herald

Saturday 25 November 2017

Hunt for the families of 100 Irish war dead

A historian has appealed for the families of almost 100 soldiers who died after serving with the British Army to come forward.

Memorial plaques will be placed on graves in honour of the Irish servicemen and women who lost their lives as a result of the First World War and Second World War.

Shane MacThomais said headstones have already been erected on 85 unmarked plots in Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).

The graves of 104 former soldiers buried in family plots are next to be marked in time for Armistice Day in November.



BLESSING

"Personally I don't think anybody should be in an unmarked grave no matter what they did in life," he said.

"It is sad that somebody who had a family and went and fought in a war was forgotten. By February we will start marking the remaining graves and we would prefer to have their family's blessing first."

Ten families, including relatives from Cincinnati in the US, England and a serving soldier in the Irish Defence forces, have already come forward to claim graves of soldiers, whose names are listed on the Glasnevin Trust website.

A list of an additional 15 names of men who died from injuries inflicted while at war is also being considered by the CWGC and Ministry of Defence. Mr MacThomais said it has been a great experience meeting the families of the war dead -- some of whom served under a false name because of the stigma attached to fighting for the British, or because they were under age or on the run.

"Ordinary people are talking about their grandparents and great grandparents, they had life changing experiences, sometimes horrific," he said.

hnews@herald.ie

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