1950 May to August.

6-5-1950. Advertisement – For Springtime – Rabbit dishes. Delicately appetising for warmer days, rabbit is really nourishing too. Easy to get now, inexpensive, and one rabbit gives big helpings for four to six people. Here is an easy to do suggestion. Rabbit stew: With a little bacon, a touch of onion, seasoning to taste, and cooked, dried or canned peas added before serving.

6-5-1950. Advertisement. Have you got your new Ration Book? Some people haven’t got their new Ration Books yet! Are you one of these? If so don’t leave it any longer. Get your new book right away please – you will need it from 21st May.

6-5-1950. Devenish girl, Miss Bridget Agnes Feely of Glen West, Garrison, receives the holy habit at Franciscan Hope Castle, Castleblayney, County Monaghan. Her sister is a member of the Little Sisters of the Poor in France.

6-5-1950. Widespread sympathy has been evoked in Dromore, County Tyrone and Mulleek, County Fermanagh by the sudden demise due to a railway accident at an early age of Patrick O’Connor, Garvary, Leggs, County Fermanagh. He was secretary and playing member of Mulleek and a member of the Mulleek branch of the Anti-Partition League. His loss to the community is a great one but greatest of all to his sorrowing mother, brothers and sister.

13-5-1950.  Cashel and Ederney draw. Ederney travelled to Cashel on Sunday last to fulfil their Junior League fixture. This was Ederney’s first appearance in Fermanagh fixtures from 1947. Considering that this is practically a new look team Ederney gave a grand display to hold Cashel to a draw. The final score was Cashel 3-3, Ederney 2-6. The scorers for Cashel were Tracey, Leonard, Gallagher and Mc Laughlin and for Ederney, Monaghan, Mc Hugh, Murphy, Maguire and Lunny.

13-5-1950. Fermanagh Woman’s tragic fate at Bundoran. Inquest verdict of accidental death. The body of Mrs Ellen Hennessy sister of Charles Reilly of Drumbinnis, Kinawley was found on the rocks of Rogey, Bundoran.

13-5-1950. Harnessing the Erne for Hydro-Electrification. Dublin and Belfast agree on joint plan to drain Lough Erne Area. The total cost of both schemes will be £1,090,000 of which the government of the Republic will pay £750,000 and the Six Counties £350,000. The river will be deepened from Roscor to Belleek where a new bridge will be built. The new river channel will have a capacity of 660,000 cubic feet per minute. The prospect of hydro-electrification of Donegal are now very bright. This may mean that not a single area in the scattered county will be omitted from the benefits of rural electrification.

20-5-1950. The change over from hand passing to boxing the ball has caused some players a lot of difficulty. At one match on the first Sunday in May, it was amusing to watch the despairing gestures of one player who realised that little bit too late that flicked passes were banned. He was not so resourceful as his colleague who erred against the new rule, but carried on as if everything were normal and scored a goal. He was lucky the referee (who shall be nameless) had forgotten also.

20-5-1950. Until recently only one Fermanagh referee has been entrusted with a whistle outside the county, Jimmy Kelly, Farnamullan, Lisbellaw. Lately Ederney’s popular Johnny Monaghan’s worth has been recognised and his name is down several times in this year’s inter-county fixture list.

27-5-1950. Green is definitely first choice with Fermanagh teams when choosing jerseys. All four teams in Division A of the Junior League favoured the National colour, Cashel’s jersey having a white stripe added, while Derrygonnelly, Ederney and Devenish sported green and orange. The similarity of the jerseys caused great confusion in all the matches in this division. Derrygonnelly have now secured a new outfit which, as far as it can be ascertained will clash with no other club’s colours.

10-6-1950. Fatal Ballyshannon Shooting Accident. Seamus Gordon, a 25 year old fitter’s helper of the Abbey, Ballyshannon was the victim of a tragic shooting affair when the rifle he was carrying on a fox hunting expedition went off, apparently as he was crossing a stone ditch and the bullet entered his head.

1-7-1950. Early on Sunday morning the Russian sponsored North Korean Government invaded South Korea following a declaration of war. On Tuesday President Truman ordered US air and naval forces into action into Korea and instructed the Seventh Fleet to prevent any attack on Formosa.

8-7-1950. Belleek Young Emmetts per Mr. T. Campbell have subscribed £35 to the County Minor Training. Contingents of players arrived in Irvinestown on Monday and Tuesday to begin training under the famous Cavan footballer, Tony Tighe. On Monday night the boys were provided with a cinema entertainment in Irvinestown.

1-7-1950. Fermanagh Minors for the next round of the Championship defeating Tyrone by 1-1 to 3 points. Throne had appealed the match on the grounds that Billy Charlton of Fermanagh had taken a penalty which struck the crossbar and he had collected the rebound and scored a goal. Tyrone appealed to the Ulster Council and quoted the rule that another player had to touch the ball before the taker could play it again. The appeal was turned down. This was the only part of the meeting conducted in English the rest being in Irish.

15-7-1950. Cashel Annual Sports held were attended by almost 1,000 people. In the match between Cashelnadrea and Kiltyclogher the ball was thrown in by the newly ordained Fr. Sean McKeaney, OMI.

15-7-1950. Fermanagh Minors train for Ulster Minor Championship v Armagh. Under Tony Tighe, trainer and Malachy Mahon assistant the boys are going through a thorough training programme which fills their days and which is having many obviously good effects. Accommodated on 22 beds in St. Molaise Hall they have a portable wireless set and a gramophone and at their disposal two billiard tables. Rising daily at 7.30 am the boys have a cup of tea and a couple of miles walk before breakfast at 9.00. They have physical exercises, ball practice and tactics before having a light lunch at 1.30. Between then and 4.30 when they have a cup of tea they have more ball practice, tactics, and a football match between fifteen of the players and the remainder strengthened by local St. Molaise players. Finally they have after tea, physical training, long distance running and sprinting, followed by a mile walk and then before 10 o’clock to bed.

15-7-1950. Newly ordained Garrison priest at Oblate College, Piltown, County Kilkenny, Rev John J McKeaney. Son of Michael McKeaney, Scribbagh, Garrison and the late Mrs McKeaney. He has two sisters nuns.

22-7-1950. Death of Mrs Mary Quinn, Teebunion, Cashel on June 30th, 1950.

22-7-1950. Fermanagh heavily defeated by Armagh 5-5 to 4 points in the Ulster Minor Championship. Sean Gonnigle of Belleek on the team, John Maguire of Ederney and Pat Casey of Garrison.

22-7-1950. Kesh Bank cashier gets four years. Samuel H. Henderson of the Belfast Banking Company, Kesh, aged 47 married with one child pleaded guilty to stealing c £9000. He had been a faultless employee for 30 years and will lose a pension of £500 p.a. He had been asked to reduce his overdraft by the bank and turned to moneylenders to do this and then to gambling money from accounts in sums of £40 and £50 on football pools. His local stature was such that when he was bailed his bailsmen were people from whose accounts he had taken money.

29-7-1950. Armagh wins first Ulster Senior GAA title for 47 years to record their third victory. They beat Cavan.

12-8-1950. Belleek Man Sells a Rat – Mr. Bill Thornton, Belleek, who lives alone in a house with about 30 rats, sold one a few days ago to an Omagh publican for 8/6. So enamoured was the customer with his bargain that he paid a second visit to Mr. Thornton to make a second purchase, but Mr. Thornton refused to part with another of his pets. Mr. Thornton feeds the rats and looks after them as people do of more normal pets. They swarm around him at feeding time and he can fondle them and handle them without the slightest danger of being bitten.

12-8-1950. The new teams of 1950, Ederney, Cashel and Kinawley are engaged in a special competition for new teams. The trophy for this competition will be the old Championship cup which is being replaced as Senior Championship trophy for the county by the beautiful Gold Cup presented to the Fermanagh GAA by the Fermanagh Men’s Association in New York.

12-8-1950. Tommy Gallagher, Belleek, who emigrated last week, was one of the best men of the New York team that conquered Cavan recently at Croke Park and won the National League. At centre full he had the measure of O’Donoghue and Mick Higgins and completely subdued both. This played a big part in the victory.

12-8-1950. Trout fishing on Lough Melvin. Trout fishing has vastly improved on Lough Melvin as a result of the recent heavy rains and consequent flooding of rivers. Professor Marshall of Derry caught 21 trout in a few hours fishing during the weekend and had catches of 16 and 17 trout last week. Other anglers had catches of a dozen each.

 

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.