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Old 07-01-2018, 08:36 PM
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John Reginald Gorman – The Amazing Irish Kamikaze Tank Buster

In WWII, the Germans had a reputation for their formidable technology. What they did not consider, however, was the formidable Irish reputation for bullishness.

John Reginald Gorman was born on February 1, 1923, in Omagh, Ireland. He joined the Irish Guards in 1942 and became a Lieutenant in the 2nd Armored Battalion of the Guards Armored Division.

In 1944 the Normandy Landings had taken place, the Allies were now in northwestern France, and the Germans were resisting.

June 18 was the start of the Battle of Caen. Caen is one of the biggest cities in Normandy and sits beside the Orne River and the Caen Canal – making it a vital hub. The Allies had to take it.

Caen sits in open country dotted with small towns and villages. The plan, therefore, was to isolate the main German forces within the city, while the Allies took out the smaller pockets of resistance around it.

The Canadians launched Operation Atlantic to capture Caen south of the Orne. The British launched Operation Goodwood. Together, they hoped to obliterate the Germans, at best, or pin them down where they were, at the very least.

Further west, the Allies were stuck. They needed to break out of Normandy, but German resistance was proving to be tougher than they had expected.

Gorman’s men were worried. They had their Sherman tanks, but there were rumors the Germans had something far better – the Tiger II, also known as the King Tiger.

The Germans called it the Königstiger (Royal Tiger). It weighed almost 70 tons because of its thicker armor (about 3.9” to 7.3”) and was armed with an 88 mm 71 caliber gun.

“What if we meet one?” asked Lance-Corporal James Baron of his troop commander.

“Use naval tactics,” was Gorman’s reply. “Our Shermans are faster, so if we meet one, we ram it.”

They were situated to the east of the village of Cagny. Ahead was a slope dipping into a shallow stream then rising toward the tree-filled Bourguébus Ridge. From there came German fire to let the British know they were not welcome.

Gorman’s 2nd Battalion was amassed with others under the command of Lieutenant Anthony Dorman. Dorman gave the order to cross and went first, followed by the others who veered on either side to force the Germans into spreading their line of fire.

Most were making their way up the other side, but not Gorman – his Sherman was stuck in the stream. Two tanks in his battalion stayed to provide covering fire. However, they but could not reach those ahead to let them know – the radio chatter was too intense.

Try as they might, they could not move the tank. Furious, Gorman abandoned his Sherman and jumped into another one named Ballyragget (“Mouth of Ragget’s Ford” – a town in Ireland).

They crossed the stream to the other side, but everyone was gone. Past the tree line, he found Lieutenant Dorman firing at some German positions.

Further on, Gorman and another tank found the road that stretched from Cagny to Emieville. They had just crested the ridge when he saw them – four German tanks in the clearing beneath them, a mere 900 feet away. There was an old Mark IV, a Panther, an earlier version of the Tiger, and the rumored Tiger II, itself! The first one ever to be seen on the Western Front. The Irishmen groaned.

“Having a conference, they were,” Gorman later said in disbelief. “Sitting in the middle of the field.”

Shermans are noisy machines, but he swore the Germans looked surprised to see them. The Tiger II began swiveling its gun straight at them.

“Fire!” Gorman ordered. Nothing happened. The gun had jammed. They would have to ram it.

To their surprise, the slope felt steeper than it looked. The 66,800-pound Ballyragget skidded as much as it rolled, gaining speed as it reached the clearing below.

The blast surprised everyone. Gunner Schole had scored a direct hit on the King Tiger! It did no good, though.
he Königstiger’s gunner was also having problems. His tank was facing away from the marauding Irish, so he was having a hard time positioning his gun. He was still trying when Ballyragget slid parallel to the Tiger II’s cannon and whacked hard against the German tank’s rear right track.

Now the Königstiger’s gun muzzle jutted out some two feet over the top of the Sherman. The other German tanks fired at the second Sherman, killing three, and wounding three others.
Gorman and his men jumped out and ran into a wheat field. Apart from Guardsman Hugh Andrew Agnew. Disorientated, he saw four men run into a ditch, so he ran after them and jumped in.

It was the crew of the Tiger II. Agnew gave them a polite salute (complete with a cheeky grin), jumped back out, and ran.Gorman needed a weapon and found a Sherman Firefly back at Cagny. It had been under Sergeant Workmann, but, unfortunately, he was dead. The gunner and driver were alive, but they were in serious shock.

Gorman commandeered the Firefly back up the ridge. To his surprise, the enemy were still there. The tank took out the Tiger II first – also hitting their old Sherman as it was still stuck to the former. The Germans fired back, so Gorman gathered his surviving crew and retreated.

He received the Military Cross. He was also awarded the French Croix de Guerre, but that is another story.

As for Operations Goodwood and Atlantic, they were a disaster – about 5,500 men were lost. That, too, is another story.

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/ins...nk-buster.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/ob...h-9481166.html
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  #142  
Old 12-01-2018, 09:25 PM
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The National Volunteers was the name taken by the majority of the Irish Volunteers that sided with Irish Parliamentary Party leader John Redmond after the movement split over the question of the Volunteers' role in World War I.

The National Volunteers were the product of the Irish political crisis over the implementation of Home Rule in 1912–14. The Third Home Rule Bill had been proposed in 1912 (and was subsequently passed in 1914) under the British Liberal government, after a campaign by John Redmond and the Irish Parliamentary Party. However, its implementation was delayed in the face of mass resistance by Irish Unionists. This had begun with the introduction of the bill into Parliament, when thousands of unionists signed the "Ulster Covenant", pledging to resist Home Rule. In 1913 they formed the Ulster Volunteers (UVF), an armed wing of Ulster Unionism and organised locally by the Orange Order; the Ulster Volunteers stated that they would resist Home Rule by force.

In response, Nationalists formed their own paramilitary group, the Irish Volunteers, at a meeting held in Dublin on 25 November 1913; the purpose of this new organisation was to safeguard the granting and implementation of Home Rule. It looked for several months in 1914 as if civil war was imminent between the two armed factions, with the British Army known to be reluctant to intervene against Ulster armed opposition to Home Rule's coming into operation. While Redmond took no role in the creation of the Irish Volunteers, when he saw how influential they had become he realised an independent body of such magnitude was a threat to his authority as leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, and therefore sought control of the organisation.

Eoin MacNeill, along with Sir Roger Casement and other leaders of the Irish Volunteers, had indeed sought Redmond's approval of and input in the organisation, but did not want to hand control over to him. In June 1914, the Volunteer leadership reluctantly agreed, in the interest of harmony, to permit Redmond to nominate half of the membership of the Volunteer Executive;as some of the standing members were already Redmond supporters, this would have given him control over the Volunteers. The motion was bitterly opposed by the radical members of the committee (mostly members of the secret Irish Republican Brotherhood), notably Patrick Pearse, Sean MacDermott, and Eamonn Ceannt, but was carried nevertheless to prevent a split. With the support of the Irish Party the Volunteer organisation grew dramatically.

Great War split
Following the outbreak of World War I in August, and the successful placement of the Home Rule Act on the statute books (albeit with its implementation formally postponed), Redmond made a speech in Woodenbridge, County Wicklow on 20 September, in which he called for members of the Volunteers to enlist in an intended Irish Army Corps of Kitchener's New British Army. He pledged his support to the Allied cause, saying in his address:

The interests of Ireland — of the whole of Ireland — are at stake in this war. This war is undertaken in the defence of the highest principles of religion and morality and right, and it would be a disgrace for ever to our country and a reproach to her manhood and a denial of the lessons of her history if young Ireland confined their efforts to remaining at home to defend the shores of Ireland from an unlikely invasion, and to shrinking from the duty of proving on the field of battle that gallantry and courage which has distinguished our race all through its history. I say to you, therefore, your duty is twofold. I am glad to see such magnificent material for soldiers around me, and I say to you: "Go on drilling and make yourself efficient for the Work, and then account yourselves as men, not only for Ireland itself, but wherever the fighting line extends, in defence of right, of freedom, and religion in this war".

Redmond's motives were twofold. Firstly, he felt it was in the future interest of an All-Ireland Home Rule settlement to support the British war cause, joining together with the Ulster Volunteers who offered immediate support by enlisting in the 36th (Ulster) Division. Secondly, he hoped that the Volunteers, with arms and training from the British, would become the nucleus of an Irish Army after Home Rule was implemented. He reminded the Irish Volunteers that when they returned after an expected short war at the end of 1915, they would be an army capable of confronting any attempt to exclude Ulster from the operation of the Government of Ireland Act.

Militant nationalists reacted angrily against Redmond's support for the war, and nearly all of the original leaders of the Volunteers grouped together to dismiss his appointees. However, the great majority of the Volunteers supported Redmond, and became known as the National Volunteers.

Recruitment for World War I
See also: Ireland and World War I
The vast majority of the Volunteer membership remained loyal to Redmond, bringing some 142,000 members to the National Volunteers, leaving the Irish Volunteers with just a rump, estimated at 9,700 members. Many other Irish nationalists and parliamentary leaders, such as William O'Brien MP, Thomas O'Donnell MP, Joseph Devlin MP, and The O'Mahony, sided with Redmond's decision and recruited to support the British and Allied war effort. Five other MPs, J. L. Esmonde, Stephen Gwynn, Willie Redmond, William Redmond, and D. D. Sheehan, as well as former MP Tom Kettle, actually joined Kitchener's New Service Army during the war.

Many Irishmen enlisted voluntarily in Irish regiments of the New British Army, forming part of the 10th (Irish) and 16th (Irish) Divisions. Out of a National Volunteer membership of about 150,000, roughly 24,000 (about 24 battalions) were to join those Divisions for the duration of the war. Another 7,500 joined reserve battalions in Ireland. The National Volunteers were therefore a minority among the 206,000 Irishmen who served as volunteers for the British Army in the war, and so failed to constitute a nascent Irish Army as Redmond had hoped. Recruiting for the war among the National Volunteers, after an initial burst of enthusiasm, proved rather sluggish. According to historian Fergus Campbell, "most of the members of the National Volunteers were farmers' sons, and members of this social group were reluctant to join the colours". A police report of late 1914 commented: "Though the large majority of the nominal National Volunteers approve of Mr. Redmond's pronouncement, only very few will enlist". A contemporary writer felt that, "at the back of it was a vague feeling that to fight for the British Empire was a form of disloyalty to Ireland.

Moreover, Redmond's hopes for an Irish Army Corps were also to end in disappointment for him. Instead, a New Army 16th (Irish) Division was created. The Division was largely officered by Englishmen (an exception was William Hickie, an Irish born general), which was not a popular decision in nationalist Ireland. This outcome was in part due to the lack of trained Irish officers; the few trained officers had been sent to the 10th Division, and those still available had been included into Sir Edward Carson's 36th (Ulster) Division. In addition, Redmond's earlier statement, that the Irish New Army units would return armed and capable of enforcing Home Rule, aroused War Office suspicions.

The National Volunteers after 1914
The war's popularity in Ireland and the popularity of John Redmond and the Irish Parliamentary Party were badly dented by the severe losses subsequently suffered by the Irish divisions. In addition, the postponement of the implementation of Home Rule damaged both the IPP and the National Volunteers.

The majority of the National Volunteers (over 120,000 or 80%) did not enlist in the British Army. John Redmond had intended that they would form an official home defence force for Ireland during the War, but the British War Office baulked at arming and training the Irish nationalist movement. Military historian Timothy Bowman has described the situation as follows: "While Kitchener saw the UVF as an efficient military force and was prepared to offer concessions to secure the services of UVF personnel in the British army his view of the INV was very different. The INV were, even in comparison to the UVF, an inefficient military force in 1914, lacked trained officers, finances and equipment. Kitchener was certainly not inclined to, as he saw it, waste valuable officers and equipment on a force which, at best, would relieve Territorial units from garrison duties and, at worst, would provide Irish Nationalists with the ability to enforce Home Rule on their own terms.

More:-
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Volunteers
http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/ind...nteers-deepens
John Redmond addresses a body of Volunteers in Wexford on October 4th. The obelisk on the right is the momument to John E. Redmond MP, the granduncle of the present Irish leader.
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  #143  
Old 14-01-2018, 09:12 PM
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Patrick Ronayne Cleburne March 17, 1828 – November 30, 1864) was an Irish-born American soldier, best known for his service in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War, where he rose to the rank of major general.

Born in County Cork, Ireland, Cleburne served in the 41st Regiment of Foot, a Welsh regiment of the British Army, after failing to gain entrance into Trinity College of Medicine in 1846. He immigrated to the United States three years later. At the beginning of the Civil War, Cleburne sided with the Confederate States. He progressed from being a private soldier in the local militia to a division commander. Cleburne participated in many successful military campaigns, especially the Battle of Stones River, the Battle of Missionary Ridge and the Battle of Ringgold Gap. He was also present at the Battle of Shiloh. His strategic ability gained him the nickname "Stonewall of the West". He was killed in 1864, at the Battle of Franklin.
https://wikivisually.com/wiki/Patrick_Cleburne
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Old 18-01-2018, 09:03 PM
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William Montague Browne (July 7, 1823 – April 28, 1883) was a prominent politician and newsman. During the American Civil War, he served as acting Secretary of State for the Confederacy in 1862 and as a temporary brigadier general in the Confederate States Army. When he was not confirmed to that rank by the Confederate Senate, he reverted to his permanent grade of colonel.

Browne was born in County Mayo in Ireland on July 7, 1823 as (apparently the fifth)son of D. Geoffrey Browne, MP. Definite information about some events, positions or locations in his early life, including an uncertain higher education, alleged service in the British Army during the Crimean War, diplomatic services and his initial whereabouts in the United States during the early 1850s, appears to be unavailable. Residing in New York City by 1855 or 56, he wrote for the New York Journal of Commerce. He associated with the Democratic Party and later became a clerk in the House of Customs. In 1859 Browne moved to Washington D.C. and wrote for the pro-administration Washington Constitution.

Civil War
In 1861 Browne, known as Constitution Browne by then, had become a well-connected proponent of secession and moved to Athens, Georgia, after that. A favorite of both the just elected Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his Secretary of State Robert Toombs he was appointed Assistant Secretary of State. On several occasions in 1861 and 62 Browne acted as interim Secretary. Living in Richmond, Virginia with his wife, Eliza Jane Beket, he had two permanent houseguests. One was Howell Cobb, a former United States Secretary of the Treasury and an old and close friend from Washington, who now was the President of Provisional Confederate Congress. The other was his younger brother, Colonel Thomas R.R. Cobb.

Browne resigned in March 1862 and was assigned as military aide-de-camp to President Davis, with the rank of a Colonel of cavalry. Beside his main duty on the staff he also was assigned to command a battalion of local defense cavalry. On April 5, 1864 Davis appointed Browne as Commandant of Conscription in Georgia, where Governor Joseph E. Brown consistently hindered the Confederate war efforts. Browne was a natural choice as a Georgia resident who had inspected and reported about the conscription in Georgia before.

In late 1864 Browne, while still enforcing conscription, was detached to commanded a small brigade of reserves during the Savannah Campaign. In December Browne was promoted to temporary brigadier general, to rank from November 11, 1864. He resumed his conscription duty in January 1865. In February 1865 his promotion was not confirmed by the Confederate Senate and he reverted to colonel. Despite this he later was excluded from amnesty on grounds of being both a civil officeholder and a military officer ranking higher than colonel. He was paroled on May 8, and pardoned either in late 1865 or 66.

Later life
Afterwards Browne, back in Athens, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1866. Beside his practice of law he became a newspaper man again when he took over editorship of the Southern Banner in 1868. Despite his position, the Brownes suffered from relative poverty and fragile health.

He was the great-great-uncle of Sir Robert Ricketts, 7th Baronet of Gloucestershire England.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_M._Browne
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Old 19-01-2018, 11:32 PM
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Mystery surrounds location of haunting image of Irish soldiers in first World War
Lost Fortunino Matania masterpiece depicts the Royal Munster Fusiliers regiment on the eve of a battle which would wipe out most of their number.

‘The Last General Absolution of the Munsters at Rue du Bois’, by Fortunio Matania. This painting relates to an incident in France in May of 1915, when the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers suffered very heavily at Rue du Bois, in the Pas-de-Calais close to Arras. Credit: Illustrated London News Ltd/Mary Evans

The most haunting and poignant image of Irish involvement in the first World War is at the centre of an unsolved art mystery.
The Last General Absolution of the Munsters at Rue du Bois – a painting long presumed lost – depicts soldiers of the Royal Munster Fusiliers regiment receiving “general absolution” from their chaplain on the eve of battle in May 1915. Most of them died within 24 hours.
The painting, by Italian-born war artist Fortunino Matania, became one of the most famous images of the war when prints of it were published in illustrated weekly newspapers.
Copies hung in houses throughout Ireland, and especially Munster, but, as Irish public opinion towards the war changed, the picture gradually disappeared from view.
Centenary commemorations of the first World War have prompted renewed interest in the whereabouts of the original painting among art and military historians.
A widely held theory that the painting was lost when archives were destroyed in a fire during the blitz of London in 1940 is “very much” doubted by English historian Lucinda Gosling, who is writing a book about the artist.
She told The Irish Times there was no definitive proof to confirm this theory and it was possible the original painting was still “out there”.
The painting could, conceivably, be in private hands or, more improbably, be lying forgotten or miscatalogued in a museum’s storage area. Matania’s work occasionally turns up at art auctions, but there has been no known or publicly-documented sighting of the original Munsters painting.
Ms Gosling described Matania as an artist “able to work at great speed, producing pictures that were unnervingly photographic in their realism”.
His pictures, she said, had “reached and influenced millions” and “he combined skill and artistry with a strong streak of journalistic tenacity”.
Read more:-
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/poli...-war-1.1886612

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Gleeson_(priest)

Father Gleeson giving the last General Absolution to the Munster Fusiliers at Rue du Boris.
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Old 22-01-2018, 09:33 PM
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Joseph Finegan, sometimes Finnegan (November 17, 1814 – October 29, 1885), was an Irish-born American businessman and brigadier general for the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. From 1862 to 1864 he commanded Confederate forces operating in Middle and East Florida, ultimately leading the Confederate victory at the Battle of Olustee, the state's only major battle. He subsequently led the Florida Brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia until near the end of the war.

Before the war, Finegan was a politician, attorney, lumber mill operator, slave owner, and railroad builder. He returned to business after the war, and worked as a cotton broker.

Finegan was born November 17, 1814 at Clones in County Monaghan, Ireland. He came to Florida in the 1830s, first establishing a sawmill at Jacksonville and later a law practice at Fernandina. At the latter place, he became the business partner of David Levy Yulee and began construction of the Florida Railroad to speed transportation of goods and people from the new state's east coast to the Gulf of Mexico.

Finegan's successes are perhaps attributable to his first marriage on July 28, 1842, to the widow Rebecca Smith Travers. Her sister Mary Martha Smith was the wife of Florida's territorial governor Robert Raymond Reid, an appointee of President Martin Van Buren.

At a courthouse auction in 1849, Finegan paid just forty dollars ($40) for five miles of shoreline along Lake Monroe.

In 1852, he was a member of the Committee of Vigilance and Safety of Jacksonille, Florida.

By the outbreak of the American Civil War, Finegan had built his family a forty-room mansion in Fernandina, bounded by 11th and 12th Streets and Broome and Calhoun Avenues, the site of the modern Atlantic Elementary School. His family included his three stepdaughters Maria, Margaret, and Martha Travers; and children Rutledge, Agnes, Josephine, and Yulee Finegan.

At Florida's secession convention, Finegan represented Nassau County alongside James G. Cooper.

Civil War
In April 1862, Finegan assumed command of Middle and East Florida from Brigadier General James H. Trapier. Soon thereafter, he suffered some embarrassment surrounding the wreck of the blockade runner Kate at Mosquito Inlet (the modern Ponce de Leon Inlet). Her cargo of rifles, ammunition, medical supplies, blankets, and shoes was plundered by civilians. Attempts to recover these items took months before he issued a public appeal. Eventually, most of the rifles were found, but the other supplies were never recovered. Also in 1862, recognizing the importance of Florida beef to the Confederate cause, Finegan gave cattle baron Jacob Summerlin permission to select thirty men from the state troops under his command to assist in rounding up herds to drive north.

At this time, the principal Confederate military post in east Florida was dubbed "Camp Finegan" to honor the state's highest-ranking officer. It was about seven miles (11 km) west of Jacksonville, south of the rail line near modern Marietta.

In 1863, Finegan complained of the large quantity of rum making its way from the West Indies into Florida. Smugglers were buying it in Cuba for a mere seventeen cents per gallon, only to sell it in the blockaded state for twenty-five dollars per gallon. He urged Governor John Milton to confiscate the "vile article" and destroy it before it could impact army and civilian morals.

In February 1864, General P.G.T. Beauregard began rushing reinforcements to Finegan after Confederate officials became aware of a build-up of Federal troops in the occupied city of Jacksonville. As Florida was a vital supply route and source of beef to the other southern states, they could not allow it to fall completely into Union hands.

On February 20, 1864, Finegan stopped a Federal advance from Jacksonville under General Truman Seymour that was intent upon capturing the state capitol at Tallahassee. Their two armies clashed at the Battle of Olustee, where Finegan's men defeated the Union Army and forced them to flee back beyond the Saint Johns River. Critics have faulted Finegan for failing to exploit his victory by pursuing his retreating enemy, contenting himself by salvaging their arms and ammunition from the battlefield. But, his victory was one rare bright spot in an otherwise gloomy year for the dying Confederacy.

Some Finegan detractors believe he did little more to contribute to the Confederate victory at Olustee than to shuttle troops forward to General Alfred H. Colquitt of Georgia, whom they credit for thwarting the Federal advance. They point out that Finegan was quickly relieved of his command over the state troops, replaced by Major General James Patton Anderson. But this change in command was necessary as Finegan was ordered to lead the "Florida Brigade" in the Army of Northern Virginia, where he served effectively until near the end of the war.

General Finegan returned to Fernandina after the war to discover his mansion had been seized by the Freedmen's Bureau for use as an orphanage and school for black children. It took some legal wrangling, but he was eventually able to recover this property. He had to sell most of his lands along Lake Monroe to Henry Sanford for $18,200 to pay his attorneys and other creditors. He did retain a home site at Silver Lake. Adding to his sorrows was the untimely death of his son Rutledge died April 4, 1871, precipitating a move to Savannah, Georgia. There, Finegan felt at home with the large Irish population and worked as a cotton broker.

It was while living in Savannah that Finegan married his second wife, the widow Lucy C. Alexander, a Tennessee belle. They eventually settled on a large orange grove in Orange County, Florida. Finegan died October 29, 1885, at Rutledge, Florida. According to the Florida Times Union, his death was the result of "severe cold, inducing chills, to which he succumbed after brief illness." The paper described him as "hearty, unaffected, jovial, clear-headed, and keen-witted." He was buried at the Old City Cemetery in Jacksonville.
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