herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Patrick made ultimate sacrifice to provide for his loved ones

Patrick Francis Cranley loved Jacob's custard cream biscuits and his wife Margaret travelled more than 20 miles every Saturday to bring the treats to her war veteran husband.

Patrick had made the ultimate sacrifice for his family.

Suffering from shell-shock, he found it hard to hold down a job after the war and so committed himself to a psychiatric hospital to make sure his family had a war pension.

Income

The Dubliner went voluntarily into St Ita's in Portrane to guarantee his family's income.

He remained there until his death at the age of 62 in 1956.

Patrick had enlisted in the Royal Irish Fusiliers on October 12, 1914 at the age of 21.

He served the full four years of the war, fighting in the Dardanelles and in Palestine. He was also part of the Gallipoli Campaign.

He was injured in the leg during the fighting but survived. At one point he was reported missing and his family believed wrongly that he had been killed.

It was only after he came home on April 16, 1918 that it became apparent that he was suffering from shell-shock.

His grandson Ray Cranley, who lives in Baldoyle, says Patrick "got a job with the Great Northern Railway" on his return from war.

He was working with a group of veterans at a depot in the North Wall which was known as "The Dardanelles" because of the high number of veterans employed there.

Patrick, however, had a high absenteeism pattern and would sometimes go missing completely. One time he was found in Dundalk.

Difficulty

"He realised he was in difficulty and sought assistance from the British Army" and agreed to admit himself to the psychiatric hospital.

Margaret, travelled from her home in Lower Gardiner Street to Portrane every Saturday to see Patrick.

She collected the hard won, war pension until her own death in 1973.

Ray says his grandmother was very protective of her pension.

She would not let her own son into the family home in an Irish army uniform.

"She'd roar down the street at him 'keep walking' because she was afraid the Queen would find out and stop her money,"he adds.

Ray believes that all the veterans made a huge contribution to Irish Society and he fully supports the goal of the WW1 Veterans Project to have a memorial built in their honour.

csheehy@herald.ie

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