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Lest We Forget

MICHAEL McCARTHY (1893 – 1918)

MICHAEL STACK (1887 – 1916)
MICHAEL REGAN (1890 – 1915)

“When the guns fell silent on 11th November 1918, the Great War had claimed the lives of 50,000 Irishmen, while many thousands more were wounded or maimed. On demobilisation, 248,000 men returned to Ireland, and based on the number of Irishmen serving in the allied armies of America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, historians estimate that almost 500,000 Irishmen served during the Great War 1914 – 1918.

In Ireland, during the years which followed the war, the memory of their great sacrifice and their countless deeds of heroism and valour became lost in what the historian F.X. Martin called “the great oblivion”, a form of  national amnesia. “The emergence of the Irish State, and the rise in nationalist sentiment eclipsed what was perceived as anti-Irish, including the memory of those Irishmen who had fought on the battlefields of Flanders, France, Gallipoli, Macedonia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Palestine.”

MICHAEL STACK (1887 – 1916)
MICHAEL REGAN (1890 – 1915)

Lance -Corporal Michael Stack 8th batt. Royal Munster Fusiliers no. 1211 son of William and Margaret Stack of Egmont, Churchtown killed on 20th July 1916 aged 29.

Private Michael Regan 1st batt. Royal Munster Fusiliers no.9395 son of Michael and Mary Regan, Mount Bridget, Churchtown killed on 9th May 1915 aged 25.

[Our thanks to Collete Collins for information on Michael Stack and Michael Regan].

(1893 – 1918)

Private 7057, 2nd Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers
Private 40126, 2nd Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers
Son of Mrs. Kate McCarthy, of Churchtown,
Buttevant, Co. Cork.
Died Saturday, 19th October 1918, aged 25.

Michael McCarthy died on Saturday, 19th October 1918, aged 25 from wounds received during the Battle of the River Selle, near Le Cateau, France. Born in Churchtown and raised in the first house to the right of the Pound Corner in the village, he enlisted at Mallow in the 2nd Battalion., Royal Munster Fusiliers. He later served with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He is buried in Roisel Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France. (Grave Reference IC 25).

Roisel is a small town 11 kilometres east of Peronne. It was occupied by British troops in April, 1917, recaptured by the Germans on 22nd March, 1918 and finally retaken by the British in the following September. Roisel Communal Cemetery Extension, which was begun by German troops, was developed in October and November, 1918, by the 41st, 48th, 53rd and 58th Casualty Clearing Stations, and it was completed after the Armistice by the concentration of British and German graves from the country North, East and South of Roisel. There are now over 850, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site.

An interesting fact is that Michael McCarthy had two different regimental numbers. This was quite common as men were transferred between regiments to fill gaps in the ranks following particularly heavy casualties. Also when Michael was seriously wounded while fighting with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, his battalion was in action alongside his old comrades from the Royal Munster Fusiliers.

In World War I, the Royal Munster Fusiliers raised a total of 11 battalions from the pre-war two regular and two reserve battalions. The regiment won 51 battle honours and three Victoria Crosses but lost 3,070 casualties.

An excellent history of the Royal Munster Fusiliers as well as that of other Irish regiments in the Great War may be found at the Dungarvan Museum Society

(1892 – 1916)

2nd Battalion., Irish Guards attd., Machine Gun Corps (Inf)
Son of M. J. and Anna Purcell, of Burton Park, Churchtown.
Died Friday, 15th September 1916, aged 24

Charles Purcell was a Lieutenant in the  2nd Battalion., Irish Guards and was attached to the Machine Gun Corps (Inf).  He was killed during a large scale attack at Ginchy on the Somme. As part of this attack the Second Battalion Irish Guards was tasked with capturing the village of Les Boeufs. A preliminary British artillery bombardment failed to cut German barbed wire or destroy well dug-in machine guns. Fighting alongside the Grenadier Guards, Scots Guards, and Coldstream Guards, the 2nd Battalion Irish Guards gained about 800 yards but failed to take Les Boeufs. This gain cost the battalion 300 casualties, including three officers killed and five wounded. Les Boeufs was finally captured by the Guards Division on 25th September.

Charles Purcell is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France (Pier and Face 5 C and 12 C). The Thiepval Memorial which is located just off the main Bapaume to Albert road commemorates over 70,000 names of soldiers killed during World War 1 with no known grave.


Royal Irish Constabulary
Died 12th February, 1921, aged 23.

Patrick Joseph Walsh came from  Turloughbeg, Rossmuck, Co Galway and was killed on patrol on February 12th 1921 in Churchtown village. A native of the Connemara Gaeltacht Partick was an early victim of “The Troubles”. It is said that when his mother came to Churchtown to reclaim his body for burial in Rossmuc, as a native Irish speaker, she was unable to speak English.