World War One

“WW1 was one of the decisive factors in shaping modern Ireland. It made partition more likely and provided the pretext for the 1916 Rising.”

Historian Diarmaid Ferriter.

World War One was the most destructive and harrowing war the world had ever seen. It ravaged Europe leaving 16 million people dead and over 20 million wounded. Over 200,000 Irish people signed up,  49,000 of which died in the war. 

According to figures compiled by Eneclann, Mayo lost 720 people while the Mayo Peace Park website documents over 1,100



Editorial excerpt from the Connaught Telegraph at the outbreak of WW1

Connaught Telegraph August 8th, 1914

Read excerpt here A MOMENTOUS WAR



Recruitment in Mayo

Call to Arms

Recruitment Tour

Castlebar old post office

Recruitment Offices were set up all over Mayo. In Castlebar, the local Post Office on Church Hill (Mountain View) was used as an Office. Note the sign ‘Recruits Wanted’ erected at the left hand side of the front door.


Researching the Irish who Died in the Great War

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

This is a list of the 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars. Most Irish soldiers who died in World War One appear on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

Mayo Peace Park

The Mayo Peace Park committee have researched records of the Mayo men who fought and died in the Great War and have added many extra names to the CWGC list.  These are available at

Local newspapers and church memorials are also very useful in this endeavour, as they recorded the men and women from their locality who died.

British Army Records

Unfortunately two thirds of all First World War soldiers’ service records were destroyed in the London blitz of World War Two.   Recently findmypast re-indexed these ‘burnt records’ and recovered the names and partial service files of over 600,000 soldiers whose records had been lost.  

National Archives UK

The UK National Archives, Kew holds over 5.5 million First World War army medal cards,which are now accessible on-line.  The medal cards include the recipient’s name, service number, rank and unit.

Navy records

UK naval records survived intact and are currently being digitised to be made available on the UK National Archives website

You can find a lot more information on tracing First World War ancestors at

First War Fatality from Ballina

The first war fatality from Ballina was Pte. Stephen Kennedy of 2nd Bn. Connaught Rangers. He died as a result of a training accident on 22nd August 1914 in Juvisy sur Orge and is buried in Athis Mons Communal Cemetery in France. He was one of three brothers to die in the war. Ballina is now twinned with Athis Mons. In total 159 men from Ballina died in the Great War.

Soldiers from Newport, County Mayo killed in World War One

 Soldiers from Burrishoole, Newport, Co. Mayo killed in WWI

Michael P. Daly – The Town Clerk Who Went to War by Alan King

Michael P Daly – The Town Clerk Who Went to War





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