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The Tides of War

Footnotes and References

My lifelong interest in the Battle of the Atlantic was piqued many years ago when I met one of the RAF seaplane pilots who flew out of Castle Archdale on Lough Erne during WW2 on missions protecting incoming convoys that took him over the North Mayo coast; its spectacular sea cliff scenery he fondly remembered decades later despite the dangers he faced. A perfect English gentleman, he was delighted to meet this Mayo man on a brief holiday in the English city of Bath. He told me how after the war he went back to university in Liverpool to qualify in Aeronautical Engineering, and later went to work in the United States for the famous magnate, Howard Hughes, in his aircraft company. Our conversation was all too brief, but sometimes on my walks around Erris Head or Benwee Head, I have thought of this brave RAF pilot, one of so many British and Irish airmen who risked their lives so that we could all be free of the evils of totalitarianism.

My aim in writing this article is to remember the bravery of not just those who were directly involved in the war at sea, but also Mayo’s coastal communities, coastwatchers and gardai who as innocent bystanders had to deal with the terrible aftermath of battle.

This article also acknowledges the authoritative and groundbreaking work of others, most notably Michael Kennedy, Executive Editor, Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, Royal Irish Academy (RIA).
Michael Kennedy’s, Guarding Neutral Ireland: the Coast Watching Service and Military Intelligence, 1939-1945 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2008), is a monumental body of research, the book should be the starting off point for those interested in Ireland and the Battle of the Atlantic.

The book details the work of the Coastwatching Service during WW2 and the role of the Look Out Posts around our coast that played such an important role in protecting Irish neutrality by providing daily tactical and strategic information to Irish military intelligence about the movements of belligerent ships, warplanes, and U-boats off our coast. The book also brought to light how the authorities and local communities coped with the scale of the human tragedy taking place in the Atlantic, evident in the bodies that were washed ashore along our western seaboard from 1940 to 1945.

Further Information – Contact Us

If you can provide additional information on Mayo and the Battle of the Atlantic, please contact me through the Contact Page.

War Graves in Mayo

Where the Battle of Atlantic casualties are buried in Co. Mayo.

GraveyardWar DeadUnknowns
Achill Holy Trinity *COI ChurchyardJohn Murphy (26), Boatswain, S.S. The Sultan (Glasgow), Died 02 February 1941. Grave 8.
George Ironside (44), Sapper Royal Engineers, S.S. Mohamed Ali El-Kebir. Died 07 August 1940. Grave 3.
George James Walters (47), Able Seaman M.V. Upwey Grange (London). Died 08 August 1940. Grave 4.
Harry Kirkpatrick, Seaman Royal Naval Reserve, H.M.S. Patroclus. Died 03 November 1940. Grave 1.
Six unknowns buried with headstones.
Ballycastle New CemeteryEdward George Lane, Private Devonshire Regiment, S.S. Arandora Star. Died 02 July 1940. Grave 1.My research has found that there are at least 12 other unknown bodies buried here without a headstone.
Belmullet COI ChurchyardWilliam Frederick George Chick (19), Private Dorsetshire Regiment, S.S. Arandora Star. Died 02 July 1940. Grave 3.
James Jaffray (27), Sapper Royal Engineers, S.S. Mohamed Ali El-Kebir. Died 07 August 1940. Grave 6.
William Ewen Morrison, Sapper Royal Engineers, S.S. Mohamed Ali El-Kebir. Died 07 August 1940. Grave 5.
Frank Sidney Carter (27), Trooper Royal Armoured Corps, SS Arandora Star. Died 02 July 1940. Grave 2.
Donald Ernest Vere Domican (21), Private Welch Regiment, SS Arandora Star. Died 02 July 1940. Grave 1.
Wallace Goodwin (22), Gunner 153rd (The Leicestershire Yeomanry) Field Regt., SS Arandora Star. Died 02 July 1940. Grave 4.
Clifford Major Mackrow (48), Chief Engineer Officer M.V. Upwey Grange. Died 08 August 1940. Grave 10.
John Halliwell Warham (25), Private Pioneer Corps, S.S. Mohamed Ali El-Kebir. Died 07 August 1940. Grave 9.
Archibald Graham Weir (55), Wing Commander RAF, S.S. Nerissa. Died 30 April 1941. Grave 13.
Sydney George Betts (24), Driver Royal Engineers, S.S. Mohamed Ali El-Kebir. Died 07 August 1940. Grave 8.
William Hulme(27), Private Pioneer Corps, S.S. Mohamed Ali El-Kebir. Died 07 August 1940. Grave 7.
Jack Springett Johnson (37), Leading Seaman, H.M.S. Mashona. Died 28 May 1941. Grave 12.
Thomas Elvin Mitchell (20), Lieutenant Carleton and York Regiment, R.C.I.C., S.S. Nerissa. Died 30 April 1941. Grave 11.




Clare IslandJubilee Jack Tweed (44), Petty Officer H.M.S. Mashona. Died 28 May 1941.
CrosspatrickOnce described in a newspaper article as ‘the loneliest man in the world’, Claude Kirkwood was the last member of the Kirkwood family to live and own Bartra Island in Killala Bay where the River Moy meets the wild Atlantic.
On January 17, 1941, Claude Kirkwood found a body washed up on the strand, another victim of the Battle of the Atlantic. The unidentified remains were interred in Crosspatrick cemetery, Killala. 59
One unknown. No headstone.
DoohomaEmyr Prytherch (26), Private Pioneer Corps, S.S. Mohamed Ali El-Kebir. Died 07 August 1940.
Dugort COI ChurchyardJonas A. Hardingham (23) Private, Pioneer Corps, S.S. Mohamed Ali El-Kebir. Died 07 August 1940. Grave 2.Two unknowns are buried with headstones.
DoonfeeneyAt least one unknown is buried here.
FallmoreStanley Alfred John Darnell (25), Private Royal Army Service Corps, S.S. Arandora Star. Died 02 July 1940. Grave 1.
Peter Clifford McGlade (17), Boy 1st Class, H.M.S. Mashona. Died 28 May 1941. Grave 2.
At least, 2 Unknows without headstones.
GeesalaRobert Mackay Sutherland (27), Second Radio Officer, S.S. Serbino (Liverpool). Died 21 October 1941.My research has discovered two other unmarked graves of unknowns here.
Kildavnet, AchillFrederick George Wheeler (34), Electrical Artificer 1st Class, H.M.S. Mashona. Died 28 May 1941. Grave 1.
KilgalliganAt least 7 unknowns are buried here without markers.
* Separately, 6 German sailors’ disinterred in the 1960s and re-interred in the German war memorial in Wicklow.
* In conversation with Uinsíonn Mac Graith, a local historian. 23.05.2021.
Killeen, LouisburghBody washed ashore at Thallabaun, Louisburgh on 10.12.1940 and found by Michael O’Malley. Remains buried in Killeen cemetery on 11.12.1940 by Home Assistance Officer, Redmond Lyons, Furmoyloe, Louisburgh. 59bOne unknown. No headstone.
Newport COI ChurchyardBodies of 2 adult males were found on the strand at Murrevagh, Mulranny, on 05.07.1941. The first body was found by Patrick Gorman, Murrevagh, and the second body was found by Garda M.J. Gaffney, Mulranny. The remains of both men are buried in one grave in Newport Church of Ireland cemetery. 59cTwo unknowns are buried in the same grave with a headstone.
Polranny, AchillBody of adult male found 13.12.1941 at Carrickbaun Point, Doughbeg, Mulranny, by Michael Gallagher, Bollinglanna, Curraun, a member of LOP Curraun. Remains buried in Church of Ireland churchyard, Polranny, Achill Sound. 60One unknown. No headstone.
PullathomasBody of unknown adult male washed ashore at Inver, Barnatra, 08.08.1940. Buried in Pullathomas RC cemetery same day by Relieving Officer, Martin Gallagher. 61 One unknown. No headstone.
RathfranGeoffrey Charles Butcher, Apprentice, M.V. Upwey Grange. Died 08 August 1940. Grave 2.
Arnold Walmsley, Private Pioneer Corps, S.S. Mohamed Ali El-Kebir. Died 07 August 1940. Grave 1.
One unknown with a headstone.
TermoncarraghEdgar Hugh Mayes (33), Third Officer M.V. Upwey Grange. Died 08 August 1940. Grave 10.
Patrick Colbert (22), Able Seaman S.S. Macville (London). Died 20 August 1940. Grave 3.
John Connelly (21), Trooper Lovat Scouts, SS Arandora Star. Died 02 July 1940. Grave 2.
Frederick Richard Thomas (37), Second Officer, S.S. Dione II (Port Talbot). Died 04 February 1941. Grave 4.
Remembered here are brothers, Brendan Aloysius MacHale (28) and Bertram Joseph MacHale (33), Belmullet.
See Page 4 above under the sub-heading, “Mayo Refugees”

Also, 2 unknowns are buried with headstones.

* Separately, 9 German sailors disinterred in the 1960s and re-interred in the German war memorial in Wicklow.
* In conversation with a local man (25.04.2021) who wished to remain anonymous. As a schoolboy, he recalled helping local men to disinter remains of German war dead in the 1960s. “After we finished our work, a German man put the bones in the boot of his car and drove off. We were well paid for the work.”
Ugool Body of unknown male found on Ugool beach on 19.09.1940. Buried in the ancient burial ground at Ugool near where the body was found. 62One unknown. No headstone.
NOTESNOTES NOTES
* Church of IrelandFor References see below.Graves of Unknowns in some cemeteries have headstones giving the date when the body was found.
Many graves of unidentified bodies no longer have a marker and plot whereabouts have been forgotten.
Battle of Atlantic War Graves in Co. Mayo, Ireland compiled from Commonwealth War Graves Commission and National Archives.

Mayo Look Out Posts and Coastwatchers (1939-45)

Look Out PostCoastwatchers
KILCUMMIN HEAD EIRE 65NCOs
P. Collins
Coastwatchers
Joseph Collins, Frank Connor, Martin Langan, Anthony Lynn, Michael Lynn, George Munnelly, John Robinson.
DOWNPATRICK HEAD EIRE 64NCOs
Richard Winters.
Coastwatchers
James Doherty, P. Doherty, P. Farrell, P. Langan, P. Monelly, M. Neaton, J. Ormsby, J. Tighe.
BENWEE HEAD
EIRE 63
NCOs
A. Garvin.
Coastwatchers
John P. Burns, Thomas Burns, T. Bournes, M.J. Connolly, Charles Doherty, Martin Doherty, J.E. Garvin, Redmond Garvin.
ERRIS HEAD
EIRE 62
NCOs
Patrick Reilly.
Coastwatchers
J. Barrett, Michael Carey, Peter Lavelle, John Lally, ? Lally, Anthony Moloney, P. McAndrew, M.P. Reilly.
ANNAGH HEAD EIRE 61NCOs
J. Fallon.
Coastwatchers
T. Carey, M. Cawley, A. Gilboy, P. Kilker, J. Lavelle, M. Lavelle, S. MacAndrew, A.J. O’Malley, A. Reilly.
BLACKSOD BAY EIRE 60NCOs
Ted Sweeney.
Coastwatchers
A. Cawley, J.J. Creane, P. Gaughan, T. Meeneghan, W. Meenaghan, P. Monaghan, M. Reilly.
MOYTEOGUE HEAD EIRE 59NCOs
J. O’Malley, ? Reilly.
Coastwatchers
P. Cafferty, P. Callaghan, ? Callaghan, J. Farry, M. Gallagher, A. Lavelle, ? Moloney, T. O’Malley, T. English.
CORRAUN
EIRE 58
NCOs
M.G (initials only, Gallagher?).
Coastwatchers
T. Campbell, M. Fallon, M. Gallagher, T. Gallagher, J. Madden, T. Madden, M. Moran.
ROONAGH
EIRE 57
NCOs
J.J. Philbin.
Coastwatchers
D. Gibbons, M. Gill, A. McDonagh, M. McEvilly, D. O’Toole, P. O’Toole, R. O’Toole, T. Ryder, J. Sammon.
Alongside the LOPs huge stone Éire signs were erected to warn bombers they were flying over a neutral country. You can still see the signs at Downpatrick Head, Benwee Head and Erris Head.Look Out Posts (LOPs) of the Defence Forces’ (1939-1945) Marine and Coast Watching Service (M&CWS). The Coastwatchers were responsible for identifying and reporting on shipping and aircraft movements and on any communications between ship and shore.
Coastwatchers were trained in signalling, first aid, identification of types of ship, submarines, aircraft as well as basic meteorology and hydrography.
The M&CWS was disbanded in October 1945.
Look Out Posts information compiled from Defence Forces’ Military Archives.

Sources:

1 Kennedy, Michael. Guarding Neutral Ireland: the Coast Watching Service and Military Intelligence, 1939-1945 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2008), p105.

02 Western People (hereafter WP). 17.08.1940, p5.

03 Irish maritime events during World War II, Wikipedia.

04 WP. 05.04.1940, p5.

05 O’Raghallaigh Tomás Bán. Amongst Our Own, The Inishkeas, p288; WP, 05.04.1940.

06 WP. 13.05.1940, p5.

07 WP. 27.04.1940, p5.

08 WP. 13.5.1940. P5. * “I hadn’t a ‘gaill” – I hadn’t a puff….

09 WP, 27.04.1940, p5.

10 Irish Press (hereafter IP). 30.5.1942, p1.

11 WP. 27.04.1940, p5.

12 WP. 03.08-1940, pP5.

13 National Archives Ireland (hereafter NIA) DFA 241.184 1940.

14 WP. 15.02. 1941.

15 16 WP. 17.8.1940, p5.

17 NIA 90.94.14 1940.

18 WP. 17.8.1940, p5.

18b In conversation with Gerry Ginty, Monumental Sculptors, Ballina, 28.04.2021.

19 WP. 24.8.1940, p2.

20 21 22 WP. 31.8.1940, p5.

23 IP. 16.05.1952, p6.

24 IP. 23.08.1940, p1.

25 Irish Independent (hereafter Ind.). 23.08.1940, p5.

26 IP. 24.08.1940, p1.

27 Mayo News. 31.08.1940, p3.

28 Ind. 26.08.1940, p5.

29 Kennedy, Michael. Guarding Neutral Ireland, p110.

30 31 32 WP. 24.08.1940, p5.

33 World War II Plane Crash Site in Kerry.

34 Tinniswood, Adrian. A small act of remembrance, (See Comments).

35 WP. 17.08.1940, p5.

36 WP. 07.09.1940.

37 IP. 04.06.1940.

38 IP. 18.06.1942

39 WP. 19.10.1940, p5.

40 41 IP. 29.09.1940, p3.

42 WP. 07.09.1940.

43 44 McLoughlin, Michael. The Time Of The Canton: A Sea Story (pp. 59-60). Kindle Edition.

44 WP. 17.09.1940 p. 5.

45 McLoughlin, Michael. The Time Of The Canton: A Sea Story (pp. 85-86). Kindle Edition.

46 47 Woodman, Richard. The Real Cruel Sea: The Merchant Navy in the Battle of the Atlantic, 1939–1943. Pen & Sword Books. Kindle Edition.

48 Christ Church, Oxford website. Flying Officer Archibald Nigel Charles Weir.

49 Dziadyk, William. S.S. Nerissa, the Final Crossing: The Amazing True Story of the Loss of a Canadian Troopship in the North Atlantic (p. 72). BD Pro Inc.. Kindle Edition.

49b NIA DFA 241.184a

50 D/T Davanger. Warsailors.com.

51 Kearney, Joe & Kelly, Ronan. Clouds in Harry’s Coffee. Doc on One, RTE Radio One. Hitler’s Irish slaves, Harry Callan.

52 Irish Seamen’s Relatives Association.

53 Callan, Michèle. Forgotten Hero of Bunker Valentin (p. 121). Gill Books. Kindle Edition.

54 WP. 13.10.1945, p.2.

54b Fisk, Robert. In Time of War, Ireland, Ulster and the Price of Neutrality 1939-45. p136.

55 WP. 16.06.1945, p.3.

56 Woodman, Richard. The Real Cruel Sea: The Merchant Navy in the Battle of the Atlantic, 1939–1943. Pen & Sword Books. Kindle Edition.

57 Dimbleby, Jonathan. The Battle of the Atlantic (p. 451). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

58 Mariner.ie. Ireland’s WWII Sea Losses. Captain Frank Forde.

59 NAI DFA 241.184a.

59b NAI DFA 241.184a.

59c NAI DFA 241.184a

60 NIA Jus. 90.94.16 1941-42.

61 NIA JUS 90/94/14 1940

By Anthony Hickey

Follow writer and photographer, Anthony Hickey, as he travels around his native Co. Mayo, Ireland.

5 replies on “The Tides of War”

It was fantastic to read the above..
My father was a light keeper at Blacksod, Eagle Island and Blackrock during the war. He told of being on Blackrock when a U boat crew landed looking for supplies and the altercation that ensued.
As my father told it, it was the winter of 1943 and he was stationed on Blackrock as trainee lightkeeper with one other keeper; sorry I don’t have a name for this chap, though it may have been Sweeney. Blackrock lighthouse is over 10 miles west of Blacksod light and Ireland’s most westerly lighthouse. He was stationed there and had as a companion a black dog called “Bess”.
A U-boat crew landed on Blackrock during the night and basically they were looking for supplies of water and food. When they were discovered by the lightkeepers it was obvious that they were armed. And the keepers were under strict orders not to be confrontational.
It got kinda ‘heavy’ when ‘Bess’ decided to protect the island and attacked one of the U-boat crew. The dog was kicked by the U-boat crewman prompting my dad to attack the crewman. A scuffle ensued and my dad found himself locked in a stores cupboard (that was now empty) in the lighthouse with ‘Bess’.”
“The senior lightkeeper was informed not to let my dad out until the U-boat had left.
“And that’s that, not a story about heroics or bravery, but an interesting story that has never been told, to the best of my knowledge.

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Mark, thanks for taking the time to comment.
I have been unable to find any documentary evidence of this raid in the historical records. If anyone has further knowledge or information regarding Mark’s story I would be delighted to hear from them.

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