ASSISTANCE FROM PUBLIC REQUIRED WITH PROPOSED MITCHELSTOWN WAR MEMORIAL
A Mitchelstown native, who is now a prominent county councillor in Staffordshire, England, is seeking help from members of the public for information for a proposed monument in Mitchelstown to those who died in World War I and II.
Cllr John O’Leary, who left the area in 1943 at the age of 18, thought up the idea on a trip to his native town, where he was advised to get in touch with local historian, Bill Power.
“About three years ago on one of my visits, I called on my friends Mr and Mrs. Paddy Kiely. We started to talk about a war memorial for Mitchelstown. Paddy said he thought it would be a nice idea to have one and I asked him who would be the best person to contact locally.
Without hesitation he suggested Bill Power. I then made it my business to meet Bill Power and we had a couple of meetings where Bill said he would give it his full support”, Cllr O’Leary told The Avondhu.
Through his own enquiries to the War Graves Commission, John has retrieved the names and burial places of 28 servicemen from World War I, 8 servicemen from World War II and one civilian.
Cllr O’Leary himself knew Robert Best who was the surviving third brother who lost two brothers in the first World War, and he also knew four Mitchelstown men who gave their lives in World War II.
John is hoping that anyone who may have information on Mitchelstown World War casualties will come forward and provide assistance. He also wants to receive feedback from the people of Mitchelstown on his proposal.
“It would be nice to know if the people of the town share the same views as Mr Kiely”, he concluded. Cllr O’Leary’s own history is also one of great interest. From 1973 he has been a member of Staffordshire County Council, a local authority with an area carrying a population of over one million people.
First serving as vice chairman for planning, he became vice chairman of the county council before becoming chairman for 7 years and becoming the second longest serving chairman of Staffordshire County Council since 1945.
Currently chairman of pensions, Cllr O’Leary intends to retire from public life next May. His enthusiasm to war commemoration has already seen Cllr O’Leary cut the ribbon on a First World War barrack’s hut, restored and returned close to its original site in an educational area named in honour of the Mitchelstown native.
So far Cllr O’Leary’s list comprises of Michael Bulman (civilian), Sgt Peter Daly, Flight Sgt. Edmond Joseph Kiely, RAF Volunteer Reserve William Kidson, Pilot Officer William Joseph Murphy, Lt. Col.
Thomas Kiely Murphy, Warrant Officer Daniel Normoyle, RAF VR Thomas Christopher Piggott, Radio Officer Maurice Sherlock, Lance Corporal David Best, Private John Best, Private J. Biggane (Royal Irish Regiment), Private J Biggane (Canadian Machine Gun Corps), Private Daniel Brennan, Private Michael Burke, Private Christopher Casey, Pioneer Matthew Conner, Private William Daly, Private H Doran, Gunner Charles Faulkner, Trimmer Thomas Flynn, Private M Keane, Private Roger Kendrick, Private John Kiely, Private Charles Lowrey, Captain Thomas O’Brien, Gunner Patrick O’Donnell, Saddler R O’Donnell, Private James O’Grady, Private Owen O’Keeffe, Private Robert O’Keeffe, Private Patrick Parker, Private John Piggott, Sergeant John Richards, Sergeant William Riordan, Private S Teeney and Private Thomas Walsh.
Thursday 31st July 7:07pm