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Brothers in arms: Patrick and John Hynds

Catherine and John Hynds, like many other parents, suffered the terrible loss of more than one son in this bloody conflict.

Patrick James, born in Killough on December 7, 1894, enlisted in Belfast on July 29, 1913, aged 18 years and 7 months.

On August 18, 1913 he travelled to Caterham Barracks, England, training there until the August 11, 1914. The following day he departed for France.

Now a soldier, Private Patrick J Hynds, 4506, 1st Battalion, Irish Guards, saw action in Ypres - also called the First Battle of Flanders - one of the bloodiest battles of 1914.

Soldiers lived in bleak trench conditions among mud, lice, rats and disease and under relentless attack from gas and shells.

On November 1, 1914 Patrick was reported missing in action in Belgium, aged just 20. His body was never found. Patrick was subsequently awarded the Victory medal and the British medal. His name is recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial - panel 11 - which now bears the names of more than 54,000 officers and men whose graves are not known. It is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders. Each evening at 8pm a daily act of remembrance occurs as the traffic is stopped at the Menin Gate while members of the local fire brigade movingly sound the Last Post in the roadway under the memorial's arches.

Catherine and John's younger son, John Joseph, was born in 1896. On March 28, 1916 he followed in his older brother's footsteps, enlisting in Belfast. Training began at Warley Barracks, Essex, on April 1, 1916. He left Southampton for France on October 12, 1916. His poor parents knew now only too well the terrible dangers that lay ahead.

Private John Joseph Hynds, 11153, 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards, died of his wounds in France, in a field hospital at Etaples, a town about 27 kilometres south of Boulogne on August 1, 1917. He was aged just 21.

Like his brother, he was later awarded the Victory medal and the British medal.

While he was a patient in the hospital he made a pin cushion (left) with the help of the nurses working there.

Following his tragic death this was sent home to his sister May, who was aged five years old.

John is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, north of the town, on the west side of the road to Boulogne.

Belfast Telegraph


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