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Church panels to recall war dead

From The Irish Examiner

Eight wooden panels, bearing the names of a town’s war dead, will be blessed in a historic church next weekend.

A roll call of the 200 soldiers from the Youghal area who died in the First World War and Second World War is part of an ecumenical memorial service on Sunday in the town’s magnificent 13th-century St Mary’s Collegiate Church.

For heritage reasons, the identifies of the 154 First World War victims and 36 from the Second World War conflict could only be inscribed on a wooden memorial.

The panels will be permanently installed in the church’s newly-restored Memorial Chapel section. They were designed with the assistance of local conservation consultant David Kelly and built by tradesman Willie Keniry.

Bishop of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross, the Rev Dr Paul Colton, will officiate before an anticipated attendance of 400. Ceremonies commence at 2.30pm and those wishing to lay wreaths are asked to notify Rector Andrew Orr in advance.

Army and naval groups from throughout Ireland will join church figures, relations of the fallen men and other guests. Local and national politicians have been invited as well.

Wreaths will be laid on the altar and relatives will carry twelve candles, representing world war years.

The ceremony follows seven years of research by two local men, Norman McDonald and Billy Healy.

Their interest began after accidentally discovering the grave of Private Oliver Havens at Templemichael near Youghal.

Further local discoveries included “five wartime graves in North Abbey cemetery in Youghal”, said Mr Healy, whose maternal grandfather survived World War One.

The men’s research focused on the 1900 Youghal postal district from Ballycotton to Clashmore in west Waterford.

Data was sourced from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission while UCC’s publication The GReat Sacrifice also revealed many others who died in World War One.

Loses at sea were far fewer than in the trenches, with 17 known casualties from about 200 naval recruits. Five lives were recorded as lost from an estimated 56 merchant seamen.

The youngest was 16-year old Private David Cropley from Ballycotton, with the oldest being 65-year-old Lieutenant Walter Croker-Poole from Ardmore, whose pilot boat hit a mine in the Mersey.

A sea mine episode saw five Royal Navy Reserves from Youghal perish when the HMS Laurentic sank. More names, especially from the Second World War are expected to be added when British records are released.