War memorial books recall Irish soldiers in Gallipoli campaign
Conservation work completed on memorial records, illustrated by Harry Clarke
Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works Simon Harris viewing the restored memorial books at the War Memorial Gardens, Islandbridge, yesterday, with Sarah McCartan, paper conservator, Marsh’s Library.
The devastating impact on Ireland of the Gallipoli campaign was illustrated at the War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge, Dublin, yesterday where a special ceremony was held.
The event was to mark the completion of the conservation work on memorial books listing the Irish war dead, completed in the aftermath of the conflict.
Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW), Simon Harris, formally welcomed the hand- over of the restored volumes.
In honour of the Minister, pages containing the names of young men called Harris who died in the war were left open for him to read. Three Irish soldiers named Harris perished in the Gallipoli campaign.
Private John Harris of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers was listed as killed in action in the Balkans on September 23rd, 1916. Another private John Harris of the Royal Munster Fusiliers was killed in action in Greek Macedonia on October 3rd, 1916, while Norman Harris, corporal with the Australian Imperial Fusiliers, was killed in action in the Dardanelles.
Sean Connolly of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association pointed out 3,400 Irish men died in the campaign, which cost the lives of 7,000 Australians and 2,000 New Zealanders.
A memorial cross in honour of the 10th Irish Division was erected at Rabrovo, in what is now the independent country of Macedonia.
The conservation project was commissioned by the OPW in 2012, with the work being done by the conservation department at Marsh’s Library in Dublin.
The rolls of honour consist of eight volumes, containing 3,177 pages, illustrated by Harry Clarke. The records were compiled in 1923 and copies were available in libraries in the Imperial War Museum, Vatican Library, the Library of Congress and the State Archive, Brussels.
The volumes record the names of Irish people who fought for the allied armies from 1914 to 1918 and also include names of English soldiers who fought in Irish regiments.
The illustrations by Harry Clarke depict a combination of Celtic and Art Deco motifs, medals and badges, war panoramas, and religious and mythical scenes.
“These wonderful gardens, as designed by Sir Edward Lutyens and managed by my office, are a fine memorial to the 49,400 Irish soldiers who lost their lives in the Great War. I am proud that these beautifully illustrated volumes have now been returned to the gardens.”