On 28 June, 1914 the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria sparked a series of events that saw young men from Midleton College, and villages all over Ireland, join forces to fight in the Great War for civilisation.
On 10 November at 11:00am Siobhain Delaney, Head of History at Midleton College, will deliver a one hour talk in Midleton Library, on the involvement of some of the schools former students in the First World War. This global war, centred in Europe, began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918 with the signing of the Armistice between the Allies and Germany.
Although hostilities continued in some areas, the Armistice essentially brought an end to the four year war.
Signed in Ferdinand Foch’s railway carriage in the remote forest of Compiegne, north of Paris, at 5:00am on 11 November 1918, it came into force six hours later at 11:00am.
French Army Commander Foch was in charge of leading the negotiations and signing the Agreement, making it impossible for the Germans to continue fighting.
Coincidentally, Hitler forced the French to sign an Armistice in the same railway carriage in 1940.
Among 13 past pupils who took part in the Great War were Private William Byron Holmes from the Rock, Midleton, son of Alfred & Mary Holmes, who died aged 27 on 18/5/1915. He was an international hockey centre half who had been capped twice for Ireland. Prior to joining the army he had been employed as a clerk in the malting concerns of Mr. John H. Bennett. Holmes was also a prominent member of the Midleton Corps of the National Volunteers.
2nd Lieutenant James Henry Bruce Levis, who died aged 19 on 12/8/1915, son of Bruce Levis, Esq, Glenview House, Skibbereen. Prior to joining he was in the second year of his study of medicine at Trinity College Dublin. He was only three or four days into action at the Dardenelles when he received his fatal wounds.
2nd Lieutenant Arthur Dominic Wilson, who died aged 21 on 10/9/1916, son of the Rev. Canon Arthur Wilson, M.A, Rector and Mrs. Wilson, the Rectory, Dunmanway. He was a student in Trinity College, intending to take Holy Orders. He obtained a Midleton College exhibition on entering Trinity College, Dublin. He was wounded when leading his platoon in the attack on Ginchy, and died the next morning at the casualty clearing station.