Sunday, November 23, 2008

Not Forgotten

Clare Museum is trying to track down the family of a Irish World War I soldier whose Victory Medal was found buried in the grounds of a village church in Co Clare.

The memento, awarded posthumously to a private in the South Lancashire Regiment 2nd Battalion, has been traced to a serviceman called Patrick King, originally from Turnpike in Ennis, Co Clare, who died during battle in France on February 2, 1915.

Clare Museum curator John Rattigan said the museum carried out research in an attempt to find out more about the fallen soldier but have failed to trace any relatives.

'According to the 1901 Census, Patrick King was a 17-year-old farm hand working at a location close to Kildysart in Co Clare. Besides that there is very little else we know about Private King, let alone the whereabouts of any of his descendants.'

Mr Rattigan said records indicate Mr King was 32 when he was killed in battle, but they have uncovered no evidence as to whether or not he was married or had children.
Neither is it known if he was living in Ireland or had moved to the UK before joining the Allied war effort with the South Lancashire Regiment.

'We just don't know anything more about him,' said the museum curator.

Alan Barnes, from the village of Clarecastle, outside Ennis, discovered the medal sunken in mud under leaves in the grounds of Clarecastle Church about four years ago.
The taxi driver, who had kept it in a drawer since then, brought it into Clare Museum. The museum had made a public appeal for artefacts for an exhibition marking the 90th anniversary of the end of the 'War To End All Wars'.

The medal has been placed on display as part of the exhibition but Mr Barnes is keen to return it to relatives or descendants of Private King.

The Victory Medal was instituted in 1919 to commemorate the Allies' defeat of the Central Powers and Private King's medal was one of 5,725,000 British Victory medals issued.

Some 350,000 Irishmen volunteered for service during the First World War (1914-1918) as well the 50,000 Irish already serving in the regular army and reserve at the outbreak of the war.

Most of the men from Co Clare who enlisted served with Irish infantry regiments such as The Royal Irish Regiment, The Connaught Rangers, The Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians), the Royal Munster Fusiliers and The Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

Others served in British regiments including the Tyneside, Liverpool and London Irish Battalions.


Mike said...

The sad thing is that medal is probably all they had left to bury of him because his body never made it back to them. How sad.

American Irish said...

Yes, very sad. You know how I am about WW1 era, so I wish them luck in finding his ancestors.

Jen said...

I think you are a reincarnated Great War soldier and that's why you're so fascinated.