Kilkenny-based group looking for people who served in World War II

Kilkenny-based group looking for people who served in World War II

A nationwide search for men and women who served in World War II is being launched so that they can be remembered officially.

A Kilkenny-based group who want to honour the war dead and survivors is appealing for family members, distant relations, friends and acquaintances to come forward.

The Kilkenny Great War Memorial Committee are planning to unveil a memorial to the men and women who were born in the city and county. The committee have received 54 names of those who died and 106 survivor names of the war. It is estimated that there are at least 100 dead and 1,000 veterans/survivors from Kilkenny.

Donal Croghan from the Committee explained that the reason they are appealing to the public nationwide to make contact is due to the response locally not reaching enough people.

”We have been running an appeal in the past few months but we need to get to a wider audience on a nationwide and international level who have Kilkenny connections.

There has to be hundreds more because the attrition rate in World War II was much lower than in World War I, so if we have 54 who died then there should be about 1,000 who served you'd imagine.

The ages of the names they have received range from 17 to 61. They served in various allied forces including the Australian Infantry, the Palestine Police Force, US Army, Canadian Air Force, British RAF, Royal Navy and Durham Light Infantry. They have received the name of just two woman so far who died during the war.

It is estimated that between 4,468 to 9,100 died from Ireland during the war. An estimated figure of 12,000 Irish veterans returned to Ireland after it ended in 1945.

Mr Croghan added: “(Then Taoiseach) Eamonn de Valera followed a policy of neutrality in Ireland’s attempts to be seen as an independent State in the eyes of the world during the war.

However this neutrality was not absolute and he allowed Irishmen to freely join the Allied armies, which up to 40,000 did, along with 200,000 civilians who crossed over to Britain to work in the mines and factories. Many were also conscripted into the British Forces.

“While the information on the exact number of people from Ireland died in World War 2 some say 4,468 others 9,100. Bernard Kelly who wrote, Returning Home: Irish Ex-Servicemen after the Second World War, estimates 12,000 Irish veterans returned to Ireland at the end of the war.

“They were treated very poorly after fighting Hitler Armies and they were scorned and treated with hostility, seen by many as anti-national and almost traitorous.”

Returning to Ireland after the war, many were treated poorly, and were seen as anti-national because of their service. These men and women had left the safety of neutral Ireland and risked death or injury. They played their part in defeating Hitler.

Mr Croghan continued: “In Kilkenny in 2020 a new memorial to the dead from Kilkenny city and county will be unveiled at McDonagh Railway Station. The Kilkenny Great War Memorial Committee successfully unveiled two memorials to all those who served in World War I.

Records are sealed in the Ministry of Defence and only families who can prove that they are related to someone can get information about their own relatives.

“Now is the time to do this as our generation pass away, names and stories connected to World War II will be gone. Please help and spread the word of the appeal and together we will remember them. “

- Members of the public are asked to make contact by phoning 086-3369080, by email to kilkennywarmemorial@gmail.com or by post to 48 John Street, Kilkenny.

More on this topic

Nationwide search for those who served in World War II in bid to have them officially rememberedNationwide search for those who served in World War II in bid to have them officially remembered

House where Hitler was born to become police precinctHouse where Hitler was born to become police precinct

Three Cork brothers who died fighting for Canadians in WWII to be commemorated todayThree Cork brothers who died fighting for Canadians in WWII to be commemorated today

Fall of Berlin Wall: Discontent is evident once again, 30 years onFall of Berlin Wall: Discontent is evident once again, 30 years on


More in this Section

FAI’s debts could surpass €55mFAI’s debts could surpass €55m

Hard Brexit ‘not a realistic expectation’, says Ray O’RourkeHard Brexit ‘not a realistic expectation’, says Ray O’Rourke

Department of Health blocks €2k to Cervical Check victimsDepartment of Health blocks €2k to Cervical Check victims

Someone is €1 milllion richer following Euromillions drawSomeone is €1 milllion richer following Euromillions draw


Lifestyle

As we wait, eager and giddy, a collective shudder of agitated ardor ripples through the theatre, like a Late, Late Toyshow audience when they KNOW Ryan’s going to give them another €150 voucher. Suddenly, a voice booms from the stage. Everyone erupts, whooping and cheering. And that was just for the safety announcement.Everyman's outstanding Jack and the Beanstalk ticks all panto boxes

Every band needs a Bez. In fact, there’s a case to be made that every workplace in the country could do with the Happy Mondays’ vibes man. Somebody to jump up with a pair of maracas and shake up the energy when things begin to flag.Happy Mondays create cheery Tuesday in Cork gig

More From The Irish Examiner