County Meath Roll of Honour

A.J. Horneck

With the names, regiments and other interesting particulars of the men from Meath who joined the army to date. Also statistics of population, and record of the work done in Meath in connection with the war. Specially compiled by A.J. Horneck Journalist Navan; The Leinster Leader Ltd, Naas.

Published about March 1916

In the following pages we have pleasure in placing before the public a record of the names of the men of Meath who, at the call of King and Country, have voluntarily laid aside their ordinary avocations to take their place in the ranks of that magnificent Irish Brigade, whose achievements on the Battlefields of Europe, in defence of the Sacred Cause of Liberty, have added renewed lustre to the glorious fighting traditions of the Irish Race, the wide world over.

Ireland, today, is cheerfully doing her share in a struggle in which the Freedom of Small Nationalities in every part of the world is at stake; and Royal Meath, in common with every other Irish County, has contributed generously to the gallant Irish Regiments now fighting, not only for Freedom and Civilisation, but for the Freedom and Prosperity of the Old Land.

Upwards of 1,400 of the cream of Meath’s manhood have joined that Brigade, and if Meath’s population were in proportion to its vast area, that number would have been ten times greater. Meath possesses the most fertile land in all Ireland; but, alas, her population is comparatively small. From Royal Tara’s Slopes to the North, and from Dangan’s Hill-top to the South, the rich grass lands of Meath can be surveyed in all their solitude, and with the exception of the few towns and villages and scattered Homesteads, the human element would appear to have been supplanted by the countless herds of cattle roaming at will to fatten on the land which, under economic administration, could be made the home of a happy and thrifty agricultural population.

In no other Irish county has the diminution of population been so great as in Royal Meath; and what a much more valuable asset to the Empire would Meath have been today, when men are so badly needed, if the wholesale clearances in evil days gone by had not so ruthlessly and with such want of foresight been permitted!

Addressing a County Demonstration at Kells on Sunday, 5th March, 1916, convened for the purpose of bringing back the People to the Land, Mr. P. White M.P., for North Meath, in the course of his able address, said:

They lived in a time of unprecedented excitement, war – almost world war – raging about them. That war had brought lessons to many nations, and it had taught their rulers, that notwithstanding their statesmanship of the last half century, it was now impressed upon them that a nation’s most valuable asset was men. The measure of the strength of the nations now at war was not the measure of wealth but the number of men that could be sent to fight for their native land. If they retraced their steps they were faced, particularly in the history of this county, with one of the saddest and most deplorable spectacles that could be brought to mankind, the desolation of their land, and the extermination of their race. In 1841 in Meath there were 180,000 souls. Sixty-five thousand had passed away, so that they had now only 10,000 men between the ages of 30 and 40 years in Meath. Was not that a deplorable state of affairs? Meath – which might not alone have a population to defend the shores, but a population which would be a vast source of strength to the empire in which they were shortly to take their place as a separate and Independent Entity. There was nothing sadder in the history of any country than the depopulation of Meath. Sixty eight thousand people had left their shores to go to foreign lands to seek a home. They were forced to go because their means of livelihood was denied to them at home. In sixty years, of the number of houses in County Meath, seventeen thousand happy homes have passed away. The homesteads where many a man vowed to bring up his family in decency and comfort, the homesteads where many a man had pledged his troth to the maiden he brought to the altar to keep her and their family in comfort. But that was denied them. Their movement now was to undo the evil past, to stay the tide of emigration, increasing hour by hour, of men and women in the bloom of life, and in the course of time they might hope to have their own population back on the land again (applause). It would mean comfort for those on the land and prosperity for those in the towns, their country better, richer and stronger in power, and in the produce of humanity and in wealth and education (applause).

According to the last Census, the total Male population of Meath was 33,934, comprised within the 21 Electoral Divisions of the County, viz.:-Ardbraccan, 1776; Athboy, 1,374; Ballyboggan, 1,685; Bective, 1,660; Crossakiel, 1,130; Donaghpatrick, 1,665; Drumcondra, 1,664; Duleek, 1,621; Dunboyne, 1,679; Dunshaughlin, 1,791; Enfield, 1,477; Kells, 1,713; Kildalkey, 1,286; Moynalty, 1,709; Navan, 1,897; Nobber, 1,650; Oldcastle, 1,741; Slane, 1,486; Stamullen, 1,549; Tara, 1,815 and Trim, 1,566.

Of the total Male population of the County Meath in 1911, there were 2,800 men between 15 and 20 years of age; 2,640 between 25 and 30; and 2,556 between 30 and 35, which would give a total population of 10,775 of men of military age. But, the population of Meath has been steadily decreasing. Between 1901 and 1911 the population decreased by 2,406 of 3.6%, and at the commencement of the war the total male population of the County between the ages of 19 and 40 did not exceed 9,000. From this number must be eliminated a percentage of men who, for various reasons, are ineligible for military service, and from the balance remaining, Meath has, as stated, sent over 1,400 men into the Army.

Of the Three principal Towns in the County, the total male population in 1911 was as follows: - Navan, 1,897; Kells, 1,215; Trim 732. The total number of men of military age in 1915 was only 1, 314, viz.: Navan, 693; Kells, 413; and Trim, 208.

These three principal centres of population have between them contributed 800 men, or roughly 60 per cent. Twenty-one former employees of the Navan Urban Council, to give but one example, have joined the Army.

Of the contingent of men recruited from Meath, many have made the supreme sacrifice in defence of the Sacred Cause of Freedom for which the Empire unsheathed the sword.

Many, very many, have been disabled for life, and many families in Meath have had the horrors of this Titanic War brought home to them by the loss of some beloved member. In placing on record the names of the Brave Men of Meath who have so unselfishly answered the Nation’s Call, we feel that we shall to some extent be instrumental in alleviating the anguish in many a humble home; and further, in compiling these lists, we realise we are only paying a worthy tribute to the men who have so nobly taken upon themselves the national duty of upholding the traditional bravery of the Irish race, and of vindicating the honour of their country.

The Student of Irish History has read of the atrocities of two regiments of foreign troops which landed in Ireland in the year of the great rebellion. These were the Hessians, German mercenaries from Hesse Darmstadt and Hesse Cassel. In John Mitchell’s account of the Wexford Insurrection of 1798 we read: - “The Dragoons of General Ferdinand Hompesch were permitted to indulge in such ferocity and brutal lust to the sex – the treatment of women by these Hessians was truly horrible.” “It is a singular fact,” says Sir Jonah Barrington, “that in all the ferocity of the conflict, the storming of Towns and Villages, women were uniformly respected by the Insurgents. But the foreign troops in our service (Hompesch’s) not only brutally ill-treated, but occasionally shot Gentlewomen. A very respectable married woman in Enniscorthy (Mrs Stringer, wife of an Attorney), was wantonly shot at her own window by a German in cold Blood. The rebels (though her husband was a royalist) a short time after took some of those foreign soldiers prisoners, and piked them all, as they told them – “Just to teach them how to shoot ladies.” We quote this passage from the History of the past in order to bring home to our readers the fact that the German soldier of today, notwithstanding all their Nation’s boasted refinements, are still as brutal – nay , more so – as they were in 1798. We know the treatment meted out to the Belgian people, irrespective of sex, age or calling. These are the men our soldiers have been bravely facing for the past 2 years, and we know the fate of our soldiers who have unfortunately fallen into their hands – stripped of their clothing, starved, and unarmed, wounded men mercilessly butchered in cold blood. We can well picture the fate of our people if an army of these inhuman soldiers unfortunately succeeded in placing foot on the fair plains of Meath! Thank God, the possibility of such a contingency is a remote one. But, the men of Meath now at the Front imperatively need our continued support. There is still a substantial reserve of young men in the County to whom their kinsmen are calling for assistance. The towns of Meath have done well. The labouring classes have responded nobly. We would like to see an equal response from the agricultural districts.

No public trust becomes the man who treads

With scornful steps in honour’s sacred path,

And stands at bold defiance with his duty.

 

RED CROSS AND KINDRED WORK.

But, if Meath has not been enabled to contribute largely in men, the County has helped the Allied Cause in many other ways – in providing comforts for the men who have endured the hardships of Trench Warfare, in helping the Red Cross work, and lastly, in succouring the numerous Refugees of that gallant little Nation which, in happier times, did so much for the exiled sons of Ireland.

A sum of £1,000 was raised by the people of Meath for the purchase of a Red Cross Motor Ambulance, fully equipped with the necessary surgical and medical requisites.

The men serving in the Trenches were not forgotten by their kinsmen at home. On Wednesday, 8th December 1915, a meeting representative of all classes in the county was held in the Navan C.Y.M.S. hall for the purpose of constituting a County Committee and a county Fund to provide comforts for the Leinsters. Colonel Sir N.T. Everard, Bart, H.M.L. presided. As a result the sum of over £250 was subscribed. Special local dramatic performances were held in various parts of Meath, and substantial sums realised for providing comforts for the local men serving at the Front.

Splendid exhibitions of private generosity towards the unfortunate Belgian Refugees were displayed by many of the leading families and others in placing homes, food and means of employment at the disposal of these destitute people, notably The Right Hon. Lord Langford, Mrs. Cullinane, R.D.C., Carrollstown House, Trim; Mr. And Mrs. A McCann, Teltown, and others. The Dunshaughlin Workhouse Buildings were given over to an entire colony, and the local Guardians left nothing undone to make the inmates perfectly happy and reconciled to their temporary surroundings.

 

SIR N. T. EVERARD’S VISIT TO THE FRONT.

TRIBUTE BY MEATH COUNTY COMMITTEE OF AGRICULTURE. ON THE 20TH SEPTEMBER 1915

At the opening of the monthly meeting of the Meath County Committee of Agriculture and Technical Instruction at Navan on Monday, Col. Sir N. T. Everard, Bart, H.M.L., presiding, Mr. P.J. Kennedy, on behalf of the committee, said he desired to express the pleasure which they all felt at seeing the Chairman back safe and sound and they desired further to express their appreciation of the attention which was paid him by the highest authorities. They recognised that as a compliment to their county, Sir Nugent being the Lord Lieutenant of the County Meath and any attention paid to him was attention paid to the county at large.

He moved: -“That this Committee desire to place on record the pleasure we feel at meeting our chairman, Sir Nugent being the Lord Lieutenant of the county Meath, and any attention paid to him at the Headquarters of the Expeditionary Force.”

Mr. W. O’Neill, J.P., seconded the motion, which was passed nem. con.

The chairman said he felt much obliged for Mr. Kennedy’s remarks on behalf of the committee and he could only say that his visit to the Front was most instructive. He had great pleasure in meeting there a battalion of the Leinster Regiment, which had seen some hard fighting and the regiment was extremely pleased to see some Irishman fresh from home to tell them about their wives and families; and it cheered them so much to hear they were being well looked after and that those at home appreciated the gallant conduct of the regiment at the front. It was, of course, very sad to hear of the casualties that had taken place, though they would recollect the regiment was sent up to retake trenches out of which British troops had been driven by the brutal method of pouring liquid fire on them. Well, they took these trenches, although they were shelled from three sides. He suggested to the Officer in command that he supposed they were not able to hold them. He replied: - “ We did and we are holding them still.” Well, he believed that was a matter of history now and the public knew it and he need hardly say that it made him, as he was sure it would make everyone present in that room feel very proud that these trenches were being held by an Irish regiment and especially a Leinster regiment.

It was very hard to give in a few words one’s impressions, but what struck him particularly was that the men were in good health and were being well looked after and that the Generals took a particular interest in their men, in their comfort and in their safety. One further matter he might mention and that was the terrible devastation, which he saw out there. He could not conceive it possible that a town such as Ypres, which contained 17,000 inhabitants, should be absolutely wiped out. Drogheda contained about 14,000 people. Imagine a town like Drogheda without a single building standing without a roof on. There was one. It was being used as a hospital and while he was in it, it was being shelled. That gave them an idea of what the German is. He seems to have made a special mark of churches and hospitals, and it was a painful sight to see these sacred edifices reduced to heaps of ruins. That was the case in every town that had been visited by the Germans or had been shelled by them from a distance.”

THE ROYAL MEATHS

It may be interesting to remark that the Leinsters, at the Battle of the Aisne, faced the enemy for the first time. They came into line on September 16, 1914, with the 6th Division. The Old 100-Foot was first recruited in Canada and was known as the Royal Canadian Regiment. The 5th Battalion is the County Meath Regiment, and Mullingar is now the Headquarters. The Old Headquarters of the “Royal Meath’s” was Navan. The annual training was at Stackallen. The Headquarters were subsequently transferred to Drogheda and the Battalion trained annually at Mosney. Lieut- Col. Farrell, now in command, succeeded Col. Sir N. T. Everard a few years ago.

RECOGNITION OF SPECIAL WORK

THE county Meath Royal Irish Constabulary Force contributed to the Army 23 men and one officer. Several of these men have been wounded and the majority quickly won promotion. The Kilmessan Corps of Irish National Volunteers numbering 50, sent 26 men to the Front, 3 of whom have been wounded.

The Boardsmill Corps of Irish national Volunteers numbering some 35 men of all ages, sent 12 men to the colours, one of whom was killed at the Battle of Loos; two wounded and one discharged owing to wounds.

Dunboyne Irish National Volunteer Corps, Drumconrath Irish National Volunteer Corp and Johnstown Irish National Volunteer Corps sent half of their effective strength to the army.

POPULATION OF MEATH VILLAGES

THE FOLLOWING TAKEN FROM THE LAST census, shows the total population of the various Meath Villages: - Ashbourne, 71; Athboy 270; Ballivor, 42; Clonee, 64; Crossakiel, 50; Dunboyne, 161; Enfield, 100; Dunshaughlin, 158; Kilmessan, 33; Nobber, 55; Longwood, 95; Oldcastle, 342; Slane, 133; Rathmolyon, 90; Summerhill, 64; Ratoath, 118.

The collection of the lists of soldiers included in this Book has been attained only after considerable trouble and inquiry and every care has been exercised to ensure the accuracy of the Returns.

The lists are comprised under the headings of the 34 Police stations in the County and the index will give the reader the necessary information dealing with any particular village or district in the county.

In conclusion, we desire express our kind acknowledgments to the Constabulary Authorities who so cheerfully lent us their invaluable assistance.

Nine Boys, educated in Trim school, have been killed in the war; several were wounded and one is a prisoner of War in Germany.

THE NEW IRISH BRIGADE


by John P. Timmon, Navan

 

Hurrah! Hurrah for the glorious day of victory at last,
When the war is won and the beaten Hun, lies stricken and aghast,
Like the earthquakes crash, the Irish dash, when the final charge is made.
Will rush his ranks o’er Rhine’s steep banks before the New Brigade.

Then home they’ll come with the pipes and drum, to their native land once more;
O’er the briny deep, their transports sweep, to the dear old Emerald Shore,
Where a greeting great, doth them await, who Ireland’s fame have made,
As the cradle of heroes, who won or died, as became the New Brigade.

From end to end of Ireland, the surging thousands throng,
In wild delight to see the sight they’d yearned for long and long.
An Irish arc, in the Phoenix Park, like a rainbow will be made
The God-sent sign of peace divine – by the men of the New Brigade.

And loud the roar of that host shall soar, to the gates of Heaven above;
And those who died and fate defied, to save the land of love,
Will look from the windows of God’s own House and pray as the saints have prayed,
That Orange and Green may blent be seen as they are in the New Brigade?

Do you wish to share in that pageant there- in that hour of Ireland’s pride?
In that honour to those who have fought and won – in that tribute to those who died?
Will you be one of those Irishmen, whose fame shall never fade –?
Ireland’s sons, who hammered the Huns – the boys of the New Brigade?

Your places then take for Ireland’s sake, for the sake of your colleen fair;
For the sake of the parents and sisters you love, go join and nobly dare,
To save your land from the foul mailed hand, which has crushed where e’er it swayed;
Brave men and true, there’s work for you in the ranks of the New Brigade.

 

PRESS OPINIONS:

The Leinster Leader, 25 March 1916, says: -

The “County Meath Roll of Honour” is the title of a carefully compiled record of the prominent part, which the men of Meath are playing in the present great European conflict, prepared by Mr. A. J. Horneck, Journalist, Navan, who has a life-long and intimate acquaintance with the people of County Meath. That he has succeeded well, the book itself proves. It contains the names, regiments and other interesting particulars of the county Meath men who have joined the army to date; statistics of the population and a record of the work done in the county in connection with the war. The book is well and clearly printed and neatly bound and will be on sale shortly at the extremely low price of 6d. per copy. It is a volume, which should be found in every Irish home, especial those within the confines of Royal Meath, the gallantry of whose sons are recorded therein for the glory and edification of future generations of Irishmen. We strongly recommend the book to the notice of our readers.

The Irish Times, 3rd April 1916 says: -

Meath soldiers. – Mr.Horneck, a Navan Journalist, has compiled a County Meath Roll of Honour, in the hope of furthering recruiting in that part, and of creating greater interest in our soldiers at the front. Mr. Horneck has done his work well. On his Roll of Honour are the soldiers’ names, their regiments and other interesting particulars of the Meath men who have joined the Army, as well as statistics of the population and a record of the work done in the County in connection with the war. The publishers are “The Leinster Leader,” Ltd. Naas.

The Freeman’s Journal, 1st April 1916, says: -

Meath’s response to the call to the colours deserves the tribute paid to it in a “ Roll of Honour” carefully compiled by Mr. A. J. Horneck, a Meath Journalist. At the beginning of the war the total male population of the county between the ages of 19 and 40 did not exceed 9,000, from which must be deducted a percentage of men who for various reasons are ineligible for military service and from the balance remaining Meath has sent over 1,400 men into the army. While the bullocks and sheep have fattened and multiplied in the county, the human population has dwindled away. In no other county has the diminution been swifter or greater; and Mr. Horneck reiterates a truth which the war has brought home to all when he speculates as to the much greater help Ireland could give to the Empire in the hour of her need if the land had not been cleared of the people in the bad old days. But Meath’s contribution of men is most creditable, and as Mr.Horneck shows the County has helped the allied cause in many other ways – in providing comforts for the men at the front, in helping Red cross work and in succouring Belgian refugees. The book (which is sold at 6d). contains the names, regiments and other particulars of the men from Meath who joined the army.

 

BOHERMEEN AND DISTRICT INCLUDING ARDBRACCAN
John Kelly – Royal Munster Fusiliers
- Hodgins – Inniskillings
Edward Kearney – Irish Guards
John McLoughlin – Leinster Regiment
Thomas Rennicks – Inniskillings
Francis Gerrard (Ardbraccan) – Inniskillings: shop assistant, Turner’s, Navan
William Rennicks – Inniskillings
William Rennicks – Inniskillings
William Reilly – Inniskillings
Charles Reilly – Inniskillings
Richard Rennicks – Inniskillings
Joseph Lynch - Leinsters
Patrick Moore – Irish Guards
Chr. Lyons (Ardbraccan) – Dublin Fusiliers
Capt. John Roberts – Leinsters. In England
Percy Pettigrue, (Ardbraccan) – Joined in Canada, 1st Canadian Contingent, proceeded to France. In the heavy German attack north of Ypres in April 1915, Canadians repulsed enemy and suffered heavily. Pettigrue was reported missing, never heard of since, and now believed to have been killed.

 

DILLONSBRIDGE, INCLUDING SKRYNE, TARA, BROWNSTOWN, KENTSTOWN

Major the Hon. Alfred Stourton – Border Regiment; rejoined his regiment on outbreak of war
Capt. Louis Beresford Gubbins – Naval Reserve; rejoined his regiment on the outbreak of war
Capt. Wm. L.C. Moore-Brabazon - Royal Irish Fusiliers, rejoined his regiment on the outbreak of war
Lieut. Kenneth R. Mathieson – Irish Guards, killed at Ypres November,1914; rejoined his regiment on the outbreak of war
Lieut. Sheridan – Leinsters; Macetown.
Lieut. George Holmes – Field Artillary; obtained Commission since commencement of war
James Fay – Leinsters, wounded at Mons, killed subsequently; reservist, joined on mobilisation
Peter Kennedy - Leinsters, prisoner of war, Mons
Wm Cluskey – Sergeant Royal Engineers; late of Curraghtown, Brownstown
- Regan – Irish Guards (formerly in R.I.C.); Brownstown Battery                                                                  -Sergt.-Major Fairclough (Kentstown) – 7th Mountain Battery from India; twice refused commission
Francis J. Fairclough – Army Veterinary Corps, transferred from Hussars
James Sheridan, Tara; at Munition Work, Woolwich
John Sheridan, Tara; Invalided home
Nicholas Devine, Tara; Invalided home
James Hanley – Leinsters
James McGuire (Fairlands) - Royal Irish Fusiliers
John Deignan – Irish Guards
James Swan (Walterstown) – Dublin Fusiliers
Thos. White – Dublin Fusiliers
Pat Rorke – Connaught Rangers
Wm. James (Dowdstown) - Buffs
Charles Gaskin – Garrison Artillary
James Allen (Castletown) – Scottish Rifles
Thomas Dolan – Irish Guards
Patrick McGuinness – Irish Guards, Prisoner of War
Bernard Duffy – Rifle Brigade
John Kelly – Irish Guards
Frank Cruikshank - Army Service Corps
Neville Croome - Dublins
Wm. Wallace - Field Artillary
Claude Cavanagh (Corpl) – Dublin Fusiliers
Pat Clarke – Leinsters
Joseph Murphy – Leinsters
Peter Murphy – Leinsters
Bernard Hughes – Irish Guards, (Died a prisoner in Germany)
Alfred Creswell - Army Service Corps
Loughlin Kelly - Royal Irish Fusiliers
Richard Kavanagh – 11th Hussars; I.N. Volunteer Drill Instructor, Skryne
T.Keogh – Irish Guards
Michael Smyth – Dublin Fusiliers, Killed
Chr. Smyth – Dublin Fusiliers
Joseph Smyth – Dublin Fusiliers
Edward Kelly (Staffordstown) – 13 Cheshire Regiment. In the Trenches.
GEORGE’S CROSS AND DISTRICT

Lieutenant J. Pollock – North Irish Horse
Lieutenant B. Phillips – Leinster Regiment. (formally Wilkinstown I.N.V.)
Patrick Meehan- Royal Dublin Fusiliers
James McCabe – Irish Guards, wounded
Patrick McCann – Irish Guards
Patrick Smyth - Royal Dublin Fusiliers
John Moore - Royal Dublin Fusiliers
Patrick Glacken – Leinster Regiment
James Clarke – Leinster Regiment
John Doner – Leinster Regiment
Bligh, Major – (Died on home service). Royal Field Artillery. (Brittas, Nobber)
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