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YOUNG KILDARE SOLDIER'S CAREER

 
Leinster Leader, January 20th 1917
 
Young Kildare Soldier’s Career
 
Seasoned Solider at Sixteen
 

We are indebted to the “Weekly News” of Dundee, for the following account of Co. Kildare boy’s exploits:-

A seasoned solider at 16!

That is what can be said of Corporal Bartholomew Millerick of Partick, a lad who despite many rebuffs to his patriotism has achieved his ambition-to take an active part in the fight for King and Country. How he came to join the army at the age of under 14 years is a sequel to the Dublin dock strike. It was in the dark days of the strike-early in 1913-that a strapping lad went wandering aimlessly along the deserted banks of the Liffey.The present held for him nothing but misery-the misery that had fallen on thousands in Dublin in those dark days-and the future held no ray of hope. As he strolled along a kindred soul struck up an acquaintance with him. To their young minds the times seemed sadly out of joint, and the opposition of affairs just about as bad as it was possible to be. But was there no way out? Suddenly the chum was seized with an inspiration-why not have a shot at the army? Surely they could get a job and a bite there, at all events. But Bartholomew Millerick only laughed. The army was all right for anyone who was of age, but what good was it to a boy of his age-a mere stripling-born on Ladysmith Day, 23rd April 1900, in Ballymore, County Kildare, Ireland-that time his father was fighting for the Empire away on the distant South African veldt? A recruiting sergeant would only laugh at him for his pains. But his companion thought otherwise - For a boy Bartholomew was a strapping lad of abnormal physique, and as fit as a fiddle, and unless he cared to “blow the gaff” he could pass muster with the best of them. So away went Bartholomew Millerick and joined the Royal Leinsters. He passed with flying colours, and at the age of slightly under 13 years was a soldier of the King. Immediately the mother heard that her boy had joined the army she let the true facts as to his age be known, and claimed him out. After three and a half months service with the Leinsters, Bart came to Scotland, where his parents had now settled down, and entered the shipbuilding yard of D and W Henderson Ltd. But the blood of the soldier was in his veins, and after two and a half months in the yard “Bart” took the shilling for the second time, and giving his age as 19, he joined the Dublin Fusiliers.

A Volunteer for France

He was in the Dublins when war was declared. He was instantly passed for service and was drawn up in the barracks square in Victoria Barracks, Cork for the first draft of the British Expeditionary Forces.As luck would have it, however, there was a sergeant of the Dublins, one who had known “Bart” Millerick and his mother, and knew that the lad was under age. He called him from the ranks, challenged him as to his age, and forced the truth from him. Then he got into communication with Mrs. Millerick, and to make along story short, negotiations were opened up once more to secure the boy soldier’s release.

 In the meantime “Bart” Millerick was again passed for service, and would have gone abroad but for the intervention of his father, who succeeded in getting him kept back. On April 3 1915, his connection with the Dublins came to an end. But he was not done with yet, and in June, 1915, he joined the City of Glasgow R.F.A. Seven months was his term with this regiment, from which he was once again discharged on December 11th 1915. But Bartholomew Millerick was determined to be into it so with all his rebuffs he made one more attempt, and on February 10 1916, he joined the regular Royal Field Artillery, and later proceeded on active service.

Active Service At Last

If that boy soldier had longed for active service, he got it with a vengeance. His first taste of the actualities of warfare was at Sulva Bay, but after a short spell there he was one of those whom it fell to take part in the struggle for the relief of Kut. Corporal Millerick did his bit with the best of them in that heroic relief column. For five months those gallant lads held their post within sight of beleaguered Kut, and twice during that time “Bart” fell victim to the dread “sun fly” fever. It was after the second attack that he and twelve of his heroic comrades got the glad tidings that they were to go home for a short spell to Blighty. On November 27 Corporal Bartholomew Millerick returned to his mother’s home at 37 Anderson Street, for ten day’s leave.

Some added information by Mark McLoughlin
 
 
Bartholomew Millerick
 
A British Army Medal Index Card confirms that Gnr 125896 Bartholomew Millerick served in the Royal Field Artillery during World War 1 and was entitled to the British War and Victory Medal. The Medal Index Card card notes that his alias was J Bell.  He forfeited his World War 1 medals in January 1922 for an unknown reason but they were reissued following his service with the Royal Air Force during World War 2.
 
His father was almost certainly Patrick Millerick who was born in Newbridge in 1870 and enlisted in the 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers at Naas on 7 January 1888. His sevice records indicate that his parents were Bartholomew and Kate Millerick and that he also had a brother Bartholomew and sister Mary.  He served in India from December 1889 to November 1895 and in South Africa from November 1899 to July 1900.

The Leinster Leader of January 1917 relates the story of a  young Kildare man's attempts to join the army. Our thanks to Roy O'Brien and Mark McLoughlin.


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