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Battle of the Somme

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Germans recall Somme ‘bloodbath’

Germans recall Somme ‘bloodbath’

Paris, 30 November 1916 - German soldiers at a remove from the front and the German general public at home were well aware of the horrors prevailing in France when the British and French launched a joint offensive along the River Somme earlier this year. This has been disclosed in a recent...

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FEATURE: Tom Kettle’s words of war

FEATURE: Tom Kettle’s words of war

‘Tom Kettle was horrified first by the Rising and then by the executions which followed the Rising. When he came to meet his beloved daughter, she fled from his presence. He was wearing his British uniform and soldiers wearing that uniform had searched Betty's home and sharply interrogated...

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Irish regiments lauded for victory at Guillemont and Ginchy

Irish regiments lauded for victory at Guillemont and Ginchy

Somme, 11 September 1916 - The extraordinary achievement of Irish troops in seizing the French villages of Guillemont and Ginchy has drawn plaudits from military and press observers who have been amazed at the speed and thoroughness of their success. The villages of Guillemont and Ginchy lie at the southern end of...

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Somme film a major attraction in Dublin

Somme film a major attraction in Dublin

Dublin, 12 September 1916 - A new film showing images of British operations at the Somme has been playing to large audiences at Dublin’s Theatre Royal. It is not a film for everyone – and certainly not ‘for little children’. However, The Irish Times considers that ‘men...

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Letters from the front: Frank Gunning

Letters from the front: Frank Gunning

Frank Gunning was born in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh in 1894. After the outbreak of war in August 1914 he enlisted, along with his brother George to the 7th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. After training in the Curragh Camp, they were sent to Gallipoli in May 1915.  While at Gallipoli Frank...

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Heroic Ulster Division suffer huge losses at the Somme

Heroic Ulster Division suffer huge losses at the Somme

The Somme, 11 July 1916 - Much of the province of Ulster is in mourning after the 36th (Ulster) Division suffered devastating losses British and French offensive at the Somme as part of the ‘big push’ that took place on 1 July. The Ulster men, who had been preparing for weeks...

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Somme slaughter dampens Twelfth Celebrations

Somme slaughter dampens Twelfth Celebrations

Belfast, 13 July 1916 - This year’s Twelfth of July celebrations were like none experienced in living memory. There were no drums beating and no Orange sashes worn on the streets of Belfast and the city fell silent for five minutes as a mark of respect for the men of 3...

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Somme Voices: The Sons of Ulster

Somme Voices: The Sons of Ulster

"The whistle blew, it was over the top, we kept running on. At first all went well, then the German machine-gunners opened up and killed and wounded hundreds of our boys. And then a kind of disorder set in. To me it seemed more like a riot than a battle." ...

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Ulster Unionism and the Somme

Ulster Unionism and the Somme

Almost 2,000 soldiers from the 36th Ulster Division died on the first day of the Somme campaign. When it was withdrawn from the line, the division had won a reputation as courageous soldiers. The men had actually broken through the German lines, unlike most of the British infantry on that bloody...

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A Somme Story – the last letters of Thomas Gordon Fitzpatrick

A Somme Story – the last letters of Thomas Gordon Fitzpatrick

Late last year I sat with Belinda Curtis in her kitchen in Greystones, Co. Wicklow as she brought out three large folders, marked ‘1914’, ‘1915’ and ‘1916’. The folders, full of her great-grandfather’s letters from the First World War, were in remarkably good condition and...

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Letters from the front: Thomas Gordon Fitzpatrick

Letters from the front: Thomas Gordon Fitzpatrick

Thomas Gordon Fitzpatrick was born in Dublin in 1880. He was the younger son of Reverend William and Euphemia Fitzpatrick. He married Ethel Francis Macready in 1900 and they lived in Mount Pleasant Square, Ranelagh in Dublin. Together they had nine children: Aileen, William, Doreen, Desmond, Sheila, Terence, Pat, Jack and...

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Ireland and the Battle of the Somme

Ireland and the Battle of the Somme

It used to be a Roman road, hence the arrow-like straightness. Today it is the D929. You will pass cemeteries, British, Australian and Canadian war memorials and a cafe called Le Tommy.  Even for a superannuated MAMIL (Middle-aged man in lycra to the uninitiated) it takes barely 30 minutes to...

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Major offensive begins along the Somme

Major offensive begins along the Somme

The Somme, 5 July 1916 - A major British and French offensive has begun on the Western Front. The combined attack was commenced beneath cloudless skies at 7.30 a.m. on Friday, July 1st, along a 25 mile stretch bordering the River Somme in France. It comes in the wake of a major bombardment...

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Q & A: The First World War

Q & A: The First World War

Why did the First World War break out? The immediate cause of the war was the assassination by Bosnian Serb conspirators of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, on 28 June 1914. The ensuing diplomatic crisis is known as the July crisis. By late July, Austria-Hungary had declared war...

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War in Europe!

War in Europe!

Paris, 11 August 1914 - The major powers in Europe are now at war, with reports of heavy fighting on several fronts. Battles between French and German troops around Altkirch have resulted in up to 100 French troops being killed or wounded, with more casualties on the German side. The position of German...

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