Last year I found myself in Dublin for a few days, and while the missus was meeting up with friends one afternoon, I took the opportunity to visit a cemetery that I had wanted to see for quite some time. If you ask most people in Dublin how to get to Grangegorman Military Cemetery they won’t be able to tell you (I’d heard this so I tried, and they couldn’t), but if you head up the eastern edge of Phoenix Park, past the Garda headquarters and the McKee Barracks, you’ll find the cemetery soon enough. It contains many First World War burials, British soldiers evacuated from the trenches to hospitals in Ireland who subsequently died of their injuries, as well as casualties of the Easter Rising in 1916 and the War of Independence between 1919 and 1921.
Before we enter the cemetery proper…
…there are a handful of later graves to our left (Section J on the cemetery plan) which include a few Second World War burials…
…and, in front of the wall in the background,…
…the one Victoria Cross holder in the cemetery. Company Serjeant Major Martin Doyle won the Military Medal in March 1918, and the V.C. for his actions on 2nd September 1918. The award was gazetted on 31st January 1919:
“Martin Doyle, M.M., Company Sergeant-Major, No. 10864, 1st Battalion Munster Fusiliers (New Ross, County Wexford). On September 2nd, 1918, near Riencourt, as Acting Company Sergeant-Major, command of the company devolved upon him consequent on officer casualties. Observing that some of our men were surrounded by the enemy, he led a party to their assistance, and by skill and leadership worked his way along the trenches, killed several of the enemy and extricated the party, carrying back under heavy fire a wounded officer to a place of safety. Later, seeing a tank in difficulties, he rushed forward under an intense fire, routed the enemy who were attempting to get into it, and prevented the advance of another enemy party collecting for a further attack on the tank. An enemy machine gun now opened on the tank at close range, rendering it impossible to get the wounded away, whereupon Company Sergeant-Major Doyle, with great gallantry, rushed forward, and, single-handed, silenced the machine gun, capturing it with three prisoners He then carried a wounded man to safety under a very heavy fire. Later in the day, when the enemy counter-attacked his position, he showed great power of command, driving back the enemy, and capturing many prisoners. Throughout the whole of these operations Company Sergeant-Major Doyle set the very highest example to all ranks by his courage and total disregard of danger.”
After the war Doyle returned to Ireland, leaving the British Army and before long finding himself fighting against the British as a member of the Irish Republican Army during the War of Independence, and later as a member of the Free State Army during the Civil War. After hostilities ceased he served with the Irish Army until 1937, but sadly died in 1940 from the effects of polio. As you can see, his headstone, in the style of, and today looked after by, the CWGC, was erected by his old comrades of the Royal Munster Fusiliers.
Grangegorman Military Cemetery was opened in 1876 as a burial ground for British military personnel and their families. As you might expect, the sections on the cemetery plan (below) are laid out in denominational plots.
Section A (see plan above, given to me by Ray Bateson whom I bumped into on my visit and who kindly gave me a personal tour of Grangegorman before his official tour arrived. Thank you so much Ray) is the earliest part of the cemetery, consisting of late 19th Century and early 20th Century burials, so we shall begin our tour in Section B, the Church of Ireland & Church of England (Officers Section):
There are men buried or commemorated in this section who were killed in the Easter Rising, the War of Independence and the sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster, as well as First World War casualties killed in France or wounded and evacuated to Ireland where they subsequently died. We begin with the four CWGC headstones to the left of the back row.
Lieutenant Phillip Purser (left) of the Royal Army Service Corps was killed returning to Dublin from Kingstown on 30th April 1916; Second Lieutenant Guy Pinfield (right) of the 8th (King’s Royal Irish) Hussars, was shot whilst on guard duty at Dublin Castle on 24th April 1916. Both were buried in a temporary graves for some 46 years, before being exhumed and re-interred here.
Second Lieutenant Algernon Lucas (left) of the 2nd King Edward’s Horse was executed, murdered if you prefer, on the night of 28th April 1916, along with a civilian worker, William John Rice, at the Guinness Brewery in Dublin on the orders of Company Quartermaster Serjeant Robert Flood of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who believed that both men were Sinn Feiners. Twenty minutes later two others, Second Lieutenant Basil Worsley-Worswick and another civilian, were also murdered at the Brewery. The subsequent court martial found no evidence that any of the murdered men had any connection with the rebels, yet Company Quartermaster Serjeant Flood was acquitted. The whole incident smells decidedly fishy, and you might be interested to investigate it further. Second Lieutenant Godfrey Hunter (right) of the 5th Lancers was killed on 26th April 1916 in Dublin. Both Lucas and Hunter, like the two officers in the previous picture, were buried in the grounds of Dublin Castle, before much later being re-buried here.
Second Lieutenant George Gray, 4th Royal Dublin Fusiliers, killed in action in Dublin on 28th April 1916.
On 10th October 1918 the R.M.S. Leinster left Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) bound for Holyhead, Anglesey, carrying 771 passengers and crew, of which 492 were military personnel either returning to or from leave. At about 10.00 a.m. a German torpedo ripped into the port side of the ship, followed soon after, as the ship turned, by a second explosion on the starboard side. The Leinster sank, bow first, taking more than 500 of those aboard with her, and quite a number of the military personnel who died that day are buried here. Assistant Administrator May Westwell of Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps is the only female military victim of the disaster buried in this cemetery.
Another Leinster victim (above & below); Lieutenant Anchitel Boughey of the 8th Bn, Rifle Brigade.
The next five CWGC headstones are all victims of the Leinster sinking (see indivdual headstones below).
Second Lieutenant Henry Byers, D.C.L.I. attached Royal Flying Corps, accidentally killed while flying, 12th November 1916, and George Byers, Serjeant in the Black Watch, killed in action near Bapaume in France on the 21st March 1918, the first day of the German spring offensive.
Above & below: Captain M. Clarke, Royal Irish Regiment, one of the six hundred at Balaclava.
Above & following photos: Looking back up Section B. The headstones in the front row are:
Another man killed on 21st March 1918 in France; Second Lieutenant Frederick James of the Worcester Regiment.
Above & below: Captain Leonard Bates M.C. of the Tank Corps, accidentally killed whilst on duty in Dublin, 10th November 1917.
Captain Thomas Powell, Royal Irish regiment, died 1st July 1918.
Major Ian Cummins, Royal Garrison Artillery, died 20th July 1918.
Lieutenant Gordon Midgley, killed in a flying accident at Collinstown, 13th January 1919.
Lieutenant Henry de Vine of the Royal Irish Rifles, died 17th February 1919.
Lieutenant Stafford Hill died of natural causes in King George V Hospital, Dublin, on 2nd March 1919.
Captain Richard Bourne was killed in a flying accident at Baldonell Aerodrome, Dublin, on 6th November 1919.
Second Lieutenant Frederick Boast was killed in Phoenix Park, Dublin on 28th December 1919 when, as officer in charge of the guard at the Vice Regal Lodge, he and four soldiers went to investigate shots heard in the park. A civilian who refused to stop when challenged was killed, as was Boast, a jury later recording a verdict that he had been shot by one of his own soldiers.
In memory of Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Hennessy, R.A.M.C., who died 21st June 1920.
Lieutenant Horace L’Amie was killed by the accidental discharge of a revolver (I believe it was in his pocket) at Collinstown Aerodrome, Dublin, on 5th October 1920.
Lieutenant Donald Maclean of the General List (formerly of the Rifle Brigade), one of 13 British agents assassinated on 21st November 1920 at various locations in Dublin on the orders of Michael Collins. Maclean was, at least according to the IRA, believed to be the chief of intelligence at Dublin Castle, his army record shows he was on “special duties”, and it is reasonable to assume that he was indeed involved in intelligence work.
More victims of the torpedoing of the R.M.S. Leinster. Finally in this section, the relevant (as far as we are concerned) burials in the middle row:
Major Arthur Savage, whose death on 18th May 1921 was attributed to ill health caused by years of drinking.
Above & below: Captain Alfred Warmington, killed in action at the South Dublin Union on 24th April 1916.
Lieutenant Frank De Lisle Smith, Royal Field Artillery, died 31st October 1918.
Above & below: Lieutenant William Singleton, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, drowned in the Leinster tragedy, 10th October 1918.
Colonel William Mosse of the Royal Munster Fusiliers and his wife, both victims of the sinking of the Leinster.
Second Lieutenant William Adey, Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry, another Leinster victim.
Above & below: Second Lieutenant John Wallis, Wiltshire Regiment, another casualty of the sinking of the Leinster.
Lieutenant William Hall, South Lancashire Regiment, yet another victim of the Leinster sinking.
Lieutenant Harold Duffen of the Sherwood Foresters, killed in action in Dublin on 26th April 1916.
Final view looking back towards Section B on the far side of the pathway; the CWGC headstones in Section C on this side of the path contain, among others, many more victims of the sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster, and we shall pay our respects there in a later post.
Which brings us to the end of the first part of our tour of this rather interesting cemetery. Or at least nearly the end. Not so many miles south of Dublin at the port of Dun Laoghaire, one of the salvaged anchors of the R.M.S. Leinster serves as a memorial for the men and women who died when the ship was sunk, and this seems an appropriate time and place to include a few photos for your perusal.
And that really is the end of part one of our visit to Grangegorman Military Cemetery. Click here for Part Two.