SERJEANT PATRICK WALSH
23RD AUGUST 1918 AGE 26
BURIED: DOUCHY-LES-AYETTES BRITISH CEMETERY, FRANCE
Patrick Walsh came from Killinick, County Wexford and served not with an Irish regiment but with the Grenadier Guards. The position of Irish soldiers who served in the British army, whether in Irish or English regiments, is illustrated by the fact that it wasn't until June 2013 that a memorial to the more than 800 Wexford men who lost their lives in the First World War was commissioned. In announcing it, the Mayor of Wexford said that he knew it would be controversial in some places but that time had moved on, 'these people left Wexford in good faith and deserve to be commemorated'.
On the 19 August 1918 the Battalion war diary recorded that the 'Commanding Officer lectures all Officers and N.C.O.s in the morning on the forthcoming battle. The Bttn. bathes. Rifle and L/Guns inspected by Armourer Sergeant.' The 'forthcoming battle', which took place on the 21/22/23 August, was the attempt to recover the Albert-Arras railway line.
The first part of John Walsh's inscription suggests, by its reference his son's soul, that the family were Roman Catholics. The second parts articulates an informal affection not often expressed by fathers. I wonder what Serjeant Walsh would have thought about being referred to as a 'dear, darling boy'!