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…

Sounds of a life

As I wrote about some of Patrick’s experiences in the Great War, I started to think about the sounds that would have been familiar to him in a time of peace. The railway came to Roscommon in 1860. If you had not previously seen any form of transport larger, or faster, than a horse drawn…

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,…

Wilfred Owen and Patrick Stanley

Patrick Stanley was posted to France to re-join the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment on 13th November 1916. He would have been just one of a number of ordinary soldiers sent as replacements for the casualties incurred. As such his arrival was not noteworthy in any way. It is extremely doubtful if there were…

Poetry Please – Part 2

At school I studied poetry as part of the English Literature course. Having to analyse, criticise and deconstruct poems can drain the joy from reading them. Despite this handicap, there is one poem that sticks in my mind from that time. I read avidly, and have done so from an early age. My local library…