It may seem odd to refer to sites of the Great War (World War 1) in East Cork. But, in fact we have four such sites in these parts. The first is the great basin of Cork Harbour which sheltered the Royal Navy and US Navy flotillas protecting the Western Approaches. Then there is the site of the US Naval Air Station at Aghada – now Aghada Tennis Club (although one building appears to have been moved bodily into Midleton!).
Then there is the Royal Navy’s unfinished Airship Station at Ballyquirke between Mogeely and Killeagh – the concrete water tower is the most striking landmark there.
Finally there is Old Church Cemetery in Cobh (the former Queenstown) where nearly 200 victims of the RMS Lusitania were buried. Altogether some 200 men from East Cork died in the war. I recall an elderly neighbour telling me ago that he recalled TWO explosions aboard the Lusitania – he was a little boy in West Cork when he witnessed the tragedy. In fact, he told me this several years before the more recent controversies emerged about the Lusitania’s cargo.
Tonight in Carrigtwohill the local historical society will present an exhibition and two lectures under the common title World War I Remembered. Gerry White of the Western front Association (Cork Branch) and Marie Fitzgerald will both speak. Gerry will give a general overview of the effects of the war on the men at the front and on the communities at home. Marie will recall her grandfather Daniel Fitzgerald who was a stoker on HMS Tiger during the Battle of Jutland in 1916, and happily survived the war.