WW1 and You: Belfast Central Library 22nd January 2015

WW1 and You, Objects and Memories

Would you like to play a role in preserving WW1 historical facts for future generations? Join Living Legacies 1914-1918 and Libraries NI at Heritage Department, 2nd floor, Belfast Central Library on Thursday 22 January.

Bring your WW1 objects and artefacts (photographs, letters, diaries etc.) to the Heritage Department where there will be scanning and recording of memorabilia and stories throughout the afternoon from 12.30 – 4.30pm.

Call 02890509150 for details.

Also talks by Keith Lilley, Dr Brenda Winter Palmer, Jason Burke, Siobhan Brennan-Deane, Professor Elizabeth Crooke and Dr Johanne Devlin Trew.




Christopher Fitzgibbon – First Ulster fatality of WW1 in an Irish Army Regiment

History Hub Ulster is asking people living in the Kilkeel area for help to find information on First World War serviceman Christopher Fitzgibbon. It is believed Private Fitzgibbon enlisted in the Connaught Rangers in Dublin around August 1909 and died on 17 August 1914. He is buried in the Ferozepore Military Cemetery in India.

 Fitzgibbon, Christopher

Fitzgibbon, Christopher MIC

Christopher Fitzgibbon is believed to be the first Ulster fatality in World War One serving with an Irish Army Regiment. However research has produced very little information on his life. He is noted to have been born in Kilkeel although no evidence for this has been found.

The Connaught Rangers’ War Dairy notes the following:

Ferozepore 17th August 1914.

“Battalion entrained for KARACHI. Marching out strength 14 officers 878 other ranks. Owing to intense heat 10 men had to be left at FEROZEPORE suffering from heat stroke. Of these three died. Most of the remainder subsequently rejoined. One man died from heat stroke in train.”

These four casualties were Private Jeremiah Cronin from Cork, Private Christopher Fitzgibbon from Kilkeel, Private Martin Keeley from Galway and Private Michael Lapparth from Mayo. Privates Cronin, Keeley and Lapparth are all remembered on the Kirkee War memorial while Private Fitzgibbon is remembered on the Karachi memorial. This indicates that he was most likely the soldier who died from heat stroke on the train.

While we know how Private Fitzgibbon died and where he is buried, his early life remains a mystery as his birth has not been sourced nor was he entered on either the 1901 or 1911 census in Kilkeel. Where did he grow up in Kilkeel? Who were his family? Are his family still in the area? Is he remembered on a war memorial in Kilkeel? Who took receipt of the British War Medal he was awarded?

Karen O’Rawe, Chair of History Hub Ulster said “While no-one will remember Christoper Fitzgibbon directly, we are asking Kilkeel residents to contact us if they are aware of any Fitzgibbon families in the area. Perhaps he enlisted under an alternative name or was not born in Kilkeel at all. Maybe you have an idea about where else we could look for information?”

If you have any information please contact research@historyhubulster.co.uk

Additional information:

Christopher Fitzgibbon was a Private in the 1st Battalion, Connaught Rangers, service number 9750. His service number suggests an enlistment date around August 1909. The 1st Battalion of the Connaught Rangers was stationed in India from March 1908. It is likely that Private Fitzgibbon joined the battalion in India between Dec 1909 and March 1910. He was awarded the British War Medal. He died from heatstroke on 17th August 1914 and is buried at FEROZEPORE Cemetary in India.

6th Connaught Rangers Research Group Exhibition Launch

Connaught RangersThe 6th Connaught Rangers Research Group Exhibition ‘Rediscovering the Belfast Nationalists who fought in WW1’ will take place as part of Féile An Phobail from Monday 4th August to Friday 8th August 2014 at the Falls Library (normal library opening hours).

The exhibition launches on Monday 4th August at 1pm.

Other events include:

Monday 4 August at 7pm: Remembering, Forgetting and Commemorating Ireland’s Great War: Issues for Belfast, with Professor Richard Grayson, Goldsmiths College.

Tuesday 5 August at 1pm: The Soul of the Nation: Irish republicans, war and rebellion, with Fearghal McGarry, QUB.

Wednesday 6 August at 1pm: The Great War and Unionist Memory, with Philip Orr.

Thursday 7 August at 1pm: Belfast Women and the Great War with Margaret Ward and Lynda Walker.

Friday 7 August at 1pm: The formation and history of the three Irish Divisions, with Jimmy McDermott.