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  • Writer's pictureStephen Callaghan

Lance Corporal Albert Strong from Thomastown

The pictured pair of medals belong to Albert Ernest Strong, these were bought separately over a period of years, effectively reuniting the medals, which had obviously been split at some point in time. As this week saw the 104th anniversary of Albert’s death, today we will examine his life.

Albert was born in Thomastown, County Kilkenny on 13 February 1896. He was the youngest son of Edward Strong and Marian Strong (née Whelan). Edward’s profession was recorded as a coal merchant. A Waterford native, he married Marian Whelan of Thomastown on 29 August 1882 in the parish Church of Ireland Church.

The 1901 census records the family living at 4, Marshes Street, Thomastown. Edward is recorded as a mail car contractor, Marian is recorded as a school mistress, their children listed as Amy, Charles, Edward, Robert and Albert.

The 1911 census shows that Edward and Albert had moved to Dublin and were boarders in 104, George’s Street, Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire). Edward was recorded as a general labourer and Albert as an office boy.

With the outbreak of the Great War, Albert enlisted into the one of Kitchener’s New Armies service battalions, the 7th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Albert’s service number of 28746 would place his enlistment as around January 1916. The 7th (Service) Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were formed in Omagh, County Tyrone in October 1914. By the time of Albert’s enlistment, they had moved to England.

Private Strong landed in France in February 1916. The 7th Inniskilling being part of the 16th Irish Division. The battalion’s baptism of fire was at Hulluch, France where they were gassed in April as the Easter Rising took place in Dublin. The battalion later took part in the September phase of the Battle of the Somme, fighting at Guillemont and Guinchy. In June 1917 the battalion fought alongside the 36th Ulster Division at Messines Ridge.

The 7th Inniskillings went onto fight at the Battle of Langemarch on 16 August 1917, where they were absolutely decimated. Private Strong being killed during the battle. As his remains were never found his name was commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.

After the battle the 7th Inniskillings had to be amalgamated with its sister battalion, the 8th Inniskillings to form the 7/8th Battalion as there were not enough replacements to reform both battalions.

For his service, Albert was entitled to the British War medal and Victory medal, these being sent to his mother, who was now living in Kingstown, Dublin. Albert’s will indicated, that in the event of his death all of his processions should go to his mother. She also received a small dependant’s pension in respect of his service.

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