Those who died in the Great War have been honoured with a dignified ceremony held at the Presentation Centre, Enniscorthy, where Cllr Willie Kavanagh and Minister Paul Kehoe unveiled a specially commissioned plaque marking the centenary of the ending of the 1914-1918 war.
In his opening words Cllr Willie Kavanagh, said that as Chairman of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council he was pleased to represent the local authority at the commemorative ceremony to recognise and remember all those who died or gave service for peace in World War 1 on Armstice Day.
World War 1 started as a global war on July 28th 1914 and continued until November 11th 1918. It was known as the Great War and a significant number of Irishmen fought and died and just under 50,000 lost their lives in many places faraway from home at the front lines in northern France and Belgium.
Cllr Kavanagh referred to an article ‘Rescruiting and Responses to the War’ by a Trinity student at the time, Pauline Codd, a sister of current member, Cllr Kathleen Codd-Nolan, that gives an insight into that time.
Cllr Kavanagh continued; “It is interesting to note that in the publication a review of ex-servicemen from the British Legion for Enniscorthy and district showed that 86% were employed as labourers and 91% of these were from Enniscorthy town. Levels of recruitment in rural areas were lower as the men worked on the farms to increase agricultural output and food supply.
“We see the human impact in the loss of so many young lives in the surnames of those killed in the war, which are very familiar to us here in the Enniscorthy district.
“Names such as Albert Buttle from Templeshannon, who died, aged 23. He was discharged on medical grounds having been injured at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and rejoined his regiment again in France in May 1918.
The Cullen brothers from Irish Street, Thomas and Maurice, who were both killed in action. It was not unusual for a family to have more than one member going to war.
“James Ryan was born in 1887 at Tombrack, Ferns, with his final post in France. He wrote a letter to his cousin which shows us the harsh conditions of war for our courageous Enniscorthy men.”
The letter reads as follows;
“I am back in France in the thick of the old scrap again. It did seem rough after a few priceless days at home, when I got back to this place, with its graveyards and desolation. Most of my chaps got scrapped in the last show.”
Amazingly, James managed to survive the battlefield but was killed in a railway accident on his way to rejoin his base in France in 1918.
The names of those who died during the Great War were read by Graham Cadogan and Maria Nolan. 102 people from the area were identified as having died in the Great War.
The Bidding Prayer and Act of Remembrance were jointly recited by Rector Rev. Nicola Halford, who had presided at an earlier Service at St. Mary’s Church, and Rev. Ohran Furlong, Administrator at St. Aidan’s Cathedral.
Kay Doyle recited the poem ‘Poppy’.
Noel Franklin, Chairman of Wexford branch of the British Legion read Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘For the Fallen’ buglar Anthony Nolan played the Last Post and Reveille.
Liz Hore, District Manager, welcomed the families and relatives, special guests and the British Legion, and acted as master of ceremonies. Local re-enactors added atmosphere and elegance to the proceedings.
The plaque to honour all those from Enniscorthy and district who fought and died will find a permanent place of peace when it is relocation to the new park off Irish Street and Nunnery Road when it opens next year.