Waterford history

Some Tallow people who died in the Great War

Some Tallow people who died in the Great War

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

On 31st May 2014 a gathering of people of all ages and backgrounds came to a small bridge over the little river Glenaboy near the town of Tallow in west County Waterford. Although for many the journey to that bridge was relatively short, the journey of a nation to that bridge was long and difficult and some could not yet, in their mental eye, make it. The assembly had come to witness the unveiling of a monument to people from Tallow and its hinterland that left their native place about one hundred years before to fight in the “War to end all wars” as it was called and never returned.

The names of the fallen, recorded on the monument, include George Anderson, Thomas Bacon, Timothy Barron, James Cronin, Patrick Cuffe, William Devine, Michael Donovan, Patrick French, Edward Grey, Richard Griffin, Peter Henley, Patrick Hogan, John Horey, Michael Hynes, John Knight, Michael O’Keeffe, James O’Keeffe, John O’Keeffe, David O’Sullivan, David O’Connell, Michael Power, Cornelius Prendergast and Bartholomew Prendergast.

Four of these people, Patrick Hogan, James O’Keeffe, John O’Keeffe and David O’Connell came from Ballynoe, Co. Cork. They are included in the list of Waterford war dead because Tallow was the postal town for Ballynoe in 1914. In this article I will give a commentary on the Tallow and hinterland servicemen who died in World War One (also called the First World War or the Great War) and leave the Ballynoe men to another article for another day.


The memorial monument was the idea of the Tallow An Toastal Committee of the Festival with Stephen Delaney doing much of the research work. The monument was the work of Adian Walsh.

British Army organisation in the Great War

We begin with a quick commentary on the organisational structure of the British army during the Great War. The basic unit was the section – four sections made up a platoon of about fifty men and there were four numbered platoons in a company (including a Company HQ) with a total strength of about 230 men. Four companies, designed with the letters A, B, C, and D, formed a battalion (platoons numbered 1 to 16). The strength of a battalion was about 1,000 men which included transport, supplies, signals, cooks, headquarters, etc. At first there were four battalions in a brigade and three brigades in a division. By 1917 the strength of a brigade was reduced to three battalions.[1]

The soldiers

Edward Grey – September 1914

Edward Grey was the son of John and Ellen Grey of Barrack Street, Tallow. Edward Grey enlisted in the Irish Guards in the garrison town of Fermoy, Co. Cork. At the start of the war, in August 1914 Private Edward Grey was quartered at Wellington Barracks, London, with the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards. The Battalion formed part of the 4th Guards Brigade in the 1st Army Corps and on 12th August they entrained for Southampton and were in France by morning of the following day. After a day’s rest the Battalion set off on their march to Belgium.

By 21st August the Battalion were at Maroilles and on the following day heard the first sound of the guns of war. On 23rd August they crossed into Belgium and marched towards Mons. The Battalion billeted at Quevy le Petit, near Mons where they heard artillery fire but saw no Germans. Overnight the situation changed as the French were pushed back on the British right leaving the British exposed on two sides. A general retreat was ordered. At Etreux the 2nd Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers deployed to cover the retreat and were nearly all killed or captured but they had given their comrades a chance to get away and made the Germans follow but avoiding engagement.

By 30th August the Battalion was at Coucy le Chateaux, about 70 miles south of Mons. Resting only for ten minutes in every hour the retreat continued south-westwards with the Germans following at a distance. The only close fighting by the Battalion with the Germans was at Landrecies on 25th August. The retreat finally stopped on 6th September at Rozoy, about 30 miles south-east of Paris and some 150 miles from Mons. At Rozoy the Irish Guards faced the Germans and halted their advance as part of the greater affair known as the Battle of the Marne.

On 7th September 1914 the Germans went into retreat with the British advancing north again just to the east of their line of retreat. By 9th September the Irish Guards had advanced 30 miles and crossed the Marne at Villiers-sur-Marne. The war of movement continued northwards and by 12th September the 1st Battalion of the Irish Guards had reached Courcelles, 10 miles from Soissons. On 12th September 1914 Private Edward Grey was killed in action in what could be described as skirmish fighting. It would be two days later, on the River Aisne, before the Germans stopped their retreat and both sides came to battle. This would be called the Battle of the Aisne and lasted until 12th October. By that date both sides had given up the war of movement and dug in with the trench warfare that would last for the succeeding four years.[2] By the end of 1914 there remained on average one officer and thirty men in each Battalion who left for France in those sunny days of August 1914.[3] The death of Private Edward Grey so early in the war was unfortunately the first of many from Tallow and its hinterland.

John Horey – November 1914

John Horey was born in Tallow, Co. Waterford about 1894 when his father Martin Horey was an RIC constable and had married Margaret Horey in 1893. By 1911 Martin Horey had retired and was living as a farmer with his family near Birr, Co. Offaly. John Horey enlisted at Athlone in 4th Dragoon Guards (Royal Irish) of the Household Cavalry. The 4th began life in 1685 as the Earl of Arran’s troop of horse in the north of Ireland. In February 1788 the regiment’s title was changed to the 4th Dragoon Guards with the additional words of ‘Royal Irish’ in a few months.

In 1914 the 4th Dragoon Guards fought at Mons, the covering action at La Cateau, the retreat from Mons, the Marne and the Aisne. After the Germans were stopped at the Aisne River in October 1914 a race developed between the British and German armies as to who would get to the Belgian coast first and encircle the other side. The Battle of Messines (12th October-2nd November) was part of this race. By 2nd November the armies of Britain, France and Germany were worn out but the German had the Messines Ridge. Over the following ten days small attacking raids were conducted by all sides until large scale action was renewed on 10th November with the First Battle for Ypres. In this quiet time, on 3rd November 1914 Private John Horey was killed in action.[4]

Bartholomew Prendergast – January 1915

Bartholomew Prendergast was the son of James and Mary Prendergast of Barrack Street, Tallow and brother of Cornelius Prendergast [see entry below]. Bartholomew Prendergast enlisted in the Royal Engineers at Fermoy, Co. Cork. By 1915 he was a driver in the 23rd Field Company. This company was involved in the retreat from Mons, and the Battles of the Marne, the Aisne and Ypres in 1914. They ended 1914 at the Battle of Nonne Boschen, Belgium as part of the Ypres battle. In the winter months of 1914-5 the 23rd was at winter operations and did not see battle action until May 1915. It was during these winter operations that on 15th January 1915 Bartholomew Prendergast was killed. He was buried at the Beuvry Communal Cemetery in France.[5]

William Devine – February 1915

William Francis Devine was born in Tallow, Co. Waterford. He enlisted at London in the Household Cavalry. The 16th Lancers (The Queen’s) was the regimental unit. This unit was involved in the so-called ‘Curragh Mutiny’ in 1914 but it is not known if William Devine was there. The 16th Lancers were involved in many of the 1914-5 battles such as Mons, La Cateau, the retreat from Mons, the Marne, Aisne, Messines, Armentieres and Ypres. Following action in February 1915 Private William Devine died from his wounds on 24th February 1915. He was buried at Hazelbrouck Cemetery in the north of France.[6]

Michael Power – May 1915

First class stoker Michael Power was the son of Michael and Hannah Power of Convent Street, Tallow. Michael Power joined the Royal Navy and in May 1915 was a stoker on HMS Goliath. HMS Goliath was a pre-dreadnought battleship built in 1897-1900. At the start of the Great War she did duty in the English Channel and was off German East Africa in the winter of 1914-5. By March 1915 the Goliath was involved in the Dardanelles Campaign. There she acted as battery support for the landing forces. On 13th May 1915, at about 1 a.m. HMS Goliath was hit by three torpedoes from the Turkish torpedo boat destroyer, Muvanet-I-Milet in Murto Bay. The Goliath blew up and capsized almost immediately taking 570 of her 750 crew down went her. Ten Waterford people lost their lives on HMS Goliath that day. The Goliath was the fourth pre-dreadnought battleship lost in the Dardanelles Campaign The campaign (19th February 1915 to 7th December 1915) was an attempt to capture and force open the narrow Dardanelles water which joined the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea. The Allies could then send help to Russia while at the same time knocking Turkey out of the war. The various naval and army attacks on the Turkish positions ended in failure and the Allies abandoned the campaign on 7th December with victory to the Ottoman Empire.[7]

Timothy Barron – September 1915

In about 1893 Timothy Barron, son of Thomas Barron, was born in Kilcalf, Tallow, Co. Waterford. Timothy Barron moved to Wales to seek work. While there the Great War broke out and Timothy signed up with the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) Regiment at Tonypandy, Glamorganshire. In September 1915 Private Timothy Barron was in the 9th Battalion of the Regiment. The 9th Battalion was a new unit having been formed in September 1914 at Perth. After training in England the 9th Battalion landed at Boulogne on 8th July 1915. On 25th September 1915 Private Timothy Barron joined his mates for the biggest offensive by the British army in 1915, the Battle of Loos. Loos was located north of the French mining town of Lens in a flat, featureless landscape. Advancing over open fields within range of German machine guns and artillery, British losses were devastating. At some stage Private Timothy Barronsuffered injury and on 28th September died from his wounds. In all 20,000 British soldiers were killed in the battle which lasted until 14th October 1915 without any advance in territory worth talking about.[8]

Thomas Bacon – September 1916

Thomas Bacon was born in Carrigmore, Co. Tipperary. His parents, John and Ellen Bacon and in 1901 family were living at Church Lane, Lismore. Thomas’s brother, John Bacon was a soldier in the 1901 census at Lismore. The family are said to have lived at West Street, Tallow but at what time is unknown.

Thomas Bacon enlisted in the Royal Munster Fusiliers at Cork. The Royal Munster Fusiliers were formed in 1881 with the amalgamation of the 101st and 104th Regiments. Both Regiments began life as units in the East India Company army. The 104th Regiment was itself formed in 1862 from the union of the 101st and 104th Bengal Fusiliers. The 104th Regiment became the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Munster in 1881. During the Great War eleven battalions were created in the Royal Munster.

The 2nd Battalion was in England at the start of the war and crossed over to France in August 1914. The 2nd Battalion was never out of ear shot of the guns throughout the whole war. As a result the Battalion suffered heavy casualties in battles such as at Festubert, Rue de Bois, Ypres and St. Quentin. 1916 saw the 2nd Battalion involved in the Battle of the Somme, beginning its campaign on 14th July. The Battalion achieved its targets and held its ground. After a few weeks in reserve in early August the Battalion was back on the front line on 20th August. On 22nd September 1916 Private Thomas Bacon, 2nd Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers, was killed in action. September 1916 was to be the most costly month for the 2nd Battalion with many officers and men killed.[9]

Peter Henley – October 1916

Peter Henley was the son of Mary Henley of Tallowbridge Street, a widow. In 1901 Peter Henley was a baker in Tallow as was his brother James Henley. In 1911 Peter Henley was a general labourer and was visiting the home of his brother-in-law, Martin McNamara in West Street on census night with his mother. Peter’s brother, James Henley, was still a baker and lived a few doors further down West Street with his young family.

Army records say that Rifleman Peter Henley of Tallow enlisted in the Royal Irish Rifles in Cardiff while living in Lismore. The Royal Irish Rifles Regiment was formed in 1881 when the 83rd (County of Dublin) and the 86th (Royal County Down) Regiments of Foot were joined together to form the 1st and 2nd Battalions, respectively. Rifleman Peter Henley was a member of the 2nd Battalion. In September 1916 the 2nd Battalion was part of the 74th Brigade, 3rd Division and was assigned the sector south of the River Ancre in the Battle of the Somme. After light raids a major offensive was launch on 9th October in appalling weather. The Battalion captured and held its targets.

On 22/23rd October the Battalion was sent about 15 miles further to the north-west to Doullens. It was there, on 26th October 1916, that Rifleman Peter Henley was killed in action. In his will dated 6 March 1916 Peter left everything to his sister Teresa McNamara, Fourtane Lodge, Lismore, Co. Waterford.

Peter Henley’s name does not appear on the recent book about the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. Yet the author, James Taylor, said that some of the usual databases are incomplete and not entirely accurate. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that Peter Henley was in another battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles. People were moved from battalion to battalion as the army tried to balance experienced soldiers with raw recruits in the face of terrible losses. The enormous scale of the losses and the subsequent large transfer of soldiers meant the record system broke down and soldiers were left on the records in one battalion when they had in actual fact moved to another battalion.

Subsequent information received from James Taylor says that Peter Henley was listed among the dead in the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. The Battalion war diary’s say that two Companies of the Battalion were sent towards the enemy on the 24th October but “owing to being met by heavy rifle and M.G. fire from ZENITH TRENCH which was strongly held by the enemy, the attack was held up and failed, and severe casualties were incurred during the retirement, 50% being casualties. On the 24th orders were received to hold the line, which was occupied by 3 Companies with one in support’. The Battalion casualties over the four days (23rd to 26th) amounted to  9 officers killed along with 20 from other ranks, 143 wounded and 43 missing in action.[10]

Patrick French – January 1917

Patrick French enlisted at Lismore in the Royal Irish Regiment while living in Tallow. He was the son of William and Hannah French of Chapel Street, Tallow.

The Royal Irish Regiment was the oldest of the Irish regiments. It was formed in 1683-4 from the merger of a number of independent companies of foot. The 2nd Battalion was in England when the Great War started and was in France by October 1914 where the Battalion went into almost immediate action. At La Basse in October 1914 the Battalion fought until every single man was dead or wounded. By January 1917 Private Patrick French was in ‘E’ Company of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment. The Battalion was then attached to the 49th Brigade, 16th Irish Division. On 10th January 1917 ‘E’ Company was in action somewhere in the Arras Battle field and Patrick French got killed.[11]

George Anderson – March 1917

George Anderson was the son of John and Mary Anderson of Tallow, Co. Waterford. George Anderson was born in Wales about 1888. In 1901 John Anderson was a wood-ranger living at Curraghreigh South, Tallow. On 19th March 1917 George Anderson was a corporal in the Royal Garrison Artillery (unit: 112th Heavy Battery) when he was killed in action.[12] The Royal Garrison Artillery provided the big guns of the First World War with which they pounded the enemy and the terrain to pieces. It is not yet known where the 112th Heavy Battery was in March 1917. Between 14th March and 5th April 1917 the Germans were involved in a planned withdrawal to the prepared Hindenburg Line with the British in cautious pursuit.

Michael O’Keeffe – July 1917

Michael O’Keeffe was born in Tallow and enlisted at Cork while living in Westminster. Michael O’Keeffe was 26 years old when he died in 1917 leaving a widow; Nora O’Keeffe Sergeant Michael O’Keeffe was with the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards when he died from his wounds on 26th July 1917.[13] Nearly two months before, on 7th June the British launched an attack on the Messines Ridge south of Ypres. Major William Redmond, brother of the Home Rule leader John Redmond, was killed on the first day. His death caused a bye-election in East Clare which was won by Eamon de Valera. The Battle of Messines drove the Germans from the Ridge that they had held for two years.[14]

On 10th June General Gough took over command of the Ypres Salient in preparation for a major offensive which would be called the Third Battle of Ypres (July-November 1917). The 1st Battalion, Irish Guards was operating north of Ypres in June 1917. They served on the junction line between the British on the south and the Belgian army on the north and suffered the extra baggage of fighting that the junction point of Allied armies always suffered. On 15th July the Battalion was relieved of their tour on the front line by the 1st Coldstream Guards. After ten days of training and drilling at Herzeele the Battalion moved back to the front line at Proven, Belgium on 25th July in a deluge of heavy rain.

On 26th July 1917 the Battalion was awoken at 2 a.m. by gas-alarms followed by a barrage of shell fire. Lieutenant H.H.H Maxwell and seven men, including Sergeant Michael O’Keeffe, were wounded. Sergeant O’Keeffe died later the same day. Over the next few days the Battalion engaged in shelling operations against the Germans with a few ground actions and received plenty of German shells in return with the rain pouring down for days.[15] In the following Third Battle of Ypres the British and French armies made slow advancement over the late months of 1917. For a time the German retreat had all the potential of a rout but divisions between the Allies, the terrible rain and a major defeat against Italy, which forced the Allies to redeploy troops to Italy, gave the Germans a chance of recovery. The Allies had taken much ground by the end of the Battle but no breakthrough.

Michael Hynes – July 1917

Michael Hynes was born in Co. Waterford and enlisted at Lismore in the Royal Irish Regiment while living in Tallow. Michael was the son of Denis and Eliza Hynes (in 1901 at Knockaun South, Kilwatermoy). About 1908 Michael Hynes married Mary Hynes of Fenor South, Tramore, Co. Waterford and became a farmer at that place. At the 1911 census they had a son and a daughter. By 1917 Private Michael Hynes was in the 2nd Battalion of the Regiment when he suffered grave injuries. On 28th July 1917 Private/Lance Corporal Michael Hynes died from his wounds. The 2nd Battalion was at that time making preparations for the Third Battle of Ypres (31st July-10th November 1917) as part of the larger 16th Irish Division. The Third Battle of Ypres is better known as Passchendaele. If the Somme is noted for the number killed on its first day, Passchendaele is noted for hell on earth. Few battles in a sea of fruitless battles cost so many lives for very little gain as did Passchendaele.[16]

James Cronin – October 1917

James Cronin was described as a grandson of John Cronin of Loughnasillis, Tallow in 1901 and was eight years old. In 1911 there is an eighteen year old pharmaceutical apprentice at Kanturk, Co. Cork who could be the same James Cronin. After the war started James Cronin joined the Royal Horse Artillery.  Bombardier James Cronin died on 4th October 1917 as a member of the 70th Battery of the 34th Army Brigade in the Royal Horse Artillery, Each battery had six guns and there were three batteries in the 34th Army Brigade.[17] I don’t yet know where the 70th Battery was in October 1917 but it was likely to be involved in the Third Battle of Ypres.

Patrick Cuffe – March 1918

On 24th March 1918 Private Patrick Cuffe of the 7th Infantry Company of the Machine Gun Corps was killed in action. Patrick Cuffe was born in Tallow and enlisted in the Royal Irish Rifles in Cardiff while living in Waterford. Patrick Cuffe later changed to the Machine Gun Corps. The Machine Gun Corps was formed in October 1915 in response to the need for more effective use of machine guns on the Western Front, i.e. not enough people were being killed.

Patrick Cuffe was possibly killed during the German offensive of 1918 which began on 21st March. This was the last great push by the Germans as they tried to defeat the Allies before the full weight of American troops arrived in France. The offensive made significant gains along the front but for want of supplies the Germans could not push home the attack and the offensive stopped on 18th July. The Allies launched their own offensive in August and broke the German lines and advanced forward as the war of movement reappeared and the trenches were left behind.[18]

David O’Sullivan – April 1918

In 1918 Private David O’Sullivan of Tallow was involved in a Royal Navy attack on Zeebrugge. The plan was to sink three old ships at the entrance to Zeebrugge and so stop its use as a submarine base. David O’Sullivan was part of the Royal Marine Light Infantry Regiment on HMS Hindustan. As they approached the harbour the wind changed direction and the fleet’s cover smoke screen was gone out to sea. The Germans opened fired and panic gripped the British fleet. The marines were launched at the wrong place without their heavy guns and one of the blockade ships was lost before the harbour entrance was within reach. The other two ships were scuttled in the wrong place which only closed the port for a few days for submarines before the Germans dug a channel around the sunken ships. About 227 British were killed and 356 wounded. David O’Sullivan was one of the casualties on that day of 23rd April 1918.[19] After about a month his body was washed ashore in Holland following a storm. David O’Sullivan is buried in Holland.

The HMS Hindustan battleship was launched in 1903 and completed in 1905. She spent most of her career in the Home Fleet with a brief tour in the Mediterranean Sea in 1912. In 1918 HMS Hindustan served as a parent and depot ship for the Zeebrugge and Ostend Raids. HMS Hindustan was decommissioned and sold in 1919 and was scrapped at Belfast in 1923.

John Knight – August 1918

John Knight was a postman in Tallow in 1911 and lived in what is now called Convent Street with his wife of one year, Kate. John’s brother, Thomas Knight, was also a postman in 1911. John Knight was the son of James Knight (boot-maker) and Jane Knight of Townspark East, Tallow. Records say John Knight enlisted in the army at Tallow, Co. Waterford while living in the town. He joined the 9th London Regiment (Queen Victoria Rifles). The 9th London Regiment was part of the 58th Division in August 1918. On 8th-11th August they took part in the Battle of Amiens and on 22nd August took part in the Battle of Albert. Rifleman John Knight was therefore killed in a so-called lull period on 13th August 1918. These battles were part of the Allied offensive which began on with the Battle of Amiens. The battles broke the German lines and led to the surrender on 11th November 1918.[20]

Richard Griffin – October 1918

Richard Griffin was the son of Michael and Johanna Griffin of Kilmore, Tallow. Richard enlisted at Cork in the Royal Horse Artillery and by October 1918 was in the 111th Battery, 24th Brigade. The 24th Brigade also contained the 110th and 112th Batteries and was part of the 6th Infantry Division. On 17th October 1918 Gunner Richard Griffin was killed in action. This was on the first day of the Battle of the Selle (17th-25th October 1918). This battle was fought around the town of Le Cateau where the British last saw action in August 1914. The British and French advanced many miles and freed many towns. The Germans made a counter-offensive on 24th October but this was stopped. Thereafter the Germans continued their forced retreat at a controlled pace. Richard’s elder brother, John Griffin was also in the army and survived the war but was in poor health for the rest of his life due to the effects of shell shock.[21]

Michael Donovan – November 1918

Michael Donovan was born on 15th August 1895, the son of Michael and Bridget Donovan of Knockaun Pike, Tallow, Co. Waterford. Michael Donovan emigrated to the United States and settled at 808 Rush Street, Chicago where he worked as a cook. His sister, Margaret Donovan also went to America and in 1917 was living at 818 Rush Street, Chicago. On 22nd October 1917 Michael Donovan joined the Central Ontario Regiment of the Canadian army. The Regiment was sent to France. By November 1918 Private Michael Donovan was in 102nd Battalion.

The 102nd Battalion was formed in December 1915 and was initially called the North British Columbians but changed in August 1917 to the Central Ontario Battalion. The 102nd served with the 11th Infantry Brigade of the 4th Division from 1915 until the end of the war. On 18th October 1918 the 102nd captured the town of Obscon (between Douai and Valenciennes) as part of a general advance by the 11th Brigade. On 1st November 1918 the 4th Division along with the 3rd Division launched an attack on Valenciennes, a French city near the border with Belgium and occupied since the early days of the war. The German resistance was stiff in some parts and soft in others. Yet the Canadians pressed on and had captured the town hall early on the 2nd and occupied the whole town by the following day. On 2nd November 1918 Private Michael Donovan was killed in action in the battle for Valenciennes, only a week before the end of the war.[22]

Cornelius Prendergast – March 1920

Cornelius Prendergast was one of five sons of James and Mary Prendergast of Barrack Street, Tallow and was born about 1894. James Prendergast was a black-smith. Bartholomew Prendergast (killed 27th January 1915 = see above entry) was a brother of Cornelius. Cornelius Prendergast entered the Royal Garrison Artillery but in what battery is as yet unknown. What we do is that Gunner Cornelius Pendergast saw the sun rise on the morning of 11th November 1918 (Armistice Day) and saw it go down and rise again on the 12th. Cornelius Prendergast had survived the Great War. But unfortunately the war had taken its toll on Cornelius and he was hospitalised at Catterick Camp in Yorkshire for shell shock. He died there on 18th March 1920 and was returned for burial in the Tallow Catholic Churchyard. He was married to Bridget Prendergast,[23]

The Regimens the Tallow men joined

It is often said that soldiers joining the First World War or in any other war would join army units that their friends were joining. The soldiers from the Tallow area seemed to have broken this rule and joined any and every kind of army unit.

Black Watch = one person

Central Ontario Regiment = one person

Household Cavalry = 15th Lancers (one person), 4th Dragoon Guards (one person)

Irish Guards = two people

London Regiment = one person

Machine Gun Corps = one person

Royal Engineers = one person

Royal Garrison Artillery = two people

Royal Horse Artillery = two people

Royal Irish Rifles = two people and then one (Cuffe left to join the Machine Gun Corps)

Royal Irish Regiment = two people

Royal Munster Fusiliers = one person

Royal Navy = one person

For the Fallen – a poem of remembrance

For the Fallen was written by Robert Laurence Binyon in September 1914 while sitting on the coast of Cornwall thinking of the heavy British losses in the opening weeks of the war, particularly at the recent Battle of the Marne. The poem has seven stanzas with the third and fourth often used at ceremonies to remember fallen soldiers.

For the Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Appendix one = soldier service numbers

George Anderson = 29878
Thomas Bacon = 6167
Timothy Barron = S/4871
James Cronin = 58297
Patrick Cuffe = 18139
William Devine = 283
Michael Donovan = 3105437
Patrick French = 5533
Edward Grey = 4283
Richard Griffin = 100418
Peter Henley = 8630
John Horey = 7834
Michael Hynes = 6771
John Knight = former number 8299 = new number 393611
Michael O’Keeffe = 3687
David O’Sullivan = CH/21243
Michael Power = SS/101956
Cornelius Prendergast = 40313
Bartholomew Prendergast = 26205



End of post



[1] James W. Taylor, The 2nd Royal Irish Rifles in the Great War (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2005), p. 17

[2] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead: A History of the Casualties of the Great War (History Press, Dublin, 2010), p. 112; Rudyard Kipling, The Irish Guards in the Great War: The First Battalion (Spellmount, Staplehurst, 1997), pp. 29, 31, 32, 41, 301

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lahW_etCwuw war walks at Mons by Richard Holmes, accessed 1 June 2014

[4] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead, p. 135; R.G. Harris, The Irish Regiments: A Pictorial History 1683-1987 (Nutshell Publishing, Tunbridge, 1989), pp. 21, 34; census records online 1901 & 1911

[5] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead, p. 242; http://www.reubique.com/23fc.htm accessed 2 June 2014

[6] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead, p. 71

[7] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead, p. 238; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Goliath_(1898); http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_operations_in_the_Dardanelles_Campaign accessed 2 June 2014

[8] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead, p. 16

[9] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead, p. 16; R.G. Harris, The Irish Regiments, pp. 204-5, 209, 215; Martin O’Dwyer, A Biographical Dictionary of Tipperary (Folk Village, Cashel, 1999), p. 3

[10] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead, p. 129; R.G. Harris, The Irish Regiments, p. 142; http://www.1914-1918.net/25div.htm accessed on 2 June 2014; James W. Taylor, The 2nd Royal Irish Rifles in the Great War, pp. 137, 152; James W. Taylor, The 1st Royal Irish Rifles in the Great War (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2002), p. 164

[11] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead, p. 102; R.G. Harris, The Irish Regiments, pp. 107, 119; http://www.1914-1918.net/rireg.htm accessed on 2 June 2014

[12] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead, p. 13; census records online 1901 & 1911

[13] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead, p. 217; Rudyard Kipling, The Irish Guards in the Great War: The First Battalion, p. 306

[14] Gerry White and Brendan O’Shea (eds.), A Great Sacrifice: Cork Servicemen who died in the Great War (Echo Publications, Cork, 2010), p. 610

[15] Rudyard Kipling, The Irish Guards in the Great War: The First Battalion, pp. 199, 200, 204

[16] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead, p. 139; Basil Liddell Hart, History of the First World War (Pan, London, 1972), p. 327

[17] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead, p. 58; http://www.warpath.orbat.com/artillery/rfa_btys.htm;  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/34th_Brigade_Royal_Field_Artillery accessed on 3 June 2014; census records online 1901 & 1911

[18] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead, p. 59; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_Gun_Corps; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_Offensive  accessed on 3 June 2014

[19] Jim Stacey, Ann Allridge & Richard Power, ‘List of County Waterford soldiers who died in the World War One’, in Decies, No. 55 (1999), p. 101;  Jim Stacey, Ann Allridge & Richard Power, ‘List of County Waterford soldiers who died in the World War One’, in Decies, No. 56 (2000), p. 208

[20] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead, p. 161; census records online 1901 & 1911; http://www.1914-1918.net/58div.htm; http://www.1914-1918.net/london.htm  accessed on 3 June 2014

[21] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead, p. 112; http://www.warpath.orbat.com/divs/6_div.htm; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24th_Brigade_Royal_Field_Artillery accessed on 3 June 2014

[22] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead, pp. 76-7; J.F.B. Livesay, Canada’s Hundred Days: With the Canadian Corps from Amiens to Mons, Aug 8-Nov 11, 1918 (Thomas Allen, Toronto, 1919) , pp. 341, 363, 367, 368

[23] Tom Burnell, The Waterford war dead, p. 242; census records online 1901 & 1911


16 thoughts on “Some Tallow people who died in the Great War

  1. Cornelius (Connie ) Prendergast (nephew ) says:

    Cornel is Prendergast did not return home. He died in catterick barracks in Yorkshire England suffering from shell shock and was brought home to be buried in tallow

  2. James W. Taylor says:

    Peter Henley was killed while serving with 1st Royal Irish Rifles and is listed in my history of that battalion. In his will dated 6 March 1916 he left everything to his sister Teresa McNamara, Fourtane Lodge, Lismore, Co. Waterford.

    • Hello James,
      Thanks for the information on Peter Henley. Was wondering do you have a page number in the 1st R.I.R. book for Peter as I only have the book on the 2nd Batt R.I.R. – thanks – much appreciated

      • James W. Taylor says:

        Hi Niall, He is in the casualty list on page 164 of 1st R Irish Rifles. The war diary explains what was happening during the battle of the Somme at that time:
        24/10/16 3.50 a.m. ZERO hour was 3.50 a.m. 24th inst. Two Companies in line at 25 paces distance on the left of the 2nd R. Berkshire Regt. Owing to being met by heavy rifle and M.G. fire from ZENITH TRENCH which was strongly held by the enemy, the attack was held up and failed, and severe casualties were incurred during the retirement, 50% being casualties. On the 24th orders were received to hold the line, which was occupied by 3 Companies with one in Support. The total casualties from October 23rd – 26th were, Officers: 2/Lt. J.V. Gault killed, – 2/Lt. A.H. Nicholson – G. Benson – G.F. Wolfe – G.C. Holt – E.W. Lennard – A.J.E. Gibson – V. Noonan – G.S. Sinclair (at Duty) – Other Ranks Killed 20 – Wounded 143 – Missing 43.

  3. James W. Taylor says:

    This is all I have for this man:
    Cuffe 13195 Rfn Patrick. Born and resided at Tallow, Co. Waterford. Enlisted at Cardiff. Joined 1st RI Rifles, 13.10.1914. In his will dated 1.11.1914 he left everything to his sister Kate at Kilmore, Tallow. To BEF with 1st RIR, 5.11.1914. Transferred as 18139 to the MGC, 12.1.1916. KIA with 25th Coy, MGC, 24.3.1918. Grevillers British Cemetery, XII.F.7.

  4. Hi James would be interested to know if you came across two brothers by the name of William and Edmond Murphy of West Street Tallow who joined the Munster Fusiliers I spent my childhood listening to my mother talking about them she had a photograph of them both in uniform and some medals she also told us that the came home to visit their parents one time and they got word not to go out one night as there was an ambush set for them by the then members of the IRA at the little bridge in West Street Tallow quiet near to where they lived
    They left home that night and were never seen again
    Someone said the William returned from the war and lived in Leichester in England but that Edmond died in the war our family would love to get any information on either or both of them if possible

    • Hello Bridget,
      I searched the World war One dead for County Waterford and County Cork but could find nobody to fit with William or Edmond. I did find that 3 people called Edmond Murphy got medals while in the Royal Munster and 17 people called William Murphy got a medal in the Royal Munster. I was wondering do you have access to the medals. Maybe a service number is stamped on them. Yours sincerely,

  5. Bridget Boyce says:

    Hi Niall
    Yes the medals are with my brother in Tallow I will ask him if I can get a photograph of them at the weekend
    Yes they both joined the Royal munsters I may have got one of the names wrong they were William and Edward
    William was the elder of the two
    I will send you pics of the medals when I get them
    And thank you in advance for any information you can find
    Yours sincerely
    Mrs Bridget MC Namara Boyce

  6. David O Sullivan says:

    Hi Niall, David O’Sullivan is my grand-uncle and he was actually from Ballynoe not Tallow, we have been to his grave numerous times and has been a yearly trip for my father with the last 30 years whose name is also David O’Sullivan as is mine, enjoyed the article, thanks

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