Soldiers' Wills

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Soldiers' Wills

Postby Micheál » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:51 pm

The National Archives of Ireland holds a collection of the wills of Irish soldiers who died while serving in the British Army. Most of these date from World War I but there is a small number from the period of the South African War, 1899-1902.
First phase to the end of 1917, here now -

http://soldierswills.nationalarchives.ie/search/sw/home.jsp

Wills for the years 1918-1922 will be completed and made available in early 2013.

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Re: Soldiers' Wills

Postby Rocker » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:09 pm

Micheál,

Great info. No sleep for me tonight.Thank you so much for tellin us.
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Re: Soldiers' Wills

Postby skins » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:32 pm

Thanks M. Initially I had thought this would just be a site containing standard forms filled in by each soldier; you know, "I hereby will etc, etc". Just out of curiosity I searched for my own surname, and got one hit. I'm still trying to come to terms with this passage, written in September 1915:-
"Dear sister Maggie,
I wrote two letters to you since May and the same to Jimmy. But I suppose you did not get them. The postman was tried here yesterday for taking the stamps off letters and also for taking out postal orders, he got a months imprisonment in a military prison. I could not leave you anything as the government would not leave you anything when I was not supporting you in any way."
The sheer horror of somebody taking the stamps off, what in many cases would have been the men's last ever communication with their loved ones, makes me want to throw up. How could a fellow human being do such a thing? And to think that the poor lads suffering from shell-shock were put up against a wall and shot.
He ended his letter by asking those at home to pray for him, as he was "going to be sent to a place called "Dardinells". There must have been a change of orders, however, as the records show that he was killed in a German bombardment at Mazingarbe on 27/4/1916, alongside a Private Reynolds from Foxrock. May he, and all the rest of them, enjoy eternal peace.

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Re: Soldiers' Wills

Postby Navanman » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:27 pm

Micheál
I started to look through a few of those wills - so incredably sad.

There is nothing more I can say about this.

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Re: Soldiers' Wills

Postby bugrock » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:11 am

Skins, your post brought a tear to my eye. In the end I'm reminded of a line from the Fureys "Gallipolli" - "They fought for the wrong country, and for the wrong cause' - paraphrase.
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Re: Soldiers' Wills

Postby Rocker » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:01 am

Skins,

What a great tribute. I was like you and went in on a Connor name to see what I could find again I came upon the saddest letter written from South Africa. This is a part of history I really hadn't heard too much about. Six years ago I started doing family research and found that my grandfather and four of his brothers fought at various places in the first world war. It was years later that they found out their brother Edward had died while they struggled on various fronts.

Over 490 fellows from the Borough died in WW1. This website gives some of the names;
Irish medals

May they rest in peace. May they never be forgotten for their sacrifice.
I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.
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Re: Soldiers' Wills

Postby spudseamus » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:22 am

Rocker wrote:Skins,

What a great tribute. I was like you and went in on a Connor name to see what I could find again I came upon the saddest letter written from South Africa. This is a part of history I really hadn't heard too much about. Six years ago I started doing family research and found that my grandfather and four of his brothers fought at various places in the first world war. It was years later that they found out their brother Edward had died while they struggled on various fronts.

Over 490 fellows from the Borough died in WW1. This website gives some of the names;
Irish medals

May they rest in peace. May they never be forgotten for their sacrifice.


They will only be forgotten if we don't remember them.
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