With WW1 commemorations and the futility and horrors of war confronting us on every front over the past week, the following came from Tom O’Connor, Scartaglen and Dublin.
Mr. O’Connor writes of a fellow Scart man Patrick Culloty 1887 – 1918.
Forgotten Scartaglen Man
“On this the 100th anniversary of WW1 armistice day, we remember the forgotten Scartaglen man, Patrick Culloty.
Born in Knockahorrin, Scartaglen on 17 April, 1887 to Daniel Culloty and Kate Downing – whose marriage is recorded as taking place in Killeentiarna Church on 9 November, 1878.
.Patrick had five siblings: Michael (1880), John (1882), James (1884), Mary (1889) and Stephen (1891).
Settled in Gortatlea
From the birth records of the children we can see that the family seemed to move around quite a bit between Ballinatourigh, Knockahorrin, Adriville and Dirreen – and finally settled on a farm in Gortatlea, Nohoval.
The 1911 census shows Patrick working as a postman in Tralee, where he enlisted in July 1917 – at Ballymullen Barracks.
Interestingly, as a postman, he joined the Post Office Rifles, London Regiment – 8th Battalion Unit. Service No: 375964. Rank: Rifleman.
Crossed to France
Having trained with the 8th Reserve Battalion of the London Regiment, he crossed to France, joining this 8th Battalion Post Office Rifles on 7 February 1918.
Patrick survived the German offensive ‘Operation Michael’ and fighting on the Avre and at Villers-Bretonneux in April 1918.
He died along with three comrades, hit by a chance long range shell that exploded among ‘D’ Company while they were training several miles behind the Somme front, at Baisieux on 28 June 1918.
The Same Shell
A further eighteen men of the battalion were wounded by the same shell.
All four men are buried in adjacent graves at Franvillers Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France. Patrick’s Grave Reference there is I. F. 23.(https://rememberourdeadregimentallist.weebly.com/8th-battalion-london-regiment.html).
The inscription on Patrick’s gravestone reads: Late of Gortatlea Co. Kerry, Ireland
Sweet Jesus Have Mercy On Him.
Francis Ledwidge’s poem, foretelling his own tragic destiny, comes to mind:
At A Poet’s Grave
Then in the lull of midnight, gentle arms
Lifted him slowly down the slopes of death
Lest he should hear again the mad alarms
Of battle, dying moans, and painful breath.
And where the earth was soft for flowers we made
A grave for him that he might better rest.
So, Spring shall come and leave its seat arrayed,
And there the lark shall turn her dewy nest.”
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