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August

1st August

A Local Man Loses His Life in the Great War

Francis J. Walker served as a private in the Royal Scots.

Orbituary in Local Paper

Michael Joseph McDonough served in the Royal Engineers and he was killed on 1st August 1917. In 1918 his family from Lower Bennett Street placed the following lines in a local paper.

‘Within thy Sacred Heart, dear Lord,
May his precious soul find rest;
Thy will be done, O. God of Love,
Thou know what is best.’

2nd August

General Strike in Vancouver

This was the first in the history of Canada and was called in protest over the death of labour activist and draft invader Albert Goodwin. Workers were concerned that during the war big industry had made huge profits while workers in British Columbia faced inflation and food shortages.

Last Zepplin Raid of the War

A number of German Zepplins took part in raids on the Midlands and the North of England. No bombs fell on land.

3rd August

Recruiting Campaign in County Down, Roman Catholic Priest in Support of War Effort

It was reported in the Londonderry Sentinel that Lt. Col. John Leslie of Glasslough and Captain Stephen Gwyn M.P. representing the Irish Recruiting Council attended a recruiting meeting in Newry. Captain Gwynn pointed out that ‘Ireland has a plain duty to the divisions that she has sent into the field, and that neither Ulster nor the rest of Ireland has done their duty, or its divisions would not have been so largely manned by Englishmen today.’

In conclusion Rev. P. Quinn, parish priest from Camlough in South Armagh said,’ I have been a nationalist all my life, and I have taken a strong part against conscription, but I am with all my heart in favour of voluntary recruiting.’

News from United States Sinn Fein Supporter Imprisoned

A report in the Londonderry Sentinel made reference to an article in the Chicago Daily Tribune. Patrick J. Connolly was an objector and he was tried before an American court-martial and he had ‘refused to don the uniform of the United States.’ At Camp Dix he was sentenced to a term of fifteen years hard labour ‘with forfeiture of all pay and allowances and to be dishonourably discharged from the service at the end of his term.’

6th August

End of the Second Battle of Marne

This was the last major German offensive in the Western Front and ended when an Allied counter attack by French and American forces overwhelmed the Germans. The battle had begun in mid-July and had involved about sixty divisions on each side. The Allies deployed three hundred and forty-six tanks. Each side lost about 130,000 killed or wounded and about 30,000 German soldiers were taken prisoner.

War Poem in Londonderry Sentinel

This was written by someone with the pen name ‘Sniper’ and reflected on the discovery of a wounded soldier on the Western Front.

‘I found him in a shell hole deep
With others fallen by,
He lay upon the slanting steep,
His eyelids closed as if in sleep.
A crooked, humped, untidy heap,
His wounds congealed and dry
I roused him and tended him,
I raised his tired head.
But though his eyes were glaed and dim,
And wounds gave him pain in every limb,
And torture held him mute and grim,
My features he had read.

He signed to me with weakening hand
His eyes entreaty made,
I lost a buckle in his hand.
What did the sufferer mute demand?
Alas! I could not understand
What on his spirit weighed.

All eagerness I aided him,
Every word seemed to lag,
I held his hand, so waste and slim.
He rallied, game, and full of vim.
And then I caught the message dim-
‘Say mate, have you got a fag?’

8th August

Start of Allies One Hundred Day Offensive, Battle of Amiens

The Battle of Amiens began with Allied armoured divisions smashing through once impregnable trenches. German resistance was sporadic and thousands of German soldiers surrendered. Fighting on the Western Front was now defined by mobility as the trenches had been breached. Erich Ludendorff described this as ‘the blackest day of the German army.’

Attack on Hull, Zeppelin Shot Down

It was reported in the Londonderry Sentinel on the Thursday that three days earlier that the crew of a Royal Navy ship had noticed that ‘the sky was illuminated and noticed that a epplin had burst into flames.’ The observer on the ship went on to say that ‘it looked like a large golden cigar as it dropped into the sea and alight in the water it lay afloat for nearly an hour.’

American Roman Catholic Bishop on Support for the War Effort in Ireland

Most Rev.Dr. Keiley, Bishop of Savannah in Georgia wrote a letter to the recruiting Office in Dublin, as reported in the Londonderry Journal. ‘I am very glad of the opportunity afforded me by your appeal to express my views of the proper conduct of Ireland with regard the war. Both my parents were natives of Ireland. Today as always, I believe that Ireland ought to have Home Rule. I have nothing but condemnation for England’s treatment of Ireland. But all this is beside the question and issue now. From every motive- moral or religious or political-Ireland should all in her power to defeat the Germans.

Every day that she delays Ireland is losing the support and sympathy of millions of my countrymen here in America who have looked in admiration at her struggle for freedom and have given practical proof of sympathy. This lack of support is giving at least indirect aid and comfort to our enemies.

We cannot understand that the land that so honoured John Redmond can now be found on the side of the despot against whom John Redmond’s brave brother fought to the death.’

9th August

Orbituary in Local Paper

Robert Shields served as a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and he was killed on 9th August 1917. In 1918 formerly of Henry Street placed the following lines in a local paper.

‘I shall never forget the day
My dear brother marched away;
His thoughts were all of those he loved,
Yet could not make him stay.
His warfare o’er, his battle fought,
The victory won, though dearly bought;
His fresh young life could not be saved,
His resting place a soldier’s grave.’

10th August

Bottlers and Storemen End Their Strike in the City

On 2nd August these men went on strike and this directing involved over seventy men.

United States Destroyers on Escort Duty

USS Stevens, USS Cassin, USS Sampson, USS Balch and USS Beale escorted HMS Aquina in St. George’s Channel to Liverpool.

11th August

A Local Man Lose His Life in the Great War

Thomas O’Sullivan served as a private in the Royal Scots.

12th August

City Blacksmiths end Their Strike

Strike action began on 6th August and had directly involved about twenty men in the city.

13th August

Orbituary in Local Paper

Alexander Fulton served as a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and he was killed on 13th August 1917. The following lines were placed in a local paper by his wife and four children.

‘God is good, He gives he gives me grace
To bear my heavy cross;
He is the only One who knows
How bitter is my loss?
Oh, daddy, dear, we think of you,
And, daddy, we often call,
But there is nothing there to answer us
But your photo on the wall.
He will never be forgotten,
Never shall his memory fade;
Sweetest thoughts will ever linger
Out of France where he is laid.’

14th August

Orbituary in Local Paper

Frederick McNevison served as a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and he was killed on 14th August 1917. In 1918 members of his family from Greenhaw Terrace inserted these lines in a local paper.

‘Little we thought as we said goodbye,
It was his last farewell;
Sad indeed was the parting
From him we loved so well.’

16th August

Assassination Team Sent to London

In response to the imposition of conscription in Ireland, Cathal Brugha ordered an assassination team to be sent to London. In the event of men and women being conscripted, they were to carry out assassinations of members of the British cabinet. While in London they stayed in safe houses, stalked targets and even visited the House of Commons. Meanwhile in Ireland there was secret night-time drilling of volunteers.

A Local Man Loses his Life in the Great War

William Taylor served as a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Orbituary in a Local Newspaper

Drummer Patrick Barr served in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and came from Waterloo Street. He lost his life on 18th August 1917 and on the first anniversary of his death his siblings had the following lines inserted in a local newspaper.

‘Rest, dear brother, your warfare’s over,
In life we will never see you more,
On earth there’s strife, in Heaven rest,
But they miss you most that loved you best.’

21st August

John Singer Sergeant, War Painting, ‘Gassed.’

Better known in the art world for his paintings of aristocracy, the American J.S. Sergeant had been commissioned by the British government to ‘contribute the central painting for a Hall of Remembrance for the World War.’ This building was never built but, on this date, J.S. Sergeant reached a British dressing station near the French city of Arras.

There he witnessed a harrowing sight; a field of gassed and blindfolded men. Mustard gas was an indiscrimate weapon which caused widespread injury and horrific burns to the skin. The painting depicts what Sergeant witnessed, men walking on duckboards feeling their way, with hands on comrade’s shoulders, towards the dressing room station. In the painting one soldier has his knee raised as he had been warned about a step, but he was unable to judge its height. Some soldiers have tumbled into the mud. One soldier is vomiting.

The sky is painted dapple yellow, Monet-like, with pinks and blues on the horizon. In the background are painted tiny planes which are involved in a dogfight. Sergeant cleverly depicts that in the middle of all of this horror life goes on. He has added a number of soldiers who are unaware or just ignoring the wounded soldiers and are playing a game of football in bright jerseys and vividly white socks.

The overall theme of the painting is the depiction of human flotsam and jetsom, all created by the nastiness of conflict. These are men who have possibly lost at least their eyesight and their futures. They had devoted everything to fight in the First World War, a conflict which has altered the world to this very day and hour.

Kevin O’Higgins Imprisoned in Crumlin Road

While imprisoned here, the future Irish Minister of Home Affairs wrote to his mother, ‘Remember no sacrifice counts whether a man does his duty to his country…. To be persecuted for doing so is the purest pleasure. For the last three months I have been absolutely content and will be so for the next two. If it were years instead of months it would be the same. The clan O’Higgins takes its stand against the government.’

21st August

A Local Man Lost in the Great War

James Ferguson served as a seaman in the Royal Navy.

Orbituary in Local Paper

Shortly after his death the following lines were placed by his family in a local paper.

‘The sun has set and deep gloom haunts our dwelling,
Dear, absent loved one how your smile we miss,
Thou are where heavenly voices sweet are swelling
Their choral anthems in a world of bliss.

United States Ships in Escort Duty

USS Aylwyn, USS Shaw and USS Beale again escorted HMS Aquitania from off the County Cork coast to Liverpool.

22nd August

A Local Man Lost in the Great War

John J. Fulton served as a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Orbituary in Local Paper

John Fulton was a son of Matilda Fulton of 13, Kennedy Street. Shortly after his death his family placed the following lines in a local paper.

‘He fought, but not for love of strife;
He struck but to defend;
He stood for liberty and truth,
A soldier to the end.’

24th August

Cargo Ship Sunk Off Tory Island

The Flavia was a 9,000 ton cargo ship which had been built in Jarrow in 1901. Before being acquired by the Cunard Line it sailed regularly between Hamburg and New York, calling at Rotterdam. The ship was carrying cargo and horses and was torpedoed and sunk by U-107 off Tory island with the loss of one crew member. U -107 took part in five patrols and sank six merchant ships for the loss of 24,663 tons. The U-boat surrender in 1918 and was broken up in Swansea.

25th August

A Local Man Lost in the Great War

Vincent Hampsey served as a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. His formal will was dated 12th February 1917. The name of the legatee was given as Mrs. James Hampsey, his mother, of 29 Dunfield Terrace, Waterside, Derry. The witnesses were C. Strudwick, Company Sergeant of Belmont Hutments, Queenstown. His will was processed by the War Office on 17th January 1919, about five months after his death.

Mrs. Hampsey had to survive the remainder of her life in the knowledge that she had lost a son the the Great War.

26th August

Local Men Lost in the Great War

Robert Shannon served as a lieutenant in the Canadians.

George Doyle served as a private in the Royal Irish Regiment.

His will was described as nuncupative which means verbal, or it was a missing will. A statement was made on 20th August 1917 at 16 Creggars Road, with the word ‘Creggars’ scored out and replaced with the word Creggan. It stated,’ in case I be killed in any of the battles I have all to my sister Maggie McLaughlin. Another section of the will states, ‘only my sister Maggie and myself Martha Doyle, sister. ‘

The witness was L. Hegarty, Cathedral clergyman, St. Eugene’s Cathedral, L ’Derry,

A further statement declared,’ I have made inquiry and interviews Maggie McLaughlin and Martha Doyle and I am satisfied that the above declaration is true in substance and in fact.

Signed, Lawrence Hegarty, St. Eugene’s’ Cathedral, Londonderry. The War Office processed the will on 23rd June 1919, about ten months after the death of George Doyle. His sisters Martha and Maggie had to suffer the rest of their lives in the knowledge that they had lost a brother in the Great War.

27th August

Influenza Hits the United States

At the naval dockyard in Boston, Mass. three naval dockyard workers fell ill. Within two days, dozens of men fell ill as the result of contracting influenza.

Three Local Men lost in The Great War

Robert McManus served as a private in the Irish Guards.

Alexander G. Wilson served as a 2nd lieutenant in the Royal Inninkilling Fusiliers.

John Wilson served as a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery.

Orbituary in Local Newspaper

Robert Birnie served as a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and was killed on 27th August 1917. On this day in 1918 his mother, sister and brothers placed the following in a local newspaper.

‘Dear son, my loss can never be told,
I miss you more as the years grow old;
But oft when I sit in sorrow and woe
And dream of the days of the dear long ago,
Unknown to the world you stand by my side
And whisper, ‘Dear mother, death cannot divide.’

28th August

Rumours of A police Strike in England

There were rumours of action by members of the police force but superintendents reported that all was quiet within the organisation.

Local men Lost in The Great War

Victor Hampsey served as a private in the Royal Irish Regiment.

James McCloskey served as a guardsman in the Irish Guards.

Patrick McCloskey served as a private in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers

29th August

Two Local Men Lost in the Great War

George C West served as a sergeant in the Lanarkshire Yeomanry.

Robert R. Allan served as a private in the Seaforth Highlanders.

30th August

Metropolitan Police Go on Strike

At the beginning of the 20th century many workers in many sectors of the economy began to seek better pay and working conditions. In 1913 an anonymous letter appeared in a police magazine which announced that a trade union had been formed in the police force and many secretly became members. The police authorities immediately issued an official police order banning trade union membership in the force. Anyone associated with it faced immediate dismissal.

Following the dismissal of a police officer for trade union membership, the police went on general strike, something which the authorities were unprepared for. In London troops were deployed to guard key junctions and buildings.

31st August

Metropolitan Police Strike Settled

On his return from France, Lloyd George held an immediate meeting with representatives of the Metropolitan Police and on the same day the strike was settled. The result was increased pay for all ranks, improved pensions, pensions for widows, a war bonus and a grant to those who had children attending schools. General Sir Nevil Macready replaced the police commissioner but he refused to recognise the police trade union.

Two Local Men Lost in the Great War

David Burke served as a lance corporal in the Royal inniskilling Fusiliers.

John McGonigle served as a private in the Royal Irish Regiment.

Orbituary in local Paper

David Burke had served as a lance corporal in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He was killed on 31st August 1916. In 1918 his family inserted the following lines in a local newspaper.

‘The golden gates were opened wide,
A gentle voice said come,
And angels on the other side
Welcomed our loved one home.’