Third Ypres

Some historians call it the Battle of Passchendaele. Some call it the Third Battle of Ypres. The fact that three battles were fought in the same area is significant. It serves to emphasise the static nature of much of the Great War. Patrick fought in the Second Battle of Ypres, in 1915 (covered in ‘After…

Following in the footsteps

I visited Roscommon in 2014. I wanted to see for myself the places that my grandfather Patrick would have called home. I wanted to stand where he had stood. I wanted to walk where he had walked. The photos that I took on that trip have featured in these articles at regular intervals. In 2018…

Bogs in Belgium

According to my Ordnance Survey Ireland map, Clooneenbaun in County Roscommon (where members of my family lived until 1908) sits on the 70 metre contour line. Lough Creevin, I km to the north, is 64 metres above sea level. Lough Slye, just south of the N61 is at 57 metres. As explained, and illustrated, in…

Ancre

At regular intervals, I have to remind myself that these blogs are primarily focused on one man. That man is Patrick Stanley, who was born in rural Roscommon in 1883. He was my grandfather. He played a part in these events. World history perhaps, but also personal history. War Diaries are full of a whole…

Serving again – 1916

In his first period of service, Patrick had the service number 7994. When he re-joined he was given a new number: 37708. There are a number of interesting details on the form. (Interesting to me at least!) It might have been expected that Patrick would have returned to his relatives in Dewsbury when he was…

Conscription

A wave of patriotic fervour swept the country when war was declared in August 1914. Thousands of men, in every part of the country, responded to Lord Kitchener’s call for volunteers. Over one million men had enlisted by January 1915. And by January 1915, it was clear that, far from being ‘all over by Christmas’,…

After Brighton

Patrick was evacuated from France on 15th October 1914. After time being treated at the 2nd Eastern General Hospital in Brighton, he was posted to the 3rd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment on 6th January 1915. At that time, they were based in Cleethorpes, on the East Coast of England. In the minds of many,…

Casualties of War

One of the consistent elements of the story that my father passed on concerns the fate of other relatives in the Great War. Patrick is said to have met other family members whilst in the Army. At least a couple of these did not survive. One version said that these were brothers. His Irish born…

Definitely not Saint Patrick

60% of the service records for soldiers from the Great War were lost in a fire during the Second World War. Fortunately, in terms of my research, those for Patrick Stanley were amongst the other 40%. My main interest, when I accessed the record for the first time, was to find Patrick’s place of birth.…

North West Frontier

Many countries that appear on modern maps are relatively recent creations. Some peoples hold to the belief that no one owns land. We are all transient tenants. They have a point. Belgium was created in 1830. The map of Africa was mainly drawn in the 19th century. Much of the Middle East had lines drawn…