Gorey in WW1 : Local history by Brian and Mary Kenny

This history of Gorey in WW1 is a local history publication by Brian and Mary Kenny. It examines the impact of the first world war on Gorey, County Wexford and the rural town lands that surround it.

2014 marked the centenary of the outbreak of WW1 and this is one of number of publications — local, national and international — reflecting on the Great War.

Although many young Irish men enlisted in regiments such as the Royal Irish Fusiliers, Royal Munster Fusiliers, the Royal Field Artillery, the Irish Guard, the Connaught Rangers to name but a few,  it is only in recent times that their service is being recognised in Ireland. And yet, as Brian and Mary Kenny demonstrate in their account of Gorey in WW1 North Wexford, many Irish families suffered the loss of their young men who were killed in action.

History of Gorey men in WW1

In News from the Front: Gorey and the Great War Brian and Mary Kenny draw on local newspapers, letters home from the soldiers and various other sources to produce a short, illustrated and highly readable account of how ordinary families were affected. Through a series of poignant glimpses into the lives of young men — mostly aged 19-40  who were ‘called to the colours’ in 1914 — they show the extent that local townlands were seeing their young men join up and head to the trenches. For a contemporary reader, it is shocking that so many of the young men of Gorey in WW1 who served and lost their lives and whose stories are included in this book were still in their teens. Among them is the story of a boy by the name of John Henry Gratten Esmonde who, aged 15, in January 1915 in a letter to his father, the MP Thomas H Esmonde set out a detailed and very well written description of an encounter between the Invincible, and a German ship, the Scharnhorst, off the Falkland Islands on December 8th 1915 which resulted in the sinking of the Scharnhorst. Like so many of the young men who signed up and served this Esmonde boy was killed in action before he had reached his eighteenth birthday. The book includes a casualty list giving the name, regiment, date of death and home townland of the individuals listed. It also provides a regimental index. For anyone with an interest in the history of County Wexford — particularly the Gorey area — this is a book to add to your collection. At the time of writing News from the Front : Gorey and the Great War is available from some local Gorey retailers.