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  • Writer's pictureStephen Callaghan

The Healy's of Charleville, Cork

The recent release of the World War One pension cards has made spotting large family contributions to the war effort much clearer. One such example is the Healy family of Charleville, County Cork. One pension cards, listing three brothers as having paid the ultimate sacrifice. Further research shows the extent of the family’s military service.

Patrick Healy, a labourer from County Tipperary married Johanna Sheehan of County Limerick at the Roman Catholic chapel in Kilworth, County Cork on 15 July 1885. They had five sons and three daughters. The whole family are recorded on the 1901 census as living in 13 Knowles Lane, Charleville. Patrick, Johanna and one son and two daughters are recorded as still living here in 1911.

William Healy was born circa 1887. William joined the Royal Munster Fusiliers at Tralee, County Kerry. He served with the 1st Battalion. The 1st Battalion initially served in Gallipoli and moved to France in March 1916. Private William Healy probably joined the battalion around this time, having missed out on the disastrous Gallipoli campaign.

He was presumed as killed in action on the 9 September 1916 during the assault on the German held town of Ginchy. His remains were not found and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Thiepval Memorial, France.

Patrick Healy was born circa 1892. No military service traced yet.

Timothy Healy was born circa 1887. He enlisted in the 9th (Militia) Battalion, King’s Royal Rifles at Mallow on 19 December 1906. He was recorded as being 5 foot 3 inches tall, having grey eyes and red hair. He served in the militia until 7 February 1907. Further Great War service has not been traced yet.

Peter Healy was born circa 1893. He attested for the 9th (Militia) Battalion, King’s Royal Rifles at Mallow on 17 December 1907. Upon his attestation, he was recorded as being 5 foot 3 inches tall, grey eyes and red hair. He elected to be discharged from the militia on 3 February 1908.

Private Healy's 1915 Star.

Peter joined the 4th (Reserve) Battalion, Leinster Regiment at Maryborough (Portlaoise), Queen’s County (Laois), and was subsequently transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment. Private Healy entered France in December 1914.

On 14 August 1915 Private Healy was hit by an exploding shell. Captain Francis Hitchcock, recounts Healy in his book “Stand Too”:

“Healy was in frightful pain: he had been badly hit in the stomach, and kept calling for water. ‘Mister Algeo, for the love of God give me a drink’, ‘Stay quiet now, Healy, and you’ll be all right soon.’ But he would not stay quiet. He then spotted me, and asked for my water-bottle, but I could not give it to him”

A shell then suddenly burst over them, and Private Healy was hit again, killing him. He is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Maurice Healy was born circa 1890. He enlisted at Cardiff in the Royal Field Artillery under the alias Michael Sheehan. Gunner Healy entered France on Christmas Eve 1915. He deserted on 23 November 1917. He was killed in action on 8 May 1918. He was buried in Poperinghe New Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Johanna Healy received a dependents pension in respect of her late son’s service. The address on the pension card indicates she was living at Balls Lane, Charleville.

While there is plenty more to research to do, this brief post hopefully outlines the service of one family who gave three sons to the war. Just one of many countless untold stories throughout the country, waiting to be told.

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