Fermanagh Times December 2nd 1915. PEACE. ENNISKILLEN PRESBYTERIAN DIFFERENCES SETTLED. HAPPY ENDING TO THEIR QUARREL. We are extremely pleased to be able to announce that the differences which arose in the Enniskillen Presbyterian Church over the appointment of a successor to the late Rev. S. C. Mitchell have been amicably settled and the congregation will consequently now revert to its former strength, which was seriously depleted by the abstention from attendance of the dissenting members, who numbered one third of the whole.
Throughout the entire controversy, which has now existed for some months, the Fermanagh Times was the only newspaper in the County which give a true or correct report of the state of things actually existing and was the only newspaper to urge on every possible occasion a reconciliation between the opposing factions. Happily this has now come about, and the final proceedings at which this happy ending of the trouble was reached justified in every detail the attitude adopted by us from the beginning. The matter came before a meeting of the Clogher Presbytery in Maguiresbridge last week as result of a memorial received from the minority, and certain members of the Presbytery were then appointed to meet representatives of the minority in Enniskillen on Monday last, and discuss the whole situation. This meeting duly took place and after a lengthy sitting, lasting nearly three hours, a document was drawn up and signed by the representatives of both parties expressing regret for any heat which had been displayed in the past, and a mutual wish for the future welfare and progress of the congregation. The minority made it quite clear that it had not been to Rev. A. J. Jenkins, personally, they had objected, but to what they termed the questionable and objectionable methods adopted by one or two of his more prominent supporters during the progress of the election.
Fermanagh Times December 2nd 1915. RECRUITING AND THE POPULATION. FACTS ABOUT FERMANAGH. In a letter from Pro Patria dated from County Fermanagh in the Irish Times it states: – In the first place, I may state that the farmers sons show no willingness to join the Army. Their father say that they are needed at home, but I fear that this is due not only to the natural affection they have for them, but also – and, perhaps, principally – to the money the farmers have been making since the war began, very little of which has found its way into the War Loan. With their sons help, they hope further to fatten on the needs of others. The utter selfishness of this class of the community constitutes one of the chief obstacles to recruiting from this source, and has a reflex action upon other sources – namely the labouring class. The labourers say: “While should we go when men like the farmers who have their farms to fight for, won’t go?” Though they say this yet probably as a class they have done better for the King and country than any others – with the possible exception of the county families.
In the next place –and here politics and religion, which, like the poor, are ever with us, come in – the Unionist young men say that they are quite willing to enlist if the Nationalist also enlist; for it is a notorious fact that very few of the latter have done so from here since the present crisis arose. The proportion of recruits from a population almost equally divided religiously and politically is heavily in favour of the Unionist side – in the ratio of 30 to 1 or even higher.
Impartial Reporter. December 2nd 1915. A FERMANAGH SENSATION AS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL IS SUSPENDED FROM THE MAGISTRACY. The announcement of the suspension from the Magistry of Mr. John McHugh, Pettigo will cause a profound sensation in County Fermanagh. Mr. McHugh is the Chairman of the Fermanagh County Council. He has been for a number of year’s Justice of the Peace for County Fermanagh and sat on the bench for the Lack and Kesh districts. As chairman of the County Council Mr. McHugh has influence on other county committees of which he was ex-officio a member. He is also the Chairman of the County Fermanagh Old Age Pensions Committee. On the bench Mr. McHugh was a good Magistrate –very much better than, and indeed an example to, a large number of the present magistrates in the county. His removal from the Bench was nothing to do with his conduct as a magistrate, but as a public man holding public office on behalf of the ratepayers.
THE CAUSE OF HIS SUSPENSION. Mr. McHugh is an auctioneer in business and so keen was the competition in his part of the county that he wrote letters to farmers canvassing for the sale of their farms. It was in this that he proved most improper. In one letter that he wrote –and it is alleged that several were written in a similar strain –Mr. McHugh promised a farmer, in return for giving him the sale to procure for him the old age pension as he had great influence with the Old Age Pension Committee. The letter was handed over to the Crown authorities. The incriminating document in due course was brought before the Lord Chancellor, Right Hon. Ignatius O’Brien, who wrote to Mr. McHugh for any explanation he had to make. That explanation evidently was not satisfactory and accordingly a writ of supersedeas was issued on the 23rd. As to the public positions Mr. McHugh holds the Local Government Board control them and it remains to be seen if that Board will take any action.
Impartial Reporter. December 2nd 1915. VARIOUS. 500 recruits per day is the very loyal response of South Africa to the appealed for more men. Australia is sending 50,000 more soldiers.
A parade of a rebel Sinn Feiners was held in Cork on Sunday when Anti –British speeches were made and congratulations offered to the R. C. Bishop of Limerick on his extraordinary letter.
The Orange and Protestant Friendly Society Pettigo branch will hold a general meeting in Dernasesk Orange Hall on Saturday evening December 4 at 7.00 to elect officers and Committee for 1916. J. Johnston, Sec.
Fermanagh Times December 9th 1915. The announcement made by Mr. Asquith that the British casualties have passed the half a million mark comes home to us all. In the wars of the past there is nothing to compare with this, for hitherto we had always been accustomed to fight battles with small forces of professionals, and, since the idea of a nation in arms became a reality, our insular position has saved us from being entangled in European conflicts. At any other period in English history no Government would have admitted such losses without the risk of an upheaval that would have endanger the whole fabric of the state.
Fermanagh Times December 9th 1915. There is one other way in which the Irish Nationalists might do an immense service to recruiting in Ireland – by appealing to the Roman Catholic Church to alter its attitude. It is the universal testimony of all recruiting officers that one of the greatest obstacles is for them conviction that the Church is against it. Every Irishman knows the power of the Church over her people, how they are in absolute subjection to her commands, how they cannot for the most part even form an opinion, or still act, without the Church’s knowledge and consent. When, therefore, the members of the Church form, as he certainly has done, a firm opinion that the Church does not look favourably upon enlisting, what a poor chance and there must be for the recruiting sergeant.
Fermanagh Times December 9th 1915. THE 11TH BATTALION. MUD 3 FEET DEEP. PROSPEROUS ORANGE LODGE IN THE REGIMENT. HUNDREDS OF PLUM PUDDINGS DISPATCHED. Rain and cold and mud everywhere, is the story told by practically all the boys in the 11th Battalion, who have written during the past week. One correspondent, as will be seen below, speaks of mud in the trenches 3 feet deep, and what this means to the unfortunate young lads compelled to remain there for days at a time we, at home, cannot however adequately realise. The boys, however, continue in excellent spirits and enjoy good health, and that is after all the main thing.
Fermanagh Times December 9th 1915. MARRIAGE OF CAPTAIN PORTER, BELLEISLE. The marriage of Captain John Grey Porter, D. S. O., (Queen’s Royal) Lancers, eldest son of Mr. John Porter–Porter, D. L., Belleisle, County Fermanagh, who is home from the front on leave, and Miss Enid Mary Duff–Assheton–Smith, only daughter of the late Mr. George William Duff–Assheton-Smith, of Vaynol, Carnarvon, and Mrs. Holdsworth, wife of Colonel George Holdsworth, 7th Hussars, took place on Monday at Saint George’s, Hanover Square, very quietly owing to the war. The function which was distinctly a war wedding, came as a surprise to all but intimate friends, for news of the short engagement had been imparted only to the family circle.
Fermanagh Times December 9th 1915. LOCAL MILITARY NEWS. OLD FERMANAGH FAMILY BEREAVED. CAPTAIN. V. L. Y. DANE KILLED . The death has been officially reported of Captain Victor Dane 22nd Punjabia, Indian Army. Captain Dane was one of a considerable number of Anglo-Indian officers who fell in the fighting near Baghdad prior to the British retirement on Kulel-Mara. He was the second son of the late Colonel Arthur Henry Cole Dane, M. D. Indian Medical Service, grandson of the late Richard Dane M. D., C. B., Inspector–General of Hospitals, who died in 1901, and great grandson of the late Mr. Richard Martin Dane, D. L., Killyhevlin, Fermanagh, the former High Sheriff of that county. Captain Dane was educated at Sandhurst and joined the Scottish Rifles in 1905, transferring to the Indian Army in 1906, and received his captaincy last year. His father spent most of his life in India, where two of his brothers have served the State in High offices, one, Sir Louis W. Dane, K. C. I. E., C. S. I., having been Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab from 1908 to 1913 and the other, Sir Richard Maurice Dane, K. C. I.E., having been Inspector–General of Excise and Salt in India 1907 to 1909 in addition having held other important offices in the Indian Civil Service. The late County Court Judge Dane, who was M.P. for North Fermanagh 1892 to 1898, was a nephew of Richard Martin Dane, M. D., C. B., already referred to and the present head of the family is Mr. James Whiteside Dane, Bonniebrooke, Co., Fermanagh, and Castle Warden, Co., Kildare, of which county he is Clerk of the Crown and Peace. The Danes have been connected with Fermanagh since 1667, when John Dane settled at Enniskillen. His eldest son, Paul Dane, of Killyhevlin was Provost of Enniskillen 1687 to 1689, and was present at the battle of the Boyne. The only brother of the deceased is in the navy. Every member of the Dane family is either in the Army or the Navy, except one engaged in munition work.
Fermanagh Herald December 11 1915. The Post Office issues the following: – No postage stamps issued during Queen Victorious reign are now valid. All the adhesive and impressed stamps of those issues which had up to that time remained valid were, in accordance with the announcement made in May last, invalidated after the end of June. The public are reminded that no application to exchange any of the invalidated stamps for current stamps of equivalent value can be entertained unless made on or before the 31st of this month, at the Inland Revenue Offices, in London, Dublin, for Edinburgh.
Fermanagh Herald December 11 1915. THE FIRST WIRELESS MESSAGE. Maestro Rudolfe Ferrari, who in his picturesque fashion is now conducting the Chicago Opera orchestra and in his time has directed performances at Milan, Rome, Vienna, Madrid, Berlin, New York and Buenos Aires and singers such as Caruso, Tamagno, Calve, Chaliapin, and Titta Ruffo, likes to remember that Marconi when 11 years old was a pupil of his.
Marconi never took kindly to the piano. He was a boy in Bologna, and one day he arrived for his lessons with grimy hands and a couple of boxes about a foot square. “I was ordered,” says Ferrari, “to take one of them to a high hill while the lad went to the roof of my house with the other. He gave me a pistol and told me if I heard a suspicious clicking to fire it. I had half an idea that the box was an infernal machine, but I out his instructions – the boy’s enthusiasm was so beautiful –and toiled up that hill. I sat down and opened the box.
“By and by I heard a click, and then a series of clicks. I let off the pistol, and presently up ran Marconi, hatless and coatless, wildly excited. ‘You heard? You heard?’ I responded that I had. It was the first wireless event ever sent. What was the message? I asked him, and he answered with a smile, “There is music in the air! Ferrari’s efforts on Marconi’s musical education were not altogether wasted.
Fermanagh Herald December 11 1915. OPENING OF SAINT MARY’S NEW SCHOOL DERRYHALLOW MULEEK. On last Wednesday, the 1st of December Saint Mary’s National School, Derryhallow, in the Mulleek District of Pettigo parish, was opened for the admission of almost 50 pupils. On the previous day the Feast of Saint Andrew, this beautiful school that has cost over £500 was blessed by the manager Very Rev. George Canon McMeel D.D., P.P., Pettigo, who at the same time installed Mr. John Kane as its principal teacher. Owing to landlord intolerance in the past no suitable site could be procured for love or money for the building of a school for the Catholics on this estate, with the result that the present teacher as well as his late respected father were obliged to hold forth the lamp of learning to these downtrodden and persecuted people for upwards of half a century in a thatched cabin that was little better than a hovel.
As the mill of the Lord grinds slowly but surely, these tyrannical laws were at last swept away by the fierce agitation that has been carried on for the past 35 years by Messrs. Parnell and Redmond with the other members of the Irish Parliamentary Party, backed up by the ever loyal priests and the warm-hearted catholic people of Ireland.
When at the present energetic parish priest Dr. McMeel came to Pettigo parish he made up his mind to make the unfortunate tenants on this estate the owners of the land they tilled, and at once took steps through the Estates Commissioners to buy out their farms. In this he succeeded admirably, so that at present their annuities are not 40 per cent of their former rack-rents. Moreover, he succeeded in getting about 400 acres of the richest lands in demesne that surrounds the Bloomfield castle split up into reasonably sized plots, which were mostly allocated to the holders of uneconomic farms in the district; and by means of which these poor people are able to raise sufficient hay to feed their cattle during the winter. It is unnecessary to give all the details of this purchase, including the troublesome question of turbary, which always gives great annoyance in the sale of any estate. On this estate, however, the turbary question was settled satisfactorily by the tenants, who are assured of a plentiful supply of turf for centuries to come.
The landlord’s prohibitive power being now cleared away, the question of acquiring a suitable site was rendered comparatively easily. When Mr. William N. Monaghan, Derryhallow, was approached, for a site, he, at once consented to give for the, on reasonably fair terms, a site which is most centrally situated for the children of this wide locality. The obtaining of the usual grant from the Board of Works was a matter of great difficulty, which after years of persevering was at length overcome. The plans and specifications having been drawn up, and a competent contractor having been selected, the work went ahead until the long wished for end was accomplished, and the splendid school with all its modern and up-to-date improvements has been thrown open amidst the joy and jubilation of the people. To make the opening of the school a red letter day, the ladies of the neighbourhood provided a plentiful supply of tea, cakes, and apples for the youngsters, which they heartily enjoyed.
Fermanagh Herald December 11 1915. THE SAD DEATH OF A YOUNG FERMANAGH MAN IN MANCHESTER. With feelings of deep sorrow the relatives and friends of the late Mr. Lawrence Keon learned of his untimely demise at a hospital in Manchester, as a result of an accident. Deceased, who was a son of Mr. John Keon, D.C., Cornahilta, Belleek, was employed at the Oldham Road, Manchester, goods station, and on October 30th, after returning from his tea, when passing between two wagons was accidentally knocked down by one of them, the wheels of the wagon crushing his leg in such a manner as to necessitate his removal to hospital, where despite everything that medical science could do to prolong his life, septic poisoning developed, and he passed peacefully away fortified by the rites of the Catholic Church, of which he was an exemplary member.
Fermanagh Times December16th 1915. GALLANT STAND OF THE INNISKILLINGS FACING OVERWHELMING ODDS AND HARDLY A MAN ESCAPES. ANXIETY IN FERMANAGH. No details have yet to come to hand of the casualties suffered by two companies of the Inniskilling Fusiliers, who in the face of overwhelming odds held a ridge in Macedonia the other day for several hours, thus checking the Bulgarians advance and giving the remainder of the British and French troops a valuable opportunity to withdraw and complete their defensive positions further in the rear. All we do know is that according to the reports sent by the Press Association “hardly a man escaped.” We have been informed that already at least two Enniskillen families have received notices from the War Office of the death of members of the household in this particular engagement, but this statement we have, so far, been unable to verify. Why the superb courage of the men of our Territorial regiments were not mentioned in the official dispatches is one of those mysteries of the war, which only the General responsible, or the Censor, can elucidate. One thing is certain, however, that such omissions or eliminations do not tend to encourage recruiting in the districts concerned.
Fermanagh Times December16th 1915. ENNISKILLEN SOLICITOR BEREAVED. Very much sympathy will be felt throughout Fermanagh with Mr. George Atkinson, solicitor, on account of the death of his son Mr. Andrew George Atkinson, who succumbed on the 27th of November in hospital in Alexandria, to wounds received at the Dardanelles on the 29th of October. Mr. Andrew Atkinson who would have been 24 years of age on the fourth of the present month went to Australia four years ago. In November, 1914, he joined the Australian Contingent with which he was drafted to the Dardanelles in early summer last. He was at the landing at Suvla Bay, and took part in practically all the subsequent operations in that part of the peninsula. On the 29th of October he was very badly wounded, his skull being fractured. From the first there was but little hope of his recovery, but a owing to his wonderful vitality and the remarkably skilful treatment he received in hospital his life was prolonged for a month all but a few days. The surgeon, who treated him said he had never operated on a more healthy man. Deceased was 6 feet high, was built in proportion and was one of the picked Australians. He was most popular with all who knew him in Enniskillen and district, and his death will be felt with very much sorrow. He was educated at Lisgoole Abbey and at Conway College, England. Two other sons of Mr. Atkinson’s are with the colours. His eldest son, Captain John Atkinson, of the West Riding Yorkshire Regiment, and who has been several years in the Army, has been in the trenches in France for some time. The other son, now in the army, is William Claude Hamilton Atkinson who came over with the Canadian Contingent and is undergoing training prior to being sent to the front.
Fermanagh Times December16th 1915. ENNISKILLEN SOLDIER’S SUICIDE. INVALIDED HOME FROM THE FRONT AND CUTS HIS THROAT WITH THE RAZOR. A GHASTLY AFFAIR AT OMAGH. Word reached Enniskillen yesterday of a shocking case of suicide which occurred at Omagh that morning, the victim being Private Henry Gallagher belonging to the Inniskilling Fusiliers. Gallacher is a native of Enniskillen where, we are informed, he the tenant of a house, and was here for some time recently after returning from the front. He was afterwards sent to the Depot at Omagh, where he was found in the military barracks yesterday morning quite dead with his throat cut and a razor in his hand. At an inquest held later in the day the jury brought in a verdict of suicide while temporarily insane and expressed the opinion that this was probably the result of depression caused by his experiences in the war.
Fermanagh Herald December 18th 1915. A FARMER’S TRAGIC MISTAKE. HE DRANK POISON FOR RUM. A SAD OCCURRENCE NEAR IRVINESTOWN. An inquest was held at Dullaghan, near Dromore, on Tuesday evening touching the death of a farmer named John McCarron. Patrick McCarron, Dullaghan, deceased’s cousin, gave evidence that on the 8th of December deceased called at his house on his way home from Irvinestown fair, and he told witness that he drank portion of the contents of a bottle, now produced. He said he had drunk it in mistake for rum, a naggin of which he had in his pocket and he afterwards drunk a quantity of water from a bog hole, and did his best to vomit off the fluid which he had drunk in mistake for the rum. While he was in witness’s house, witness gave him a little soft water and mustard and he vomited. He was put to bed, and he remained there until Friday, vomiting at intervals during that period. He complained his throat and breast were burning. Deceased was about 42 years of age and unmarried he had drunk a portion of the contents of a bottle which was labelled “Poison” and marked “Ringworm Wash.”
Fermanagh Herald December 18th 1915. MR. CARSON AND EGGS. There is something in the spirit of Christmastide which stimulates the descendants of the great Mr. Bumble to acts of pompous, uncharitable valour which arouse nothing but intense loathing in all generous hearted mortals. This year some of the Enniskillen Bumbles have a new weapon ready to their hands. We are at war and economy has become a national virtue, nay, an urgent necessity, therefore let us insist, to some extent, upon those who are looking after the ratepayers interests being economical. Mr. Bumble was ever valorous in the public welfare at the cost of someone else’s happiness, and such folk as the anti-egg majority on the Enniskillen Board of Guardians wear his mantle with distinction. Mr. Crumley, M.P. it was, I believe, who first secured the officials an egg each every day, and at the last meeting of the Guardians the valorous Mr. Carson made a desperate attempt to do away with the officials eggs in the interest of economy. Good gracious! On that great day of reckoning when Mr. Carson’s grandchildren shall ask him what he did for his country in the Great War? He will say proudly, “I initiated the fight against luxury, by endeavouring to stop the officials’ eggs! I do not think the children of the future will be edified by the announcement. Petty tyrannies are repugnant to children and all healthy youngsters despise meanness.
Fermanagh Herald December 18th 1915. JOTTINGS. Under the Allies Restriction Order, Mrs Gallagher, lodging-house keeper, Head St., Enniskillen, was at Enniskillen Petty Sessions on Monday fined 2s 6d for failing to register a Pole named Slakeman who resided in her house for one night.
That the present three shillings and sixpence in the pound on unearned incomes will be raised to five shillings in the pound and the lower rates of income tax in proportion is the general opinion of the next Budget in April, according to the London correspondent of the Yorkshire Post.
The many friends of Mr. and Mrs. Dick, principles of Roscor and Cornahilta National Schools, Belleek, will be pleased to hear that they have been awarded by the Commissioners of National Education triennial increments of good service salary of £10 each, dating from the first of April last. This recognition speaks volumes for the efficiency of the schools in their charge.
Captain R. B. Burgess, Royal Engineers who has died in France of wounds received on the 9th inst., was the only son of Mr. H. G. Burgess, manager in Ireland for the London and North Western Railway Company. He was educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen and Dublin University and last year left a growing practice at the Irish Bar to join the Army Service Corps, from which he was transferred on promotion to the Royal Engineers. He was a man of splendid physique and a noted Rugby football forward.
Private E. G.E. Stewart, Irish Guards, brother of Dr. Stuart, J. P., Belturbet, has died of his wounds in London.
Mr. George Atkinson, solicitor, and coroner for North Fermanagh, Skea Hall, Enniskillen, has received word that his third son, Mr. Andrew George Atkinson, aged 22, had died of wounds in Alexandria Hospital. The deceased emigrated to Australia four years ago and came over to the Dardanelles with the Australian contingent. He was at the landing at Suvla Bay and was afterwards very severely wounded at the back of the head. Mr. Atkinson has two other sons in the Army, Captain John Atkinson, the West Riding Yorkshire Regiment at present in the trenches in France, and Mr. William Claude Hamilton.?
Fermanagh Herald December 18th 1915. BRITISH AIR RAID. The following telegraphic dispatch has been received from General Headquarters. On the eighth six Dean of her aeroplanes bombed a store death four at Marymount and an aerodrome at heavily. This attack was carried out in a highly westerly when it’s made a flying difficult. All the machines returned safely, and considerable damage is believed to have been done to both objectives.
Fermanagh Herald December 18th 1915. INNISKILLINGS AND GALLANT STAND. HARDLY A MAN ESCAPED. The magnificent work of the Irish in saving the French and British forces from being cut off retreat to Greece from Serbia is the subject of enthusiastic commendation not only in Ireland but throughout to the British dominions. In the British communique published on Monday the Connaughts, the Munsters and the Dublins were especially marked out for praise and now the Inniskillings are mentioned as having behaved with magnificent bravery, hardly one of them now remaining. The London newspaper suggests that the Irish regiments who took part in the action should be thanked by a special vote of thanks passed simultaneously in both Houses of Parliament. The Bulgar’s attempt to break through the British line was rendered fruitless by the bravery of the Irish and although the engagement resulted in retirement, the enemy was made to appreciate the qualities of the foe to which he is now opposed. Not only were they outnumbered by about 10 to 1 by the enemy who was abundantly provided with field and mountain artillery and machine guns. The Bulgarian attack began at 3.00 on Monday morning and a tremendous hail of lead poured upon our trenches which also suffered from whistling fragments of stone, the Bulgarian high explosive shells splintering the rocks and sending fragments in all directions, was greatly intensifying the effect of their fire.
Two companies of the Inniskillings held on to the ridge known as Kevis Crest, and kept back the Bulgarians practically the whole morning, although they were backed only by rifle fire. Hardly a man escaped, but their stand impressed and delayed the Bulgars, thus giving much needed time to complete our defensive dispositions on our third line, where the Bulgarians were finally held up.
Fermanagh Times December 23rd 1915. THE GALLANT INNISKILLINGS. STORY OF A GREAT SACRIFICE. CRAWLING THROUGH A SEA OF MUD SHOULDER TO SHOULDER WITH THE DEAD. The Daily News says: – The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who sacrificed two whole companies in the rear-guard action in Macedonia, are never spoken of by their full title in the army, but they are invariably described by themselves as well as by their comrades as “The Skins.” We have been allowed to learn how, by sacrificing one half of its personnel, one battalion of the Inniskillings secured the retreat of the British forces in Macedonia; but no official story has been published of the great feat achieved by the 2nd battalion of this gallant regiment at Festubert. Yet it was only the enterprise and daring of the 2nd “Skins” that made possible the success of the – – Division.
One attack against the German trenches had been made and had failed, and the ground between the opposing lines was strewn with the dead of both sides. A second attack was ordered. The 2nd Inniskillings were to lead the van in the principal sector, and the attack was to be made under cover of darkness. The space between the trenches was about 200 yards and in spite of the pitch blackness of the night it was certain that the German machine guns and rifles would take a heavy toll before the trenches were reached. But the Inniskillings mix brains with their bravery. So soon after night fell, about eight p.m., they crept over the parapet, one by one they squirmed on their stomachs towards the German trenches. Slowly and painfully they crawled through a sea of mud, from dead man to dead man, lying quite still whenever a star shell lighted up No Man’s Land. By this method platoon after platoon had spread itself over the corpse strewn field, until the leaders were within a few yards of the German parapet. Then came the hardest task of all to lie shoulder to shoulder with the dead until at midnight a flare give the signal to charge. But the “Skins” held on through all the alarms of the night. Occasionally bullets whistled across the waste, and some who had imitated death needed to pretend no longer. But the toll was not heavy; it was infinitesimal by comparison with the cost of a charge from their own trenches. When at last the flash lifted the suspense the leading platoons were in the German trenches before the occupants had time to lift their rifles. They caught them in many cases actually asleep and because of their cuteness the Inniskillings paid less for the capture of the first and second lines of trenches than they might have done for the first alone. The same cuteness made it possible for the whole division to sweep on and to score a victory where another division had previously found defeat.
Fermanagh Times December 23rd 1915. DANCE IN BELLEISLE. On Friday night a very enjoyable dance was given by Captain Porter to the tenants and employee’s at Belle Isle. Some 50 couples were present and dancing started at 9.00. Captain Porter and his bride were given a most rousing reception as they entered the room, which was beautifully decorated. Mrs. Porter was introduced to everyone present and she and her husband took part in the first couple of dances. Mr. O’Keeffe was M. C., and the refreshments were looked after by Mrs. McDowell and Messrs. Shanks and Porter. At supper the health of Captain and Mrs. Porter was duly proposed and heartily responded to. Dancing was kept up till early morning and after a hearty vote of thanks had been returned to the gallant Captain the proceedings terminated by the singing of Auld Lang Syne followed by God Save the King. The music was supplied by Mr. W. Scott, Enniskillen, assisted at intervals by Mr. Cathcart, Killygowan.
Fermanagh Times December 23rd 1915. CHRISTMAS 1915. It is with a diffidence easily understood that we wish our readers the compliments of the season. Old prescriptive usage scarcely justifies it in this year of grace of 1915. “Peace on Earth; Goodwill towards Men” –how fall of emptiness, worse even how full of irony sounds the phrase when the most fertile and populous parts of the earth are covered with woe and desolation. The crash of armed men, the rush of battle, the roar of mighty guns, the cry of strong men in their agony are a terrible, a sinister, forbidding echo to the wish, “A Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.”
Never in the whole Christian era has there been a period of tragedy comparable to the present. Ruin and devastation widespread, the loss of millions of human lives, the mutilation and crippling of other millions are features of the passing time that even the most thoughtless and careless cannot contemplate without almost the blackness of despair. The record of events throughout the whole theatre of war are absolutely appalling.
When will it end? We know not. To what good does it tend? Writers treatise dissertations on the purifying influences and ennobling results of war. The dreaming of visionaries! The whole world cannot be turned into a hell and only virtue and its attributes to emerge from the fierce cauldron of brutality, massacre and tribulation. The prospect is deplorable. In the surrounding gloom we see not a ray of hope for the near future. If German autocrats are responsible for the outbreak of the war plague, if to them primarily is due the awful affliction, the indescribable sorrow, the ravages and miseries that it has brought about, to British politicians, to their narrowness of view, their lack of vigour and intellectual and selfish infirmities must be attributed much of its prolongation and not a little of the waste and horrors of bloodshed and death by which it has been accompanied.
Fermanagh Times December 23rd 1915. BRITISH LEAVE THE DARDANELLES! TROOPS, GUNS AND STORES REMOVED.
From http://www.firstworldwar.com/battles/evacuation_dec15.htmBattles – The Evacuation of Anzac Cove, Suvla Bay and Helles, 1915-16. Preparing for the Allied evacuation of Suvla Bay, Gallipoli In the wake of the failure of the Allied attacks at Scimitar Hill and Hill 60 beginning 21 August 1915, intended to link the two Allied sectors of Anzac Cove and Suvla Bay, Mediterranean Commander-in-Chief Sir Ian Hamilton telegraphed London in a state of increasing despondency. In his telegram Hamilton requested a further 95,000 reinforcements from British war minister Lord Kitchener. He was offered barely a quarter, 25,000. Confidence in the Gallipoli operation in London and Paris was dwindling. While former First Lord of the Admiralty and architect of the operation Winston Churchill pressed both governments to provide continued support, French General Maurice Sarrail suggested a combined offensive against the Asian coast, a proposal rapidly over-turned by his Commander-in-Chief Joseph Joffre, who insisted upon retaining French focus on the Western Front.
Affairs outside of Gallipoli began to intrude upon strategy in the region. The invasion of Serbia and plans for an extensive landing at Salonika exhausted resources from both French and British governments, with the latter offering to provide up to 125,000 troops (much against Kitchener’s inclination). Such were the demands for men intended for Salonika that forces were diverted away from Hamilton in Gallipoli, to the latter’s great dismay. As it was Hamilton was facing increasing criticism from London as grim news of the expedition reached home, along with complaints of his mismanagement of the campaign (from the Australian journalist Keith Murdoch among others).
Thus with the possibility of further reinforcements to the region seemingly ruled out, Hamilton received word on 11 October 1915 of a proposal to evacuate the peninsula. He responded in anger by estimating that casualties of such an evacuation would run at up to 50%: a startlingly high figure. The tide was clearly moving against Hamilton. His belief in what was widely viewed as an unacceptable casualty rate in the event of evacuation resulted in his removal as Commander-in-Chief and recall to London at a meeting of the Dardanelles Committee on 14 October. Hamilton was replaced by Sir Charles Monro. Monro lost no time in touring Helles, Suvla Bay and Anzac Cove upon his arrival on the peninsula on 28 October. His recommendation was prompt: evacuation. This did not however meet with Kitchener’s approval. He travelled to the region to see the state of affairs for himself. Upon his arrival however he quickly reversed his thinking upon seeing the conditions facing the Allied force and recommended evacuation on 15 November 1915, overriding arguments by senior naval figures Sir Roger Keyes and Rosslyn Wemyss to attempt a naval seizure once again. The British government, having prevaricated for several weeks, finally sanctioned an evacuation on 7 December. Unfortunately by this stage a heavy blizzard had set in making such an operation hazardous. Nevertheless the evacuation of 105,000 men and 300 guns from Anzac Cove and Suvla Bay was successfully conducted from 10-20 December 1915. The evacuation of Helles was conducted – comprising 35,000 men – from late December until 9 January 1916. The evacuation operation was easily the most successful element of the entire campaign, with casualty figures significantly lower than Hamilton had predicted (official figures quote just three casualties). Painstaking efforts had been made to deceive the 100,000 watching Turkish troops into believing that the movement of Allied forces did not constitute a withdrawal. Winston Churchill however viewed Monro’s achievement with a somewhat jaundiced eye: “he came, he saw, he capitulated” he wrote of Monro, and the sneer has remained through the years to blight Monro’s correct decision and remarkable follow-through.
480,000 Allied troops had participated in the Gallipoli campaign which comprised the Turkish Army’s most significant success of the war. Of this figure 252,000 suffered casualties (of these 48,000 were fatalities). One-third of the 33,600 Anzac casualties comprised fatalities. Turkish casualties have been estimated at 250,000, of which at least 65,000 are believed to be fatalities.
Fermanagh Times December 23rd 1915. MR. REDMOND AS USUAL POLITICAL CLEVERNESS MUST HAVE DESERTED HIM SADLY when he allowed to be published Mr. Asquith’s letter regarding the 16th Division. We now have it on the very highest authority that only two of the three brigades in this much advertised Irish Division are up to strength, and that there seems so little prospect of the remaining brigade filling up at a reasonably early date that the division will have to go on active service without it. What a remarkable comment this is upon the thousands of Irish Nationalists who are alleged to have joined the army!
The excuse given for the failure only makes matters worse. We are told that 1,200 men had to be drafted from the 16th Division to fill up the Tenth, or else it too could not have gone on service when it did, so that this division also did not fill even though although a whole English regiment, the Hampshires, was brought in, as well as hundreds of other English recruits to complete the Leinsters and the, Connaughts. It is also worth mentioning that men were taken from the Ulster regiments in the 16th Division and sent to the Munsters and, Connaughts in the 10th division. Thus once more Ulster supplied the men for which other parts of Ireland claimed the credit.
As a matter of fact in the entire 10th division when it went to Gallipoli only about 20 per cent of the men where Irish Roman Catholics, though the Nationalists claim 100 per cent of the credit, and the numbers have not increased since. And yet the Irish Nationalists, who from the whole of Ireland have not been able to raise a single division of their own, were never tired of sneering at the Ulster Division, the only genuine “all Irish” division from its commanding officer downwards, for it had not to be completed for service by drafts from any other division or from England, and whose success has only emphasized the failure of the other so-called Irish divisions.
Fermanagh Times December 23rd 1915. FORD’S FOLLY. A CHRISTMAS BURLESQUE. NO RECEPTION IN EUROPE. Surprized and considerably disconcerted at the lack of even the semblance of an official welcome to Norway, Mr. Henry Ford and his quarrelsome crew of Peace Pilgrims arrived at Christiania, on Sunday morning in the liner Oscar 11 from New York. There was not a single Scandinavian pacifist at the docks to greet the remarkable conglomeration of –the-war cranks, whose members have for two weeks been fighting among themselves on the Atlantic. Christiania seems coldly indifferent to the visit of these deluded pro-German propagandists. Mr. Ford’s menagerie of misguided Peace soldiers arrived on European soil in as aimless a condition as that in which they left the United States. Internal dissensions are as widespread and bitter as they were the day following the mutiny on the high seas, which was precipitated when an attempt was made to coerce befuddled delegates into signing a declaration censuring President Wilson for his “preparedness” program. There is no disguising the fact that the majority of the Pilgrims now realise that they’re out on a fool’s errand. As an insurgent expressed it in mixed Yankee metaphor “We have jumped the switch and are busted. We have as much chance of getting away with one stunt as a snowball has of freezing in the hell.” There is an overwhelming feeling of depression in the party. At least a dozen delegates intend to desert before they make themselves more ridiculous.
Fermanagh Herald December 25th 1915. JOTTINGS. The flax markets remain as strong as ever. Prices of Russian flax are steadily rising and there is still an absence of advice of new arrivals. However the Belfast spinners are fairly well off for some time to come.
Dr. T. Knox reported to the Lisnaskea Guardians on Saturday last that a further outbreak of smallpox had occurred involving three persons, who came from the same house, as the two cases previously reported.
The report that Anton Lang, who took the part of “Christus” a number of times at Oberammergau over the years has been killed in the war, which was first published in America, has been contradicted in America. It is now announced by the German papers that the report was correct.
The farmers in Newcastle, Co., Down, are deriving phenomenal profits on flax during the present season. The produce on an Irish acre of land in Legananny near Castlewellan, scutched during the week at Mr. McAnulty’s mill in Leitrim, yielded 104 ½ stone, which were sold at 22s 6d per stone, and realized £117 11s 3d.
Mrs. Alicia Adelaide Needham, the famous Irish composer, of Clapham Park, London S.W. is collecting and buying all kinds of comforts including woollens, tobacco, etc., for the Irish troops at the front. She will gratefully acknowledge contributions received and for any money donated forwarded to her for this purpose she will send one of her autographed songs.
When a verdict of “Accidental death” was returned at an inquest on the charred remains of Fleming Wilson which were found in his barn, which was burned, at Ranelly, near Omagh, his widow stated that on the day of the tragedy he returned from Omagh with a large quantity of whisky and porter and toys for children. He then left to go to his brother’s house and the short time afterwards the barn and was found to be in flames.
Mrs. Joseph Carson, egg and poultry merchant, Killeshandra, purchased a turkey cock, one of this season’s birds, from a farmer named Keith, which weighed 30lbs. Mr. Keith was paid 1s per pound, which amounted to £1 10s for his bird.
Fermanagh Times December 30th 1915. SANTA CLAUS IN ENNISKILLEN. It will be remembered that a new departure was inaugurated last year by Rev A. J. Jenkins in presenting gifts “from Santa Clause” to the poor children of our back streets. This was repeated this Christmas with even more gratifying success. As before an appeal was made to the families of all denominations to send in older toys to be renewed and made acceptable by the little-often-forgotten-ones. The response was splendid from all sources with the result that some 400 toys, together with a large number of books, were brought to the homes of our poor, and each child in every household was made by the happy recipient of a little train that actually moved, or a pretty doll which actually closed its eyes, or a nice book with lovely pictures. For some time before the distribution a number of ladies from the various Churches met together, renovated any of the toys which required the application of their deft fingers to make them as good as ever and packed them neatly. The gifts brought a real and genuine joy to the little boys and girls and all thanked from the bottom of their warm throbbing little hearts the great kindness of “dear old Santa Claus.”
Fermanagh Times December 30th 1915. MILITARY NOTES. Private J. E. Johnston, 19th Battalion, Royal Canadian Grenadiers (Queen’s Own), has arrived home at Ballinamallard on sick leave from a military hospital in Sheffield. Private Johnston was only out a few weeks at the Western front, when he was wounded, sustaining a fractured ankle. He was formerly in the employ of Messrs. John Lemon and Sons, Enniskillen.
Fermanagh Times December 30th 1915. ENNISKILLEN BOYS IN THE BALKANS. SOME NARROW ESCAPES AT THE DARDANELLES. An Enniskillen man writing from “Somewhere in Servia” to a friend at home gives the following graphic description of his experiences since he left of the ancient borough. After a stay of a week at Lemnos we shipped for the scene of action where we arrived on the morning of the 7th of August the task before us being the forcing of a new landing at Suvla Bay. I don’t think anybody who were as there is ever likely to forget that day and a good many following. Our first greeting was the plumping of shells around the transports. One ship next to us was struck, but little damage apparently was done. The landing had to be done in lighters under heavy shell and shrapnel fire. Some poor fellows did not reach the shore alive. We had to wade ashore well above our knees in water with all our equipment on, including rifles and carrying two hundredweight drums of cable tied on poles –two men to each drum. The greatest danger landing apart from shrapnel, was the landed mines. They were all around the shore and for some distance inland. The first sight we met on shore was the dead bodies of three Fusiliers. One poor chap with his head blown off. It was terrible to see these landmines going up. You would see the chaps charging along, one mine go up and some emerging from the smoke and dust unscratched, run on another few yards, trip up another mine, and come toppling over. I watched five go up like that within a few yards of each other. We lost an officer and some men of our own company that day. Well, we took up our quarters on a ridge and that afternoon and the rain came down as I never saw it rain before. We got soaked through in a few minutes and had neither overcoats nor blankets, only just the clothes we stood in –no change of under clothing nor did we get any for three or four weeks later. That night we just lay down as we were with our wet clothes on of the bare ground. You can guess how hardy we were when not a man was knocked up over it.
Next morning I was laying a line and came across any amount of dead British and Turks; some of the sights would be inclined to make you sick under normal conditions, but we seemed to be braced up for anything. Next night I was wakened up at about midnight and sent up to the firing line with a strange officer. I was taking the place of a fellow who had been sent earlier in the day and hadn’t turned up. After about two hours wandering in the dark we reached our destination; I was then ready to sleep on a clothesline. The bullets were pinging around the whole night. The next morning the other chap turned up with daylight and I returned alone to our own camp. Twice I was sniped at, but soon learn to keep under cover of the brushwood. I was very lucky all through. One of the narrowest escapes I had was when having breakfast one morning; the shells were flying about as usual. I was sitting with a chap named Meldrum when a shrapnel shell burst almost overhead. One of the bullets hit Meldrum wounding him on the head and another buried itself in the ground by my side as I dropped flat on the ground. If it hadn’t been that he was wearing his helmet at the time he would undoubtedly have been killed, as it penetrated first the purgaree, then the helmet, before it reached his head; the scalp was cut to the skull, but the bone was uninjured. On three other occasions high explosive shells burst so close to where we were working that we were covered with dust and stones. I have been doing all classes of work – telegraphs, laying lines, digging trenches, of repairing broken lines and all classes of fatigue work. When we first went there we were often 16 hours per day cramped up in a narrow trench with a telegraph instrument. The flies and other vermin were terrible; there was a fearful lot of dysentery; we lost some men with it. I had a touch myself for about 10 days, but hadn’t to go of duty. We left there rather unexpectedly, destination, as usual, unknown; we got back to Lemnos where I met Fred Brennan again and after a week we set sail for Salonika. This is a beautiful place approaching from the sea, but it is an ill-kept and dirty town, populated principally by Greeks, Turks and Jews. I was able to get beer here – the first for three months for 5d for a large bottle and only 5d for a bottle of wine; other things were awfully dear. Since I started this page Lewis Herbert called to see me. I met him in Salonika also and he is looking fit although he hasn’t had a wash or a shave for some days. Hope you will all have a good time at Christmas. Can’t say what mine will be like, but will make the best of it. Your old pal.
Fermanagh Times December 30th 1915. Hell at Suvla. When Sir E. Carson described the condition at Suvla Bay as “a kind of hell” and indignantly asked why the troops had been allowed to stay there so long, he was understating rather than overstating the facts. The sufferings of the men were awful. Towards the end of the campaign owing to the breaking up of the season, they became almost unendurable. A great storm of rain burst over the peninsula and lasted for 18 hours. The trenches were flooded out, the men drenched to the skin, and many of them were exposed to the alternative of death by flood or by gunfire. When the storm passed the land was frozen by a great frost, and the snow drifts became a source of danger – a veritable death traps at times. Men’s wet uniforms froze stiff upon their backs. To make matters worse, it was impossible for relief to be sent for as no one could find his way through blinding snow storms. The fact that the Turks suffered as heavily as the British offers little consolation. The most lurid description can give but little idea of all that our magnificent soldiers suffered for the last days of the occupation of Suvla Bay.