THE MARKS ON the map above are actually connected in a very localised way.
Each indicates the location where soldiers who perished in World War I are commemorated. Each of the deceased are linked by a common birthplace – Limerick, Ireland.
Historian Liam Hogan took on the project of mapping the places where each Limerick casualty is honoured to communicate the extent of the county’s losses during World War I.
He says: “This was one of the most traumatic events in Limerick’s history since the Great Famine. Over 1,000 violent deaths, the vast majority occurring out of sight of relatives and friends.
“We have sought to visually represent the scale of the death toll through a series of interactive maps.”
By clicking on the placemark, the names of those who lost their lives will appear.
Each mark is coded by age and a GPS coordinate has been generated.
Hogan has also developed a set of maps to show where each of the men enlisted.
“Spanning three continents, the distribution is striking. As expected, the majority enlisted in Limerick,” he explains.
“We have also included a list and scans of the WWI obituaries that appeared in the Limerick Chronicle, links to the service records of the hundreds of Limerick men who enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF), as well as presenting the source data (including links to the CWGC records of each casualty) that we used to create the various maps, and much more.”
Not only is the project an impressive academic project, scrolling through the battlefields, names, ages and details of relatives elevate the map from mere statistics to a genuine memorial.
Lance Corporal John Nash appears as the youngest casualty from Limerick. He was just 16 years old when he died of wounds received on the 27 February 1916.
He was a son of Martin and Jane Nash of 9 John Street in Limerick city and one of 3,004 commonwealth burials at Bethune Town Cemetery in France.
Limerick did not just lose soldiers though.
“Understandably when people think of casualties suffered during World War One they associate this with infantry,” Hogan tells TheJournal.ie. “But there were many medical staff, chaplains and volunteers killed during the conflict.”
The county lost volunteers Mary Daly and Agnes McMahon, as well as staff nurses Mary Danaher, Elizabeth Grace Stewart and Anna Maud Barry.
Mary Danaher, from Athea, was buried and commemorated in Gaza. Elizabeth Stewart, 31, was born and raised in the city and her family ran a jewellery store on O’Connell Street.
Anna Maud Barry, a 26-year-old from Ballyneety, was killed in the RMS Leinster disaster as she returned to Sutton-Veney Military Hospital in Wilshire. She is buried in Rockstown cemetery in Limerick and her epitaph reads:
Anna Maud Barry V.A.D. St John’s Ambulance Brigade. Aged 26 years rests here having had her charitable career ended by a foul act the sinking of the RMS Leinster in the Irish Sea, 10 October 1918.
Four chaplains are also named on the map – Reverends Patrick Dore, Jeremiah Austin Hartigan, Bernard Kavanagh and Cornelius McAuliffe.
Rev. Dore, from Newcastle West, served with the New Zealand Chaplain’s Department at Gallipoli. He was attached to the Auckland Mounted Rifles when he was wounded. He was evacuated back to New Zealand where he later died.
Rev. Hartigan is commemorated in the Amara War Cemetery in Iraq. The Croom man was 33 years old when he died.
Limerick city native Rev. Kavanagh died of wounds received from a Turkish sniper as he ministered a soldier. He was 53 years old and is buried at the Jerusalem War Cemetery.
A number of civilian casualties are also recorded on the maps.
Hogan explains: ”When the RMS Leinster was sunk by a German submarine just four miles from Dublin Bay on the 10 October 1918, it resulted in the greatest single loss of life in the Irish sea.
Among the 500 casualties of this attack were Catherine Gould and her six children – Alice, Angela, May, Michael and Olive. They were on their way to be reunited with their father who worked at a munitions factory in England.
The children were aged between 12 months and 20 years old.
All seven were drowned but one of the family – the second eldest daughter Essie – survived.
The most deadly day for Limerick was recorded on 9 May 1915. Thirty of the county’s men were killed in action while fighting for the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers. The Battle for Aubers Ridge, a British offensive on the Western Front, was a strategic disaster with the forces suffering more than 10,000 casualties in one day.
All 30 Limerick men are commemorated at the Le Touret Memorial in France.
The maps were created following research by local historians Des Ryan and the late Patrick McNamara, who wrote a book, The Widow’s Penny, where their findings were compiled.
According to Hogan that data was verified with some errors corrected using more resources. Hogan also extended thanks to Barry Brien, Marie Stakelum, Grainne Keane, Dr Tadhg Moloney and Damian Shiels “for all they’ve done to get this project off the ground”.
Interested in Limerick. Follow the Limerick City Library Local History project at @Limerick1914 on Twitter.