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Letters from the front: Thomas Gordon Fitzpatrick
Thomas Gordon Fitzpatrick Photo: Private collection

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 Deirdre. During this time Thomas worked in the office of railway company LNWR  in North Wall. 

Soon after the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 Thomas enlisted to the 8th Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers. They were formed in September 1914 in Armagh, moving then to Tipperary for training and to join the 16th Division. After further training in Pirbright, Surrey in September 1915, they shipped out to France in February 1916 to take part in the Battle of the Somme.

Thomas was promoted to temporary Captain in May 1916 but was killed in action during a push across a road near a village called Combles, into Leuze wood on the 6 September 1916. He was 36 years old and is buried at Serre Road cemetery, Somme, France.

Below is a selection of letters sent by Thomas to Ethel during his time at war. He wrote almost every day between his enlistment and his death but these give a snapshot of his time at the front during the Somme. 

19 June 1916

Thomas writes to Ethel to tell her not to worry about him and hopes they will have many years together. 

1 July 1916 

Thomas writes to Ethel about his youngest daughter getting her first tooth and that he was happy to receive the family's photographs from their trip to Kingstown but otherwise he has no news. 

13 July 1916

Thomas writes home about a successful raid his battalion made recently. 

16 July 1916

Thomas writes about needing boots, a new uniform and an officer in their camp who has a VC. 

19 July 1916

Thomas writes to Ethel about a medal she received for her services with the Red Cross during Easter week 1916. 


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.