The Rev. Donal Vincent O’Sullivan Chaplain to R.I.R KIA at Somme 1916

#OnThisDay 1916 The Rev. Donal Vincent O’Sullivan, a professor of Theology from Killarney, was killed in action during the attack on Bouzincourt at the Somme, He was killed by a shell, which exploded beside him as he as a Chaplain was giving the Last Rites to a wounded soldier (who survived the war). Rev C.T. McGuinness of the 76th Ambulance Brigade wrote that Fr O’Sullivan was quite fearless and would face any danger to give the sacraments to the wounded and dying. O’Sullivan was the chaplain to 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles but seconded to the Loyal North Lancastrian Regiment at time of death. Half of the chaplains that went to war never came back.

Chaplain 4th Class The Rev. Donal Vincent O'sullivan

Shelling of the Millmount, Drogheda 1922

#OnThisDay 1922 Free State begin shelling Millmount Fort, Drogheda using 18 pounder guns that were previously used against the Four Courts in Dublin. The Fort took heavy damage & after several hours of bombardment the Anti – Treaty garrison surrendered. The tower was destroyed and the Anti Treaty forces were routed. This was the last attack in history by artillery on a castle or Fort in Ireland or Britain.


Captain Oswald Brooke Webb 11th Royal Irish Rifles at Somme 1916

#OnThisDay 1916 Captain Oswald Brooke Webb 11th Royal Irish Rifles, died of wounds on the 3rd (CWGC says 4th) July 1916 from abdominal wounds received in 1st July – the record says he was hit ‘the very moment our men slipped over parapet.’  He was taken to the Casualty Clearing Station and an officer there who knew him wrote to his brother and said,  ‘I saw him when he was brought into hospital, and thought he looked pretty bad, but he was quite conscious, and not suffering any pain. I was talking to him for a few minutes and he told me he got hit before he got past our wire. He was very pleased with the way his men went forward, and seemed quite cheerful’.

He was born on the 23 June 1880 and the son of late Charles James Webb, Old Bleach Linen Company, Randalstown and his wife Charlotte Ellen Brooke.  The couple had married in 1869.

Oswald Webb was married and he and his wife Kathleen had a 12 year old son. Captain Webb had written to him at boarding school from Martinsart on 30th June. He said, ‘My Dear Patrick, Just a line to let you know I am all right … I hope you are getting on well at school … Write good long letters to your mother, your ever loving father.’

He is buried in Warloy Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme.

Webb O B smal

George Washington’s Praise for Ireland

When our friendless standards were first unfurled, who were the strangers who first mustered around our staff, and when it reeled in the light, who more brilliantly sustained it than Erin’s generous sons. Ireland, thou friend of my country in my country’s most friendless days, much injured, much enduring land, accept this poor tribute from one who esteems thy worth, and mourns thy desolation. May the God of Heaven, in His justice and mercy, grant thee more prosperous fortunes, and in His own time, cause the sun of Freedom to shed its benign radiance on the Emerald Isle.

It is estimated that one-third to one-half of George Washington’s army were Irish born or first-generation, including 1,492 officers and 26 generals, 15 of whom were Irish natives, chief among them Commodore John Barry (pictured left), from County Wexford, who became the “Father of the U.S. Navy.”

George Washington

Captain Noel Lemass Abducted and Executed in Dublin 1923

#OnThisDay 1923 Noel Lemass,  a veteran of the Easter Rising (where he and his younger brother Seán fought in the GPO), a member of Dublin’s 3rd Battalion IRA during the War of Independence and during the Civil War he took the Anti-Treaty side, once again fighting alongside his brother at the Four Courts.

Taken prisoner at the fall of the Four Courts,  Noel was imprisoned but managed to escape and made his way to England. He returned to Ireland once the Civil War end but was abducted by an officer of the Free State Army in broad daylight & executed. His mutilated body was discovered three months later in the Wicklow mountains showing signs of torture, his left arm fractured, his right foot missing and that the 26 year old was shot in the head at least three times. Rumours spread that it was one of the Dalton brothers but it was most likely Captain James Murray of the Free State Army who was responsible. Murray also killed military policeman James Bergin in 1925. He was sentenced to death but then commuted to life imprisonment.

Noel’s brother Seán was Taoiseach from 1959-1966. The Lemass years as they were known were times of economic boom for Ireland.

Noel LeMass