Newspaper find ‘keeps soldier’s memory alive’

A 105-year-old Australian newspaper, containing a feature about a young soldier from Limerick killed in action during the First World War, has been donated to the Glucksman Library archive collection.

Newspaper find ‘keeps soldier’s memory alive’

A 105-year-old Australian newspaper, containing a feature about a young soldier from Limerick killed in action during the First World War, has been donated to the Glucksman Library archive collection.

Discovered by a collector of First World War memorabilia, the copy of the Sydney Herald from 1915 includes a feature about Thomas Noonan, a Limerick native who died in service at Gallipoli at the age of 23.

The collection, donated to the Glucksman Library’s Noonan Collection at the University of Limerick (UL) by Mr Noonan’s relatives, also contains the soldier’s diary from the trenches, letters he sent to his mother and father, his military medals and the ‘Widow’s Penny’ plaque received by his family.

Thomas Noonan was originally from Barrington’s Bridge in Co Limerick, but emigrated to Sydney in 1914. That September, he enlisted as a private in the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Force. Attached to the 13th Battalion, he spent periods of training in Australia and Egypt.

In April 1915, he was wounded in the landings at Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli Peninsula and was transferred to a military hospital in Cairo for treatment. In July, he returned to front line duty in Gallipoli, where he was killed in action on August 9, 1915. He is buried at the 7th Field Ambulance Cemetery in Gallipoli.

Michael Noonan, a nephew of Thomas, said he hoped the collection of archive material would be studied by researchers, especially his uncle’s letters.

“They were in a press in the house he was born for 80 years, in an old envelope,” said Mr Noonan. “He was 21 and anyone that has ever read them has said the way they were written, you think he was ahead of his time. It keeps his memory alive.”

Head of special collections and archives at UL Ken Bergin said the Glucksman Library is “delighted” to acquire the addition to its First World War archive.

“We are very grateful to the Noonan family for their donation, and look forward to sharing their family history with our researchers,” he added.

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