Remembering the war dead
by Fergus D’Arcy
Published by OPW Dublin 2007 ISBN 07557 7589 9
This large format volume sets out to tell the story of the war graves under the care of the OPW in Ireland. The majority mentioned are Commonwealth graves from both world wars. It is of particular maritime interest because many of the graves relate to fatalities at sea due to enemy action. The detail of OPW correspondence is extensive and at times becomes tedious but it paints a picture of contemporary attitudes and sensitivities. The story of the Islandbridge memorial is covered in detail. Much of the background relating to the deaths and burials is given and this extensive information is an insight into wartime conditions in Ireland. The book covers the tortuous story of the war memorial at Islandbridge. The work in the 1960s on reinterrment of German graves at the German cemetery at Glencree is covered in some detail. In this I had hoped to glean some information on the fate of the bodies of the crew of the UC44 which was raised and brought in to Dunmore east. Though one body originally buried at Drumcannon (Walter Richter) is in Glencree there is no trace of the others. The story of the german internees and prisoners of war in Ireland has been brought to light by this book – this complex story may be treated more extensively some day. One of the victims was shot while trying to escape from Oldcastle POW camp. From what would be reasonably expected to be a dull trawl through graveyard records – the author has produceda stimulating production on an otherwise obscure subject.
reviewed by Ed Bourke