If Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, in an effort to put as much distance
between himself and his Irish origins, ever actually maintained that being born
in a barn did not make one a horse, by the same criterion being born in Co
Louth does not make one a Louth man or woman. Louth had a large transient
population at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century
made up of industrial, commercial and agricultural labourers, also soldiers and
policemen, who stayed for relatively short periods, had children, and then moved
along elsewhere. Realistically their connection with County Louth was tenuous
and temporary, however the demands of army enlistment required that the place of
birth of each recruit should be recorded, and it is on that criterion that many
names are included. Conversely, by accident rather than design, men may be
excluded who were born elsewhere but established themselves in the county,
raised families and still have direct descendants in Louth. There are also,
particularly in the Drogheda area, those whose postal address may have been in
Louth, but in fact lived in Co Meath, like Major Francis Cairnes or Captain
Thomas Cairnes of Stameen, whose family was enmeshed with the business and
social life of Drogheda and County Louth, and continued to be for decades.
Inclusion of such people in this list might have some reaching for the smelling
salts, but arguing about inclusion can become an exercise in pedantry; the
objective of this list is not only to commemorate but also to highlight the
impact that the War had on the community in general, and communities are not
conveniently defined by county boundaries.
These so-called outsiders form only a small portion of the overall. I have begun
to use online resources to flesh out the original information: so far I have
tackled A to C. Of the 347 names in that group, 10 are non-resident or have no
connection with County Louth; 58 have no address indicated; 140 have been
confirmed by census returns or enlistment declarations to have been born in or
resident in Louth; unconfirmed addresses are given for 139.
The origins of this nominal list lay in the research undertaken for my book The
Unreturned Army, County Louth Dead of the Great War 1914-1918. In
all 816 local fatalities were identified and I also recorded approximately 1,400
other servicemen from Co Louth who were serving in various branches of the armed
forces. While the dead were remembered in my book, those who survived were not.
This list is an attempt to record those who served and survived, and it is not
There are three major sources. Firstly there were casualty lists, which were
published each week in the local newspapers. Secondly, local contemporaneous
publications have been important sources of information. For example, the Drogheda
the early months of 1916 published on a weekly basis an alphabetical list of men
from Drogheda and its environs, then serving in the armed forces. One version of
this list, that of 22 January 1916, has been published in the Journal of the Old
Drogheda Society (JODS) 1996 under the title ‘Drogheda
men who went to war’.
The information published here was drawn from the list published in the Drogheda
Advertiser of 15 April 1916. Tempest’s Annual, a Dundalk business
directory, published lists annually of servicemen from the Dundalk region of Co
Louth, which has also been drawn on extensively.
Thirdly has been recent local research, such as that carried out by Lynn
McDonnell of Drogheda who compiled War
Service list from St Peters (C of I), for
the JODS, 2000. I am very grateful to Lynn for her permission to include this
material, and for her enthusiasm for this project.
Having said that there are some on the list whose links to Louth are lost to me
– for instance Malcolm K Acheson or B R Anderson – but I justify their inclusion
here by the fact that they originally appeared on contemporaneous lists.
Information from the attestation papers of some 100 County Louth-born volunteers
or conscripts to the Canadian Army is now included. Being attested did not
necessarily mean acceptance into the forces, there is plentiful evidence
elsewhere of recruits being discharged within days or weeks of attestation due
to unsuitability. I have not included details of height, eye colour, chest
measurements and tattoos, for space reasons. This information is available
without charge, online from the Canadian National Archives website. Library and
Archives Canada will also copy military service records at reasonable cost if
you wish to know more about individual recruits. Also included are service
records details of some 60 Australian servicemen with Louth connections that can
be read in full in the National Archives of Australia website.
This list is an evolving project. If you are aware of someone who should be
added, please contact me at Louthgreatwar@gmail.com .
I am extremely grateful to those who have contacted me with suggestions,
amendments and new information.
Finally, there are still a few copies of The
Unreturned Army available;
for details contact me at Louthgreatwar@gmail.com for
1 October 2012