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                    Sligo Champion
                      13 May 1916

  Two Heroes of the Connaught Rangers.

We take the following from "Sunbeams through the War-Cloud," by F. J. Hamilton, D.D. The poem deals with the Boer War, in which two Sligomen were honourably concerned:

"At the Battle of Colenso (December 15, 1899) Colonel Brooke of the Connaught Rangers was wounded, and as two of his men were bearing him away one of them was hit. The Colonel heard the sound, and asked, "Who?" "Begorra! It's me, sir; it's in the neck," was the reply. "Put me down," said the Colonel. "No, sir," was the response, "I am well able to carry you to a place of safety." He did, and when he laid the stretcher down, the bullet, having passed clean through his neck, had caused such a loss of blood that he fell in a dead faint. His name is George Livingstone; that of his companion Dick Campbell; both are from the town of Sligo, in the West of Ireland.

To the front, to the front, they are cheerfully marching,
To the front, to the front, they are eagerly bound;
The bugles are calling, the chargers are arching
Their proud necks with pleasure and pawing the ground.

The khaki and helmet now cover the Ranger,
And he scarce knows himself in his new cartridge belt;
But his voice sounds like home in the land of the stranger,
And he sings of old Erin on African veldt.

They’re camped by the river, they’re facing the trenches;
By day he hears thunder, by night he sees flame,
And rainfall in torrents his sleeping place drenches;
Yet the light-hearted Connaught man sings all the same.

The day dawns for action, the signal is given,
And the Rangers fall in at the word of command,
To carry those grim heights, or to fail when they’ve striven,
And beneath the lead storm to sink or to stand.

The fight rages madly beside the broad river,
The hills blaze with fire, the plain runs with blood,
And many a soul that is passing forever
From earth cries for mercy and pardon from God.

The Rangers are shattered; the brave me who bounded
That morning to battle with soldierly pride
On the field of Colenso lie worn and wounded
And their wild "Faugh-a-ballaghs" to silence have died.

Their Colonel is stricken and lies with the others,
In one common trouble all comrades confessed;
When there rush to assist him, in arms true brothers,
Two heroes from Sligo, the Queen of the West.

They carefully life him to bear him from dangers,
’Mid the whistling of bullet and screaming of shell;-
when a shot from a Boer gun strikes one of the Rangers
Who carry the leader and lead him so well.

"Who’s hit?" says the Colonel, with anxious concern,
"Begorra! it’s me, sir," replies Livingstone.
"Stop, boys, lay me down, and let me take my turn
With the rest of the wounded to perish or moan."

"Be the powers! no, sir; we’re not going to lave you
To be kilt with the thirst, or be struck with a ball;
We’ll carry you on for we’re well fit to save you.
Sure Campbell is sound and meself grazed−that’s all."

Though weary and worn, yet they press on intently,
And ne’er for a moment their burden resign,
Till they bring him to safety and lay him down gently
Where the ambulance stands near the last fighting line.

Brave Livingstone faints, for his blood’s freely flowing,
And his comrade lies covered with war-dust and grime;
But is well! since a halo of glory is glowing
Round their simple devotion, their courage sublime.

God keep them in battle, in camp and in duty,
And bring them back safe to the place they love best,
That hill-girt old sea-town, far famed for her beauty−
Their dear native Sligo, the Queen of the West.


        Sligo Champion
            1 July 1916

    Somewhere in France.

The day is past. The waning light
  Is herald of the coming night.
I try to sleep, but court in vain
  Forgetfulness to banish pain.
Death is so near, and I am sad,
  I fight for Right, and I am glad,
And if I die, I perish well,
  In fight for friends and home I fell.

We have to meet the foe’s advance,
  I wait, with calm, where’re may chance,
And if I’m doomed to lose my life,
  He dies the best, who does in strife.
I know there is a Being above,
     Who won’t forget a patriot’s love,
If then I must from life depart,
I fearless die, I’ve done my part.

And now at length the great attack
  Of valiant foe is driven back,
And we’ve regained the ground we’d lost,
  Regained, alas, at such a cost.
How many heroes slain in strife
  An hour agone were full of life;
At home in accents full of pride,
  How many tell of those who died.

                      EAMONN McSHARRY
Brewery House, Sligo June 27, 1916.


  Sligo Champion
 21 October 1916

    In Memoriam.


O’Connor—First Anniversary—In sad and loving memory of Lance-Sergeant Patrick O’Connor, Irish Guards, who was killed in action on the 17 th October, 1915. On whose soul Sweet Jesus have mercy. Queen of the Most Holy Rosary pray for him.

Slain on the field of battle
  Out on the far wild West;
Shall never be forgotten
  By those he loved the best.

If we were near to raise his head,
  Or hear his last farewell,
The blow would not have been so hard
  To those he loved so well.

Yet so young, so fair and loving,
  Laid in a soldier’s grave;
He died like many a hero
  Who is laid among the brave.

—Inserted by his loving Mother, Brothers and Sisters.

The poem on the Connaught Rangers seems to have been included because of the involvement of that regiment in the Great War. The book by Frederick John Hamilton, Sunbeams through the War-Cloud, was subtitled Short poems on special incidents in South Africa and was published in London in 1900.

I have been unable to find any person named Eamonn McSharry in the 1911 Census anywhere in Ireland though the surname was common in Sligo. Councillor David McSharry, a 36 year old cabinetmaker living in Drumcliff, was reported as having joined the army in May 1915. He was married and had two children in 1911. He was the son of an RIC pensioner born in Leitrim. David McSharry appears to have survived the war. Eamonn was possibly a relative.

James McGuinn, Sligo Men in the Great War, and the In Flander's Fields website list
Patrick O’Connor, Sooey, Lance Sergeant, 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards killed France/Flanders on Sunday 17 October 1915.

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