Friday, 6 March 2020

Kilfane Graveyard Thomastown co Kilkenny part 2

Lower graveyard dedicated to the Power family, Baronets of Kilfane


17. In loving memory of May Wilmot Beatrice Power eldest daughter of Sir Richard Power 3rd Bart Kilfane died 18th March 1966 aged 90 years.

18. Cross over carved boulders with regimental insignia.  Pro Patria Semper.  Sacred to the memory of Derrick Elliott Power Vth Baronet of Kilfane, Captain of the Rifle Brigade who died for his King and Country January 20th 1902 from fever contracted on active service in South Africa and was buried in that country aged 29.  Until the day dawn and the shadows flee away...Solomon 2: 17

19. Cross over carved boulders with regimental insignia., helmet, rifle, sword, water container...
Sacred to the memory of John Elliott Power 1Vth Baronet of Kilfane, Imperial Infantry who died for Queen and Country in South Africa.  Was mortally wounded at Lindley - died June 1st 1900 and was there buried aged 29.  Pro Patria Semper.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith Timothy 1V.7.  What I do knowest not now but thou shall know hereafter John X111. 7

20. In loving memory of  Richard Crampton Power, 3rd Baronet who died May 24th 1892 aged 49.  Lord of Hosts and The Eternal God is thy refuge and underneath is everlasting arms...(Deuteronomy 33:27) and they shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I make up my Jewels: and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Malachi 3 : 17

21. In loving memory of Florence Anna Maria wife of the late Richard Crampton Power 3rd Baronet of Kilfane.  Born Oct 19th 1848.  Died April 20th 1909.  Let not your heart be troubled ye believe in God.  St John X1V.  Verse 1.  "Until the day break"  Song of Solomon Verse 17.

23. In loving memory of Kathleen Mab Power beloved daughter of Rev. Geo. B Power and his wife Constance.  Drowned while bathing in the Nore July 15th 1903 aged 22 years.  The Lord gave and the Lord taketh Away.  In Thy Presence is fullness and Joy.....The Lord Gave and the Lord hath taken away..Job. 1:21

The Waterford Standard for Saturday July 25th 1903 has a report of this drowning and funeral headed Kathleen Mab Power, daughter of Rev George Beresford Power and Mrs Constance Power, drowned July 15th 1903 aged 22 years.  The younger of two daughters of Rev. George Beresford Power, the Kilfane Glebe.  Miss Kathleen Power rode over on her bicycle to Coolmore to see Miss Connellan, only daughter of Major J.H.Connellan DL, JP.  After some time Miss Connellan and Miss Power accompanied by 2 young ladies staying at Coolmore proceeded to the the river to bathe.  Miss Power, who could swim little, swam to-far down the stream into deep water and became exhausted.  Miss Connellan who could not swim did try to help but was soon prostrate with grief.  One of the other ladies ran for help but it arrived too late to save Miss Power.
The funeral took place on Saturday morning from Kilfane Glebe and the great gathering of all ranks and classes was representative of this neighbouring counties where the desceased young lady was a universal favourite. 
The nobility, gentry and people of the counties of Kilkenny, Waterford and Tipperary envinced their sympathy with the Rev Mr and Mrs Power and family in their deep distress by attending in such large numbers that it would be impossible to give anything like a complete list of those present.
The chief mourners were the Rev. G. B Power amd Mrs Power (father and mother), Miss Power (sister), Mr Ambrose Bushe Power (uncle), Mrs Bellingham (aunt), Mr and Mrs Devaynes Smith (aunt and uncle), Lady Power of Kilfane and Miss Power,  Mr Villiers Stuart and Mr Raymond de La Poer (cousins).
Shortly after 11 o'clock the funeral started from the Glebe but so dense was the throng, that a considerable amount of time elapsed before the arrival at the burial ground, whence lies the remains of so many Power family who have ever held a foremost place amongst the leading gentry of Kilkenny.  The remains were enclosed in a suite of coffins, the inner one being of cedar wood, richly lined and upholstered, the outer coffin being of the finest polished oak, with solid brass mountings.  The shield bore the following inscription "Kathleen Mab Power  Died July 15th 1903 aged 22 years".
The Grave was made as if a bed of flowers, fit resing place for one who in the very morning of her life was in truth "cut down like a flower".

24. In loving memory of George Beresford Power Canon of St Canice's Cathedral and for 51 years  Curate and Rector of Kilfane Parish.. Died Trinity Sunday May 31st 1931 aged 82 years.
Father in thy gracious keeping, here we leave thy servant sleeping, underneath are everlasting arms.  Deut, XXX111.27  And the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.  Eccles. X11.7.  Also of Constance his wife. Died August 24th 1935.






Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Kilfane church and graveyard Thomastown, county Kilkenny




Samuel Lewis in his Topographical Dictionary of Ireland published in 1837 describes Kilfane as a parish in the barony of Gowran, 2 miles north of Thomastown with 898 inhabitants at that time and  with 90 children in the parochial school.  It comprised 3830 statute acres.  The Church of Ireland of Kilfane included the vicarages of Tullaherin and Blanchevillestown and in the Roman Catholic division it formed part of the union of Thomastown.  The 1851 Alphabetical Index of Townlands which was based on the census described Kilfane as having two sections, the Demesne East and West and within the Barony of Gowran and the Poor Law Union of Thomastown.

The Shell Guide to Ireland 1962 ( by Lord Killanin and Michael V. Duignan) states that Kilfane was the site of an early monastery and consisted of the ruins of a 14th century medieval church which served as the church of Ireland or Protestant church until 1850.  The inside of the ruins are very interesting and if you look carefully you can still see faint traces of painted medieval red crosses inside circles; these are near the doorways.  The tower on the north side was the priest's residence.  This graveyard contains both Catholic and Protestant burials.

Kilfane gets its name from St Paan, Kilfane meaning the church of St Paan.
Paan was the son of Bracan, a Welsh prince and  Dina, the daughter of a Saxon king.   They also had several other saints amongst their offspring which included Melaria, the mother of St David of Wales. 







The graveyards site is not so large but is in several sections.  Our survey and recording at Kilfane begins with Section One which is within the ruined church.  We then moved to Section Two which contains the six Seigne family memorials on the right side of the laneway and outside the enclosed graveyard.  Next we recorded the Lower Graveyard which we called Section Three; in this section you can find the entrance to the  Power Family Mausoleum which has been severely disturbed over the centuries. It is now locked shut.  We then returned to the enclosed graveyard which we divided into Section Four and Five.   Section Four, which contains the Catholic burials, is on the south side of the ruined church; these memorials continue all the way to the end wall of the graveyard.  Section Five lies across and behind the church on the east side. This is  where the Church of Ireland internments begin and this section continues around the church on its north side back to the entrance laneway. We have created a detailed map of this graveyard as not all the early stones are easily read or located.

Section 4 which contains mainly Catholic burials shows evidence of a vibrant and affluent Catholic community who had the funds to erect family memorials and headstones.  Altogether in this Section alone there are 22 memorials dating from the 18th Century. These are:- 1720, 1737, 1742, 1744, 1751, 1761, 1762, 1763, 1765(x2), 1770, 1772(x2), 1773, 1775, 1781, 1788(x2), 1789, 1790, 1794 and 1798.   Additionally there are 19 headstones dating from the period 1800-1850.  These are:- 1802(x2), 1807, 1809, 1811, 1815, 1818, 1820, 1822, 1827(x2), 1829(x2), 1828, 1830, 1832, 1833, 1837, 1840.

Section One: Inside the ruined church

1. Here lyeth ye body of Margaret Motley alis Jones who died Mar ye 3rd 1735.  The many Motley graves mentioned in 1974 Old Kilkenny Review at Kilfane are not evident there now.
Very Rev. James Mottley was the Catholic P.P. Kilmacow and Mullinavat in 1748, he died about 1756. He was a native of Kilfane.  His father was John Mottley and his maternal uncle was an unnamed Protestant Clergyman.  (See Carrigan in The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory) p144 Vol.1V).
At St John the Evangelist in Kilkenny city there is another Mottley memorial which is no doubt a relation of Margaret Motley buried in Kilfane church. (Here lieth the body of the Reverend Father Walter Motley parish priest of St Johns, He died september ye 27th 1750, aged 79 years.  Requiescat in pace. Amen).

2. Broken stone with two coats of arms on a shield - Martin Impailing Hartstronge.
Here lyeth the body of Mrs Eliza Follitt desceased wife of the Reverend Mr Thomas Martin, prebendary Kilmanagh and 2nd daughter of Sir Standish Hartstronge Bart, Baron of the Court of Excheqr in Ireland in ye reign of King Charles ye 2nd who departed this life ye 27th and was interred ye 10th day of October 1720 in ye 66 year of her age. 
The Latin part of this inscription translated in Memorials of the Dead (Vol)?.." I have made this grave in loving memory of wife who for 34 years enjoyed a close married bond in the same grave dust ashes united until the reunion altogether at the general ressurection.  Husband, sons and daughters confident of his care"  
The Rev Thomas Martin is probably identified with Thomas Martin, son of Thomas Martin of Limerick who entered TCD in 1677 and who obtained a BA 1684. He was made Prebendery of Kilmanagh 1710 by his brother-in-law, Dr John Hartstronge, Bishop of Ossory.  His will was proved in August 1730 and he left a son and two daughters - the Rev Hartstronge Martin married Sarah Weyms of Danesfort.  The two daughters of Rev Thomas and Elizabeth Hartstronge were - Mary who married Arthur Bushe of Kilfane and Martha who married William Waring of Pottlerath, county Kilkenny.  Sir Standish Hartstronge was for several years Recorder of Limerick before being made a Baron of the Exchechquer.

              

3. Here lyeth depositied in the hope of the resurrection to everlasting life Richard Lee late of Clonderla in the county of Clare Esqr., the son of Henry Lee Esqr., descended from the ancient family of Darnold Hall in Cheshire.  He dyed of small pox ye 12 day of March 1707 leaving only one son of 3 years old.

Rarely is justice done to the Just
In his case of necessity it must
Cause you'll speak well or you must silent be
He was composed of love and charity
A bright example to posterity
Reader if in his paths you rightly tread
Doubt not of being happy when you'r dead
Life here below he did but little prize
E'r having life above before his eyes
Ever remembering that the soul ne'r dyes

The initial letter of the first word of every line spells out Richard Lee. This is called an acrostic poem.

Henry Lee of Castle Craig, Tipperary was supposedly the grandson of Cromwell Lee KG and who settled in Ireland; he purchased in 1678 the lands of Barna or Rossacully, barony of Owney and Arra, county Tipperary.  In the same year a Henry Lee Esq., had a grant under the Act of settlement of Moyfadda in the Barony of Clonderlaw, county Clare.  It is unclear if these two Henry Lee are the same person or not.  Henry Lee Esq., had a son Richard of Clonderlaw, county Clare born in 1665 (will dated 8th May 1707 and proved 19th July 1707) who married Agnes sister of Henry and George Rose.  Richard's son mentioned on the above stone is thought to be Thomas Lee (born 1704) who married his cousin Susan Vandeleur of Kilrush (Her Lee descendent is via Elizabeth Crofton Esq., of Inchirourke, county Limerick;  Elizabeth Crofton married Rev John Vandeleur of Cragg, county Clare, Rector of Kilrush.


Two other headstones now lying flat within the church and close to each other
4. Erected by James Hendricken of Kilfane in memory of his daughter Elizabeth Hendricken who departed this life on the 1st January 1835 aged 22.  Requiescat in Pace. Amen
Mason: William Beck

5. 2nd stone lying flat;  Dcorated with a lancet window.  
Erected by John Lanigan of Kilfane in memory of his beloved wife Mary Lanigan alias Hendricken depd this life Septr 19th 1853 aged 62.  Also her father James Hendricken who departed this life Augst 15th 1840 aged 93 years.  Also her mother Abigal Hendricken who depd this life August 10th 1844 aged 76 years.  Requiescant in Pace Amen.
Mason: Thomas Beck.

6. Standing also inside the ruined church is a magnificent limestone effigy dated to circa 1320 of An Cantwell Fada meaning in English The Long Cantwell. This is a cross legged effigy of a  knight in full armour with the Cantwell arms on his shield and by tradition was the tomb and effigy of the ancient Lord of Kilfane and other lands in county Kilkenny.




7. A pile of broken memorial stones piled up and lying below the east window and to the left of the altar.  This is now all illegible but appears in The Clergy of Ossory as "Here lyeth the body of Revd M. Hartstonge Marten (sic) formerly Minister of the Union of Kilmanagh who departed this life on ye 27th Dec 1728 in the 37th year of his age".

8. Not found by us but recorded in the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead (submitted to that Journal by Mr John Hewetson) but now most probably broken up and beneath the pile of stones under the east window mentioned in No 7 above.  "Here lieth the body of Nicholas Marten A.M.(sic) late Prebendary of Blackrath...….He departed this life on the 13th day of January 1779 aged 75 years. Abi et imitare" (translates as Go and imitate). Nicholas Martin was the son of Thomas Martin and born in county Cork. He entered TCD in April 1722 aged 17, obtained a BA in 1727 and an MA  in 1731. He was Prebendary of Blackrath (anciently called Madokestown) in the Cathedral Church of St Canice from 1772 until his death.  The Ossory Will of Nicholas Martin of Irishtown, Kilkenny was proved in 1779.  For further information about his career see The Clergy of Ossory.

Below is a picture of the sedilia in the ruined church. This is to the right of the altar. Set into the south wall and used as seating for priests during services.


                                                                                         
The image below depicts a Hagioscope or a Squint situated in the north east corner left of the altar.  A Squint is described as a narrow opening in an interior wall of a church allowing a view of the altar from the other side.   Ceremonies could be seen and heard, and in this case from the ground floor of the Presbytery, so that infirm members of the community could view the altar and the Celebrant but were not visible to the congregation.







 

Ogee headed doorway North facing




 
                                                         




Section Two. The Seigne Family Plot
This consists of six memorials, five of which are lying flat and in a single line and enclosed behind iron railings on the right of the laneway, outside the walled graveyard to the south of the ruined church.   Each stone is decorated on the top with a carved chalice or urn

9. In memory of Joseph Seigne who died 2 June 1901 aged 91 years. Also in memory of Susan Seigne his wife who died 12th March 1892 aged 75 years. blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.

10. This monument is erected by Anthony Seigne of Dangan in memory of his beloved daughter Anne Minchin alias Seigne who depd this life on the 5th day of Augt in the year of Our Lord 185? aged 26 years. Also of her daughter Harriet Minchin that died young.

11. This monument was ereted by Anthy Seigne of Dangan in memory of his mother Anne Seigne alias Goff of Kilfane who depd this life the 16th of Novr 1805 aged 75 years.  Also his father Joseph Seigne of Kilfane who depd this life the 16th Augt 1810  aged 51 years.  Also his daughter Mary Seigne who depd this life 17th of Jany 1820 aged 26 years.

12. Erected by Thos Seigne in memory of his beloved father Mark Seigne who died Decmbr 11th 1827 aged 60 Years.  Here lies the remains of him who was loved as life by sons and daughters and tender wife.   Also his beloved sister Rebecca Seigne who departed this life March 11th 1828 aged 29 years.
13. In memory of Thomas Seigne of Kilfane Cottage who died Febry 20th 1871 aged 71 years.
He was beloved by many friends and earned a widespread respect as agent over the estate of Sir John Power of Kilfane during a period of nearly 50 years.  Also in memory of Maria Seigne his wife who died Novr 17th 1875 aged 77 years. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.

14. Upright slab inserted against the back wall.  This burial ground belongs to Joseph Seigne and this plate erected in memory of his beloved son Thomas Seigne who departed Novr 3rd 1795 aged 24.
Years.
Entrance gate to lower graveyard


The Power Memorials in the lower graveyard










A view Looking east on  north side of the ruined church














The Mosse Family Memorial, a Millstone commemorating William  Henry Mosse and his Wife Dora Eleanor Cranfield








List of names of the memorials

Bolger 110,
Bookle 55,
Boyle 47,
Brandon 114,
Bushe 111,
Butler 46, 88,
Byrne 99,100,
Cannon 88,
Cantwell 6,
Casey 15,
Chamberlain 115,
Cody 40
Cooke 39
Cranfield 120
Croke 15
Cummins 92
Cunningham 107
Darcy 75
Dempsey 22
Dixon 140
Dowling 73, 74
Dudley 128
Dunne 35
Edwards 75
Farrell 60
Flood 47
Flynn 60, 78
Foley 40
Follitt  2
Forde 103
Galway 82
Goff 147
Graham 147
Gready 41
Greenslade 112
Hara 55, 56
Hartstronge 2, 7
Halford 42
Heffernan 102
Henriken 4
Hendricken 5
Hickey 43
Holland 84
Irwin 115
Jones 1
Kealiner 66
Keefe 54
Kelly 34
Kearney 63,64
Laihain 28
Lanigan 107,108
Lee 3, 25
Maher 61
Marten 7,8, 57
McDonald 49
Meaney 83,84
Mercer 129, 131
Menchin 10
Miller 146
Moressey 86
Mosse 120
Motley 1
Murphy 44,55,61,71,93,104,108,147
Normoyle 128
Nowlan 43,44,45, 50, 51, 65, 66, 79
Pa;mer 147, 148
Pendergt 63
Power 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20,21, 23, 24, 25
Purcell 27
O`Brien 91
O`Hara 55,56
O`Keeffe 94,102,113
Rice 35,51, 52
Riley 49
Robinson 127
Rothwell 146
Ryan 98,101
Seigne 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 37
Shee52
Shehy 41
Shortill 83
Summers 87
Veasy
Walpole 76
Walsh 56, 82, 93, 101
Watts 117
Whitelock 118
Williams 116, 130, 131,132, 133, 134, 135, 138, 139, 141, 142
Younge 119

List of places recorded on the memorials

Archer St 60
Bennetsbridge 120
Blackrath 8
Blackwell Lodge 119

Caran 35
Carhan 46
Clanderla 3
Clare 3
Chesshire 3
Clossgregg 110
Cloughscregg 34, 71, 78
Cloughscregg 22
Coum 49
Dangan 10, 11
Darnold Hall 3
Dunbell 52
Dungarvan 53, 100, 132, 138
Gowran 43
Huntingtown 53
Kilbline Stud 116
Kilfane 4, 5, 11, 13, 17, 18, 19, 21, 24, 28, 83, 84, 108
kilfane Church 25, 147
Kilfane Cottage 13
Kilinshawn 45
Kilkenny 40, 60
Kilkenny, county 119, 130
Kilmanagh 2, 7
Kilmurry House 15, 114
Kilmanagh 2,7
Lindley 19
Maddoxtown 64
Nore 23
Old Racecourse 58
Oldtown 119
Ossory 115
Queens county 119
Ruppa 86
St Canices Cathedral 24
Sligo 115
Smithstown 37, 94, 113
South Africa 18, 19
Stoneen 76, 101
Sugarstown 102, 103, 104
Summerhill 147
Tanragoe 115
Thomastown 22, 59, 75, 110, 107
Thostown 93
Tullaherin 101
Tullow Cottage 130. 131, 132, 133, 138
Tullow Lodge 141
Walkin Street 27

List of Occupations recorded on the memorials

Agent 13
A.M.  8
Archdeacon 115
Barron 2
Baronet 18, 19, 20, 21
Bart 17
Boys Brigade Captain 112
Canon 24
Captain 18, 115
C aretaker 25
Colonel 115
Curate 24
DSO 24
Flower Miller 120
Judge 115
Linen Draper 40
Lt. Col 147
Rector 24
Reverend 2, 7, 23
School Teacher 112
Venerable 115

List of masons and blacksmiths who have signed memorials

Thos Beck, Thomastown 5
William Beck, Thomastown 4
R Collis, Kilkenny 119
Downes, Kilkenny 115 (signed railings)
Molloy, Callan 116
Mullen, Kilkenny 76
O`Keeffe and sons, Waterford
O`Shea Callan and Kilkenny 115 (stone xv)







Sunday, 9 February 2020

Mullinavat Parish Church and Graveyard dedicated to St Beacon





 

 In the words of William Butler Yeats "a bee loud glade'  a tiny space in the Parish Graveyard of Mullinavat co Kilkenny
  








This beautiful little herb garden commemorates the sad loss of a little girl Blanàid with generations of her relatives. What a joy it was to come on the little space which was always alive with bees and butterflies, and the scent of herbs and flowers.












We were recording here last autumn before the weather put an end to our endeavours.  This is a very historic place and the Catholic graveyard enormous; so far we have transcribed about 280 memorials but there is more to come.  Everyday here was an exciting project for us and we will be out again shortly when the weather works with us.  This graveyard has important headstones including one commemoration James Scurry (1790-1828), the south Kilkenny Irish scholar. His headstone has part of the inscription in Ogham.  The earliest stones seem to date from circa 1800/1810.   Older and very ornate memorials may be found in the graveyard of Kilbeacon which is just across the road from from this graveyard.  We will also be including Kilbeacon is our work as the same families are recorded in both graveyards.  Thanks to Father Barron, the Parish Priest, we have also been able to record the memorials inside the church.    




Friday, 1 November 2019

Roadside memorial near Harristown

Bernie and I were very busy this summer working on graveyards in the south of the county and also just over the border into Tipperary.   One of the intriguing memorials we found one day, and nearly missed, was a roadside memorial built into the side of a wall and way out into the country near Harristown.   However we did manage to stop the car and take the photograph below.


The forged iron Celtic cross with spear like tips at the top and at the two sides, and a twist in the iron work along the supporting upright is beautifully made but the blacksmith who made this left no indication of who he might have been. It has recently, although how recently we do not know, been cared for and the inscription picked out in white paint to preserve the memorial but it is now becoming difficult to read  After some scrutiny and a little research we deciphered it as reading "Edward Farrell died March 27th 1928, Harristown".  Armed with that information it was relatively easy to find Edward in the official records.  He died of cardiac arrest unexpectedly at Harristown and hence the roadside memorial to presumably record where he fell.   In 1922  Edward Farrell had married Ellen Hanrahan, daughter of  James Hanrahan of Rath, Danesfort, county Kilkenny and on his unexpected death she was left a widow with 4 young children.

Edward Farrell was born on 13th  July 1892, the son of Michael Farrell, farmer, of Pleberstown and Bridget Barron who came from Ballyconway nearby.  Michael and Bridget had married on 20th November 1882 at Chapel Hill, Inistioge.   Michael's father was Thomas Farrell, a farmer and deceased at the time of his son's wedding.  Bridget Barron of Ballyconway, was 19 years old when she married and her father is listed on the marriage certificate as Thomas Barron, a farmer and alive at the time of his daughter's marriage.   In the 1911 census Michael Farrell and Bridget Barron record that 14 children were born of the marriage but only 5 were alive in 1911.   This rang several bells with me as I have a Barron connection.  Out came my extensive Barron files as I knew I had details of the Ballyconway Barrons, although this is not my direct Barron line.   Amazingly I found that I was recently contacted by a descendant of one of Bridget's brothers, (a Thomas Barron who was born in Dec 1875),  via Ancestry,  who was a DNA match with me.   So quite accidently when Bernie and I noticed this roadside memorial it led to me documenting yet another tranche of my relations in the area and ones that I previously did not know anything about.   Such is genealogy and family research.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Follow up to Sgt Kirwan WW2 story

Follow up to our posting 18th January 2019

With a further update on 29th October 2019 at the end of this posting


Sergeant John Anthony Kirwan of Dungarvan co Kilkenny    WW2
RAF Air Gunner DFM
Service no: 1067998,
49th Squadron
8th July 1944


Eric Whittle in Australia, found my home telephone number and called to Ireland very early one morning after Christmas.


 His follow up email...



A TALE OF TWO FRIENDS

My father, Bert Whittle, is a WW2 RAF pilot veteran. He was shot out of the sky over The Netherlands and spent three years as POW, but still going strong at age 97 and living in Perth Western Australia.
When he enlisted in 1938 he started training at the RAF School of Photography at Farnborough, Hampshire. There he met a young Irishman by the name of John Kirwan and they soon became firm friends. Both were still teenagers. John attended a Whittle family wedding (Bert’s older sister) Daphne, that same year, and while on leave for Christmas they made a trip to Ireland where Bert met John’s family. 

John attending  Berts sister Daphne's wedding
        Bert Whittle, Bill, Daphnes new Husband, Peter Whittle, John Kirwan, and Bills friend.

Memory is not so clear these days but it seems that this adventure involved a train ride to a village south from Dublin. Somewhat clearer are the beautiful Irish girls.
Bert went on to do pilot training in Arizona before returning to operational duties at 25 OTU Finningley. The two men lost contact in the chaos of the time. Soon after the war Bert emigrated to Australia where he has further survived several careers, two marriages and a good many offspring. But he regrets not searching out his friend John Kirwan, or perhaps his fate.
Included here is a photograph of Bert (left) and John (right) in a café in Aldershot just south of Farnborough. My hope is that someone can identify him as acquaintance or family member.
As an addendum: A search of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website will find a Sgt. John Anthony Kirwan DFM (now buried in France), son of Michael and Bridget Kirwan of Dungarvan, County Kilkenny. Part of his story can be found here: http://www.49squadron.co.uk/personnel_index/detail/Kirwan_JA  

Coincidently when we recorded the graveyard at Dungarvan co Kikenny, back in 2014 and 2015 we noticed the inscription on this Kirwan family grave mentioned, Jack 1944.  A chance meeting later, with Annie Kelly (Sgt John Kirwans niece) with her son Gerard told us who Jack was.  We researched his military career and filed the information.
See our posting 18th January 2019...

Eric and hs wife travelled to Ireland and visited John Kirwans family at Dungarvan co Kilkenny.
They they travelled on to France
This is Eric Whittle visiting the grave of Sergeant John Anthony Kirwan in the Community Cemetery Near Conche, in Eure, France.

Eric Whittle



Dear Bernie and Mary,
We’re home again at Margaret River and settled in after some jet-lagged nights. 
The last few days in Europe were spent in the Austrian Alps near a little town called Söll; absolutely stunning in the mountains, and of course a totally different way of life.
But what made the whole trip worthwhile was our stay in Ireland. Everyone was so welcoming and helpful. After leaving Kilkenny we called in to visit the grave of Father Linnane at Saint Patrick’s Church, just north of Bealaclugga in County Clare. Father L was a kind mentor to my Mum in Australia, when she was a teenager. She gave me a special stone to leave at his resting place. Instead, the local priest (now retired) who we met there said he would bless the stone and keep it in the church. Mum is so pleased!
We hired a car in Cologne and drove through Netherlands, Belgium and France. In Elsloo (Netherlands), we stood on the precise place at a road intersection where Dad's Wellington bomber L7802 came down. More recently, a road crew digging at the site found one of the aero engines! A young local historian has even written a book about the crash with images, official records, etc. Unfortunately it’s not available in English text. 
We stayed a few days in Ypres (the local Dutch/Flemish prefer Ieper) and attended the Last Post ceremony at Menin Gate. After visiting several memorials for the allies (a good many Irish and Aussies lay there) who perished in Belgium and Northern France, then acknowledging civilian casualties and of course the Germans, I just can’t grasp the total carnage of the time. What a bloody waste.

 
We found my Uncle Peter’s grave in Miraumont. Also met an English couple (retired teachers) who live within 3 minutes walk of the cemetery, and have arranged with them to put some flowers on Peter’s grave on what will be his 100th birthday in May next year.
 

Then on to see Jack. After a minor detour to Le Chesne, Ardennes (oops!) we found Jack’s crew in the village of Le Chesne, Normandy. We decided to share his flowers with all the boys, I’m sure he didn’t mind. With beautiful farmland crops stretching for miles around, and children’s laughter in the school playground opposite, I can’t imagine a more peaceful or fitting place for them. I’ve attached a few pics here. Notice the little blue cross of remembrance we found against Jack’s stone. Also, the crew have been included on a memorial stone in front of the village church.
Please pass on love and best wishes to Jack’s clan, from Bert and myself.
 I shall always remember Anne’s warm kitchen and home cooked offerings.
Tell Annie I’ll drop in again one day for another slice of that apple pie, I’m sure of it.



These seven are the only Common Wealth War Graves in Le Chesne Cemetery, Eure, France

The crew of the Lancaster LM541 (EA-N)

F/L G.E. Ball DFC Pilot
Sgt E. Wardman F/E
P/O G. Millar NAV
P/O J. Kernahan W/OP
Sgt J.A. Kirwan DFM A/G
P/O G.A.Rae RCAF A/B
F/S G.J.W. Parkinson DFM A/G



 Hi Bernie and Mary,
Yes, Bert was keen for details of how the journey played out, particularly in Kilkenny. Discovering that John's story is such a valued part of Kirwan family heritage was very satisfying to him. He will always be saddened by the circumstances of John’s end, but quietly proud that he had known such a man and met his family. And a loose end, a mystery to him, has been resolved at last. 
The book about Wellington L7802 is a local Dutch publication, very limited edition.
You are welcome to use what you see fit for your blog etc. If you need higher resolution images just let me know.
I found the extended story on your website. Well done. The photos took me straight back to Dungarvan.
Bert Whittle






29th October 2019

This morning from Eric in Australia

Mary and Bernie,
You've done a wonderful job with the update of this story of Jack and Bert.  And there are countless others that intersect with it that stretch out like a borderless mosaic.  For example, it is generally accepted that there are seven Commonwealth War Graves in this Cemetery; in fact there are eight.  Notice behind Jack's stone is another dedicated to RAF fighter pilot Flight Lieutenant D. C. Webb, brought down in June 1944 (perhaps only a few weeks before Jack's crew) " and found his French Friends"  Webb was buried here in 1992.  Perhaps he came after the war to work for the CWGC and attended to Jack and the others.
The inscription on the blue cross against Jack's stone reads: Visited by Anne & Peter Harden Chickerell Weymouth Dorset UK, Thank You for Your Sacrifice
Eric Whittle

Eric,
Thank you for your kind words and the wonderful journey you made across the world to bring joy to this Kilkenny family of  Sgt. John Anthony Kirwan.  Tell your Dad Bert that his memory is pretty amazing. When he came to Ireland in about 1938/39 they would have taken the train from Dublin south to Gowran.  Eric this is the village where  you called to ask directions to Annie's house. When you got lost.  The Gowran Train station which opened on the 14th November 1850,  closed permanently on 1st January 1963.  Bert and Jack surely walked the same road to the house that you  recently travelled.  They attended a family wedding while here and Annie thinks that was her Dads wedding.
Thanks for the detail from the mystery blue cross.
Kindest regards
Mary and Bernie