• Stephen Callaghan

Life after the War, Drummer Peter Craffey, Leinster Regiment


Drummer Craffey, Leinster Regiment.

This is the story of Peter Craffey. A professional soldier, wounded and taken prisoner during the Great War. Peter's post war life was undoubtedly effected by his service. While Peter’s story isn’t unique, it gives us an insight into the lives of those who returned home and whose experiences had an untold impact on their lives.


Peter was born around 1896, despite intense searching a birth certificate has not been located for him. He was the son of soldier. Peter enlisted in the Leinster Regiment on 12 October 1912 as a boy solder around the age 16 years. He was later appointed to drummer (he is seen wearing a drummers uniform in his photograph).


On the outbreak of the Great War Drummer Craffey was sent to France with the 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment. The battalion landed at St Nazaire on 12 September 1914. The battalion took part in the Battle of Armentières and were involved in heavy fight at the village of Premesque on 18-20 October. During the fighting Drummer Craffey was wounded in his upper arm and taken prisoner of war (POW). He was held at the POW camp at Hameln, Germany.


Drummer Craffey was released from captivity on 17 February 1915, which was possibly due to his arm injury, which required his right arm to be amputated. He was discharged from the army on 31 July 1915, as he no longer fit for further military service. For his service in the Great War he received the 1914 Star, British War and Victory medal.


Peter remained in Birr and married Hannah Mooney of Mount Sally, Birr in St Brendan’s Catholic Church on 23 June 1917. Hannah’s family had not escaped the effects of war either, her younger brother James having been killed on 17 January 1916. Peter and Hannah lived in Mount Sally, with Peter finding work as a labourer to support them and to supplement his military pension. Mount Sally was a poorer working class part of Birr. Present day most of houses having been long since demolished. Peter worked on the improved sewage scheme for the town, one wonders how his amputation would have effected his working ability.

Mount Sally, Birr, County Offaly.

While in the Soldiers’ Home, on Conyngham Road, Dublin, Peter died from heart failure following congestion of the lungs on 4 February 1925. Peter’s remains were brought back to Birr and he was buried in an unmarked grave in Clonoghill Cemetery.


Soldiers’ Home were set up by Elise Sandes and acted as places of refuge from the temptations of alcohol and evil living. It is not without speculation that this was the reason for Peter being here.


References


King's County Chronicle


Pension Records


Silver War Badge Roll


Further Reading


http://irishgarrisontowns.com/soldiers-homes-a-refuge-from-temptation/

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