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Local Studies Department

WORLD WAR I: Chapter 8 - Roll Of Honour

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” Mark Twain

The bravest of the brave went to battle, fought their fight, won or lost and paid the price. Recognition of duty done came in many forms, some of which are listed here:

  • Military Medal
  • Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
  • Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)
  • Victoria Cross
  • Military Cross etc.,

Different levels of awards were restricted to certain ranks e.g. the Military Cross could only be awarded to “at least Captain, a Commissioned Officer or Warrant Officer...on recommendation ... by ... Principal Secretary of State for War.”
The Quarterly Army List-April 1915

Throughout the war, soldiers were granted different levels of awards for acts of bravery. Although little consolation on the death of a son, husband, brother or father, it became a very important part of the War. Family members could feel proud that recognition of some sort was given. The soldier could feel appreciated in some way.

The following are extracts from the Kildare Observer and Leinster Leader specifically mentioning Kildare men who were commended during and after the War:-

(Click names to see tributes)

“Major H.F. Crichton whose death was announced on Friday of last week, was the only son of Colonel, The Hon. Charles Frederick Crichton of Mullaboden, Ballymore-Eustace, formerly the Grenadier Guards and was therefore a nephew of the Earl of Erne. His mother, who died when he was about two years old, was Lady Madeline Seymour, eldest daughter of the third Marquis Hertford. Born in 1874, he joined the guards in 1896, and became a Major four years ago. He was with the Nile Expedition of 1898, and at the subsequent battle of Khartoum receiving the Egyptian medal with clasp. He saw active service in South Africa in 1902, being employed with the imperial Yeomanry in Cape Colony and elsewhere. For the African campaign he received the Queen’s medal with two clasps. Major Crichton married in 1903 a daughter of the late Col. the Right Hon. Edward James Saunderson, who was for many years the champion of Ulster Protestantism in the House of Commons. A stained glass window was subsequently erected in the local Ballymore-Eustace chapel following a commemorative ceremony there.” Kildare Observer-12 September, 1914

Mr. O.W. Smith, Jigginstown, Naas, has received the following communication from the war office:­ ­“War Office, Whitehall, S.W.,

3rd July, 1916

“Sir, I have it in command from His Majesty the King to inform you, as next-of-kin of the late Captain Robert John Smith, of the Lancashire Fusiliers, that this office was mentioned in a despatch from General Sir Douglas Haig, dated 30th April, 1916, and published in the second supplement to the “London Gazette” of 13th June, dated 15th June, 1916, for gallant and distinguished service in the field.

“I am to express to you the King’s high appreciation of these services, and to add that His Majesty trusts that their public acknowledgement may be of some consolation in your bereavement. - I have the honour to be, your obedient servant,

M.D. Graham, Lieut. -Colonel,

Assistant Military Secretary.
Kildare Observer- April 1916

“In the list of war honours published during the week appears the name of Second-Lieut. (temp. Lieut.) John J. Dempsey, of the Scottish Rifles, who has been awarded the Military Cross. Lieut. Dempsey is son of Mr. Edward Dempsey of Drehid, Carbury and nephew of Mr. John Healy, J.P., Co. C., Firmount, Clane.”
Kildare Observer - 6 January, 1917

“In the list of awards for gallantry published in Thursday night’s “London Gazette” appears the name of temporary Captain Hubert Michael O’Connor, 6th Battn. Shropshire Light Infantry, who has been awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry.

“Captain O’Connor is the eldest son of Dr. Charles O’Connor, Celbridge. Shortly after the outbreak of war Captain O’Connor, who was a barrister-at-law attached to the Leinster Circuit, obtained a commission in the regiment in which he afterwards speedily won his captaincy.”
Kildare Observer - 29 th July, 1916

“It is announced in the “London Gazette” that the King has approved of the grant of the medal for distinguished conduct in the ‘field of battle, to the under mentioned soldiers, now serving with the Expeditionary Forces, namely No. 6608. Private R. J. Nevin, 8th Hussars, attached toRoyal Horse Guards. For gallantry near Zandvoordes on the 26th of October, by assisting a wounded comrade out of action, under heavy shell fire. The above young hero hails from the village of Prosperous. Before the war broke out he was drill master tothe Prosperous Volunteer Corps, where he was held in the greatest respect by the members of the corps. His comrades in the Volunteers feel very proud of the honour conferred upon him, and earnestly hope that their young hero shall return safely to them, decked with the honours of war, to resume his old position amongst his admiring comrades.”
Leinster Leader, 5 December, 1914

“Lieut. John Tynan, Wiltshire Regiment; has been recommended for the D.S.O., for conspicuous gallantry in capturing a listening post at the front. He was formerly in the Enniskillen Dragoons, and has about 20 years’ service. Lieut. Tynan belongs to a popular Monasterevan family.”
Leinster Leader - 6 May, 1916

“As announced in our last issue, Lieut. J. J. Dempsey, Scottish Rifles (Cameronians), third son of Mr. Edward Dempsey of Clan Maliere House, Drebid, Carbury, and nephew of Mr. John Healy, J.P., Firmount, has won the Military Cross and been mentioned in despatches for heroic conduct on the field. Since then he has been promoted Captain and Adjutant of his battalion. Captain Dempsey, who was in the Land Commission, joined the Black Watch on the outbreak of war, and after a few months’ service was gazetted to a Second-Lieutenancy, being made full Lieutenant on the field. He has been in France since July, 1915, was at Loos in September of that year, and has been in the thick of the fighting on the Somme since July last. He is the first North Kildare Officer to win the Military Cross in the present campaign.” Kildare Observer-13 January, 1917

“..He had some 18 years’ service and fought through the South African War in the Inniskilling Dragoons. The special service, which he rendered immediately before his promotion was that with a small party he rushed and captured a listening post in front of the German lines. On dashing towards the line he ordered the sentry to“hands up” and the German replied by throwing a bomb. With his few men Mr. Tynan then charged the post killing one sentry and making a prisoner of another. He then brought in the dead man’s body and an important change in the units of front atthis point was ordered as a result of the identification of the men. In the same vicinity Lieut. Tynan captured a German officer and two other soldiers. Lieut. Jack Tynan was promoted on the field when Squadron Sergeant-Major, 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, and is now Lieutenant of the Wiltshire Regiment.” Leinster Leader-15 July, 1916

“Last week Lieut. Jack Tynan, D.S.O., 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, was made the recipient of a splendid silver biscuit box presented by the Countess of Drogheda and members of the Moore Abbey Hospital Supply Depot, on the occasion of his marriage, and in recognition of his gallantry and distinguished services in the war. Lieut. Tynan has left Monasterevan for England.” Leinster Leader.-18 November, 1916

“Amongst the last of those mentioned in Sir Ian Hamilton’s report for gallantry in the field we notice the name of Hon. Lieut. and Quarter-master Byrne, of the 6th Battalion of the Dublin Fusiliers. The people of Naas will remember Sergeant-Major Byrne, who was well-known in the 3rd Battalion during his service at the Depot. The Sergeant-Major received his promotion for gallantry in the field and his numerous friends will welcome the news of this well merited recognition.” Leinster Leader.-12 February, 1916

“Mr. Malone, of Athy, has heard from one of his sons at thefront; that the award of the Military Medal has been made to Sergeant Michael McLoughlin, 10th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers, and that he has also received the Guinchy Diamond. The latter is a medal struck in honour of the 16th (Irish) Division for their valour at the taking of Guinchy and Guillemont. Sergeant McLoughlin is a native of Ballintubber, Athy, Guardians. He is a R.D.C. of the No. 2 district, and the first Rural Councillor in Ireland to win the Military Medal. His many friends are overjoyed at the honours bestowed on him...’ Leinster Leader-12 January, 1918

“Sergt. Michael McLoughlin, R.D.F., and Vice-Chairman of the Athy Board of Guardians, is at present home in Ballintubber on sick leave, having been wounded in recent fighting in France. Amongst the distinction won by him are the Military Medal and the Guinchy Diamond.”
Leinster Leader.-1 June, 1918

“Private Michael Dennison, of the 10th Royal Dublin Fusiliers has received the parchment certificate of the Irish Brigade for gallantry and devotion toduty during 1917. The certificate, which is signed by Major General W. B. Hickie, states “Your name and deeds have been ordered to be entered in the record of the Irish Division.” Private Dennison, who enlisted about three years ago, has seen much service, and was wounded in France. He is a native of Eadestown, and was for years engaged in commercial life in Naas where he was most popular.” Leinster Leader.-23 March, 1918

“Mr. Arthur Dease, of Celbridge, who has been working with a motor ambulance section of the French army at the front, since the beginning of 1915, has lately been awarded the Croix de Guerre.”
Leinster Leader.-16 November, 1918

“Private J. Kelly, 6th Royal Irish Regiment, one of five brothers in the army, son of Mr. William Kelly, New Row, Naas, has received the following on parchment as a record of his gallantry on the field:- ‘I have read with much pleasure the reports of your regimental commander and brigadier-commander regarding your gallant conduct and devotion to duty in the field on June 19th, 1916, and have ordered your name and deed to be entered in the record of the Irish Division. - W. B. Hickie, Major-General, Commanding 16th Irish Division.” Kildare Observer-12 August, 1916

“Amongst the list of awards approved of by the Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Corps appears the name of Private William Francis Scully (5974), Army Ordnance Corps, who has been awarded the Gold Medal by the King of Serbia in recognition of his distinguished service during the campaign. The Gold Medal carries with it a gratuity of £10. Pte. Scully is the second eldest son of Warrant-Officer Scully, Durham Light Infantry, and of Mrs. Scully, Town Hall, Naas. He is one of three sons of Mrs. Scully, all of whom are on active service.”
Kildare Observer.-14 October, 1916

“The first Victoria Cross won by a Kildare man in the present war - though there have been innumerable awards to soldiers from the county for gallantry - has fallen to an Athy man, Lieutenant John V. Holland, of the Leinster Regt., who is one of two Irish soldiers to receive the coveted distinction during the week. This brings the total number of Victoria Cross won by Irishmen in the present campaign up to 31.

Lieut. Holland, who is the eldest son of Mr. J. Holland, V.S., The Model Farm, Athy, is 27 years of age. He was engaged in railway engineering in the Argentine, but volunteered for the Army on the outbreak of war and returned home in November, 1914, securing a commission in the Leinster Regt. During the great Somme battles Lieut. Holland was conspicuous for the gallant dash with which he led the daring charge at Guillemont. For his gallantry on this occasion he received the Parchment Certificate of the Irish Brigade.

“The deed that has won the Athy hero the V.C. is thus officially described:­

Lieutenant J. V. Holland, Leinster Regt.

“Not content with bombing hostile dug-outs within the objective, he fearlessly led his bombers through our own artillery barrage and cleared a great part of the village in front. He started out with 26 bombers and finished up with only 5, after capturing some 50 prisoners. By this very gallant action he undoubtedly broke the spirit of the enemy, and thus saved us many casualties when the battalion made a further advance. He was far from well at the time, and later had to go to hospital.”

Lieut. Holland is at present at home resting.”’ Kildare Observer.-28 October,1916

“We regret to announce the death in action of Lieut. Frank Greer, of the Irish Guards, the second son of Captain and Mrs. Greer of Curragh Grange, Co. Kildare. At the beginning of the War Lieut. Greer entered a cavalry regiment, but afterwards joined the Irish Guards, and lately had been attached to the bombing section (as mentioned in Chapter 1, many cavalry regiments dismounted due to less need for this type of warfare from 1914). He saw a good deal of active service, and was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion toduty. He was a splendid type of Officer, and his loss will be keenly felt, not alone by his brother officers in the distinguished regiment to which he belonged, but by all in civil life who were acquainted with him.”
Kildare Observer.-10 February, 1917

“The news of the death of Lieut.-Colonel Eric Greer, Military Cross, who was killed in action, has been heard of in County Kildare with feelings of much regret, and sympathy is expressed with Captain and Mrs. Greer in the great bereavement which has befallen them by the death of their gallant son. Lieut.-Colonel Greer was the youngest officer holding the rank in the Brigade of Guards, and had just seen six years’ service. A fine athlete, he distinguished himself while in the Guards, winning a variety of events at the different sports. He had been in every battle in which the Guards were engaged since the opening of the war, including the fighting at Guinchy, when Michael O’Leary performed the valorous deeds which won him, on the recommendation of Colonel Greer, the Victoria Cross. Enthusiastic in everything he took up, he interested himself much in athletics and was the quarter-mile champion of the army, and winner of the Irish Guards Cup each year from the time that he joined the regiment. While atEton he also distinguished himself at the different sporting fixtures. In the County Kildare, where his parents are so much esteemed, he was extremely popular, and on all sides are heard expressions of regret at the death of the gallant young Colonel. Six months ago his only brother, Lieutenant Frank Greer, was killed in action.”
Kildare Observer.-11 August, 1917

One did not have to be born in a certain town to be mourned by that town. Sergeant Ahearn lived in Newbridge for many years before leaving for the Great War;

“Sergeant Richard Ahearn, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who has been awarded by the King the Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of valuable services in the field served throughout the Boer War with his regiment, the 1st Dublins and when the present war broke out he was an official of Newbridge Post Office. He immediately volunteered, and a few months after was in the fighting line. Sergt. Ahearn was with the Dublins through all the fighting in the Eastern front, where he won the distinction which has now been conferred on him. He was home in Newbridge during the past week, but has again returned to his place in the fighting line. Sergeant Ahearn’s two sons volunteered also when war broke out one of them, Rodney (mentioned in Chapter 3), who was almost a boy, died from wounds received in action in August, 1915. Sergt. Ahearn, who is a native of Co. Cork, was stationed in Naas Depot for some years where he was very popular.” Kildare Observer.-5 May, 1917

“Commander Hubert Henry de Burgh, R.N., eldest son of Colonel de Burgh, D.L., Oldtown, has been awarded the D.S.O. for rescuing seven Germans under heavy fire. The official record of his heroic conduct is as follows:

“For his services in command of a destroyer in the action with enemy destroyers off the Belgian coast on June 5, 1917, when one of the enemy’s destroyer’s, S20 was sunk. Commander de Burgh succeeded in saving seven men of S20’s crew while under heavy fire from the shore batteries and with three Germans seaplanes hovering overhead.”

“Commander de Burgh has been at Oldtown during the past week.”
Kildare Observer.-22 September, 1917

Individuals, not necessarily soldiers or supporting the war effort on the battlefield, were rewarded for certain conspicuous acts of bravery;

“On Wednesday last a very pleasant function took place at Moore Abbey, Monasterevan, when Mr. Nicholas Edghill, of that town, in the presence of a large and distinguished assembly, including General Pelman-Burn, who has just returned from the front, was presented by the Earl of Drogheda, Lord Lieutenant for Co. Kildare as representative of the King, with the Medal of the Order of the British Empire. Mr. Edghill is a member of the staff at Mr. Holmes’ Munitions Works, and the medal was awarded for gallantry in assisting to extinguish an extensive fire on October 6th, 1917. At the adjoining premises, and thus saving the above works, which were for several hours in imminent danger of being destroyed, also for devotion to duty, perseverance..., and resource in carrying out the work entrusted to him.” Kildare Observer.-4 May, 1918

“The King, at an investiture at Buckingham Palace on the 4th inst. decorated Sister A.M. Tweedy, of the Curragh Camp Military Hospital, with the “Royal Red Cross”, 2nd Class. Mrs. Tweedy, who was trained in Richmond Hospital, Dublin, volunteered at the outbreak of war, joining Q. A. I. M. N. S. R.” Kildare Observer.-28 October, 1916

These are just some of the people from County Kildare who distinguished themselves during the war, many were not commemorated in any way. However, a trip to the War Memorial Gardens in the Phoenix Gardens Dublin is a worthwhile exercise. It is only here that the Republic of Ireland’s men are commemorated visibly today.

“Amongst those mentioned for distinguished services in connection with the Gallipoli Peninsula operations are the following- Acting Vice-Admiral John Michael de Robeck, K.C.B.; Commander Archibald Bertram Watson Higginson, R.N.” March 1916- Kildare Observer

The “London Gazette” on Wednesday night contained the Royal Warrant Instituting a new silver medal, designated the “Military Medal”, which is to be awarded to non-commissioned officers and men for individual or associated acts of bravery, on the recommendation of a commander-in-chief, in the field. The medal will bear on the obverse the Royal effigy, and on the reverse the words, “For bravery in the field,” encircled by a wreath surmounted by the Royal cipher and a crown. The medal is to be worn immediately before all war medals on the left breast, pendant from a dark-blue ribbon with white and crimson stripes. April 1916- Kildare Observer

A Committee of some friends of the late Capt. J.P. Roche, M.C., Monasterevan has been formed in the Co. Kildare for the purpose of co-operating with a number of friends in the Co. Kerry who are desirous of showing their esteem by erecting some memorial.
Nov 17, 1917- Kildare Observer

Memorials:- what is described as a Roll of Honour list containing the names of about 15 students who have joined the British army since the outbreak if the war has been hung in the porch of the Naas Technical Schools by the Principal, Mr. J.R. Halsall, and it has been the object of much interest and admiration to all who have visited the schools.
Leinster Leader