The nintieth anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

The battle commenced on the 1st of July 1916 and ended on the 18th of November 1916. On the Thiepval Memorial are displayed 72000 names of UK and S'African soldiers who were killed on the Somme and have no known graves, one of these is 9574 Pte. Patrick Keegan, 9th Bn. Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

Patrick's actual name was Patrick Comiskey and his siblings were my father Jimmy and their sisters Bridie and Peggy. Patrick - or as he was known Patsy - attempted to join up twice before under age and his mother had him returned home. On his third attempt (again under age) he used his mothers maiden name and was successful. After his basic training, probably in the Curragh he was sent overseas and was killed at Ginchy on the 9th of September 1916. He was 17 years and 3 months old. In that same attack the distinguished scholar and former MP, Lt. Tom Kettle was also killed, and he too is mentioned on the Theipval Memorial. The 16th Irish Brigade suffered the loss of 50% of its Officers (224) and 40% (4090) other ranks in the 6 days from the 3rd to the 9th Sept. 1916, in the taking of two villages Guillemont and Ginchy, barely two miles apart, in addition to the 16th Div. losses two more Divisions involved had over six thousand losses (in total 11000 men) on the British side,and the Germans were defeated in this battle so their losses must have been even greater. On the 9th of September this year 90 years to the day that Patsy was killed, I attended with a large contingent from the Irish Naval Association, ceremonies in the two villages, Guillemont and Ginchy, in memory of the men of the 16th Irish Division and I was delighted to accept on behalf of the Comiskey and O'Malley families a parchment in acknowledgement of Patsy's part in the freeing of Ginchy from German occupation. I was delighted on the occasion to be accompanied by my brother Tommy and my cousin Kieron O'Malley both of whom are also nephews of Patsy as well as Darach Murphy who is a grandnephew and also my wife Mary and Tommy's wife Carmel.

We laid a family wreath at this ceremony and the President of the Naval Association Lt. Cdr. Bobby Mulrooney laid wreaths at the ceremony and also at the Theipval Memorial on behalf of the Association for which the family are most grateful Matt Comiskey

Parchment presented to Matt Comiskey on behalf od his family

Thiepval Memorial to the Missing

Matt Comiskey receiving the parchment from the Mayor of Guinchy

The Comiskey Family with (right)cousins Kieron O'Malley and Darrach Murphy

Lt. Cdr Mulrooney escorted by SPO Hugh O'Neill and PO John O'Neill Lay at wreath at the memorial
Matt points out his Uncles inscription on the Thiepval Wall