This is a wonderful example of a local historian putting some flesh on the bones of history – in this case World War I and a Midleton/Australia connection. Damian Shiels is a ‘digger’ in a different manner from the men who joined up in 1914-1918. The story presented here shows how Ambrose Haley’s Irish relatives ‘brought him home’ to Midleton.
Reblogging articles posted on another blog might seem like a lazy way to update a blog – but I’d prefer readers and followers to view the original written by Damian Shiels rather than rewrite it for my own blog!
On 30th December 1918 a party of mourners were led by Canon O’Connor to an open graveside beside the main path at the Church of the Holy Rosary cemetery in Midleton. Those in attendance had walked to the church from the railway station at the other side of town, where they had met and formed a cortège behind a flag-draped coffin. The elm casket had been carried to the church by Timothy Murphy undertakers, who were based on the Main Street. Passers-by would have noted a number of unusual aspects to the funeral; the flag was not the Union Jack, as might be expected, but rather was adorned with the Southern Star. As well as that, the soldiers in attendance wore the slouch hat that marked them not as British troops, but men of the Australian Imperial Force. The young man in the coffin– Ambrose Augustine Haley– was…
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