31 July 1917: ‬Francis Ledwidge killed at the battle of Battle of Passchendaele on this day.

Catalpast

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31 July 1917: The death of the Irish Poet ‬Francis Ledwidge at the battle of Battle of Passchendaele on this day. He was killed when a German shell landed amongst the work detail he was with near the village of Boezinghe and blew him and five of his comrades to pieces.

He is considered the finest Irish War poet of the First World War and one that encapsulated so many of the contradictions facing Irish men who were recruited into the British Army in the First World War. Francis Ledwidge was born near the village of Slane Co Meath in 1887. His family were not well off after the death of his father and he left school at age 13 to work on the roads. However he became interested in poetry and wrote on the Nature and history of the Boyne Valley. Encouraged by a local curate, Fr Smith, Ledwidge began contributing his poetry to the Drogheda Independent. Ledwidge was later befriended by Lord Dunsany who would become an invaluable patron.


Raised in the Irish Nationalist tradition he joined the Irish Volunteers and trained with the local battalion to resist Partition and to secure Ireland her own Parliament. When the First World War broke out he was shocked at the atrocities reportedly carried out by the German Army and though initially sceptical he decided to enlist in the British Army:


‘I joined the British army because England stood between Ireland and an enemy common to our civilisation, and I would not have had it said that she defended us while we did nothing at home but pass resolutions.'


On 24 October he joined Lord Dunsany’s regiment, the 5th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 10th (Irish) Division at Navan, and was sent to Richmond Barracks in Dublin. He first saw action at Gallipoli in July 1915 against the Turks. He took part in the landings at Suvla Bay in August that were yet another costly Fiasco. By October the 10th Division was posted to Serbia and saw action against the Bulgarians. Ledwidge survived, but damaged his back during the retreat to Salonika, and was subsequently hospitalised in Cairo and later in Manchester.

It was while convalescing there that word reached him that there had been a Rising in Dublin and that his friend Thomas McDonagh had been executed by the British. He was shattered by this news and became disillusioned with the War effort. In conversation with his brother Frank, his change of heart was revealed when he said that ‘if someone was to tell me now that the Germans were coming over the back wall, I wouldn’t lift a finger to stop them'.

Ledwidge returned to the front in France in the second half of 1916, and saw action at the Battle of Arras in the spring of 1917. His battalion was then ordered north to Belgium in preparation for the 3rd Battle of Ypres. The offensive began on 31 July 1917, but Ledwidge was kept in reserve behind the lines and put to work laying roads. While Ledwidge was drinking tea in a mud hole with his comrades, a shell exploded alongside, killing the poet and five others. A chaplain who knew him, Father Devas, arrived soon after, and recorded "Ledwidge killed, blown to bits."

The battle of Passchendaele ended some 100 days later with over 245,000 Allied and 215,000 German soldiers dead wounded and missing. Francis Ledwidge might have been amongst the first Irishmen to die at 3rd Ypres. Today though he is one of the very few who are remembered for their sacrifice in it and the contradictions he faced between his love for Ireland and his hatred of Tyranny as expressed in his evocative Poetry.


The silence of maternal hills
Is round me in my evening dreams;
And round me music-making rills
And mingling waves of pastoral streams.

Whatever way I turn I find
The path is old unto me still.
The hills of home are in my mind,
And there I wander as I will.

In France
February 1917
 


gerhard dengler

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Irish man Father Willie Doyle S.J. was killed at Passendaele at 16th August 1917.

Fr.Doyle was remembered as a great and very brave chaplain to the troops in the front line of conflict at battles such as Passendaele.

Father William Doyle
 

runwiththewind

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It is too late now to retrieve
A fallen dream
Too late to grieve
A Name Unmade But Not Too Late
To Thank the Gods
For what is great
A keen-edged sword
A soilder's heart
Is greater than a poet's fame
A little grave
That has no name

Francis Ledgwidge
5th Inniskilling Fusiliers.
 

Niall996

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If he had not of been there he would not have been killed.. He died for absolutely nothing
He had long before his death grown utterly disillusioned with the war and his British employers famously declaring in 1916 after hearing about the murders of the Patriots 'if someone was to tell me now that the Germans were coming over the back wall, I wouldn’t lift a finger to stop them'.
A sad loss but the fact is, he picked the wrong theatre of battle. He should have stayed and fought in the Anglo Irish war. He died for a nothing cause, a made up war, a pointless tragedy.
 

troll account

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He had long before his death grown utterly disillusioned with the war and his British employers famously declaring in 1916 after hearing about the murders of the Patriots 'if someone was to tell me now that the Germans were coming over the back wall, I wouldn’t lift a finger to stop them'.
A sad loss but the fact is, he picked the wrong theatre of battle. He should have stayed and fought in the Anglo Irish war. He died for a nothing cause, a made up war, a pointless tragedy.
How dare you not love the war :mad:
 

Sweet Darling

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He had long before his death grown utterly disillusioned with the war and his British employers famously declaring in 1916 after hearing about the murders of the Patriots 'if someone was to tell me now that the Germans were coming over the back wall, I wouldn’t lift a finger to stop them'.
A sad loss but the fact is, he picked the wrong theatre of battle. He should have stayed and fought in the Anglo Irish war. He died for a nothing cause, a made up war, a pointless tragedy.
Germans.?
 

parentheses

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His lament for Thomas McDonagh

HE SHALL not hear the bittern cry
In the wild sky, where he is lain,
Nor voices of the sweeter birds,
Above the wailing of the rain.

Nor shall he know when loud March blows
Thro’ slanting snows her fanfare shrill,
Blowing to flame the golden cup
Of many an upset daffodil.

But when the Dark Cow leaves the moor,
And pastures poor with greedy weeds,
Perhaps he’ll hear her low at morn,
Lifting her horn in pleasant meads.
 

The Field Marshal

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he decided to enlist in the British Army:


‘I joined the British army because England stood between Ireland and an enemy common to our civilisation, and I would not have had it said that she defended us while we did nothing at home but pass resolutions.'
Total horsepiss.

Germany posed no threat whatsoever to either Britain and more especially Ireland in 1914.

All those deluded Irish and English idiots died in vain for absolutely nothing led by malicious politicians.

The streets of London erupted in rapturous cheers in 1914 when war was declared.

Ledwith was an utterly deluded person.
 

ne0ica

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What a smuck. Its one thing fighting for you're country but dying for another mans Empire.
 

The Field Marshal

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What a smuck. Its one thing fighting for you're country but dying for another mans Empire.
An empire they began to throw away with their idiotic war declaration against Germany of 1914.

It was highly popular with millions of gushing idiots signing up to crush the Hun and be home before Xmas.
 

wombat

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Its sad that Ledwidge was killed but singling him out because he wrote poetry distracts from the thousands who died before they had a chance to show any talent.
 

wombat

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It was highly popular with millions of gushing idiots signing up to crush the Hun and be home before Xmas.
A lot took the king's shilling on the promise of a steady paycheque after they returned before Christmas.
 

Catalpast

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Its sad that Ledwidge was killed but singling him out because he wrote poetry distracts from the thousands who died before they had a chance to show any talent.
He wasn't the only poet to die that day:

A ceremony has been held to remember Welsh poet Hedd Wyn and Irish poet Francis Ledwidge who were killed in the Battle of Passchendaele 100 years ago.

It was one of the bloodiest events of World War One - with 4,000 Welsh soldiers killed or injured on the first day, 31 July 1917.

The 38th (Welsh) Division played a central role in the battle, capturing key positions on the ridge at Pilckem.

The ceremony was held at Artillery Wood Cemetery in Langemark, Belgium, on Monday morning.

Welsh poet Hedd Wyn remembered at Battle of Passchendaele event - BBC News
 

The Field Marshal

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He wasn't the only poet to die that day:

A ceremony has been held to remember Welsh poet Hedd Wyn and Irish poet Francis Ledwidge who were killed in the Battle of Passchendaele 100 years ago.

It was one of the bloodiest events of World War One - with 4,000 Welsh soldiers killed or injured on the first day, 31 July 1917.

The 38th (Welsh) Division played a central role in the battle, capturing key positions on the ridge at Pilckem.

The ceremony was held at Artillery Wood Cemetery in Langemark, Belgium, on Monday morning.

Welsh poet Hedd Wyn remembered at Battle of Passchendaele event - BBC News
What did the deaths of these people achieve?

I can not think of a single positive note.

Britain was not threatened by Germanys quarrel with France and did not have to declare all out war to protect so called little Belgium.

The British wanted that war and were chaffing at the bit to give Germany a bloody nose.

All the rhetoric of the time was in that vein.


Anyhow little point in going on about the lunacy of the British and the stupidity of their Irish followers.
 

Catalpast

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What did the deaths of these people achieve?

I can not think of a single positive note.

Britain was not threatened by Germanys quarrel with France and did not have to declare all out war to protect so called little Belgium.

The British wanted that war and were chaffing at the bit to give Germany a bloody nose.

All the rhetoric of the time was in that vein.


Anyhow little point in going on about the lunacy of the British and the stupidity of their Irish followers.
I am not judging anyone here

- people at the time did a lot of things in the belief they were right

Its easy to judge in the Aftermath

- but that was a luxury they did not have

For the record I think we should have stayed out of it

- but I don't condemn those who saw it otherwise

Many ended up like Francis Ledwidge who became increasingly disillusioned with the whole bloody thing the longer it went on...............
 

Roberto Jordan

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A bit of an aside and I am sure some contrarians will chime in to say its a perfectly reasonable title but came across a book published LAST YEAR titled "EIRE'S WWI poet F.E ledwidge".....Eire???? what the hell and why???

In that simple choice of word ( albeit derived from the irish language) I think much can be inferred about the true mindset of those who push the memory of tragic figures like ledwidge forward - using the life stories of Irish vlunteer nationalists to forward an entirely different agenda.....
 


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