James Prendiville: Tale of an Irish soldier(part 5)

James Prendiville: Tale of an Irish soldier(part 5)

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  • By the time James went off to fight in the war he had already married and he and his wife, Mary Costello, already had two kids, with another on the way. After joining the Royal Munster Fusiliers, James did two tours to France where he fought in over 20 battles in the frontline but his records only record one known location, Orleans, France, as that is where he was seriously injured, having a lung and several ribs removed. Between his 2 tours, James briefly returned home and for the first time met his 3rd child, a daughter called Annie. However, by this time, Mary had tragically succumbed to the Spanish flu epidemic of the time(when Annie was only 4 days old) which is estimated to have caused up to 100 million deaths (compared to the 14 million estimated casualties of WW1)
  • While James was away at the front, the 3 children were looked after by Mary's family, especially her younger sister, who, after the war James married and had a further 5 children with. Awarded both the Military Medal and Bar(the Military medal was given to 115,589 soldiers in WWI while the first bar medal was given to only 5,796 soldiers in WWI and the medal offered an extra six pence a day to veterans with a disability pension), James never spoke much about the war and was probably suffering from PTSD (simply known as shellshock in those days) as well as carrying shrapnel in his body until his death at the relatively young age of 63. Annie always blamed her father's abscence for the death of her mum, feeling that if he'd been at home, he would have looked after her and nursed her back to health. I know this because Annie was my great-grandmother who died the year before I was born and James was my great-great grandfather and to his death, a fierce Irish patriot.
  • INTERVIEW WITH Anna Gambles(my Mother)
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