Participation in World Wars



World War 1, also referred to as the First World War, the Great War and the War to End All Wars, began on 28th July, 1914, and continued until 11th November, 1918. A Peace Treaty was signed on 28th June, 1919.

Two major alliances fought this very bloody war, the Allied (Entente) Powers and the Central Powers. The former consisted of France, the United Kingdom, Russia and their dependencies. These Allies were later joined by other states, Japan in August, 1914, Italy in April, 1915, and the United States in April, 1917. The Central Powers were initially formed by Germany and Austria-Hungary and the empires. In October, 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers, as did Bulgaria the following year. The unification of Germany, and changing balances of power among the European Great Powers, were the underlying causes of this war. The French resented loss of territory to Germany in the 1800s, there was growing economic and military competition between Germany and Britain,   Germany desired a “place in the sun” equal to that of the more established countries of Europe.

World War 1 was fought mainly in Europe, but also in Africa and in the Middle East. It resulted in over forty million casualties, including military and civilian deaths.

Four Killimor men served

Irish men were involved, with about one hundred and forty thousand of them volunteering to serve in the British Forces. They had their own reasons for enlisting – some, for the perceived justice of the cause, others, particularly Nationalists, urged by John Redmond in September 1914, believed that “freedom of small nations such as Belgium and Serbia, was that of Ireland as well”. It is known locally that at least four Killimor men served with the British Army in WW1, survived the ordeal and returned home. They are named as follows:

Jerome Reilly of Derrew, who died in December 1953, aged seventy five years and is buried in Killimor old cemetery.

Thomas Duffy, who married and reared his family in Kylemore, passed away, aged seventy one years, in July 1964, and is interred in Killimor old cemetery.

Thomas Duffy’s brother, Stephen, also served. On his return home he went to Cork where he settled down and reared a family. He passed away, aged sixty four years, in December 1955 and is interred in Cork.

Michael Houlihan (Holohan), who lived in Magheramore in 1911, and later moved to Garryard, reached the ripe old age of ninety three years, died in December 1970, and is buried in Killimor old cemetery.

It is also maintained locally that Charlie Ward, a well known and respected member of the travelling community, joined the Connaught Rangers, and also served in WW1. He returned unscathed and lived out his life as a “knight of the road”, spending much time in Killimor. He is buried in Masonbrook cemetery in Loughrea.

Thirty five thousand of these Irish men died

Not many of those who returned to Killimor spoke openly of their reasons for enlisting. Maybe the war provided an opportunity to work, to travel, to experience different situations, or they may have gone out of a spirit of adventure.  They did not describe their experiences, possibly because of the atrocities they witnessed.

Some thirty five thousand of these Irish men died, among whom were several Galway volunteers.

William Henry’s book, Forgotten Heroes, Galway Soldiers of the Great War 1914-1918, gives a comprehensive list of those who fought in this horrific conflict. Killimor men figured among them, and their details are given as follows:

Hayes, Francis                        Private 3819                Second Royal Munster Fusiliers
Death: 10 November 1917.     Age 23

Supplementary Notes: Son of Michael & Amy Annie Hayes of Killimore, Ballinasloe
Remembered: Tyne Cot Memorial – Zonnebeke – West – Vlaanderen – Belgium (143 to 144).

Hogan, Joseph                       Private 4888                Fifth Royal Irish Regiment
Death: 18 September 1915.    Age 24
Supplementary Notes: Son of Thomas & Mary Hogan of Killimore.
Remembered: Doiran Memorial – Greece.

Kavanagh , Thomas               Private 6220                Fifth Connaught Rangers
Death: (Salonika) 30 November 1915.
Supplementary Notes: Enlisted: Ballinasloe, Born: Killimore.
Buried: Chichester Cemetery – West Sussex – United Kingdom (1 26. 34.).

Murray, J.                              Leading Seaman SS/2716 HMS Erin  Royal Navy
Death: 10 June 1916.              Age 26.
Supplementary Notes: Son of John & Julia Murray of Flower Hill, Killimore, Ballinasloe.
Buried: Rosskeen Parish Churchyard Extensions (or Burial Ground) – Ross and Cromarty – United Kingdom (C. 386).

Staunton, John                      Private 11166                          First Irish Guards
Death: 9 October 1917,          Age 24.
Supplementary Notes:                        Son of Delia Staunton of Trenanerla, Killimore.
Remembered: Tyne Cot Memorial Zonnebeke –West – Vlaanderen – Belgium (10 to 11).

Comments about this page

  • Francis Hayes from Killimor was my great-uncle. His brother Michael was my grandfather. I would dearly love a photograph or more information about him. I have busted the Tyne cot many times. We have no medals for him or anything.

    By Julie kennedy-Greenall (03/09/2016)

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