Historian and Longford native David Leahy is in the process of writing a book about the county’s involvement in World War I and is asking for assistance from local people whose ancestors played a role in the conflict.
“If people had relatives involved, I’d be grateful if they could contact me to make sure they’re included,” he said, adding that he will add this information to the research he has already conducted.
“I’ve gone through the Longford Leader files from 1914 to 1918, which are on microfilm in Longford Library,” he explained. “The Leader files are particularly good for personal accounts.
“I’m supplementing this with information from the Commonwealth Wargraves Commission. As well as that, I’m also using a booklet published by the Legion of Irish ex-Servicemen around 1923 or ‘24, which had a list of people who died. There are also six volumes in the Irish Memorial Records that I’m using, and I’m trying to tie back each Longford person to the 1901 or 1911 census to find out where they lived. A lot of records only have parish or general areas listed, but I want to trace the exact locations of where they lived.”
He has also been in contact with other local historians in order to exchange information.
“I have a lot of information on people who died, but very little on people who actually served and lived,” he continued. “I’ve estimated that around 2,500 Longford people served and around 4oo died, which amounts to about one in every six.”
Giving further emphasis to that point, Mr Leahy went on to say that, “a Fr Donohoe took a Catholic census of Longford town and parish and discovered that out of the 40 houses in Chapel Lane, 40 men had gone to war; of whom 10 had been killed and 18 wounded.”
Anyone wishing to contact Mr Leahy with details on their family’s World War I connections can do so by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.