Sunday November 13th is going to be a very busy day for members of the Kilkenny Great War Memorial Committee.
It’s Remembrance Sunday and they have plans to hold two events.
At 12.30 pm at the memorial in the Peace Park a short ceremony will take place to remember those who died from Kilkenny in the Great War.
The ceremony will begin by the blowing of a whistle from the War, followed by hymns, poetry, calling the names of those who died in November and an individual story, wreath laying, pipers lament, Last Post and Reveille , with the National Anthem concluding the ceremony.
Later on in the evening at 7pm in the Home Rule Club a fundraising lecture by Larry Scallan will take place.
The lecture will focus on the inscriptions on the Kilkenny headstones, their wording symbolism and stories. The admission is 5 euros and it is to raise funds to engrave some new names of Kilkenny Men and Women who served in both World Wars on the memorials in Kilkenny. If you are unable to attend you can still donate to the fund by direct debit to the memorial account using the IBAN IE29BOF190606422546979 and BIC BOFIIE2D to help us raise the full amount.
Around this time 100 years ago families all over Ireland received Final Verification Forms from the Imperial War Graves Commission, requesting that information relating to the headstone of their loved one.
These headstones were being engraved and now there is an opportunity to add a personal inscription to the base of the headstone. The lecture will analyse the over 130 personal inscriptions returned by families who have loved ones remembered on the Kilkenny Great War Memorial.
It has to be considered that there were rules governing the personal inscription.
There could be no more than 66 characters and each space between words counted as a character.
Also, there was a cost of 3 1/2d per character to be paid.
This cost probably prevented some relatives from submitting a personal inscription or reduced their capability to inscribe a headstone where they were probably going to see in person.
There are currently 827 names recorded on the Kilkenny Great War memorial and approximately 50% of them have no known grave and are recorded on memorials like The Menin Gate.
The remaining 50% have headstones and were buried in Imperial War Grave Commission Cemeteries.
Of this 400+, approximately 250 families returned final verification forms throughout the 1920s and within this number 130 families returned personal Inscriptions to be included on the base of the headstone.
The following are examples of Kilkenny soldiers and Nurses inscriptions,
7800 Private John Carolan Royal Irish Regiment, Died 02/08/1917, Buried in Aeroplane Cemetery Belgium. Personal inscription reads, HERE LIES A BRAVE IRISH SOLDIER MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE
5768 Private Henry Colclough Irish Guards died 14/09/1917 from Freshford, Buried in Bleuet Farm Cemetery Belgium . Personal Inscription reads. WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS THROUGH HIM THAT LOVED US.
SPEAKER ON THE NIGHT
Speaking on the night will be Commandant (retired) Larry Scallan who has spent 33 years in the Defence Forces and was stationed in James Stephens Barracks for most of that time.
Larry has been bringing groups of people to France & Flanders since 2011 and he has a keen interest in our local military history and heritage.
He has been involved giving walking tours in Kilkenny city during heritage week as well as contributing to ‘decade of centenaries projects’.
Any families of those men and women from Kilkenny will find both events poignant and respectful of the sacrifice and service of their loved ones.
All images: A montage of photos shows The Re-enactment group photographed at the unveiling of the WW1 monument at The Peace Park in Kilkenny