Dublin – Deansgrange Cemetery

The hardly inspiring entrance to Deansgrange Cemetery, some six miles south east of Dublin City centre, and less than two miles from the port of Dun Laoghaire.

The cemetery was established in 1865 and covers some 70 acres,…

…and there are over 150,000 burials here.

Memorial to the casualties of the Easter Rising buried in Deansgrange.  In the background on the right you can see the first of 111 CWGC graves, of which 84 are Great War casualties, scattered throughout this huge cemetery.  Wish me luck.

Having just an hour and a half to explore,…

…I knew there was no chance whatsoever of finding all the Great War graves here,…

…but let’s see how well we can do.

Corporal J. V. Tierney, Royal Engineers, who died on 5th January 1916 aged 24, and, at the bottom of the headstone, another Corporal Tierney, this time W. L., whose death on 12th January 1923 is actually sixteen months after the last official qualification date for a CWGC headstone, but whose name has been added anyway.

And nearby another,…

…Quartermaster Henry Tyrrell, the first of the victims of the tragedy of the sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster, just a month before the Armistice, we shall find buried here (eleven known victims are buried in this cemetery).  On 10th October 1918 the Leinster left Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) bound for Holyhead, Anglesey, carrying 771 passengers and crew.  492 were military personnel either going on, or returning from, leave.  At about 10.00 a.m. a torpedo from the German submarine UB-123 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.  Those whose bodies were washed ashore or picked up by rescue craft were buried in at least three Dublin cemeteries that I am aware of, and have visited.

Rifleman D. P. Pinn, Queen Victoria’s Rifles, who died on 30th April 1918 aged 36.  Once again other family members, although non-military this time, have been added to the bottom of the headstone.

Amidst the trees in the background of some of the previous pictures the graves are more scattered than elsewhere,…

…and a number of CWGC headstones can be found with relative ease.  Drummer James Cash, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, on the left, died on 7th November 1918 aged 22, and Sapper J. Cash (right) on 21st February 1919, aged 33.

Private C. Beresford, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who died on 7th August 1919 aged 21,…

…or maybe on 6th August, aged 22.

Private H. Dunne, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who died on 27th January 1915, aged 28.

Looks pretty daunting out there in the sunlight, but there’s still one more military burial to see beneath the trees before we venture out.

This is the grave of Private C. Connolly, Royal Munster Fusiliers, who died on 21st November 1919, aged 36.

I don’t think the CWGC would approve of the black paint, and this is where things get a little odd,…

…because I’m not sure they would like the frankly abysmal depiction of a Bengal tiger (really!?) on the regimental emblem, nor the engraving of the word Munster with the ‘E’ the wrong way round either!

This, by the way, is what it should look like.

Moving on,…

…it’s time to venture out into the sunlight.

Two of the twenty seven Second World War burials in this cemetery,…

…Private W. Breen, who died on 26th August 1941, aged 44,…

…and Private M. Fitzpatrick, who died on 24th March 1945, both of the Pioneer Corps.

Private M. Lawlor, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who died on 13th March 1917.

Private M. Saul, South Irish Horse, who died on 9th April 1916, aged just 18.

Private D. Kavanagh, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who died on 9th November 1918, aged 25, once more with other family members added at the bottom.

Private M. Connolly, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who died on 25th December 1917, aged 48.

New headstone required.  Lance Corporal M. Cullen, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who died on 4th November 1919, aged 23.

The second victim of the Leinster tragedy,…

…49-year old Greaser J. W. Smith, and again a relative, his wife in this instance, has been added, many years later, to this headstone.

Private D. Doyle, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who died on 12th October 1918.

Fusilier W. Byrne, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who died on 21st November 1940 aged 27.

Private J. Brennan, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who died on 1st February 1918, aged 26.

Deck Hand Robert Saunders, Royal Naval Reserve, H.M.T. Grecian Empire, who died on 24th February 1917, aged 20.

Private L. Byrne, Royal Irish Rifles, veteran of the Great War, as his headstone tells us, died on 31st May 1949, a date long after the official closing date (31st December 1947) for Second World War CWGC headstones.

There are a number of interesting headstones in the cluster behind this CWGC burial (we shall return to him later),…

…beginning with the standing headstone in the foreground,…

…the grave of Patrick J. McIntyre, aged 38, one of several hundred non-combatant civilian casualties of the Easter Rising.

The CWGC headstone just behind…

…is that of Seaman Matthew Campbell, H.M. Yacht Mera, who died, I believe from illness, on 19th May 1916, aged 40.  The Mera survived the war and was last seen operating in the late 1930s as a Greek passenger ferry.

Another civilian victim of the Easter Rising, fifty four year old John McCarthy.

Driver J. Phoenix, Royal Army Service Corps, who died on 27th April 1918.

Able Seaman C. R. Easton, H.M.S. Vivid, who died on 16th June 1918, aged 35.  H.M.S. Vivid was, at this time, the name for the Royal Navy barracks at Devonport.

I told you earlier we’d return to this headstone again (the two Easter Rising civilian burials beyond),…

…and so we have.  This is the grave of Lance Corporal T. Meade, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who died on 12th May 1921, aged 23.

Nearby, the 1916 Plot,…

…contains the burials of six more casualties of the Rising, flanked by memorials to other casualties whose grave sites within the cemetery are unknown.

The scroll in the centre remembers two republicans, Lieutenant Sean Costello and Volunteer Andrew Joseph Byrne, both killed during the fighting at Boland’s Mill; we shall encounter both again later.

Three more civilian casualties of the Rising are also buried here,…

…along with Guardsman Peter Ennis of the Scots Guards, who was at home on leave in Dublin when the Rising broke out.  He was shot, some say accidentally, outside Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital, by the Volunteers who had occupied Boland’s Mill.

Three civilians and one British soldier are remembered here, all casualties of the Rising, and all reported to be buried in this cemetery, although the burials were unregistered, and therefore the grave locations are unknown.

Twelve unknown casualties of the Rising were also buried at the time in the cemetery, and once more the burials were unregistered, and once more the graves sites are now unknown, as this memorial tells us.  Two of the twelve have since been identified (one, note, who was just thirteen, so originally a thirteen year old boy, unnamed and unclaimed, was buried somewhere here along with other unknown casualties.  Shocking.), and three other names, including one British soldier, are given as possibilities.

Lance Corporal W. Joyce, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who died on 28th December 1918 aged 21.

Two brothers, Charles & Alex Smith, both D. Company, 3rd Bn. I.R.A.

Thomas Ambrose, who died along with nearly 200 crewmen when the armed merchant auxiliary cruiser H.M.S. Bayano was torpedoed off the western coast of Scotland by the German submarine U-27 on 11th March 1915.  Only 26 men survived as the ship sank in just five minutes.  U-27 had already gained fame or notoriety for being the first submarine to sink another, when H.M.S. E-3 was sunk in the North Sea on 18th October 1914, and would herself be lost, with all her crew, on 19th August 1915.

Sergeant A. P. Miller, Royal Field Artillery, who died on 24th June 1920 aged 30.

Peter Murphy, killed in South Africa in a previous war.

Private P. Lynch, Royal Army Service Corps, who died on 16th May 1918 aged 44.

A family. Lost at sea.

Private A. Doyle, Royal Irish Fusiliers, who died on 14th February 1919 aged 25.

This is the Republican Plot.

The centre cross remembers Reginald Dunne and Joe O’Sullivan, executed in Wandsworth Prison in 1922.

Dunne (left) was a commander of the London Brigade of the IRA who, along with Volunteer O’Sullivan (right), was responsible for the assassination of Sir Henry Wilson on the steps of his London home on 22nd June 1922.  Both Dunne and O’Sullivan had fought in the Great War, O’Sullivan losing a leg at Ypres; he must have known that his chances of escaping after the shooting were negligible, and both men were quickly apprehended.  On 10th August 1922 Dunne and O’Sullivan were hanged together in the grounds of Wandsworth Prison and buried in the prison grounds.  In July 1967 their bodies were repatriated to Ireland and reburied in the Republican Plot here at Deansgrange.

The daughter of James Connolly, signatory to the Proclamation of the Republic, and one of the men executed following it, is also buried here.

To the right of the cross a Roll of Honour lists seventeen I.R.A. casualties, all men killed on active service, and all of whom are buried in the cemetery, eight of them here in the Republican Plot.

The first four names on the list are men killed during the Easter Rising.  Volunteer John Keely, at the top of the list, was among the defenders of the G.P.O. and was killed by British troops on 24th April 1916.  Sean Costello died of wounds received in action on 25th April 1916, and Andrew Joseph Byrne also died of wounds the following day, on 27th April 1916; both men are buried in the 1916 Plot, as we have already seen.  Andrew Cunningham was shot at Ringend Road, and died on 1st May 1916.  The circumstances of John Hickey’s death are shrouded in mystery to this day.  A member of 6th Bn. 1st Dublin Brigade, IRA, he was found, shot in the abdomen but still alive, on the railway tracks near Merrion Gates crossing on the evening of 12th December 1920, and died two days later.  He is buried elsewhere in Deansgrange Cemetery.  Volunteer John Jenkins (and also the last name on the list, Francis Power) I can find no information about.

Edward ‘Ned’ Dorins, a 23 year old sergeant in 2nd Bn. Dublin Brigade, IRA, was shot dead during the Battle of the Custom House on 25th May 1921 (above), and is buried elsewhere in Deansgrange Cemetery.  Thomas Murphy, 1st Bn. 2nd Brigade IRA, was shot in the head (official cause of death: shock and disorganisation of the brain following gunshot wounds) and killed on 30th May 1921 (not 31st, it seems) by the Black & Tans as a reprisal for the shooting of Constable Albert Edward Skeats two weeks earlier, the unfortunate policeman dying on 28th May.  As Skeats had been shot by one Leo Tom Murphy, it may have been a case of mistaken identity.

Rather disturbingly there is space for a further headstone to the left of the cross, hopefully a legacy of times long gone.  Returning to the list of names, Joe ‘Sonny’ Hudson was a 19 year old anti-Treaty IRA Volunteer, shot in the stomach and killed during a raid on his home at Glasthule, County Dublin, allegedly whilst surrendering, on 10th August 1922, during the Civil War.  Charles ‘Rodney’ Murphy, 22, and Leo Murray, 19, both South County Dublin IRA Volunteers, waged a campaign of havoc in the coastal area around Dun Laoghaire in the summer of 1922, including mortally wounding a CID officer named Patrick Murray at his house in Deansgrange, and raking the car of the Commander-in-Chief of the National Army (the pro-Treaty forces), Michael Collins, with bullets (Collins was not actually in the car, but his driver was wounded).  They were eventually tracked down to a small cottage in Stillorgan where they were hiding out along with two Volunteer colleagues, Andrew O’Neill and James Nolan.  Murphy was riddled with bullets (just as CID men had informed his mother would happen a few days earlier – they promised to present her with the coffin with a bow tied around it), and Murray shot dead as he sat in bed.  The other two men were captured.

John Joseph Stevens was taken from his lodgings in Dublin by armed men on 2nd September 1922 and shot dead.  Anti-treaty IRA Commandant Patrick Michael Mannion, aged 22 a from County Mayo, was involved in a failed attempt to attack the Headquarters of the Free State Army Intelligence Section at Oriel House, Westland Row, on 17th September 1922.  Later the same day Mannion and two other IRA Volunteers encountered Free State troopers near Mount Street Bridge.  In the ensuing shootout Mannion was wounded in the leg and captured.  Dragged to the corner of Clanwilliam Place, Mannion was summarily executed with a shot to the back of the head by a Free State officer.  His inquest later returned a verdict of wilful murder.  He is buried elsewhere in Deansgrange Cemetery.

‘He served neither King nor Kaiser’.

Clockwise from top left: Joseph ‘Sonny’ Hudson, Sean (John) Costello, the arrest of Dunne & O’Sullivan, and Rodney Murphy.

You will have spotted that I have so far omitted to mention Volunteer James McIntosh from the inscribed list, and James McIntosh is, from the point of view of this website, perhaps the most interesting of the men remembered on the memorial.  Born in County Laois (then Queen’s County) in 1885, he enlisted in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in October 1914, his 8th Bn. moving to England in September 1915, before embarking for France on 19th December.  McIntosh, by now a corporal, saw action at Loos in early 1916, and the battalion suffered heavily during the Battle of Hulluch between 27th & 29th April 1916, coincidentally the same time as the Easter Rising was taking place back in Dublin.  Moving to the Somme prior to the start of the battle, McIntosh was wounded on 6th July 1916 and subsequently sent home to recover, returning to the battalion in December.  On 11th August 1917 he sustained peripheral neuritis (nerve damage) during Third Ypres, this time spending five months in hospital in London, and seeing the end of his overseas service.

Once recovered, McIntosh spent the rest of the war with 3rd Bn. on Humberside, remaining in the army until found medically unfit for future service and granted an army pension, finally leaving the service on 23rd February 1920.  On his return to Ireland, and with the War of Independence in full swing, McIntosh joined the Dun Laoghaire IRA Active Service Unit, waging a guerrilla war against the British authorities and, of course, the British Army, of whom he had recently been a member.  On 19th June 1921, just a few weeks before the truce of 11th July, McIntosh heard that a British officer whom they were after had been seen in the lounge of the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire.  Borrowing a weapon, McIntosh (and possibly a number of others) rushed to the hotel, but were spotted by the officer as they entered.  As McIntosh tried to fire his gun jammed, and he himself was shot by the officer, managing to make it out to the road before collapsing and being taken to hospital, where he died two days later.  His death certificate gave his cause of death as ‘general peritonitis following gunshot wounds (justifiable homicide)’.  He is now buried in the Republican Plot.  With great irony, his Great War medals were sent out to his parents after his death, the 14-15 Star in November 1921, and the Victory Medal & British War Medal in February 1922.

Moving on, this is the grave of Member J. McTaggart, Women’s Royal Air Force, 21st January 1919.

One of the wireless operators on the R.M.S. Leinster, A. H. Jeffries,…

…and at the other end of the grave, we find that his name was Arthur, and that his wife had much sadness in her life.

Deck Hand E. G. Tozer, Royal Naval Reserve, H.M. Motor Lighter 233, who died on 20th October 1918, aged 21.

Able Seaman David Roberts, Royal Navy, H.M. Transport Aracari, who died on 25th March 1919 aged 27.

What do you do with the drunken sailor…

That’s better.

Boatman W. J. V. Johns, H.M. Coastguard, who died on 20th December 1920, aged 20.

Arnold E. D. Twamley, Royal Air Force, killed in action 28th May 1940 during the Battle for France and buried in La Panne, Belgium.

Seven CWGC headstones in one shot, four of whom are Royal Navy crew of H.M.S. Boadicea II, a shore establishment based at Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire, of course), which served as parent ship for armed patrol trawlers in the Irish Sea.

First, in the foreground here,…

…the grave of Stoker 1st Class W. Williams, who died on 26th October 1918.

These three headstones in a row mark the graves of, on the left,…

…Wireless Telegraphist E. G. Stevens, aged 27, the second H.M.S. Boadicea II casualty, who also died on 26th October,…

…in the centre Deck Hand G. C. Lugton, aged 32, the third, who died on 10th October 1918,…

…and on the right, Chief Motor Mechanic H. Bell, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, H.M. Motor Lighter 154, who died on 29th July 1918.

Another man from H.M.S. Boadicea II,…

…Engineman W. Smith, Royal Naval Reserve, who died on 9th October, and beyond him,…

…another reservist, Skipper H. Rooke, H.M.T. Dragon II, who died on 8th October 1918, aged 28.  One does wonder whether the flu had arrived in Kingstown by this time.

Over by the wall, that looks uncannily like a Victoria Cross on the headstone on the left, does it not, but first,…

…the three other headstones are all special memorials.  On the left…

…Colonel A. W. P. Inman, Royal Army Medical Corps, who died on 17th June 1920, aged, well, actually 66, but it doesn’t look like it, and buried ‘elsewhere in this cemetery’.

In the centre, Assistant Cook Walter Wright MMR, H.M. Yacht “Helga”, who died on 19th October 1918, aged 27, ‘buried in this cemetery’.  MMR?  Assistant Cook & Master Mariner, perhaps?  Unlikely.  More likely Merchant Marine Reserve, but it should really be on a separate line, should it not?

And on the right, ‘believed to be buried in this cemetery’, Private W. Lang, Notts & Derby Regiment, who died on 26th April 1916.

Back to the V.C..  Captain Joseph Edward Woodall V.C., 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade, died in hospital in Dublin on 2nd January 1962 of bronchial pneumonia, having been discovered with burns to his legs and body after a seizure by a neighbour, one Joseph King.  Buried unmarked in a plot owned by the same neighbour, in time, when he died and was buried in his own plot, Joseph King’s headstone made no mention of Woodall, whose gravesite risked being lost until recent research discovered that his burial place was unmarked.  Money was raised by various groups, and the headstone you see here was unveiled during a ceremony held on 2nd January 2010, although, at the request of the King family, not placed over his actual burial spot, which is located elsewhere in the cemetery – so he is still buried in an unmarked grave.

On 11th April 1918, as the British fought desperately to hold the German breakthrough on the River Lys, the 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade, boarded buses which rushed them up to the front lines on the La Bassée Canal where they fought a defensive holding fight before, on 22nd April, taking part in an attack during which Lance Serjeant (at the time) Joseph Woodall would gain his V.C..

His citation in the London Gazette, dated 28th June 1918, is as follows:

‘For the award of the Victoria Cross. La Pannerie, France, 22 April 1918, Lance Sergeant Joseph Edward Woodall, 1st Bn, The Rifle Brigade. For most conspicuous bravery and fine leadership during an attack. Sjt. Woodall was in command of a platoon which, during an advance, was held up by a machine gun. On his own initiative he rushed forward and, single-handed, captured the gun and eight men. After the objective had been gained, heavy fire was encountered from a farmhouse some 200 yards in front. Sjt. Woodall collected ten men and, with great dash and gallantry, rushed the farm and took thirty prisoners. Shortly afterwards, when the officer in command was killed, he took entire command, reorganised the two platoons, and disposed them most skilfully. Throughout the day, in spite of intense shelling and machine-gun fire, this gallant N.C.O. was constantly on the move, encouraging the men and finding out and sending back invaluable information. The example set by Sjt. Woodall was simply magnificent, and had a marked effect on the troops. The success of the operation on this portion of the front is attributed almost entirely to his coolness, courage and utter disregard for his own personal safety.’

He retired from the Army as a captain on 1st September 1921.

Nice trees.

It’s a never-ending quest, it seems, in this place.  Heading thataway,…

…we find Private H. Doran, Northumberland Fusiliers, who died on 15th May 1920, aged 22.

Rifleman P. Kelly, Royal Irish Rifles, who died on 23rd November 1918.

Lieutenant Cyril John Massy, 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars, R.A.C., who died on 7th April 1947 aged 21.

Back at the Easter Rising Memorial, we need to go that way before the cemetery shuts,…

…and I am very pleased we did.  The grave of J. Murphy, who served as Private J. Kinsella, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, and died on 7th January 1916.

Corporal R. Lennon, Royal Army Service Corps, died on 25th September 1917.

I don’t like the look of this too much.

Those tracks are perilously close.

Private P. Prendergast, Royal Defence Corps, who died on 27th May 1920.

Able Seaman J. Reilly, Royal Navy, H.M.S. Salmon, who died on 24th September 1918, aged 32.

‘Pray for the souls of the deceased Irish Vincentians Priests and Brothers of the Congregation of the Mission’.

Weird.  Why has a date already a year old been inscribed beneath the tape, yet there is no name?  Click to zoom in, and again for super-zoom.  As always.

No time to explore up there, either,…

….but I suspect I shall return to find the other Great War burials at some point.

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7 Responses to Dublin – Deansgrange Cemetery

  1. Sid from Down Under says:

    Another most interesting and enlightening post thank you MJS

    And may I add as a huge compliment: Not bad for a one and a half hour visit – your camera and shoes must have run hot – the mind boggles for if you had spent all day in this huge cemetery with such a surprisingly unremarkable entry.

    • Magicfingers says:

      Youse welcome Sid. By the time I left, the guy locking up was outside the gates waiting in his car. My Irish chauffeur Declan had had a word though, and the guy was actually happy to wait, bless him. And yes, I did bloody well in 90 minutes, if I say so myself. Fascinating place. And a V.C.!!

  2. Jamie Moran says:

    Hello “MJS”

    I just came across this site and wanted to inform you that there are a number of publications regarding the people listed within your article which include the burial plot numbers and directions to the exact locations within the cemetery of all those you’ve listed:

    Dean’s Grange Cemetery, Stories From Beyon The Grave Jamie Moran
    Deansgrange Cemetary & The Easter Rising. Ray Bateson
    Deansgrange Cemetery: Republican Roll of Honour, Brian Smith
    As well as other publicans and websites.

    I just wanted to point out that all seventeen IRA Volunteers listed on the Republican Plots’ Roll of Honour are buried within the cemetery. They are in the most part linked to the area, eight are buried within the Republican Plot, two within the 1916 Plot, and the rest are buried in family plots in the North and West Sections. There are many many more Volunteers and Cumann na mBan members also buried here who played their own part in the Irish Independence struggle but the seventeen Volunteers on the Roll all died while on or as a result of active service.

    Sean Costello ‘John Costello’ 1916 is indeed buried in the 1916 Plot and is not Edward Costello who is buried in Glasnevin.

    Regards, Jamie Moran

  3. Magicfingers says:

    Hello Jamie. Firstly, I am very pleased you found my site (and I do hope you will explore some of the other 30 Ireland posts I have published over time). And secondly thank you very much for taking the time to comment so helpfully. I do my best but am very happy to be corrected where necessary. On my first visit to Dublin in 2012 I bumped into Ray Bateson at Grangegorman (covered in six posts elsewhere on this site) and he kindly showed me round the cemetery. These photos of Deansgrange were taken in March this year, btw. Anyway, I had better make some correction to this post. Thanks ever so much again.

  4. Des White says:

    Hows it goin.
    Only came across this section of your great work.
    Really interesting selection of graves, thanks!
    Particularly since it’s difficult for me to get to Deansgrange from northside Dublin.
    I don’t want to be picky but just one suggested amendment about Edward Dorins.
    The photo collage correctly shows the lad in life. But the body on the footpath is actually Dan Head (17), another IRA fatality at the Custom House (BTW, he’s buried in Kilbarrack Cemetery on Dublin Bay).
    There is another image taken on 25 May 1921 which is believed to be Ed Dorins – it features military in full kit and an RAMC man. If you like, email me and I can send it to you.
    Hope that’s useful.
    Keep up your great work.

    • Magicfingers says:

      Hello Des! It’s going half-decent, which’ll do. Thanks for being so very kind about my site. Always happy to have errors pointed out – that makes it sound like I make lots of them, which I hope is not the case – but you know what I mean. So yes please, I accept. Have emailed you – check spam if necessary. Is there a portrait photo of Dan Head, btw?

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