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  • Writer's pictureStephen Callaghan

A forgotten Soldier's child - Sarah Mussin


Within the Protestant section of Clonoghill Cemetery, perched upon the crest of the hill, is the grave of Sarah Mussin. Only aged 5 months old when she died in June 1870. Her memorial is one you could easily pass without taking notice.


Sarah Mussin was born on 27 January 1870 in Belfast Barracks (Victoria Barracks). She was daughter of Sergeant George Mussin and Mary Mussin (Née Coffey).


George was from Belfast, he enlisted in the 18th Regiment of Foot (Royal Irish Regiment) at Manchester on 20 December 1855, aged 19 years. He would go on to serve 20 years and 227 days, of which 13 years and 7 days was foreign service in India and Malta. Promoted up the ranks to Sergeant, his conduct was described as “very good”.


While stationed in Birr Barracks, Sarah died. No death certificate has been traced, and it is probable her death was never registered. It is interesting Sarah was interred in Clonoghill Cemetery rather than the military cemetery attached to the barracks. In 1870 four other children and one soldier died in the barracks, all being interred in the military cemetery. It is possible the military cemetery was starting to experience overcrowding and her parents decided the new cemetery would be a more peaceful place.


Sarah’s burial register entry gives a conflicting date of death, 25th June, and the date of burial as 26th, suggesting the date on the memorial could be incorrect. However, without a death certificate no concrete date can be established. The inscription on her memorial:


Sacred

TO THE MEMORY OF

SARAH

THE INFANT DAUGHTER OF

GEORGE MUSSIN

Sergt, 1st. Battn, 18th R.I.Regt

WHO DEPT. THIS LIFE AT BIRR, 7TH JUNE 1870

AGED 9 MONTHS


We stood beside thy silent bed

Thy marble brow was cold and dead

Thy gentle soul to Heaven hath fled

Dear babe wee’ll meet again


Yes parent’s smile through all your tears

A crown of life your darling wears

This grave a shady porch appears

To where wee’ll meet again


George went on to serve until he took his discharge from the army in 1877, his intended place of residence given as Dublin.

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Mick Dolan
Mick Dolan
15 de jun. de 2023

Nice post Stephen. George Mussin's service in India presumably coincided with the Indian Mutiny. At the time of his enlistment the 18th were in the Crimea and then they went to India at the end of 1857. Ten years after Sarah's death the Royal Irish Depot would be located in Clonmel and many Children of the Regiment are buried in the town cemetery.

Curtir
Stephen Callaghan
Stephen Callaghan
17 de jun. de 2023
Respondendo a

I don't think the 18th were present during the Mutiny itself, but presumably extra military presence was needed after it. Interesting, I'm guessing that's the old Church of Ireland graveyard?

Curtir
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