Forum Eerste Wereldoorlog Forum Index Forum Eerste Wereldoorlog
Hét WO1-forum voor Nederland en Vlaanderen
 FAQFAQ   ZoekenZoeken   GebruikerslijstGebruikerslijst   WikiWiki   RegistreerRegistreer 
 ProfielProfiel   Log in om je privé berichten te bekijkenLog in om je privé berichten te bekijken   InloggenInloggen   Actieve TopicsActieve Topics 

Neil’s tribute to Ireland’s WW1 soldiers

Plaats nieuw bericht   Plaats Reactie    Forum Eerste Wereldoorlog Forum Index -> Het Britse Leger en de Commonwealth eenheden Actieve Topics
Vorige onderwerp :: Volgende onderwerp  
Auteur Bericht

Geregistreerd op: 28-3-2005
Berichten: 7633
Woonplaats: Brabant

BerichtGeplaatst: 15 Mrt 2011 22:17    Onderwerp: Neil’s tribute to Ireland’s WW1 soldiers Reageer met quote

Neil’s tribute to Ireland’s WW1 soldiers
by Eilis Ryan
Comments (0) | Print | Email
The first shot fired in World War 1 was fired by an Irishman; the first Victoria Cross awarded in that war went to a Westmeath man, and in total approximately 200,000 Irishmen fought in that three year battle.

Among them was Martin Gaffey, from Athlone - and Martin was one of the staging points along writer Neil Richardson’s journey of fascination with World War 1, for he was Neil’s great grandfather.

“The First World War was always a subject I used to love to read about, and then I found out my great grandfather was in the war and he was from Athlone, and I thought it was quite interesting, what happened to him, and I realised there must be thousands of other stories like that.”

As it turned out, there were.

“I went about writing letters to newspapers, and the papers published an appeal for people with stories to contact me,” says Neil.

Out of that appeal came “several hundred” replies - some from people as far away as New Zealand and the United States. Since there are now understood to be no veterans of WW1 still living, the stories came from their descendants; often sons or daughters, and consequently, often quite elderly, and glad to have the chance to have their ancestors’ stories preserved in print, their memories honoured.

“The majority of the people contacting me were pensioners. Their own children and grandhildren wouldn’t know these stories, and if the elderly person doesn’t pass on those stories, they’re gone forever. In fact one woman who gave me a story, she passed away two years ago.”

As it happens, a lot of the stories that came to Niall related to Westmeath people - among them, Lieutenant Maurice Dease, who came from near Coole, and is the man who won the aforementioned first Victoria Cross of WW1.

“Ninety per cent of the stories are from people who contacted me, but Dease was one of the stories I wanted done. His bravery is incredible.”

It wasn’t that surprising that so many of the stories should have come from Westmeath as, he points out, Mullingar and Athlone were - and indeed still are - garrison towns.

With so many stories coming his way, Neil admits he had to make choices: “I wanted to include every story, but there were just so many. So I started choosing ones that were ‘symbolic’.”

He found many of the stories that were given to him very moving. “It’s not just cold fact,” he says, citing how those telling him stories would often, typically, say something like: “My father, whenever he would tell me this story, would break down crying.”

“A lot of the time I got personal details of what happened them after the war,” he says, adding that a lot of those who did take part in the war wound up shellshocked.

“What I set out to do was not to take a political angle on it, because of the hot potato it is,” he says, and he adds that analysing the war is a complex issue.

Quite obviously, as he puts it, war is a “futile, horrible, senseless waste”.

“Is warfare justified? I don’t really go into it and I personally couldn’t answer it,” he says.


While Tyrrellspass has been Neil’s home now for a few years, he comes originally from Tallaght. But his mother having come from Athlone originally, he has a strong affinity with the area, and was delighted to move here. That move came through his relationship with the woman who is now his wife - Caroline Barry, herself a published writer, and whose family came from Tyrrellspass. Caroline works for the County Councils in Westmeath, Offaly and Longford, running creative writing classes for young people.

Now, the couple live in Cloneyheigue, two writers together.

“A lot of people refer to it as a hobby. but it’s an addiction, and it’s nice having someone who understands that you might want to just spend six or seven hours at the laptop,” he says.

“A Coward If I Return, A Hero If I Fail” is Neil’s first published book, but he is also a playwright, and two of his plays, “Throught the Dark Clouds Shining” and “From the Shannon to the Somme” are inspired by stories from his book.

At the moment, he’s taking a breather, waiting for a new project to “grab” him, and he may turn his hand to fiction.

Gr P
Wie achter de kudde aanloopt, sjouwt altijd door de stront.
Naar boven
Bekijk gebruikers profiel Stuur privé bericht

Geregistreerd op: 5-11-2009
Berichten: 6982
Woonplaats: Uaso Monte

BerichtGeplaatst: 16 Mrt 2011 7:43    Onderwerp: Re: Neil’s tribute to Ireland’s WW1 soldiers Reageer met quote

Pegoud @ 15 Mrt 2011 22:17 schreef:
... in that three year battle.
“A Coward If I Return, A Hero If I Fail” is Neil’s first published book...

3? Cool

Anyway, hier is het boek waar het over gaat:

Naar boven
Bekijk gebruikers profiel Stuur privé bericht Verstuur mail
Berichten van afgelopen:   
Plaats nieuw bericht   Plaats Reactie    Forum Eerste Wereldoorlog Forum Index -> Het Britse Leger en de Commonwealth eenheden Tijden zijn in GMT + 1 uur
Pagina 1 van 1

Ga naar:  
Je mag geen nieuwe onderwerpen plaatsen
Je mag geen reacties plaatsen
Je mag je berichten niet bewerken
Je mag je berichten niet verwijderen
Ja mag niet stemmen in polls

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group