Project seeks details on Irish survivors of WW1

Tue, Mar 13, 2012, 00:00

THE GRAND-NIECE of a war veteran has started a project to gather details of everyone from Ireland who returned home alive from the first World War.

Sabina Purcell plans to complete the all-island project in time for the centenary of the war in 2014.

While estimates vary, she thinks 100,000-150,000 men and women from the island of Ireland came home from the 1914-1918 war. A further 49,400 died in the war, according to the Irish National War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge.

Ms Purcell is seeking details about people who served in the Irish, British and Colonial regiments, the Navy and the Flying Corps, as well as nurses and the Voluntary Aid Detachment, a group of people, mostly women, who provided medical assistance.

She got the idea after she became interested in her grand-aunt Elizabeth O’Malley’s involvement in the war. She visited the memorial gardens in Islandbridge last November and began looking for a list of the returned and was surprised one did not exist.

The UK National Archives told her it held records that covered the island of Ireland’s involvement in the war but did not have a comprehensive list. “This is a similar position with the Irish National Archives. In addition, there are various regimental lists but no comprehensive list of returned home.”

Ms Purcell said she felt these people had been forgotten.

*Send service details to PO Box 12186, Blackrock, Co Dublin, or see thereturnedww1.com