Unsurprisingly, Ballymacoda was not left untouched by the events of July 1914 to November 1918. In this post, we will discuss the men from the parish who served during World War I, some of whom never saw their homes again.
At that time, Ireland was still part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. At the outbreak of war in August 1914, many Irish people, both Nationalist and Unionist supported the war. Many Irishmen, like those from the Ballymacoda area, signed up to serve in the British armed forces. The generally accepted figure is that approximately 200,000 men from Ireland signed up to fight. About 30,000 of these men were killed in action during the course of the war.
The men from Ballymacoda served across the armed forces, in both the Army & Navy. Based on research carried out using the National Archives of the UK, I have been able to collate information on those who served. Note that this focuses solely on those from Ballymacoda who served during World War I. There are of course numerous records of those who served but were discharged before the war began in 1914, those individuals are not included here.
Based on my research, the following is a list of those from Ballymacoda who served in the Royal Navy. This list is based on ‘Place of Birth‘ being listed on the official Navy personnel records available from the National Archives of the UK, as well as available naval pension records. Interestingly, there were two men named Patrick McCarthy & two men named Robert Rumley from Ballymacoda who served – indicated by distinct records, service numbers and different dates of birth.
|Name||Date of Birth||Notes|
|Bartholomew Ronayne||18 Apr 1886||Discharged 1926|
|Jeremiah Prior||1 Sep 1883||Discharged 1919|
|John Hennessy||13 May 1883||Discharged 1924|
|John McCarthy||18 May 1886||Discharged 1919|
|John Morrissey||25 May 1880||Discharged 1918|
|John Smiddy||20 Mar 1898||Discharged 1919|
|Michael Garde||29 Sep 1890||Discharged 1935|
|Michael O’Grady||26 Dec 1887||Discharged 1928|
|Patrick Donovan||15 Aug 1877||Discharged 1920|
|Patrick Hyde||3 Mar 1877||Discharged 1919|
|Patrick McCarthy||20 Apr 1874||Discharged 1920|
|Robert Rumley||1 Nov 1878||Discharged 1919|
|Robert Rumley||11 May 1883||Discharged 1919|
|Michael Walsh||1869||Discharged 1919|
|Jeremiah Shea||1893||Discharged 1918|
|Richard Rumley||Unknown||Discharged 1916|
|John O’Brien||Unknown||Discharged 1919|
|Jeremiah Foley||Unknown||Discharged 1919|
|Patrick Walsh||Unknown||Discharged 1914|
|Patrick Shanahan||Unknown||Discharged 1919|
|William Daly||1883||Discharged 1920|
|William Shanahan||1878||Discharged 1918|
|Patrick Lynch||1871||Discharged 1919|
|James Irwin||2 Jul 1881||Discharged 1923|
|Patrick Garde||Unknown||Discharged 1919|
|John Ronayne||20 Aug 1882||Died in 1914|
|Maurice Quirke||Abt. 1894||Died in 1916|
|Patrick Shea||Unknown||Died in 1916|
|Richard Ahern||10 Apr 1877||Died in 1917|
|Michael McCarthy||23 Apr 1888||Died after discharge in 1918|
|Michael Canty||12 Aug 1876||Died in 1918|
|Patrick McCarthy||17 Jun 1884||Died in 1919|
The following gives more information on those who died.
John Ronayne was born in Ballymacoda on August 20th, 1882. He served aboard HMS Bullfinch with the rank of Stoker 1st Class. He died on August 15th 1914 when the Bullfinch was involved in a collision with a merchant steamer in British waters. He was buried at Scartho Road Cemetery, Scartho Road, Grimsby, Lincolnshire, UK.
Maurice Quirke was the son of John and Margaret Quirke and lived in Garryvoe. He served aboard HMS Indefatigable with the rank of Stoker 1st Class. He died aged 22 on May 31st 1916, when the Indefatigable was sunk by the German ship Von der Tann during the Battle of Jutland. Of a crew of 1,019 aboard Indefatigable, only 3 survived. He is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 16.
Patrick Shea was from Knockadoon, and was the son of Timothy & Nora Shea, and the husband of Hannah Shea. He died on December 8th 1916, when the ship he was serving on, HMT Dagon, was torpedoed in the Dover area (the only trawler to be torpedoed in this area during WWI). The Dagon was a fishing vessel which had been hired by the Royal Navy and converted to an armed trawler to be used as a minesweeper in 1915. On December 8th 1916, all crew were lost when the ship was torpedoed by a German submarine. He is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 19.
Richard Ahern from Knockadoon was born on April 10th, 1877, the son of Daniel and Mary Ahern. He served aboard the SS Polandia with the rank of Leading Seaman. He was killed in action at sea on March 11th 1917, when the Polandia was sunk by a German submarine while on route from Birkenhead in England to Cherbourg in France. He is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 23.
Michael McCarthy from Ballymacoda served in the Royal Naval Reserve with the rank of Seaman. He was born on April 23rd, 1888 and was the son of Michael & Mary McCarthy from Ballyskibole. He was honorably discharged due to tuberculosis in 1915, and died on February 7th, 1918. He was awarded the Silver War Badge, given to those who had been honorably discharged due to wounds or sickness from military service. He is commemorated at the Brookwood 1914-1918 memorial, Panel 1, in Surrey, UK.
Michael Canty was born in Ballymacoda on August 12th 1876. He served in the Royal Navy with the rank of Leading Stoker, and died on October 26th, 1918. His cause of death was recorded as ‘died from disease‘. He was buried at the Weston Mill Cemetery, Weston Mill, Devonport, Devon.
Patrick McCarthy served in the Royal Navy aboard HMS Bellerophon with the rank of Leading Stoker. He was born in Ballymacoda on June 17th 1884, the eldest son of William & Bridget McCarthy of Gortcorcoran. He died on January 19th 1919 in an accidental drowning (just a few months after the war had ended). He was buried in the Hill Cemetery in Ballymacoda.
As well as the Navy, men from Ballymacoda also served and in the army during the Great War, although to a lesser extent based on my research of the available records. Below is the list of men who served in the army. Where available, the Notes column contains the name of the unit in which they served.
|Name||Date of Birth||Notes|
|Timothy McCarthy||April 1896||Served in the Royal Munster Fusiliers.|
|Thomas McCarthy||Abt. 1899||Served in the Royal Irish Regiment.|
|Jerome Twomey||Unknown||Served as Corporal in the Guards Machine Gun Company.|
|James Connolly||Unknown||Served in the Irish Guards. Discharged in 1919.|
|John Meara||Unknown||Served in the Royal Engineers.|
|John Smiddy||1895||Died 1915 (see below)|
|John Condon||Abt. 1890||Died 1917 (see below)|
|Richard Hyde||Abt. 1876||Died 1918 (see below)|
|Michael Daly||2 Jan 1876||Died 1918 (see below)|
|James O’Neill||Abt. 1895||Died 1918 (see below)|
Based on my research, the following is a list of the men from Ballymacoda who served in the army, and were killed in action.
John Smiddy from Ballykeneally, Ballymacoda served in the Grenadier Guards, 1st Battalion with the rank of Guardsman. He was killed at the Battle of Loos in France on October 17th, 1915. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial in Pas-de-Calais, France.
John Condon from Ring, Ballymacoda, the son of David and Ellen Condon, served in the Royal Irish Regiment, 7th Battalion with the rank of Private. He was killed in action in France on December 12th 1917. He was buried in Templeux-Le-Guerard British Cemetery in France.
Richard Hyde from Ballydaniel, Ballymacoda served in the Royal Munster Fusiliers, 1st Battalion with the rank of Private. He was killed in action at Flanders on September 30th 1918. He was buried in the Cantaing British Cemetery in France.
Michael Daly from Ballymacoda served in the Irish Guards 2nd Battalion with the rank of Private. He died of wounds sustained in battle in France on May 29th 1918. He was buried in Doullens Communal Cemetery, Doullens, Departement de la Somme, Picardie, France.
James O’Neill from Warren, Ballymacoda served in the Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment with the rank of Private. He died on February 20th 1918. He was buried at Villers-Faucon, Departement de la Somme, Picardie, France.
I was aware that some people from Ballymacoda served during WWI, but after concluding this research, I was surprised at the extent of the involvement of men from the parish.
In a future post, I will look at WWII and the involvement of people from Ballymacoda there.
References & Further Information
Ireland, World War I Casualties, 1914-1922 [database online]
UK, Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services, 1848-1939 [database online]
UK, Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 [database online]
Commonwealth War Graves, Entry for John Ronayne
Commonwealth War Graves, Entry for Patrick Shea
Commonwealth War Graves, Entry for Richard Ahern
Commonwealth War Graves, Entry for Michael McCarthy
Commonwealth War Graves, Entry for Patrick McCarthy
Commonwealth War Graves, Entry for Maurice Quirke
Reference for Michael Canty – UK, Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 [database on-line]
UK, World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 [database on-line]
In Flanders Fields Museum, Ireland’s Memorial Records [available online]
Reference for John Condon – UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 [database on-line].