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  • Writer's pictureStephen Callaghan

A forgotten Casualty of the 3rd Leinsters - Private John Moran

Updated: Mar 23

Memorial to the 3rd Leinsters in Birr Military Cemetery

In the military cemetery located in Crinkill, just outside Birr, there is a memorial commemorating the death casualties of the 3rd (militia) Battalion, Leinster Regiment. The memorial had originally been placed outside the garrison church in 1905, and was subsequently moved to the military cemetery in the years following the burning of the barracks.


The text on the main panel of the memorial states that it commemorates the men of the 3rd battalion, who died during their embodiment between 18 January 1900 and 26 May 1902. The militia had volunteered for service and sent a long two years in South Africa, fighting boredom and the harsh climate in addition to the enemy.


Looking through the various names, we see the names of men like Privates Flanagan and Keats, two Birr men who had died at sea on the voyage over and were buried at sea, and Private Devery from Ferbane who died from being shot in the stomach during a long distanced engagement. However one name we do not see on the memorial is John Moran. Who was John though, and why should be on the memorial?


Details on John are very scant; he was born in County Kerry around 1861. He had probably joined the 4th (Militia) Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers, and was transferred to the 3rd (militia) Battalion, Leinster Regiment in the late 1890s. A number of men from the Munsters had transferred to the Leinsters during this period. This was possibly done to increase the numbers of the unit, as they had been under strength. A later recruitment drive would bolster the militia’s numbers to over 800.


When the battalion volunteered for active service, Private Moran was one of the men bound for war in South Africa. The 3rd Leinsters departed from Queenstown (present day Cobh), County Cork aboard the Kildonan Castle for South Africa on 6 March, however Private Moran had been too ill and had been sent to the station hospital in Queenstown where he died on 16 March 1900, as a result of bronchitis. His obituary appeared in The Leinster Reporter on 21 April 1900.  


“In Queenstown, to which he was sent from the “Kildonan Castle” transport, on the way with his battalion to the seat of war, Mr James Moran, 3rd Leinsters. The deceased became ill after mobilisation ; and owing to its serious nature after leaving England, he was removed to the hospital, where he died. Much regretted”.


While recorded as James in the newspaper, John is how his name is recorded on his death certificate. Private Moran was interred in Queenstown Old Cemetery on 19 March (the cemetery register gives his date of date as 17 March, and cause of death as scarlet fever).


Unfortunately, Private Moran’s named was missed when names were being complied for the memorial. While much of his life remains a mystery, he can gain some recognition with this post which marks 124 years since he died.

Private Moran's unmarked burial plot - image thanks to Alan O'Connor


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1 comentário

18 de mar.

Good for you for remembering him! RIP John

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