Belfast Telegraph

Irish soldiers who served in First World War honoured in Dublin

More than 200,000 Irish men and women served in the British forces during the First World War, and about 35,000 died.

Flagbearers lower their flags as the Last Post is played during a service at Glasnevin cemetery (Niall Carson/PA)
Flagbearers lower their flags as the Last Post is played during a service at Glasnevin cemetery (Niall Carson/PA)

By Aine McMahon PA

A ceremony has been held at Glasnevin cemetery in Dublin to mark the 101st anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, which ended the First World War.

During the ceremony, five Victoria Cross commemorative plaques were unveiled, dedicated to five soldiers from different ranks who showed extreme bravery during the conflict between 1914 and 1918.

More than 40 countries were represented at the service, and officials laid wreaths at the Irish military plot before The Last Post was played and the Irish flag was returned to full mast.

A minute’s silence was observed at 11am to remember those who died during the First World War.

About 200,000 Irish men and women served in the British forces during the First World War and about 35,000 died.

Molly Meleady-Hanley, great-great niece of Gunner Patrick Meleady, who died in 1919 and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, gave a reading.

Patrick Meleady served during the war as part of the Royal Field Artillery.

He was wounded on the battlefield and taken as a prisoner of war. Towards the end of the war he contracted influenza and died in 1919 aged 20.

Mr David Bunworth, chairman of Glasnevin Trust, said the annual Armistice Day commemoration  provides an opportunity “to remember the many brave men and women from across the island of Ireland and beyond, who gave their lives in the cause of peace”.

He added: “The Cross of Sacrifice under which we laid commemorative wreaths this morning is a lasting tribute of the enormous sacrifices made during this tragic time in our history.

“I hope this annual commemoration acts as a reminder of the importance of peace and reconciliation.”

Following the event, the French ambassador to Ireland, Stephane Crouzat, said: “By standing in silence here on Armistice Day, I would like to express my gratitude in the name of France to all the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives during the darkest hours of our history.

“Let us reflect on the words of Marechal Foch, which are inscribed on the French monument at Glasnevin.

“‘Some of the flower of Irish chivalry rests in the cemeteries that have been reserved in France, and the French people will always have these reminders of the debt that France owes to Irish valour. We shall always see that the graves of these heroes from across the sea are lovingly tended, and we shall try to ensure that the generations that come after us shall never forget the heroic dead of Ireland’.”

On Sunday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar took part  in the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh to mark the 32nd anniversary of the Enniskillen bombing which claimed the lives of 12 people.

PA

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