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By David Tucker
WEXFORD paid solemn tribute to its sons who fought in the Battle of Jutland on Sunday, the 100th anniversary of the only major naval battle of the Great War.
A service of Morning Prayer at St Iberius Church was followed by a ‘Centenary Act of Remembrance’ on the Quays for the people of Wexford who died in the battle, in which more than 6,000 seamen from both sides were killed.
The 10 Wexford men known to have died in the battle between the British Grand Fleet and the German High Seas ﬂeet at Scapa Flow in May 29, 1916 are: Patrick Cahil, aged 23, and late of William Street, Wexford Town, leading stoker on HMS Indefatigable; Michael Dwyer, aged 23, stoker 1st Class, HMS Queen Mary, Ross Road, Enniscorthy; John H Grattan Esmonde, aged 17, and late of Ballinastragh, Gorey, midshipman on HMS Invincible; James Furlong, aged 21, stoker, HMS Indefatigable, Ballycullane; William Furlong, aged 24, gunner (Royal Marine Artillery). HMS Defence, Barntown, James Kehoe, aged 42 and late of Bridgetown, leading stoker on HMS Defence; James Mernagh, aged 27, and late of Clonroche, stoker 2nd Class on HMS Invincible; Edward O’Lealy, aged 24, and late of Michael Street, Wexford Town. stoker on HMS Black Prince; Bartholomew Rodgers, aged 43 and late of Emmet Place, Wexford Town, stoker on HMS Indefatigable and John Sunderland, aged 27, late of Blackwater, stoker on HMS Defence.
Two local survivors were also remembered; the Late Admiral David Richard Beatty, GCB OM GCVO DSO 8: PC, of Borodale House, Enniscorthy and commander of the Grand Fleet’s Battle Cruiser Squadron. His squadron was the first to engage the German Imperial High Seas Fleet, and Chief Petty Officer Jack Barron, of Barron’s BakeryWaterford from HMS Revenge.
Surviving members Jack’s family – his niece Esther Prendergast, nee Barron, along with her family, attended the ceremonies.
Those taking part in the prayers and wreath ceremony at the Quays were a colour party with the national colours, the Department of Defence, Deputy Mayor Cllr Jim Moore and members of the borough council, the gardai, the Royal British Legion, members of ONE, UN veterans, the Order of Malta, the RNLI, the Coast Guard, Wexford marinewatch. Ofﬁciating clergy were Fr Aodhan Marl-ten, Canon Arthur Minion, and retired army commandant Ciaran Kavanagh. Music for the hymns was provided by the Loch Garman Band, conducted by John Clancy, while Anthony Nolan was the solo trumpet. Anthony Nolan played the Last Post, Reveille and and accompaniment to RNLI Operations Manager Nick Bowie’s recitation on the Navy Hymn on the quayside. Korean War veteran and ex-Royal Navy Tom 0’Keefe recited the RBL’s Exhortation and Dedication (The Kohima Prayer). The ship’s bell from HMS Mystic, held by the chairman of the RBL Wexford and Secretary of the RNA (Royal Naval Association), was rung by Lord Rathdonnell (ex-Royal Navy) before and after the one minute‘s silence.