WW1, Battle of Jutland & sinking of The Lusitania

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Glasgowboy

WW1, Battle of Jutland & sinking of The Lusitania

#1 Post by Glasgowboy » Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:27 am

I visited South Down - nearly two years ago now - and took lots of photographs in various cemeteries and graveyards. There were two types of picture: close-ups of the inscriptions on particular headstones and shots of more general scenes, showing the location and setting etc. (I did take other pictures as well . . .) To maximise the value of my limited time, I captured anything that looked remotely interesting, accepting that much of it might eventually turn out to be of peripheral interest to me.

I then copied some of the close-ups into a working folder, to be studied in due course. What I didn’t do was to copy the other stuff anywhere. Don’t really know why, because I’m usually good at backing up stuff.

That turned out to be a serious mistake. Later that year I got my pocket picked in Lisbon. In my wallet was the SD card with those photos on it . . . been kicking myself ever since for my stupidity. Lost much of the good stuff & am left with many things I didn’t really need.

Anyway . . . at least I still had the close-ups. I looked at the material of direct connection to my own family fairly soon after I came home, but the rest of the material has been left on the back burner till recently. There was one headstone that had caught my eye a few times, though, which is this one from Burren:
Burren - Ryan #7a.JPG
The reference to “lost at sea” for the death of William Ryan was interesting. So, when I had time recently I turned to that one to see what I could make of it. I knew from previous experience that deaths at sea can be a problem to track down, but there had to be a good chance that anything in 1916 would have been connected with the 1st World War, which might help with finding a record related to it.

And so it proved. 31st May to 1st June 1916 was the Battle of Jutland, the only significant naval battle of WW1. Opinions differ as to who came off best: whereas the British lost more men and ships, the losses the Germans suffered were sufficient to persuade them to confine their fleet to home ports for the rest of the conflict. (Instead, they depended on their submarines to do the damage . . .)

William Ryan, a 50 year-old from Corrags married to Mary Catherine McMahon, lost his life when the HMS Queen Mary was sunk on 31st May 1916. In the record held by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, it notes that his brother Edward was on board the Lusitania when it was torpedoed a year earlier, on 7th May 1915.

William and Edward were the sons of Patrick Ryan and Annie Rice of Corrags. For some reason, both sons used their mother’s maiden name during their periods of service. (Interesting little oddity that.)

The Lusitania is a whole story in itself. It was ostensibly a civilian passenger ship, but the Germans suspected that it was being used as a cover for the transport of military supplies from the US to Britain. The Germans issued warnings to anyone thinking of travelling on it, placing this notice in US newspapers:
Lusitania_warning.jpg
Here's a transcription in case that's not easy to read:

NOTICE!

TRAVELLERS intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travellers sailing in the war zone on the ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.

IMPERIAL GERMAN EMBASSY
Washington, D.C. 22nd April 1915

Evidently, the warnings didn’t work. On 7th May 1915, the Lusitania was en route from New York to Liverpool and had reached the coast of Cork. She was torpedoed by a German submarine, with massive loss of life. Edward Ryan was one of the 1,198 casualties.

Many of those lost on the Lusitania were US citizens or residents. This is credited with being a significant factor in persuading Congress that the US should join the war as an active combatant.

Lustania is the old Roman name for Portugal, which is of course where I got robbed of my photos. Painful as I found that, the loss of two sons in a year rather puts my own trivial misfortune into perspective . . .

Padraigin
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Re: WW1, Battle of Jutland & sinking of The Lusitania

#2 Post by Padraigin » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:47 pm

What a shame.
No one here help? What about Andrew?
He's very good at helping people with headstones,
Or....return trip?

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northbrook
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Re: WW1, Battle of Jutland & sinking of The Lusitania

#3 Post by northbrook » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:10 am

If you tell me what you need by way of photos I am willing to oblige....................................

Glasgowboy

Re: WW1, Battle of Jutland & sinking of The Lusitania

#4 Post by Glasgowboy » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:25 am

Thanks for the offers, really quite generous of you, but it's not what I was after.

Yes, the answer's quite simple: I'll need to come back. Am already thinking of dates.

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Re: WW1, Battle of Jutland & sinking of The Lusitania

#5 Post by northbrook » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:01 am

:cheers:

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Re: WW1, Battle of Jutland & sinking of The Lusitania

#6 Post by Meeting Street » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:05 pm

Francis McAteer who was a trimmer on the Lusitania was lost when the ship went down. Does anyone know if he was related to Frank (Gunner) McAteer from Mary street (Post Office Street)?

Glasgowboy

Re: WW1, Battle of Jutland & sinking of The Lusitania

#7 Post by Glasgowboy » Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:36 pm

Meeting Street wrote:Francis McAteer who was a trimmer on the Lusitania was lost when the ship went down. Does anyone know if he was related to Frank (Gunner) McAteer from Mary street (Post Office Street)?
The Lusitania Francis can be found at Charlotte St 33 in the 1911 Census. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes have him as the son of Francis & Mary. He was born in Liverpool.

There is a Francis in Post Office St (at 42) in 1911, but the ages mean they can't be father and son.

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Christina
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Re: WW1, Battle of Jutland & sinking of The Lusitania

#8 Post by Christina » Fri Jun 03, 2016 6:03 pm

William Ryan was my Great Grandfather, father of my grandmother Lily Fegan, nee Ryan, Edward was my Nanny's uncle. There is a mass and gathering to discuss the history tonight in Burren.

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