The third part of our tour of Grangegorman Military Cemetery takes us to Section G (see cemetery plan below). The graves here, all Roman Catholic, and nearly all bearing CWGC headstones, are mainly First World War burials, but there are a few men here who were casualties of the Easter Rising in April 1916 and the War of Independence.
Lance Corporal John Ryan (left), 48, of the Military Foot Police, was gunned down by three men in a public house in Dublin on 5th February 1921.
Lance Corporal Bertie Claffey of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, in the centre of the photo to the left of Ryan, was captured by the Germans at the end of October 1914, just two weeks after landing in France, and spent the whole war as a P.O.W. He subsequently died in Dublin on 26th February 1921.
‘In memory of my beloved husband’.
Two casualties from the early months of 1917.
Private Francis Brennan (centre), Royal Dublin Fusiliers, was born and bred in Dublin, and was killed there during the Easter Rising on 24th April 1916.
Two Irishmen from different regiments, both of whom died in January 1915.
One of the few non-CWGC headstones in Section G, Serjeant H. Shepherd, 12th Royal Lancers attached 6th Reserve Cavalry Regiment, another man killed in action in Dublin on 24th April 1916.
Above & below: Rows of CWGC headstones in Section G.
Royal Army Medical Corps & Royal Army Service Corps burials (front row), all from July 1920.
The body of Lieutenant Edward Frost M.M., a Londoner in the Lincolnshire Regiment, was found in a field beside Rathgar Saw Mills in Dublin on 8th October 1919. At the inquest it was confirmed that he had committed suicide by poisoning himself whilst the balance of his mind was disturbed. It seemed that he feared that he was to be court martialled, although no reason for this could be found. A note in his pocket concluded with the following; “To my darling little wife. God bless her. She is the best and most honourable of wives. Death before dishonour. Signed W. E. Frost. Willy. Forgive me.”
Private Patrick Matthews of the Royal Marine Labour Corps (left) was actually stationed in Rouen, but was presumably taken ill and evacuated to Dublin, where he died from disease on 18th February 1919. Private Kelly (right), R.A.M.C. transferred to the Agricultural Company Labour Corps, died in Dublin on 17th February 1919.
Stoker John White, who died on 15th September 1916, is one of only two Navy personnel, apart from those who died on R.M.S. Leinster, buried in this cemetery.
Second Lieutenant Basil Worsley-Worswick, whom you may remember me mentioning early on in Part One of this tour, is also buried in this section of Grangegorman, but despite all good intentions, I have to admit that I failed to photograph his headstone. What can I say? Let’s move on to Part Four.
In Grangegorman cemetery Part Three, we see two headstones side by side, one being-
Private Francis Brennan (centre), Royal Dublin Fusiliers, was born and bred in Dublin, and was killed there during the Easter Rising on 24th April 1916 and to his left a soldier named Mitchell. Can you tell me why of all the headstones, only these two are touching?
It’s a good point. On the Western Front you quite frequently find touching headstones, often mass graves, or graves where the identity of the soldiers are known but the exact order in which they are buried is uncertain. And of course groups of men killed by shellfire, whose identities are again known but whose individual bodies could not be subsequently identified. Even battlefield cemeteries where the men were simply buried very close to each other. But I don’t see why any of this would apply at Grangegorman. Brennan and Mitchell were not killed together. I really don’t know the reason in this case.