March 1916.

March 16th, 1916.  Promotion of Admiral Lowry.  British Command Orders intimates that the Admiralty have notified that in future the Admiral whose flag flies at Rosyth Naval Base will have the status of Commander-in-Chief.  Admiral Sir Robert Lowry, the present occupant of the post, accordingly becomes Commander-in-Chief at that base.  Admiral Lowry is a distinguished Ulsterman, being the eldest son of the late Lieutenant General Robert W. Lowry, C. B., of Aghnablaney, County Fermanagh. (Ed. Near Pettigo.) I.R.

March 16th, 1916.  NOTES.  A potato famine exists in German towns.  In the country districts there is no meat to be had.

The Don’t-want-to-Fight Men of England are being formed into a non-combat corps with the ordinary infantry pay but none of the working or proficiency pay.  The corps will perhaps generally be known as The Cowards Corps.

Women are appeal to by the Committee for War Savings to avoid elaboration and variety in dress, new clothes, and all forms of luxury, and not to motor for pleasure, to have less elaborate meals, cut down the number of servants and give up hothouses.

Liverpool dockers have refused to work with women.  The old-world prejudice of men was be broken down.  Women have as much right to live as men. I.R.

March 16th, 1916.  ENNISKILLEN AND DISTRICT.  A FERMANAGH WOMAN KILLED GOING TO THE WELL.  An inquest was held in the Railway Hotel, Enniskillen on Monday concerning the death of an old woman named Ann Maguire of Drumclay about ½ mile from the town, who was knocked down and killed by the 6.37 train from Enniskillen to Derry on Saturday evening.  The woman was about 75 years old, and was somewhat deaf.  She went to a well situated quite close to the railway line at Drumclay level crossing to get water.  She did not hear the train approach until it was upon her and she was struck by one of the carriages and knocked into the water channel at the side of the line.  Her right arm and practically all the ribs on the right side were broken.  Dr. Betty was immediately summoned but the woman died within 10 minutes.  The jury returned a verdict that the occurrence was purely accidental and that no blame was attached to any person. I.R.

 

March 16th 1916.  THE EXCEPTION TRIBUNALS AND HOW THEY WORK IN SCOTLAND.  OF 93 APPEALS; 90 ARE GRANTED.  A correspondent sends to The Times a newspaper a report of the sittings of Aberdeenshire tribunals to show how things are being run there.  The tribunal for Huntley District met on Saturday and heard appeals with the above results – only three refused.  A farmer asked exemption for his brother a ploughman.  The applicant said there were 320 acres.  There were six on the place and himself.  This was the only man of military age. The Chairman asked how is your father and was told he is very well. The Chairman said he is a wonderful man and I propose total exemption I know the family and their history.  Total exemption was granted.

Another farmer asked exemption for a son, a cattle man.  The applicant stated that there were 100 acres of arable and 14 of pasture.  He had two sons at home.  Major Gray said the Advisory Committee had refused his application, because the other son had been granted exemption.  The Chairman asked how are you to work the farm with girls?  Major Gray said you cannot believe all these details.  The Chairman said I know the family root and branch.  There is not a straighter man in Aberdeenshire than this.  A Member said I cannot vote against him I know him so well.  Exemption was granted. F.T.

 

March 16th 1916.  AND THE MAN WHO WOULD NOT SERVE ANY COUNTRY.  A young man of 21 who applied for total exemption at the Whitehaven tribunal said he was born in England but emigrated to the United States when he was 12.  Coming home to recruit his health in 1914, he was not allowed to return to America.  The chairman said that as a British subject you ought to be proud to have an opportunity of serving your country.  The applicant said I happen not to be proud to serve my country.  I would not serve any country.  The world is my country and if I do not like the laws of one country I go to another.  Application refused.

A conscientious objector said he was a Wesleyan and would not join the Army on any consideration. Replying to a question with regard to David being an instrument in God’s hands when slew Goliath in the war with the Philistines the applicant said God commanded that war but he did not command the present war.  The Mayor said how dare you sit there and say that?  He applicant said I am as certain as I sit here that the war is not a righteous war.  War of any kind as against a word of God.  I suppose you accept the protection of the British Crown?  Certainly not.  I take my protection from God above.  Well?  You’re not fit to live that’s all.  I’m certain I am but there are a lot of people not fit to live.  Exemption from combat service only granted.  F.T.

 

Fermanagh Herald March 18th 1916.  JOTTINGS.  A committee has been formed in Clones and £300 has already been subscribed to promote a memorial to the late Right Rev Monsignor O’Neill, P.P., V. F., Dean of Clogher.  The list is to be kept open for one month.

 

Private Thomas Kelly, Townhall St., Enniskillen, who joined the 8th Battalion Inniskilling Fusiliers, some five or six months ago, has, we regret to say been killed in action.  The notification was recently received by his sisters.  Private Kelly was previously employed by ex-County Inspector Maguire, and subsequently by the Scottish Corporative Wholesale Society, Enniskillen.  His death will cause profound regret among his relatives and friends.

 

March 23rd 1916.  POLICE OFFICERS SHOT.  WILD SCENES IN TULLAMORE IN THE FIGHT IN A SINN FEIN  HALL.  An affray in Tullamore on Monday night arising out of a hostile demonstration against the local Sinn Fein Volunteers by a section of the townspeople has had a sensational sequel.  The windows of the Sinn Fein hall were stoned and some of those in the hall replied to the attacks with revolver shots.  The police forced entrance to take away the arms from those using them.  The Sinn Feiners refused to be searched and fired on the police.  County Inspector Crane and Sergeant Ahearn were wounded by revolver bullets.  The former was hit on the cheek near the eye; the latter was so seriously wounded that he was removed to the local infirmary where he lies in a precarious condition.  The Sinn Fein premises have been wrecked.  Several arrests have been made including four prominent members of the Sinn Fein Volunteers.  Extra police have been drafted into the town. F.T.

 

March 23rd 1916.  ENNISKILLEN PROSECUTIONS.  The practice of depositing ashes and refuse on public thoroughfares in Enniskillen has recently been so greatly on the increase that the Urban Council have been compelled to take legal steps to put an end to it and on Monday they prosecuted three defendants, Mrs. Ann Somers, John Goodwin and James Morrison for having been guilty of this offence. The prosecution said there had been complaints that the roadway at the rear of Ann Street was being obstructed by parties throwing rubbish, ashes and old tin cans on it.  Somers was fined 2s 6d and costs, Goodwin five shillings and costs and Morrison two and six and costs.

At Enniskillen Petty Sessions under the Weights and Measures Act Andrew Parker, of Ann St., merchant was charged with having a weighing machine in his shop to one side of which a piece of lead had been attached making in register 1 ½ ounces against the customer.  Frederick Carson, a young assistant, in the defendant’s shop stated that he had attached the lead without Mr. Parker’s knowledge.  The chairman said that the Bench had taken a very lenient view of the case and decided to impose a fine of 10 shillings with three and six costs.

 

Fermanagh Herald March 25th 1916.  AIR RAID ON KENT.  Nine people were killed and 31 injured as four German seaplanes flew over East Kent today.  As far as we can ascertain 48 bombs were dropped altogether.  Three men, one woman and five children were killed and 17 men, five women, and nine children were injured.

 

Fermanagh Herald March 25th 1916.  ARMY ACCOUNTS.  NO OFFICIAL RECORDS OF SOME SOLDIERS EXIST.  CLOTHING DEALS: UNIFORMS WHICH COST £2,650 WERE RESOLD FOR £400.  A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, which reveals the unsatisfactory condition of certain Army accounts, was issued on Saturday.  In all dealings with the Army and supplies, there is a considerable amount of muddle, as these vouchers are not infrequently missing or incomplete.  Forage, animal, fuel and light accounts for the period immediately preceding embarkation were not filled up. Up to February 12th 1916, no store accounts of transport vehicles had been furnished.  This is put down to extreme pressure in the earlier months of the war.  Horses arrived by rail at night with no voucher to show who sent them or the station from which they came, or with no identification labels.  Units transferred horses to other troops without vouchers, and one unit apparently had failed to keep accounts as no record could be found of receipt or disposal of animals.

 

The Comptroller refers to large quantities of clothing that had been written off as destroyed on the authority of Courts of Inquiry.  The papers showed that in September 1914, a firm offered a supply of part worn clothing for the use of the troops.  Purchase was effected, but shortly afterwards complaints were received as to the unsatisfactory condition of jackets and trousers, some being verminous and others threadbare.  Large quantities were ultimately condemned as unserviceable and returned to the ordnance officer, and together with the balance unissued from store were resold to the firm for £400 having cost £2,650.  Further quantities of the clothing, for which about £4,700 had been paid, were destroyed by units as unserviceable.

 

A contract was placed “without competition” with a firm for the supply of one million great coats at 30 shillings and 1,000,000 suits at 23 shillings.  Arrangements were subsequently made with the Wholesale Clothing Manufacturers’ Federation, under which its members supplied great coats at 28 shillings and suits at 21 shillings and nine pence.

 

Several officers and men, the Auditor-General continues, were paid rewards for inventions, and a Mr. S. W. Hiscocks received £25 for an improved method of constructing dirigibles.  A sum of £5 was allowed to Mrs. Angus Shureys, the widow of a storeholder, for an idea for the strengthening of mallet heads by riveting.  Captain C. A. Crawley–Boevey, A.S.C. was rewarded with £250 for a non-skid device for motor lorries.

 

Many men were taken on pay for whom none of the usual attestation documents were forthcoming.  This was more particularly noticed in the case of the Army Service Corps, especially the mechanical transport section, many of the men apparently having been clothed and sent abroad without any record of their existence or identity. The total expenditure on billeting included in the accounts to March 31, 1915 was almost £6,250,000.

 

Although instructions indicated that the price payable on impressment for an officer’s charger should be £70 it was noticed in the accounts of one command that in three cases £200 per horse was paid in addition to about 20 cases varying from £110 to £160.

Although these purchased cannot be said to be contrary to regulations, they seemed to be of an extravagant character says the report.

 

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1916

Fermanagh Herald February 5th 1916.  THRESHING IN COUNTY LEITRIM.  During the week Messrs. W. E. Pye and William Johnston, Kinlough, attended at Messrs.  T. J. Rooney’s, Foxfield, E Thompson, Cherrybrook, with a steam thresher, for the purpose of giving demonstrations on the threshing of oats etc..  The thresher is one of powerful capabilities, having thrashed, cleaned and gathered 120 stone of oats per hour.  The ease and comfort with which work can now be done by the use of up-to-date machinery should be a great encouragement to the farmers of the county to increase the cultivation of crops during the coming season.

Fermanagh Herald February 5th 1916.  WOULD NOT LEAVE THE WORKHOUSE.  An interesting discussion arose over an inmate from Killybuggy.  It would appear that this woman was in the habit of living with her married daughter and was in receipt of the old age pension.  She went away from her daughter’s house and sought refuge in the Manorhamilton Union.  Her daughter appeared before their Guardians asking that our mother be requested to leave the workhouse and go back to live with her as heretofore.  The Guardians could not persuade the woman to leave the house so they allowed her to stay for the present.

February 10th 1916.  THE FAITHFUL HORSE.  A remarkable story of a horse’s faithfulness is related in the monthly magazine of the Claremont Mission Pentonville N.,  by one of the Coldstream Guards Regiment.  After the fierce fighting at Loos he writes it was noticed that there was a horse standing between the firing lines.  For two days he remained there.  Then some of our men crawled out and found that he was standing by the dead body of his rider and would not leave the spot.  Later on some of our men bravely arranged to get out to the horse again, blindfolded him and brought them back to our lines.  By no other means could the faithful beast be persuaded to leave its dead master.  F.T.

February 10th 1916.  NOTES.  Certain areas in the United Kingdom have now been forbidden to aliens.  In Ireland these included the counties of Dublin, Cork and Kerry.

The Compulsory Service Order of England comes into force today.  Unmarried men from 19 years to 30 are being called up, the last of them to report by March 3.

An old Crimean veteran named Matthew Johnston, has died as a pay patient in Enniskillen Workhouse hospital on Tuesday.  He had served under the late Col. Johnston of Snowhill and told how he used to carry biscuits from Balaclava to Sebastopol sometimes in his bare feet in the snow.  He received a special service pension about 15 years ago.  He will be buried today. I.R.

February 10th 1916.  SERGEANT J.  FYFFE 18TH ROYAL IRISH, rushed home from his regiment in France to see his father in Eden Street, Enniskillen, but before he could reach home his father had passed away.  Sergeant Fyffe is a smart young soldier and instructor of athletics in his battalion.  He met James and Willie Quinn of the Diamond, Enniskillen of the 5th Royal Irish Rifles near his own battalion in France and says that the Ulster division with the local battalion lay not far off from where his own battalion was located.  The Ulster division and other Divisions are on the best of terms.  All are comrades out there, no matter from the south or north and all are much superior in physique and in condition to the German soldiers.  The German soldiers would desert in numbers but that their own officers tell them that they would be shot at once if taken by the British.  One of the prisoners taken by the 18th on Christmas night was so frightened and he begged his captors to leave him his German head: he was led to believe that his head would be cut off.  The well-known action at the Brickfields reduced the 18th from 1,100 to about 43 men, they were so decimated.  The Germans, Sergeant Fyffe says, no longer advance in solid masses as they used to do, but in open formation.  They had suffered so much by the former that they were taught a lesson. I.R.

February 10th 1916.  THE 12TH INNISKILLINGS.  A draft of the 12th Inniskillings stationed at Enniskillen, has gone to the front and received a hearty send off, the whole of the battalion lining up and heartily cheering their departing comrades.  The officers of the battalion bade the men farewell at the Railway Station.  With the drafts leaving were the following officers – Second Lieutenants Allen, McKinley, Baker, Shannon and Reid.  The fine corps of drums played the men off to the tunes of “The girl I left behind me”, and to “Keep the home fires burning”, while at intervals “Auld Lang Syne” was played.  Among the men of the draft are some old soldiers who saw service in South Africa.  The order for departure was received only one hour before train time and so the townspeople had not an opportunity of knowing of the departure of the men, and of giving them a fitting send off. I.R.

Fermanagh Herald February 12th 1916.  OBITER DICTA.  THE CONVENT BELL.  There is apparently no limit to the appalling pomposity of a certain set of Protestants, who are unfortunately in Enniskillen.  But happily their influence is nil.  Nevertheless that little bird  known as rumour has just hopped on my table and told me a surprising story concerning the Convent bell.  The hint is quite sufficient for this sect.  I write the above just to let them know that I am fully conversant with all of the leading facts, and I’m seriously thinking of pulling back the veil in a short time and exposing the bigoted scheme.

Fermanagh Herald February 12th 1916.  DROMORE BISHOPRIC.  APPOINTMENT OF THE VERY REV. EDWARD CANON MULHERN, D. D., P.  P., INISHMACSAINT.  A Reuter’s cable from Rome of Monday’s date intimates that, on the recommendation of the Consistorial Congregation, his Holiness the Pope has appointed the very Rev. Edward Canon Mulhern of Inishmacsaint to be Lord Bishop of Dromore in succession to the late most Rev. Dr. O’Neill.  The new Bishop-elect is a native of Ederney, County Fermanagh and received his early education at St. Macartan’s seminary Monaghan where he ranked among the most successful students of his time.

Fermanagh Herald February 12th 1916.  IT WILL BE LEARNED WITH REGRET that Private S.  H.  Young, of the 8th Highland Light Infantry, and brother of Mr. D.  Young, Omagh, was killed by shrapnel in France on the 21st of January.  Private Young was a native of Belleek, County Fermanagh and was employed for some time in Messrs.  White Bros.’ hardware establishment in Omagh.  After the outbreak of the war he joined the colours and went on active service about October last.  The news of his death was conveyed in a letter from the chaplain of the regiment, who states that he was buried with his Scottish comrades.

Fermanagh Herald February 12th 1916.  CAPTAIN D’ARCY IRVINE KILLED.  Captain Charles William D’Arcy Irvine 6th Service Battalion, Leinster Regiment, who is reported in Monday’s casualty list to have been killed in action at the Dardanelles, was reported wounded and missing, believed killed, in September last.  He was the eldest son of Major Charles Cockburn D’Arcy Irvine, J.P. of Castle Irvine, Irvinestown, and of Fannie Kathleen, daughter of the late Lt. Colonel Jesse Lloyd, of Ballyleck, County Monaghan.  He was a grandson of the late Captain W. D’Arcy Irvine, D. L. of the 67th Regiment now the 2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment, and his great grandfather, the late Mr. W. D’Arcy Irvine of Castle Irvine served at Waterloo with the 1st Dragoon Guards.  Captain C. W. D’Arcy Irvine who was 31 years of age, served for a time in the 3rd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.  He afterwards transferred to the Leinster Regiment, and accompanied the 6th Battalion to the Dardanelles last year, taking part in the Suvla Bay operations.  His services were mentioned in dispatches by General Sir Ian Hamilton.

Fermanagh Herald February 12th 1916.  AGAINST FEMALE LABOUR AT PIT HEAD.  The Executive, Committee of the Northumberland Miners have resolved to oppose the introduction of female labour at the pit head, and recommended instead a rearrangement of male labour.  Their contention is there are many strong men at the bank who might be better employed underground, and many discarded old men who could be re-employed.  There are no pit head woman workers in Northumberland.

More 1916 Gazing Into Eternity.

MunitionsFermanagh Herald January 1st 1916. The wages earned on munitions by many women and girls without any previous knowledge or experience are surprisingly large, says the Daily News.  It would be very interesting to know what is the biggest average weekly earnings of a female “hand” who can be legitimately classed as an amateur.  The managing director of a munitions factory told the writer recently that he had several girls who, without any training before they came to him, were each receiving nearly £4 a week after a month at his works.  “They beat heaps of men hollow,” he added “naturally there are men who don’t like it.  But that’s their lookout.  The labourer is worthy of his or her higher in war time or in peace.”

January 6th 1916.  HOW OUR MEN SAVED THE DAY.  THE RETREAT FROM SERBIA.  THE ROYAL INNISKILLINGS.  In a vivid and thrilling story of the heroism of the Irish troops in the retreat from Serbia, ‘F’ in the Weekly dispatch says:-  Nothing finer can be imagined than the heroic stand of the depleted 10th division who rallied under the attacks of overwhelming forces to the cry of – ‘Stick it, jolly boys; give ‘em hell, Connaughts.’  A few thousand Irishman and a few hundred Englishmen turned what might have been a disaster into a successful retreat just as surely as the artillery of the Second Corps at daybreak on August 26, 1914, ‘the most critical date of all,’ turned what might have been an annihilating attack into a successful retirement.  In the first trenches were the Connaughts, the Munsters, the Dublin Fusiliers, the Hampshires and the Inniskillings, the latter – to a large extent Ulsterman – holding the extreme right wing.  Dawn had scarcely broken when the enemy made his expected attack.  The conditions wholly favoured him for a fairly dense fog prevailed and under its cover the Bulgars were able to get within 300 yards of parts of our line without being observed. I.R.

The Inniskillings were the first to be attacked; about 5.00 a.m. their outposts were driven in, and then a great mass of the enemy swooped down on the trenches, but were driven back by the fire of our Maxim guns and by the steady magazine fire which came from the trenches.  Scarcely had the attack on the extreme right of the line had time to develop the main body of Bulgarians were seen running down a defile leading to the centre of our front.  As they reached the end of the defile and the spread out as from a bottleneck and with wild cheers flung themselves on our line.  But before they had got so far our guns smashed and battered the procession of men leaping out of the narrow gorge.  It was impossible to miss them.  British artillery have never had such a target since the first battle of Ypres, when the guns literally mowed down the half trained German soldiers who attacked on the Yser.

The brave Irish regiments were pouring led into them as fast as they could load their rifles.  The poured into the oncoming masses as much as 175 rounds at point blank range.  This will give an idea of the slaughter that went on this December morning as the dawn slowly beat the mist away.  Mingling with the roar of the artillery and the clatter-clatter of the machine guns and the sharp snap of the rifles were the hoarse cries of the half-maddened volunteers whose officers ever drove them on to the death that came quick and hot from the British trenches.  Men of splendid physique they were who faced the hail of lead, cheering in a sort of wild enthusiasm of battle with bugles and trumpets blowing defiant challenges, as in their knightly days of the tourney.  They did not know many of them whether they were attacking French, British or Turks, but unquestioning, unthinking he came on with the fearlessness of life deserving of a better cause, leaping into a trenches and falling dead with a bullet in their throat of bayonet wound in their breast, or with head blown off by one of our shells.

But it was, for all our grim resistance, a hopeless kind of struggle.  Sooner or later that unceasing stream of men issuing out of the narrow defile must sweep us back.  Always the enemy returned to the charge, undeterred by heavy losses, undismayed by our deadly gun and magazine fire.  The line held and to their cheers we gave back answer and to their cries we gave answer with our own cries and if sometimes the line faltered the shouts of officers and men: “Stick it, jolly boys, give them hell, Connaughts brought new life and new strength.  They outnumbered the 10th division in the proportion of at least 8 to 1 and they were obstinately bent on its destruction at whatever cost to themselves.  Their artillery far exceeded ours in weight of metal but in effectiveness there was not a comparison.  Almost all of our shells told when many of theirs did no more than splinter rocks yards away.  The division never lost its cohesion and it gave ground only at the rate of 2 miles a day, which is a proof, if any were needed, of the splendid rearguard action that this so much outnumbered force fought.

In the two days battle the 10th Division inflicted on the enemy at least four times their own number of casualties and what is possibly equally important they taught him the temper and moral of British infantry.  The 10th division saved the situation by a display of courage and dogged heroism that cannot be too highly praised. It is hard to explain how the 10th division encompassed as it was, won through, and perhaps the most satisfactory thing to do is to fall back on the explanation of the Connaught Ranger whose only grumble is that he was kept 12 hours fighting without food; “They beat us with numbers.  We couldn’t hope to hold up against the crowd they sent against us, a daft, clumsy gang of men.  We gave them hell but their numbers beat us.”

January 6th 1916.  THE DARDANELLES.  THE WITHDRAWAL.  THE TURKS OUTWITTED IN A BRILLIANT OPERATION.  The withdrawal in the Dardanelles was the most difficult and dangerous work that has yet been undertaken in this campaign.  It was completed in the small hours of the 28th Inst…  The entire reserve of ammunition and nearly all the stores were removed from the beaches under the eyes and guns of a powerful Turkish army which had never realized that the operation had begun until some hours after the last officers of the naval beach parties had shipped us to their packet boats and steamed away.  Lord Kitchener in November brought the fact home to most of us that the whole position here was under review by the highest authorities.  That the withdrawal could be done without a loss at all entered into no one’s calculation.

The problem was to withdraw divisions and  their gear occupying a front of roughly 20,000 yards in length, which was hardly anywhere more than 500 yards, and at some places not more than 50 yards from the enemies trenches, and embark them from beaches which were nowhere beyond field gun range of the enemy positions, and in places actually not more than 50 yards from the enemies trenches and embark them from beaches which were nowhere beyond field gun range of the enemy positions and in places actually within rifle range of them..  The Turks occupied higher ground and nearly all of the Suvla Bay area was visible to them.  The suffering of the men from cold, wet and exposure had been so severe that thousands had to be sent away to recover and frostbite became for a while as bad as it had been last year in Flanders.  The sufferings of the Turks were at least as bad. I.R.

Fermanagh Herald January 15th 1916.  THE TURKISH VERSION.  A Constantinople telegram of today states that during the night, as the result of a violent battle the British completely evacuated Sedd-El-Bahr, with great losses.  Not a single soldier remained behind.  The Gallipoli Peninsula is now clear of the enemy.  All Constantinople is bedecked with flags to celebrate this victory.  Everywhere demonstrations of joy are evident.  In the mosques and churches thanksgiving services are being held.  During the evening the city was illuminated.

Fermanagh Herald January 15th 1916.  THE OPERATIONS.  The Dardanelles operations began on February 19, 1915 when a general attack by the Allied squadrons was delivered.  The combined land and sea operation as did not begin until April, 25th, following the failure of the naval operations to force their Dardanelles.  The memorable landing of troops took place in the early morning when the Irish regiments suffered such terrible losses on what was known as “V” beach.

January 20th 1916.  ON A DEAD MAN’S LAP. AIRMAN’S EXPLOIT AT A HEIGHT OF 10,000 FEET.  This story is related in the Daily News in a letter just received from a young officer attached to the Royal Flying Corps now a prisoner in Germany.  Poor B! I was so sorry he was killed, he writes.  He was such a nice boy and only 19.  I had a fight with two German aeroplanes and then a shell burst very close to us and I heard a large piece whizzing past my head.  Then the aeroplane started to come down headfirst spinning all the time.  We must have dropped to about 5,000 feet in about 20 seconds.  I looked around at once and saw  poor B with a terrible wound in his head quite dead.  I then realized that the only chance of saving my life was to step over into his seat and sit on his lap where I could reach the controls.  I managed to get the machine out of that terrible death plunge, switched off the engine and made a good landing on terra firma.  We were 10,000 feet up when B was killed and luckily it was this tremendous height that gave me time to think and act.  I met one of the pilots of the German machines which attacked me.  He could speak English quite well and we shook hands after a most thrilling fight.  I brought down his aeroplane with my machine gun and he had to land close to where I landed.  There was a bullet through his radiator and petrol tank but neither he nor his observer was touched. Fermanagh Times.

January 27th 1916.  INNISKILLING PRISONERS INTERNED IN GERMANY RENDER THANKS FOR THE GIFTS.  Our donations towards the prisoners of war have been greatly increased by the generous donations of Irvinestown per Mrs. D’Arcy Irvine of Castle Irvine and we are sending it out to those for whom it is intended.  It is 48 lbs of sugar, 10 lbs of tea, 10 tins of Oxo, 12 packets of cocoa, 2 lbs of candles and 16 tins of sardines.  I understand that some tins of condensed milk are on their way also, for all of which we are deeply indebted to our loyal friends in Irvinestown. Impartial Reporter.

January 27th 1916.   OUTLOOK FOR FARMERS – ARE THEY MAKING BIG PROFITS?  Never since the war began has the industrial community in Ireland reached a graver crisis.  Foodstuffs are rising rapidly, Meal is almost at a prohibitive price, and unless the farmers bestir themselves ruin may affect many of them before the war be out.  We do not wish to be alarmist, but facts must be faced as they are found.  About last October the present crisis really began.  There was a serious shortage of shipping to Ireland, and the consequence was that freight rose, with the result that the condition of affairs has steadily being getting worse, and if it continue much longer business will be paralysed and the price of all articles of food be at famine rates.

Farmers, no doubt, have made large sums of money through the war.  Cattle have been sold at enhanced prices; milk and butter produced at almost the same cost as before the war, have maintained a steady advance of about 50 per cent; and pork reached the record figure of 82s per cwt in Enniskillen market on Tuesday and on yesterday at Irvinestown 83s per cwt.  Against all this, feeding stuffs, through the present shortage of shipping and not through traders inflated profits, as some allege have advanced enormously.  Meal, the staple fattening food for pigs and fowl, which a short time ago could have been purchased for 13s a cwt, is now at 28s.  This price has frightened small farmers, and many have disposed of their pigs and ceased keeping them as they feared a loss.  Prices are alarming, but more a

Gazing into Eternity 1916. Fermanagh and surroundings Easter week, Dublin to the blood stained Somme.

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Back cover of Gazing into Eternity.

Gazing front cover.

Gazing front cover.

Preface.

1916 was one of the bloodiest war-torn years in human history. It was a year of revolution in Ireland an event which helped change the future of Ireland as W.B. Yeats wrote ‘All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born’ [Easter 1916] but in terms of bloodletting the Easter Rising was a miniscule event compared to the Battle of the Somme when gigantic armies battled it out killing and maiming in our first all-out industrial war. It was one of the largest battles of World War I, in which more than 1,000,000 men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history. The Germans disposed of many of their dead by sending trainloads of corpses to be incinerated in a blast furnace. Many on all sides were obliterated as if they had never been on earth. Heroism was unbounded but as in every war others took advantage such as those who avoided conscription while others made profiteering a career and millions of women and children became widows and orphans. And the stay-at-homes safely cheered from the side-lines.

And all of it for what? The glory of Kings and Emperors, politicians and generals and in the main they found their petty kingdoms and grandiose plans crumble to dust around them. Revolution was soon to rage across Europe and swept away most of the old regimes. This book deals with events local, national and international for despite everything life still goes on. Mundane events or the seemingly mundane sit cheek by jowl with the seemingly momentous. The excerpts in this book are taken from the three local Fermanagh newspapers of the time – the Fermanagh Herald, Fermanagh Times and Impartial Reporter who all included copy from the British and Irish national papers.

Live through 1916 through the eyes of those who lived through it.

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Some excerpts from 1916 book – Gazing into Eternity.

Fermanagh Herald January 1st 1916.  Obiter Dicta, (Ed. It means by the Way) Christmas Day 1915.  How will it dawn?  How will it dawn on the coming Christmas Day?  It was Charles Kingsley’s question in 1868.  My question is: How will it dawn the coming New Year’s Day?  It should be a question deeply vital to the interests of everyone today.  Writing, as I am on Christmas day, I cannot help casting back to the optimistic days of last spring the days of illusionment, when many of us walked in a fool’s paradise.  We were saying to one another:  It will be over by Christmas!  We dare to dream beautiful dreams of peace on earth.  Today we are wiser and sadder, though no jot less determined.  And now we’re about to enter on a new year, commencing with bloodshed and slaughter. How will it dawn for on the coming New Year’s Day?

Today the merry boisterous spirits of Charles Dickens is out in the cold.  We have little heart for frivolity, merriment, and even the boy at home for his holidays is unnaturally subdued.  Many homes, alas, are no longer homes.  They are just walls and roofs; places where many a mother or father are eating their Christmas dinner and stealing around the house like ghosts. Poor Jack, I wonder how my boy is today.  Perhaps somewhere in Gallipoli is the little grave of him who a year ago was the bread-winner.  Somewhere in France the elder brother leapt the golden stile.  We know that father or son or brother is telling us from beyond the stars that all is well.  But we want him; without him home is not home; Christmas is not Christmas.  Today and on New Year’s Day both Hall and Cottage rejoice together or mourn together.

IN THE TRENCHES.  But today – Christ Day – how did it dawn; what picture unfolded itself as the sun rose in the high heavens, and cast its translucent gaze over the bloody plains of France; over the pinnacle heights of Gallipoli, where so many sons of Patrick have breathed  their last.  Did it disclose a scene of awful carnage, or what?  We know that on this day last year the better instinct was, for a few hours, triumphant.  Men forgot to they were out to kill and maim; they remembered they were of the same flesh and blood.  They laid aside their instruments of death; they exchanged cigarettes; they talked no doubt of homes in Saxony or Bethnal Green, or sunny, picturesque Fermanagh.  Then the circle of military discipline waved her wand.  Men sought for their burrows, and once more their sole aim in life was to make death.  Christmas came and went.  For a short space there was between the trenches peace and goodwill among men.  Then the dogs of war were let loose.  What was it like out there in France today?  Had the poor fellows plum pudding?  Hardly.  Was the ground damp and odiferous?  How was that ghastly wound; did it cause some brave Irishman untold agony – agony on a day like this!  Discipline probably made it impossible for friends and foe to meet as brothers.  Yet in the rival trenches there was surely much in common – the same great heartache for home – the same hunger for the little children’s arms – the same longing to look into the eyes of the girl, of the mother, who writes so bravely, who prays so unceasingly, and cries just at times like Christmas, so heartbrokenly.

The wages earned on munitions by many women and girls without any previous knowledge or experience are surprisingly large, says the Daily News.  It would be very interesting to know what is the biggest average weekly earnings of a female “hand” who can be legitimately classed as an amateur.  The managing director of a munitions factory told the writer recently that he had several girls who, without any training before they came to him, were each receiving nearly £4 a week after a month at his works.  “They beat heaps of men hollow,” he added “naturally there are men who don’t like it.  But that’s their lookout.  The labourer is worthy of his or her hire in war time or in peace.”

Describing the delivery of the Christmas mail to the British troops at the front a correspondent says that during Christmas week the heaviest daily mail consisted of 18,500 bags of letters and parcels.  By a conservative estimate the Army postal authorities reckon this to have represented about three million letters and half a million parcels.

Fermanagh Herald January 1st 1916.  BRIGADIER-GENERAL L. J.  LIPSETT HONOURED.  Brigadier General Lewis James Lipsett, a member of the well-known Ballyshannon family of that name, had the honour of being received by the King at Buckingham Palace on the 22nd of December, when his Majesty invested him with the insignia of a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.  The only surviving son of the late Mr. Richard Lipsett, the Brigadier-General was educated at Bedford Grammar School and the Royal Military College.  He entered the Royal Irish Regiment there in 1894 and wears the medals with two clasps for the operations in at the north-west frontier of India in 1897/8 and the medal issued for the suppression of the native rising in Natal in 1906. Brigadier-General Lipsett has served with distinction on the Western front being in command of a Canadian brigade, and has been mentioned in dispatches by Field Marshall Viscount French, in addition to being appointed Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on the occasion of the King’s birthday. It may be recalled that Brigadier-General Lipsett had behaved with great gallantry in the severe fighting at Hill 60, where his cousin, Private W. A. Lipsett – a former member of the Irish Bar – fell in action.

Fermanagh Herald January 1st 1916.  SCHOOLING AND BOY LABOUR IN ENGLAND.  They are coming to think in England that too much schooling – by which is meant too long schooling – is bad for skilled labour in manual work says the Freeman.  The difficulties in the way of agriculture have brought this conviction home.  There is a shortage of agricultural labour and if the farmers are to maintain their normal rate of production they must make up the deficiency by employing inexperienced town labour, or women, or boys under 15 years.  The employment of boys is contrary to the school regulations in most districts.  There is a strong demand for the abolition of these regulations.  It is pointed out that only boys that begin agricultural work early in life are skilled beyond the work of mere labourers, and, since compulsory education took them away from the fields agriculturalists have lost their old cunning in ploughing, draining, ditching, thatching, and hedging, not to speak of dairying and stock grazing.  Schooling, say advocates of boy labour on the land, when prolonged beyond the ages of 11 or 12, destroys the boys’ chances of advancement in agricultural work, and is bad for the boys and bad for the country.  Labour is scarce and will become scarcer.

Poison Gas and Poor Finnegan of Enniskillen and the Inniskillings.

Poison Gas, The Inniskillings and Poor Finnegan in World War I

by John B. Cunningham

The headline in the Fermanagh Herald of May 13th read INNISKILLINGS GASSED. ULSTER JOURNALIST’S DEATH. SERGEANT P.P. FINNEGAN.  Finnegan was well known in Enniskillen and a popular journalist as testified below by his colleagues. The following is a copy of a letter from Lieutenant E. Gallagher, 7th Inniskillings to his brother Mr Henry T. Gallagher, Crown Solicitor, Strabane.

Gas

John Singer Sargent was commissioned as a war artist in 1918.

30-4-16

Dear Harry, – Just on my way somewhere; we are in a hospital train, and it’s like our own officers mess, so many of the old hands are here, gassed.  As for the Irish, they easily carried the day, men and officers.  I was gassed in the second attack (gas) after having a good half hour bowling over Bosches and looking forward to another good time.  My platoon sergeant, poor Finnegan – was with me and he did buck us up; he kept shouting on the Bosches ‘Come on Fritz; we have some lovely presents for you,’ and they got them.  Then when the Bosche saw he had failed he sent us more gas and it was terrible seeing poor fellows dropping on all sides.  Then I felt my own time coming; words could not describe it.  I had my helmet on, but it must have had some defect.  However, I began to feel the gas: first it made me gasp; and then it turned me blue; my chest weighed a ton and my head was ready to crack and I coughed until I thought I would cough my insides up.  I thought I would try and find the dressing station.  On my way I came across poor Finnegan and he was as bad; we got on about 100 yards when we both collapsed.  We just clung to one another and Finnegan said ‘Sir, we have no chance.’  I agreed as I was exhausted.  Finnegan shouted out: ‘By God, Sir isn’t it terrible to die like this! If we had only got a sporting chance; but no one could beat this.’  After half lying, half standing, clinging to one another for about 10 minutes and going through terrible agony, I said to Finnegan, come on let us make one last effort, and we did.  I helped poor Finnegan along.  At last he said, ‘Go on sir, I am done.’  However we plodded along creeping and walking in a trench with two feet of mud.  I found myself at the dressing station about done up. I sent out a party for Finnegan, but he could not be found.  He was found that night dead.  A plucky soldier – he had no fear.

Our boys did well.  Harry, if you could have seen them it would have delighted you.  There was no pause, every man went at it, and after the first attack they actually fought as to which company had the best ‘bag’ outside their parapet and to hear them bragging ‘that fellows helmet beside your big shell hole is on our side of the wire.  It was glorious and I was just thinking how pleased the people at home will be when this will be told in full.  Then in a day’s time I got a paper and what do I see?  This terrible rebel rising in Ireland.  Poor old Ireland!  Betrayed again!  I am getting along as well as can be expected.  It takes time to get the gas out of one’s system.  However a few weeks will make me fairly up to the knocker. Best love to all in Dunwiley. Harry. May be home sooner than I expected.  I.R.

gas1Poison gas was probably the most feared of all weapons in World War One. It was indiscriminate and could be used on the trenches even when no attack was going on. Whereas the machine gun killed more soldiers overall during the war, a death that was frequently instant or not drawn out and soldiers could find some shelter in bomb/shell craters from gunfire, a poison gas attack meant soldiers having to put on crude gas masks and if these were unsuccessful, an attack could leave a victim in agony for days and weeks before he finally succumbed to his injuries. It is generally assumed that gas was first used by the Germans in World War One. This is not accurate. The first recorded gas attack was by the French. In August 1914, the French used tear gas grenades containing xylyl bromide on the Germans. This was more an irritant rather than a gas that would kill. It was used by the French to stop the seemingly unstoppable German army advancing throughout Belgium and north-eastern France. In one sense, it was an act of desperation as opposed to a premeditated act that all but went against the ‘rules’ of war. However, while the French were the first to use a gas against an enemy, the Germans had been giving a great deal of thought to the use of poison gas as a way of inflicting a major defeat on an enemy. In October 1914, the Germans attacked Neuve Chapelle. Here they fired gas shells at the French that contained a chemical that caused violent sneezing fits. Once again, the gas was not designed to kill but rather to incapacitate an enemy so that they were incapable of defending their positions.

This took place against a background of a war in the west that was still mobile. Once trench warfare had literally dug in all sides involved in the conflict looked for any way possible to bring movement back into their campaigns. One of the more obvious was to develop a weapon that was so appalling that it would destroy not only an enemy frontline but also the will to maintain troops on that frontline. Poison gas might even provoke a mass mutiny along a frontline thus causing it to collapse. In other words, poison gas was the answer for the war’s lack of mobility. Poison gas (chlorine) was used for the first time at the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915. At around 17.00 hours on the 22nd April, French sentries in Ypres noticed a yellow-green cloud moving towards them – a gas delivered from pressurised cylinders dug into the German front line between Steenstraat and Langemarck. They thought that it was a smokescreen to disguise the forward movement of German troops. As such, all troops in the area were ordered to the firing line of their trench – right in the path of the chlorine. Its impact was immediate and devastating. The French and their Algerian comrades fled in terror. Their understandable reaction created an opportunity for the Germans to advance unhindered into the strategically important Ypres salient. But even the Germans were unprepared and surprised by the impact of the gas and they failed to follow up the success of the chlorine attack. What did occur at Ypres was a deliberate use of a poison gas and now, other nations with the ability to manufacture poison gas could use it and blame it on the Germans as they had been the first to use it in this fashion.

gas2

British soldiers – victims of a poison gas attack

The first nation to respond to the Ypres gas attack was Britain in September 1915. The newly formed Special Gas Companies attacked German lines at Loos. In the Ypres attack, the Germans had delivered their chlorine by using pressurised cylinders. For the attack at Loos, the British also used gas cylinders. When the wind was in a favourable direction, chlorine gas was released from the British front line so that it could drift over to the German front line. This was then to be followed by an infantry attack. However, along parts of the British front line, the wind changed direction and the chlorine was blown back onto the British causing over 2,000 casualties with seven fatalities. The Special Gas Companies were not allowed to call their new weapon gas – it was referred to as an “accessory”. However, the risk of the wind blowing gas back onto you also affected the Germans and French in some of their gas attacks during late 1915.

gas3 Two German soldiers and their mule.

The development in the use of poison gases led to both phosgene and mustard gas being used. Phosgene was especially potent as its impact was frequently felt only 48 hours after it had been inhaled and by then it had already bedded itself in the respiratory organs of the body and little could be done to eradicate it. Also it was much less apparent that someone had inhaled phosgene as it did not cause as much violent coughing. By the time that phosgene had got into a person’s bodily system, it was too late. Mustard gas was first used by the Germans against the Russians at Riga in September 1917. This gas caused both internal and external blisters on the victim within hours of being exposed to it. Such damage to the lungs and other internal organs were very painful and occasionally fatal. Many who did survive were blinded by the gas.

By the time the war ended, the main user of poison gas was Germany, followed by France and then Britain. Though poison gas was a terrifying weapon, its actual impact, rather like the tank, is open to debate. The number of fatalities was relatively few – even if the terror impact did not diminish for the duration of the war.

The British army (including the British Empire) had 188,000 gas casualties but only 8,100 fatalities amongst them. It is believed that the nation that suffered the most fatalities was Russia (over 50,000 men) while France had 8,000 fatalities. In total there were about 1,250,000 gas casualties in the war but only 91,000 fatalities (less than 10%) with over 50% of these fatalities being Russian. However, these figures do not take into account the number of men who died from poison gas related injuries years after the end of the war; nor do they take into account the number of men who survived but were so badly incapacitated by poison gas that they could hold down no job once they had been released by the army.

Armies quickly produced gas masks that gave protection as long as sufficient warning was given of a gas attack. Soldiers also used make-shift gas masks if they were caught in the open without a gas mask during a gas attack – cloth soaked in their own urine and placed over the mouth was said to give protection against a chlorine attack. By the end of the war, relatively sophisticated gas masks were available to soldiers in the trenches on the Western Front.

“Poison Gas and World War One”. HistoryLearningSite.co.uk. 2014. Web.

The Fermanagh Herald paid tribute to their former reporter as follows: – Sergeant Finnegan was, prior to joining the Inniskillings, a member of the reporting staff of the Fermanagh Herald and was well known all over the North West.  He was an able and reliable journalist and was held on the highest esteem by his colleagues and by everyone who came in contact with him in the discharge of his duties.  He was a prominent member of the National Volunteers and as Lieutenant Gallagher says was a plucky and fearless soldier.  He was the typical Celt, genial, kindly, and good natured, and a sparkling wit, his gifts as a raconteur and his mellow brogue gave him a warm reception in social circles.  He was a splendid Gaelic scholar, and was able to report the most fluent Gaelic speakers, an accomplishment which few Pressmen possess.  His remains now rest in France – far from Kilkenny and the banks of the silvery Nore where his childhood days were spent.  That his soul may rest in peace is the earnest prayer of his former colleagues.  We tender our sincere sympathy to his relatives in their bereavement.