Brethren the annual wreath laying ceremony will take place at Fort Dunree First World War Memorial on Saturday 7th November at 2.30pm Donegal Time. As usual I hope to lay a wreath from Irish Freemasonry in memory of the many Irish Freemasons killed and wounded, as a result of answering the call to King and Country. We as a people still owe a great debt to all those brave men and boys, who answered the Call, and fought for the freedom of all peoples against the massed forces of those with different intentions. It is also the time to think of all who died and were wounded in the Second World War and all the regional conflicts that have taken place ever since. Freedom is a right hard fought, that needs to be defended regularly from all who would try to change it, to other less equal forms of Government.
In August 1914 ,one hundred and one years ago, the world was plunged into yet another European war which was shortly to become a world war, the Great war, the war to end all wars, the First World War. As it progressed ,it brought with it new and devastating technologies and the armies became more and more expert in killing each other.
1915 was the year that the 10th Irish Division were sent to Gallipoli along with colonial troops from India, Australia and New Zealand. On the 25th April 1915, after a prolonged naval bombardment Allied troops landed on all five beaches along the peninsula. This was the year that the Zeppelin Air-Ships were first deployed on a bombing raid against Great Yarmouth and then on actual air-raids on London. On the first London attack by air ships on 31st May 2015 some 28 people were killed and 60 wounded. 1915 was also the year that Chlorine poison gas was first used by the Germans at the First Battle of Ypres on 22nd April 1915. Later that year by the time that the battle of Loos took place, the British too, were using Chlorine Gas.
While the war was fought in many theatres across the globe it was most chillingly known by the “western front” that 500mile long trench line that wove its way from the Belgian coast through France to Switzerland. For four years the British and allied armies faced the German and central powers armies across no man’s land in deadly pursuit to push each other east or west. Men ,machines and mud combined into an ever growing cauldron of death and destruction, which decimated a generation of youth in its path until an end was brought about by the armistice of 11th of November 1918 at 11.00am when all hostilities finally ceased.
In recognition of that armistice and all that had gone before it, the Inishowen Friends of Messines IFOM, will hold its armistice commemoration for the men and women of Inishowen who went off to war and never came home, on Saturday November 7th at 2.30pm at Fort Dunree. Some 1500 people from the Inishowen peninsula went to war between 1914 and 1918, and almost 250 of them, whose names are cited on our Memorial at Fort Dunree, never returned.
Fort Dunree /IFOM extend a warm invitation to everyone with an interest to come along to this event.
Refreshments will be served in the Saldhana suite to all present, following the ceremony at the Memorial. There will also be an opportunity to relax in the warm, visit the collection of Irish Army memorabilia on display, meet old friends and have the opportunity to meet new friends with similar interests.