in tracing military family members lost in two great wars.

Tom has taken over twenty-seven Irish newspapers for the period covering the Great War (1914-1918) and has trawled through each and every publication to deliver the most amazing stories of those years, which as we now realise changed our world for ever.

While the book is not necessarily just about Co Tipperary it nevertheless does have many Tipperary people mentioned in it, most of whom survived World War1. Names like:- Miss M. J. Fitzgibbon, Corporal Michael O’Mara (Carrick-on-Suir), Sapper James O’Donnell (Carrick-on-Suir), Private W. Roberts (Clonmel), Corporal A.S. Dowling (Tipperary), Corporal Edward Jackson, (Roscrea), Private Robert Walsh (Carrick-on-Suir), Miss Mary F. Doheny, (Carrick-on-Suir), Sergeant Major Drought Jackson (Roscrea), Captain W. Gibson (Brittas Cashel), Cyril Triscott, Dr Wetterell (Tipperary) and Lance Corporal George White (Knockanvar, Cappawhite).

Contained between these hard covers are the fascinating accounts of the day-to-day lives of men in the front lines; of torpedoed ships; drunken wives, final farewell letters and requests direct from the trenches. There are also many eye-witness accounts of the slaughter as it was happening; battle reports from officers serving in Irish regiments; quirky snippets; chaplains’ sympathetic letters; P.O.W reports of conditions and war poetry.

Here are the tales of the Leinster’s, Munster’s, Connaught’s and Dublin Fusiliers serving in the Ulster Division, 10th and 16th Irish Divisions. We read of medical breakthroughs, paranormal occurrences and miraculous escapes from death.

After the Irish Rebellion of April, 1916, these type of newspaper articles and lists of casualty slowly began to dwindle as here at home Irish hearts would became politically divided.

A cracking great read compiled for the very first time into one single publication and offering a memorable primary source for true lovers of Irish History.


7 comments to “Irishmen In The Great War” By Tom Burnell

  • Tom Burnell

    Thank you most kindly Thurles. Its the first of a set of three, 1914 being the first one, 1915 next and 1916 after that. 1917 and 1918 are also completed and await the discretion of the publishers (Pen & Sword. The Irish newspapers are a fabulous resource, especially covering local items, but also giving informative items of interest about the war machine etc.
    Here are the story titles for the first (1914) edition;-
    Soldier Killed on Railway.
    Bombarded from the Sky.
    Famous War Songs.
    Huge Guns of War.
    Irish Giant Soldiers.
    Kilkee Man’s Letter from the Front.
    Looking For Gold.
    Prophetic Article.
    What Aeroplanes Will Do in the War.
    What the Galloping Kitchen Does.
    Why it Rains After a Battle.

    Some of the Officers.
    The Royal Irish Regiment.
    From the Front.
    Mons and Cambrai.
    Mullingar Man Home from the Front.
    Irish Soldiers in the English Hospitals.
    Kilkenny Soldier’s Death.
    Letter from Munster Fusilier.
    An Awful Sight.
    Bullets in the Brain.
    Cost of the War.
    German Mines.
    Guns by the Inch and Pound.
    How Cossacks Fight.
    Learning to use the Bayonet.
    Letter from Waterfordman.
    Mines in the Open Sea.
    On Active Service.
    Piercing Steel a Yard Thick.
    Putting Armies to Sleep.
    Soldiers With Charmed Lives.
    The Brutality of War.
    The Submarine.
    What a Battlefield looks like.
    What’s in an Aim?
    Will Your Soldier Boy Return.
    Wounded on the field.
    Wounded Soldiers in Callan.

    Mullingar Man’s Experience at the Front.
    From the Trenches.
    Message from Missing Officer.
    Our War Prisoners.
    South Irish Horse at the Front.
    Thrilling Letter from a Limerick Lady.
    Wounded Munster Fusiliers Officer.
    Delvin Man’s Experience.
    Leinster Regiment.
    Soldiers Letters.
    Treatment of British Prisoners.
    “Just Like Clutterbuck!”
    Burying the Dead.
    Local Letter from the Front.
    An Irish Regiment Decimated.
    What our Allies Eat and Wear.
    Bravery of Catholic Priests.
    Wounded Five Times.
    The Irish Soldier’s Patriotism.
    At the Front.
    Communications from Prisoners of War.
    Killed in Action.
    Interesting Interviews.
    Interesting Letter.
    All about actions of the forward line and of the rear.
    A Tale from the Trenches.
    About a Rifle.
    An Old Campaigner Gives Useful Hints.
    Carrickman’s Experience.
    Clonmel Man’s Narrow Shave.
    Diabolical War Plans.
    Dodging the Shells.
    German Prisoners At Templemore.
    How Airmen Fight Duels.
    How the Dead Soldier is Known.
    In the Trenches. (2)
    Irish Rifleman’s Adventures.
    Leinster Officers Letter.
    Methods of Advance That are Irresistible.
    Royal Irish at the front.
    Sky Pointing Cannon and Aircraft.
    Testing the Guns.
    The Awful Invention.
    The Enemy’s Sugar.
    The Munster Fusiliers.
    The Post in War.
    The Torpedo.
    The War and Wild Game.
    This Ship for Sale.
    Those Silent Orders.
    Up-to-date War Dodges.
    Watching a Battle from the Air.
    Waterford Soldier’s Story.
    With a Routed Army.
    Wounded Irish Guardsman Returns to Birr.

    From Roscommon Soldiers.
    The Connaughts.
    Local Comforts for Our Defenders.
    Delvin Union.
    Feigning Death.
    “From the Front.”
    Two Sons For The Front.
    Gallant Irishman on French Battle.
    Irish Soldier’s Ghastly Find.
    An Urlingford Hero and His Dependents.
    British Battleship Blown Up.
    Indians in Action.
    Thrilling Story.
    Letter from a Tipperary Man.
    Letter from a Limerick Nurse.
    Limerick Soldier.
    “Looks Like Hell.”
    Royal Recognition.
    The Brave Munsters.
    Victims of the War.
    Work in Trenches.
    With the 18th Royal Irish at the Front.
    Delvin Man Killed at the Front.
    Had Been Through Five Engagements.
    Delvin Union.
    Another Westmeath Man’s Exeriences.
    Dead Soldier Honoured.
    New York Irishmen.
    In The Firing Line.
    From a Paris Hospital.
    The Battle Front.
    A Roscommon Interpreter.
    A Gurkha Charge.
    Are big guns tested before being used in battle- and if so, how?
    A Waterford Merry with the French Army.
    Are Sheds for Zeppelins Easily Constructed?
    Back From Douai.
    Ballyhale Soldier’s Experience.
    Boy Labour.
    Carrick-on-Suir Lady’s Thrilling Experience at Liege.
    Clara Rangers Story.
    Clareman’s Letter from the Front.
    Elephants as Work-Horses.
    From Catapult to Cordite.
    German Dead, Furnaces Kept burning.
    Getting Food to the Trenches.
    Giant Gun’s That Shatter Steel like Tin Cans.
    How are Big Guns Conveyed Across Rivers?
    How are the Huge Shells for the German 17-inch Guns Moved?
    Impressive German Funeral at Templemore.
    Is There Any Danger of a Torpedo Exploding Accidentally?
    Is There Any Special Apparatus Used For Destroying Barbed Wire Entanglements?
    Letter from Corporal Downing.
    Letter from the Front. (1).
    Letter from the front. (2).
    The Glorious Flash of the Cavalry Charge.
    The ‘Silent Death, ’
    Too Young at 55.
    Urlingford Private’s Story.
    Warriors on Wheels.
    What Wireless Does For War.

    Engines of War.
    Officer in a Matchbox.
    “Brain” of the Army.
    Pocket Wireless.
    Irish Doctors Interesting Communication.
    South Africa and the War.
    Kilkenny Prisoners of War.
    From the Fighting Line.
    Four Sons at the Front.
    Accident to a Waterford Volunteer.
    County Limerick Soldier’s Letter.
    Death of a Wounded Sergeant.
    French Decorations for Irish Soldiers.
    Irish Giant Soldiers.
    Limerick Men at The Front.
    Letter to Croom Merchant.
    The Gallant Munsters.
    Trench Tragedy.
    Catholic Spirit at the Front.
    “From The Front.”
    “Can’t Break Through.”
    Miraculous Escape of Castlepollard Man.
    “From the Front.”
    South Irish Horse.
    The War.
    Mullingar Man Home From The War.
    Gallant Mayo Man.
    Connaughts To The Rescue.
    Stories from the Trenches.
    Artillery Duels.
    An Eye Witness of Shocking Scenes.
    From the Front.
    Late Lieutenant Colonel Morris.
    Back from the Front.
    Carrickman’s Experience in the Royal Engineers.
    Home From The Front.
    A Roscrea Soldier’s Experiece at the Front.
    About the Trenches.
    Are Brave Soldiers Mad?
    Birr Sergeant-Major’s Adventures.
    Bullet Shot Into Enemy’s Rifle.
    Can Aircraft be Made Invisible?
    Can an Entrenching Tool be Used as a Shield for Riflemen?.
    Captain Gibson and Mr Cyril Triscott, Solicitor, Alive and Well.
    Carlow Red Cross Aid Society.
    “Died in Hospital. ”
    Fight in The Trenches.
    Germany’s Prisoners.
    Ghosts in Khaki.
    How Does the Soldier-Cyclist Carry his Bicycle?
    How the Royal Irish made their Last Stand.
    In The Engine Room.
    King’s Christmas Greeting!.
    Letter from a Royal Irish Corporal.
    Preparing Young Soldiers for Active Service.
    Tragedy and Comedy in the Trenches.
    Tricky Shot and Shell.
    Vultures in War.
    What is a “Chakkar”?
    What is a Court Martial?

  • Jim Lynch

    Dear Editor,

    The Sapper James O’Donnell cited by Tom Burnell was my granduncle. I am putting together an account using his wartime diary. I understand via Prof. Laurence Fenton (UCC) that there is an article by James himself in Tom’s book. I may be wrong. Am living in U.K. I would very much value contact with Tom if that were at all possible.
    Jim Lynch

  • Jim Lynch

    As per above entry wd really appreciate a reply!!

  • George Willoughby

    Hi Jim,
    I have sent your E-Mail address to Tom, however because of security reasons I cannot disclose Tom’s Email address.
    However I am sure Tom will contact you shortly. Best regards.

  • Tom Burnell

    “Irishmen in the Great War, Reports from the Front 1914” is available from Amazon, or you can access a copy in your local library for free!!.
    Kind regards.

  • Hi my Dad is looking to contact Tom. My email is as below

  • George Willoughby

    Your email address has been passed on to Mr Burnell’s home.

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