Posted 18 January 2007 - 10:43 AM
Thank you for taking the time to investigate this. I have another tale to tell of the 9th of May, 1915, again from the Cork Examiner:-
(CE 3/6/1915) – A HEROIC CORK BOY – Captain T. W. Filgate, adjutant of the 2nd Royal Munster Fusiliers, wrote as follows to Mrs. Barry, mother of the late PRIVATE [CHRISTY] BARRY:–
‘I am writing to sympathise with you in the death of your son, 10.142, Pte. C. Barry, 2nd R. Munster Fusiliers. He was killed in action during an attack on the German trenches on the morning of Saturday, 9th May. Your son behaved in a splendid and very gallant manner. Although wounded in two places he succeeded in bringing back a wounded officer to safety. During the performance of this gallant act he was hit a third time and killed. His splendid courage was a fine example to the whole battalion, and you may be quite sure his name will not be forgotten in the regiment. It may be a consolation to you to know that we were the only regiment in the Brigade to reach the German trenches, and we are all very proud of the many gallant officers and men that fell. It only remains for me to say once more how I sympathise with you and I can only add that your son died as he lived, a very gallant soldier.’
In the many brave soldiers who have fallen before the enemy Pte. Christy Barry well deserves a high place in the ranks of the brave. He achieved a name for gallantry in the fight but that honour was eclipsed by the still higher one ‘he gave his life to save.’ After fighting desperately he fell gloriously in endeavouring to save the life of a stricken officer. In an authoritive report it gives the following:- Private Barry, though twice wounded, brought in Captain Hawkes, who was severely wounded in three places, and could not move. Pte. Barry was killed as he carried Captain Hawkes to safety.
Private McCabe, of Douglas street, Cork, who was serving with Pte. Barry, wrote as follows to his mother:-
‘I am very sorry to tell you that Christy Barry from Douglas street was killed. Will you go and see his poor mother, and break the news to her as easy as you can. Tell her I gave his pay-book to the colour sergeant, who will let her know about it. Let her know that I have his Rosary-bead, prayer-book, and pipe. I will try and send them to her. He was wounded bringing in an officer that got shot. He got a piece of shell in the two thighs, and died from loss of blood. Tell his mother that he died happy, as he had Communion before he went to the trenches. He was a brave chap, every one in the regiment is speaking about him. He brought a very heavy officer – Captain Hawkes. I hear that Christy was recommended for the V.C. I hope his poor mother will get something, for he earned the V. C., if anybody did.’
Private Barry was a son of Mrs. Barry, 89 Douglas street, Cork
(CE 12/6/1915) – PRIVATE BARRY’S HEROISM – CAPTAIN M. W. HAWKES, In these columns have appeared the wonderful story of the self-sacrifice of Private Christy Barry, of the 2nd Munsters. Father Gleeson’s beautiful letter to his mother lets in more light on the glory of the act that cost Barry his life, given up to save another’s. Captain Hawkes was seriously wounded in an advance on May 9th, and Pte. Barry, rather than abandon his unconscious captain to the enemy, brought him back from the danger. Barry got three bullets wounds, the last one tumbling him dead into the trench where he would have found shelter. Barry’s devotion and self-sacrifice is one of the finest acts that has been revealed during the war. Captain Hawkes is fortunately convalescent despite his terrible injury. A bullet entered through the mouth, passed through some bones in the neck, thence in amongst the shoulder bones, and from that it was deflected at such an angle as to take a course that brought it out his back amongst the lower ribs. Bad as was the wound, there was a worse trail, and that was the serious inflammation that supervened, which leads to the belief that the bullet was poisoned. Captain Hawkes has been out since December, and took part in all the extremely heavy work that was apportioned to the Munsters. He is a son of Mr. D. P. Hawkes, of Barry’s Hall, near Clonakilty.
(CE 9/6/1915) – HEROIC CORK BOY – PRIVATE CHRISTY BARRY’S DEATH – LETTER FROM FR. GLEESON – TOUCHING TRIBUTE TO BRAVE DEED – Rev. Father Francis A. Gleeson, chaplain to the Munsters at the front, writes as follows to Mrs. Barry, 89 Douglas Street, Cork, mother of Private Christy Barry, 2nd Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers, who was killed in action on May 9th:-
‘2nd June, 1915 – Dear Mrs. Barry, - By this time you will have heard of the death of your heroic boy in the attack of Sunday, 9th May, 1915. The greatest consolation I can offer you is to tell you that your son was well prepared for death, as the battalion received Holy Communion the Sunday before the battle and were given absolution a few hours before the terrible ordeal. You need have no worry regarding your son’s soul, for he was careful and zealous about it, and was one of the best boys in the battalion. I knew him quite well, and to know him was to love him, for he was one of the most cheerful and good-natured young fellows I have met. I buried his body in a little cemetery beside the trenches, and several comrades lie beside him. A little cross marks his grave. He has made an immortal name for the gallantry and unselfishness with which he rescued the body of Captain Hawkes. He had not the faintest idea of what fear was. There could not be greater heroism displayed than that shown by your son.
You may well feel proud of being the mother of such a son. He has, by his thrilling acts of bravery, imprinted his name on all our hearts, and no honour, no matter how high, could be at all adequate to mark the greatness of his action. Out of a battalion of cheerful and daring heroes, Barry stands out supreme and admired of all, and his glorious death has inspired it. He was hot three times during his rescue of Captain Hawkes; still, in spite of loss of blood and a tornado of bullets and shells, he held on to his task till he got the captain in safety over the parapets. Having done this, he fell down exhausted and mortally wounded, into the British lines, where he died a saintly and easy death a few hours afterwards.
You will not grudge the good God such a good boy, and will be compensated for his death by the greatness and glory which marked it. On his pure and saintly soul may Jesus have mercy. – Yours sincerely, Francis A. Gleeson, Chaplain, Munsters
(CE 25/6/1915) – DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDALS – GALLANT SERVICES OF THE MUNSTERS – SPLENDID TRIBUTE TO A CORKMAN – Private C. Barry, 89 Douglas Street, Cork, 2nd Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers, killed in action, was one of the many Munsters who received the D.C.M. How the men of the gallant battalion conducted themselves in an engagement early in may is already known, but the following appreciation of their splendid services, as expressed by Major-General Haking, commanding the division, will be read with interest:-
‘I wish to convey to the C.O., 2nd Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers, my appreciation of the fine example set to the Division by the successful assault of part of the leading line, a feat of arms of which the battalion must always be proud, as this battalion was the only one in the Brigade whose men succeeded in storming the enemy’s breastworks. For great gallantry and leading I think Capt. Dick, 2nd Lieuts. Price and Horsfall, also the N.C.O.s and men who followed them, deserve the greatest distinction going; also, if anyone earned a V.C., Sergeant Gannon, machine-gun sergeant, and Private 1042 Barry did. Sergt. Gannon went out several times and brought wounded men in, also a wounded officer. Pte. Barry, although wounded twice, brought in Captain Hawkes, who was severely wounded in three places, and could not move. Poor Barry lost his life, as he was hit again while bringing in Captain Hawkes, and died from wounds. Except in a few cases of exceptional gallantry, every man was a hero, and I hope this time will meet with the recognition they deserve.’
Regards to all,