ON THIS DAY: 29th April 1916 TWO LETTERKENNY DEATHS
It was one hundred years ago today, the 29th April 1916, that Padraig Pearse submitted his surrender to General Lowe and the orders were delivered to each of the garrisons to lay down their arms, thus bringing to an end the Easter Rising.
However, amidst all the coverage that that seismic event is receiving this year, it is worth taking a moment to remember that it was also on this date that two Letterkenny men, Michael Doherty and John McCafferty, lost their lives in France.
Michael Doherty was from the Church Lane, born on 27th March 1882 to Michael and Susan Doherty (nee Gallagher). He lived in number 7 Church Street with his wife Jane and his three young children Charles (11), Ellen (8) and Elizabeth (6). He was a labourer by trade and was 32 years old when he died of his wounds whilst serving in the 8th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in France. He is remembered in the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais in France.
Sergeant John McCafferty was from the Port Road and after enlisting in Letterkenny, like Michael Doherty, he also served in the 8th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He died of gas poisoning on the same day and is buried in Vermelles Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.
Patrick Doherty, the son of Patrick and Margaret Doherty from Oldtown died two days before that, aged 38, and is also remembered on the Loos Memorial, making that three Letterkenny deaths during Easter Week 1916.
In all, there are 25 recorded deaths of Letterkenny people in 1916, 8 died in the Battle of the Somme between July and November 1916, 4 of them on the very first day of the battle. From what we know, fifty Letterkenny men are buried in France, twenty-one in Belgium and eight in Turkey. In total, we know of 91 deaths of Letterkenny men and women who served in World War 1.
So whilst it is hugely important to honour and remember this year those who fought and what they fought for during the Easter Rising, it is also important to remember that as the people of Letterkenny read the death notices in the local press 100 years ago, t’s fair to say that there were other things on the minds of the families and friends of those who lost their lives than the actions of the insurgents in Dublin.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dilís