Who I’m Remembering: Lucy Donoghue

Prince Harry at the centenary ceremony at St Symphorien military cemetery. Image © EPA

Prince Harry at the centenary ceremony at St Symphorien military cemetery. Image © EPA

On 4 August Prince Harry lead a moving tribute to those who served on the home and fighting fronts during the First World War, held in St Symphorien  military cemetery. During the Ceremony he read out a moving letter from Private Michael Lennon, an Irish Fusilier killed at Gallipoli. Our very own Lucy Donoghue shares why she too will be remembering Private Lennon.

On 4 August,  I remembered Private Michael Lennon, of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. I recently read his beautiful letters, held in IWM’s archive. He wrote  to his brother Frank and nephew ‘Little Frankie’ about his time in Cork waiting to be posted, his journey to and his time in Gallipoli.nike air max 90 shoes

Private Lennon’s letters to Frank

On 30th May 1915, he wrote ‘Well Frank, I suppose we are for it tomorrow, if we don’t get shelled on the way… I can only hope that we have all the luck to come through the night and if I should get bowled out – well it can’t be helped. I shall pack up to the place ‘Where falls not rain, nor hail, nor any snow, and where the wind never blows loudly’, but as I have said before, I am looking for something better than that and I shall see you again when the job is done.’

On 1 June, 1915 he wrote ‘Still in the pink and a bit nearer to the shells that are flying about. Had a stroll to the top of the hill (and I don’t mean Derby Road) this morning and could see the shots exchanged between the combatants, while the big guns are going every now and again …This is a wonderful place Frank, like a World’s Fair, with all the men of different nationalities…I only hope that I come back to tell little Frankie all about it.’                  

Killed at Gallipoli

Private Michael Lennon died on 28 June 1915 – exactly a year after the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and he is commemorated at Helles.  The wife of ‘Little Frankie’ kindly gave the letters, kept my the family for years, to IWM’s archive in the 1990’s so that Michael would be remembered by future generations.

On 4 August, Prince Harry read a short extract from his letters at the commemorative ceremony in St Symphorien – and many, many people across the world heard the words of Private Michael Lennon and had the opportunity to know a little about his story. His letter appeared on the front page of The Sun, on 5 August.new balance 572

Remembering Private Lennon’s Story

Lives of the First World War has begun to tell the story of many, many people like Private Michael Lennon. ‘Ordinary’ people whose lives were  ended or changed forever by the conflict. People who wrote back to their families to tell them a little of what the war was like, people who contributed and died and people who contributed and survived– many never speaking about the experience until much, much later in their lives. Through Lives of the First World War we can discover, remember and share their individual stories and preserve them for future generations – so that they are never forgotten.

We need as many people as possible to help us build this permanent digital memorial. There are over 8 million life stories to tell and we’ve only just started.

Who will you remember?


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