Irish soldiers who died in WWI are officially commemorated

Irish soldiers who died in WWI are officially commemorated

THE 50,000 Irish soldiers estimated to have died in World War One have been officially commemorated in London’s Remembrance Sunday ceremony for the first time in nearly 70 years.

Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall became the first Irish Government representative to participate in the annual wreath-laying ceremony since 1946 when he joined the Queen and Prime Minister David Cameron to lay a laurel wreath at the Cenotaph in London yesterday.

Regarding the historic event, he claimed he was “pleased to accept the invitation of the UK Government to lay a wreath in memory of the 50,000 Irish who died in World War One”.

DUP MP Nigel Dodds also laid a wreath at the London ceremony, while Secretary of State for the North Theresa Villiers was at the Cenotaph at Belfast City Hall to represent the British government.

For the third year Taoiseach Enda Kenny laid a wreath on behalf of the Irish government at a ceremony in Enniskillen on Sunday, where he explained: "Enniskillen has a certain poignancy because of the IRA bomb here.

“I think it's significant to have the Taoiseach able to come to Enniskillen and it's a privilege to do so for the third year in a row."

Historians estimate that more than 200,000 Irish-born soldiers served in the British Army and Navy from 1914 to 1918.

Thousands more left Ireland to join British forces during World War Two.

Their lives were commemorated further by the Combined Irish Regiments Association, which held its annual remembrance service in London on Thursday, November 6.

The annual event, held in St Patrick's Chapel at Westminster Cathedral, was led by Canon Christopher Tuckwell and Colonel David Maitland-Titterton, Chairman of the CIRA.

There wreaths were laid for the fallen of all the Irish regiments of the British army over the years, including those that were disbanded when Ireland gained independence in 1922.

These include the Royal Irish Regiment, Connaught Rangers, Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians), Royal Munster Fusiliers, Royal Dublin Fusiliers and the South Irish Horse.

Each year the CIRA hold a parade on a Sunday in June to mark the disbandment, made on June 12, 1922 at Windsor Castle, where King George V received the colours of the five regiments and a regimental engraving on behalf of The South Irish Horse.

During the course of his State Visit to Britain in April, President Higgins viewed these colours at Windsor Castle.

Further Remembrance services were due to take place across Britain and Ireland on Tuesday, November 11, as The Irish Post went to press, to mark Armistice Day.

Among them a service at St Ann's Church in Dawson Street, Dublin, a wreath-laying ceremony in Glasnevin Cemetery and the official opening of a new World War I exhibition at the Milestone Gallery in Glasnevin.