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Saturday, 3rd November 2018

100 years on, Drogheda remembers her war dead

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Neil O’Kennedy of Drogheda Brass Band sounds “The Last Post” at this morning’s remembrance ceremony in Drogheda. Photo: Andy Spearman.

One hundred years after the senseless slaughter of the First World War finally  stopped, a smaller than usual but nonetheless moving ceremony took place this morning to honour and remember the 300 or so men from the Drogheda area who died in that so-called "war to end all wars".

“We remember the millions of casualties of the Great War, including the thousands of Irish. We especially remember and honour the many officers and soldiers from Drogheda and District who died” said Mayor Frank Godfrey as he welcomed everyone to the gathering.

“Today we reflect on what these brave soldiers went through and the sacrifices they made.  We are proud of our local soldiers who died in this World War 1. Their names are inscribed on this Memorial erected in 1925 in their memory. Today we remember, cherish and honour all those soldiers.

“The First World War was a global conflict, it’s impact was enormous and had its effect right here in County Louth and County Meath.

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“By laying a wreath at this War Memorial today we honour the bravery and sacrifices of our local fallen heroes and those injured in the conflict. We also show our solidarity and support for their families.”

Sabrina Kierans (left) and Maeve Holly with medals and photos of their relatives, Patrick and John Clarke, who both died in the First World War, at this morning’s remembrance ceremony. Photo: Andy Spearman.

For the families of the deceased who were there this morning to remember grandfathers and great grandfathers who had fallen in battle it was indeed poignant to see their names forever engraved on the monument.  

Two Drogheda women who were there to remember family members were Sabrina Kierans and Maeve Holly who proudly held medals, photos and other memorabilia of two brothers Patrick and John Clarke who were from Patrick Street in Drogheda.

Patrick was a Private in the second battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment, he was killed in action on Wednesday 20 September 1914, he was 35. John Clarke was also a Private in the same regiment, he died on 28 October 1917, his age was not recorded.

Another family member of one of the deceased stumbled on today’s ceremony by accident. Edward Nolan lives in San Francisco but is currently on one of his regular visits to Drogheda. He had just returned a rental car to a hire company on the Dublin Road and was walking back into town when he came across the ceremony.

One of Edward’s ancestors, a Michael Keegan, was killed during the war, he was from Drogheda and married into the Anderson family who ran a store in West Street. He refused to join the British army but joined the Canadian Army instead because, like many young men of the time, he was an idealist and wanted to fight for an everlasting peace.

The British Defence Attaché to Ireland, Colonel Darren Doherty, lays a wreath in Drogheda this morning. Photo: Andy Spearman.

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