Dublin – Kilgobbin War Memorial & Kilternan Churchyard

A beautiful winter’s day, and this is the little cemetery at Kilgobbin, about six and a half miles south, and a little east, of Dublin City centre.

And this quite clearly is the entrance to the cemetery, although entering Kilgobbin into the CWGC database only comes up with Kilgobbin Burial Ground,…

…which, you will note, the above cemetery index has incorrectly been corrected to (is that possible?), as you will see later.  Both the CWGC database and the index tell us that there are three military burials here, the single Great War burial being, on checking, a lieutenant colonel of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (unnamed above because this index apparently only lists WWII burials), but I’m afraid that Declan and myself checked every single grave that was legible, some more than once, and could find no trace of any of them, from either war.  Nor did enquiries into the possibility of a separate burial ground prove fruitful, so as we had come here specifically to find them, it seemed our journey was just wasted time.

However, all was not lost, because having scrambled up the slope to the old ruined church,…

…I spotted what appeared to be a war memorial on the other side.

Which is exactly what it turned out to be.  There seems to be a myth (another one, bearing in mind the recent series of posts) that has grown over the years that there are no war memorials in Ireland – certainly I have been asked the question more than once – and here’s a perfect example of why that is indeed a myth.  Mind you, it’s impossible to photograph from up here.  So, back down the slope,…

…and it’s the long route…

…round the base of the mound for us,…

…to the south side.  Very picturesque, don’t you think?

Thirty nine names, all casualties of the Great War, can be found on the memorial, five officers and 25 other ranks on the larger, upper panel,…

…and nine ORs on the lower panel.

Seven of the Irish Regiments are represented here, along with one Welsh, one Scottish and a couple of English (D.C.L.I. & Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment), an engineer, three artillerymen and a machine gunner.  And a single Canadian.  Quite a diverse group, really.

All of which turned out to be somewhat of a silver lining, really, bearing in mind the false start.

A little over a mile south east of Kilgobbin, this is Kilternan churchyard where, again according to the CWGC website, there is a memorial to one Sophia Violet Barrett, a nurse who was lost during the sinking of R.M.S. Leinster on 10th October 1918.  So hopefully we’ll have better luck finding her.

No, of course we won’t.  Sometimes it just isn’t your day.  The headstone that mentions her is supposed to be one of these to the right of the path, but neither Declan nor I could see any sign of her, I’m afraid.  We checked all the remaining headstones, of course,…

…and did find this one beneath the northern cemetery wall, that of Sergeant Samuel Tyndall Nelson, 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion, who died of wounds at Etaples on 18th September 1916.  A Dubliner, Nelson had served for six years in the 7th Hussars and previously seen action in South Africa at the turn of the century.  With respect to the sergeant, another silver lining for us.  Which all goes to prove that even a trip where you find none of your intended targets can prove well worthwhile in the end.

You tell me.  This is Dublin.

Six months after returning home, and I had finally managed to track down the whereabouts of two of the three military casualties in Kilgobbin listed on the CWGC database, and also discovered two others who have memorials here.  The grave of Aircraftman Ryan, mentioned in the index, is a small white headstone, not visible but just beyond the crosses highlighted in the orange square; interesting that although his death is war related in some way, hence his inclusion on the CWGC database, he has no CWGC headstone.  The Burial Ground as mentioned in the index comprises just the two rows of crosses in the foreground, and Aircraftman Ryan’s grave is clearly not in it, despite the earlier documentary evidence saying it is.  His grave is in the Old Church Cemetery, to give it its full title, which includes the Burial Ground, and which the cemetery index originally, correctly, stated before it was changed.

The Burial Ground itself contains three headstones of interest, two memorials and one grave.  The green circle marks the grave of Dublin-born Major Hubert Maxwell Lenox-Conyngham, Army Veterinary Corps, Mentioned in Despatches during the Somaliland Campaign, who died on 15th March 1918 aged 47, the man I was searching for in the first place, and Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence Arthur Manly, killed in action in Tunisia on 25th November 1942 aged 43, is remembered on the cross beneath the yellow circle.  Manly’s brother, Lieutenant Eric Manly, Royal Field Artillery, had been killed in action near Ypres on 18th July 1917 aged 21.  Which makes you wonder, well it makes me wonder, how many other brothers died a war apart?  Many fathers and sons, of course, but I wonder how many brothers?  There’s a project.  Buried in Dickebusch New Military Cemetery Extension, Eric Manly is remembered on the cross beneath the red circle on the left.  Private Michael Joseph McDermott, the Canadian who died on 5th August 1945, according to the cemetery index, is most likely buried beneath one of the other crosses, but I cannot ascertain which.  And I can only assume the inscriptions are illegible, because otherwise, quite why Declan and I failed to notice any of them is still a total mystery to me.  And no, it wasn’t the Guinness, because (whisper it), I don’t drink the stuff!


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6 Responses to Dublin – Kilgobbin War Memorial & Kilternan Churchyard

  1. Sid from Down Under says:

    Well found, all round … and your persistence paid off to your readers advantage along with photographic evidence dispelling a myth – deserves an elephant stamp

    PS …. ahem, surely “no Guinness” is a myth in the making? Perhaps Kilkenny instead?

    • Magicfingers says:

      Next time I am in the Dublin area I shall be accompanied by a list of war memorials in the area and shall return with yet more evidence – mind you, no trip there planned for this year. Nah, not Kilkenny either – not keen on cream beer. I’m a real ale man.

  2. Nigel Shuttleworth says:

    Another super piece of research and very interesting. I too was under the (miss)apprehension that there were no war memorials in the Republic. We live and learn!

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