Legal profession honours members of the Bar killed in the first World War

Tom Kettle and Willie Redmond among 26 barristers who died in WW1


A ceremony has taken place to remember the members of the Bar who were killed in the first World War.

One in five Irish barristers who signed up to serve were killed in the war. Some 126 barristers enlisted (42 per cent) out of the total Irish Bar membership of 300 at the time of the outbreak of the war.

Some of the best known Irish fatalities of the first World War were members of the Bar including the former Irish Party MP and academic Tom Kettle and Willie Redmond, the brother of Irish Party leader John Redmond. Major Willie Redmond, who was called to the Bar but never practiced, was one of the oldest Irish fatalities of the war. He was 56 when he was killed at the Battle of Messines Ridge on June 7th, 1917.

Other barristers killed included Poole Hickman who was with D company of the 7th battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, the so-called “posh pals” drawn from Dublin’s middle classes and Lieutenant Ernest Julian who was Reid Professor of Law at Trinity College Dublin. Both were killed in Gallipoli.

A remembrance ceremony was held in the Four Courts featuring the Bar of Ireland and the Bar of Northern Ireland.

Council of the Bar of Ireland chairman Michéal O’Higgins SC said the effect of the Great War had been “devastating” on the legal profession in Ireland.

He said: “Like other professions, there were those amongst the members of the Bar who sought to play their part in what they saw as a fight for freedom and the protection of small nations.”

He also noted that the first practicing female barrister admitted to the Bar, Averil Deverell, drove with the ambulance corps in France.

Chief Justice of Ireland, Frank Clarke who was also in attendance at the ceremony along with the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, Sir Declan Morgan said they were honoured to “commemorate those brave and heroic members of the Irish Bar that fought in World War 1. It is only proper to acknowledge their selfless service in the pursuit of peace”.

A number of other commemorative initiatives including an exhibition in memory of the 25 barristers who died in World War 1 was also launched t and will be on view to the public in the Four Courts beside the memorial sculpture.