As a voluntary Poppy seller for the Royal British Legion, at this time of the year my thoughts are inevitably with my father Michael Finnerty, who was a Gunner with the Royal Field Artillery serving in France and Belgium during the First World War, and who took part in the Battle of Mons and the Somme, to name just a few.
In April this year, my husband and I visited the National Archives at Kew in London, to try to find out more information about my Dad’s records.
I was able to examine a book written by an officer, who had recorded every soldier who had embarked on the same ship with my father to France in 1914.
As my husband and I were going to Belgium and France in September this year, I decided to record all the names of the soldiers who were killed/died, in order to place a poppy cross on the grave of each one, because these men were my Dad’s comrades and I knew how important this would be to him.
I have been told that the only time my Dad went to the Protestant church in the village where I was born was on Remembrance Sunday, to “remember his dead comrades.” My Dad was a Catholic, so going into this church was a totally alien concept for him in those days, but it was his way of remembering and paying respect.
During my research, I found a Driver D. McCarthy of the Royal Field Artillery, who was only 18 years of age.
The record showed that he had “died of disease” and was buried at Longueness (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, in Northern France. His parents were Mr & Mrs McCarthy of Kerry Street, Fethard, Co. Tipperary.
I have taken photos of his grave and the cemetery where he lies.
If you feel it appropriate, could you please print some information in your newspaper to say that my husband and I would be delighted to share our photos with any descendent of Driver McCarthy who may be interested to receive them.
Netta M. Lambie