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My small collection of Irish officers medals

  • #2
    Registered Users Posts: 435 ✭✭ phaethon

    Here are some medals that I have purchased and researched last months for my collection:

    Here is my another find and research pretty much from the scratch.

    Major Henry John “Hal” Morphy (15th July 1861 – 23rd July 1930)
    Royal Irish Rifles
    Second in command, 6th (Dublin) Battalion

    Henry John Morphy was son of County Kerry Crown Solicitor Alexander George Morphy (1825 – 30 September 1889) and Catherine Emilie “Kate” Morphy. Prior to his solicitor’s career, his father was an officer in the army. Henry’s grandfather, Kate’s father, was Sir. Timothy O’Brien, 1st Baronet of Merrion Square in Dublin and Boris-in-Ossory in Queen's County. He was a merchant, Lord Mayor of Dublin and Liberal Member of Parliament for Cashel.


    Alexander George Morphy

    Henry’s family was originally from Dublin but lived in Sundays Well on the Countess Road, Killarney, County Kerry. Previously their house was owned by daughter of the 4th Viscount Kenmare, who had married Conte Durfort Severac. Countess Road was named after her when they came to live there.
    Another interesting fact that newspaper confirms was related to the famous writer; when Henry was still a young boy, writer Bram Stoker visited their house, who used regale the six Morphy’s children with the latest episodes of Dracula, just before going to bed. This was recorded by his brother’s (Edward Alexander Morphy) son, who visited Ireland 1978.

    Also his younger brother, Hubert Timothy "Bert" Morphy (1871-1942) immigrated first to Australia straight after their father’s death and then he left to USA where he became a famous singer at that time.



    Bert Morphy

    Henry John Morphy was first commissioned into rank of 2nd Lieutenant with the Kerry Militia on the 9th February 1881. Soon after, on the 23rd April 1881 he moved over to regular army as a Second Lieutenant with the Royal Irish Rifles 2nd Battalion. Two years later he became a Lieutenant on the 12th May 1883.

    He stationed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada with the 2nd Battalion and most likely then in Gibraltar.


    Royal Irish Rifles officers in Nova Scotia, including Captain Morphy (photo copied from http://www.lennonwylie.co.uk/RoyalIrishRifles2nd.htm)

    In the meantime his family moved back to his father’s birth place in to Glenville, Dundrum, County Dublin around 1870. After short illness, his father passed away on 30th September 1889 of age 63. Also his mother died 5th January 1894 aged 65. They are resting in Parish of Taney cemetery, County Dublin.

    When the Boer war broke out then the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Irish Rifles, on 25th October 1899, marched from Victoria Barracks to the Great Northern Railway Station, Belfast and entrained for Queenstown, County Cork, where it embarked on the Britannic bound for South Africa. The Battalion arrived in Table Bay and berthed at Cape Town on 25th November. Its strength was 27 officers and 872 other ranks. The Battalion had been directed to mobilize on 9th October and their strength on departure had been due to a successful turnout of reservists - some 695 reported out of a total number recalled of 704. The remaining nine never appeared and were assumed to have died.

    Captain Morphy took part of operations in Cape Colony, South of the Orange River between 1899 -1900. Then he was involved in operations in the Orange Free State from March to May 1900 and in Orange River Colony May to 31st May 1902.


    Captain Morphy (photo copied from http://www.lennonwylie.co.uk/RoyalIrishRifles2nd.htm)

    Captain Morphy must been sent home because he was shipped back to South Africa, among of 103 soldiers, on 1902 July. At that time active combat period was already over. For his service in there Henry received Queen’s South Africa medal with the clasps Cape Colony and Orange Free State. Also he received King’s South Africa Medal with the clasps “South Africa 1901” and “South Africa 1902”.

    After the war Henry got married with Florence Annie Kinahan. Kinahan’s were old and well known Belfast family. He became a Son-in-law of late Mr. Frederick Kinahan of “Lowwood” and Brother-in-Law to Henry and John Kinahan. Frederick founded the bottling and liquor business of Lyle & Kinahan. In recent times the most noted member of the family was Sir Robert George Caldwell "Robin" Kinahan, ERD (24 September 1916 – 2 May 1997) who was a Lord Mayor of Belfast and Member of Parliament for Belfast Clifton. Also he was a businessman and a senior member of the Orange Order in Northern Ireland. In his obituary, he was described as one of the last of the "county elite" to remain a high-ranking member of the Orange Order during the turbulent years of The Troubles, Henry John Morphy was his Uncle-in-Law (Robin’s father was Henry Kinahan, who was Florence’s brother).

    Another interesting connection with Dublin was the fact that Florence’s grandfather was one another Lord Mayors of Dublin from 1853 Robert Henry Kinahan.

    After the Boer war Captain Henry John Morphy retired on 11th October 1902 and he settled in England. 1911 Census shows him living in Civil Parish of Arkesden, Newport, Essex. His occupation was listed as Captain, on retired pay of HMs service. They didn’t have children. With them lived only one domestic servant.

    When the Great War Started then now 54 years old Henry was commissioned with the rank of Major again and he became Second-in-Command of Dublin raised 6th Service Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. His wife actively raised magazines, books and games to the soldiers who were at that time trained in the Curragh, County Kildare. Address for appeal in the newspaper lists a contact person Major H.Morphy, French Furze Huts, The Curragh.
    In May 1915 they were moved to Hackwood Park (Basingstoke). After final preparations on the 7th July 1915 they embarked at Liverpool and sailed to Gallipoli.
    Royal Irish Rifles landed at Anzac Cove on Gallipoli on the 5th of August, 1915 to take a part of failed attempt to attack the Chunuk Bair hills. By the 15th of August, there were only 36 men left in fighting out of a total of 775 who landed on the 5th of August.


    Major Morphy during the Great War

    When they landed in Gallipoli, first few days they were hold back but on the morning of 8th August, 6th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles were moved in the front with the battalion from Hampshire Regiment, entered to the Northern end at No.2 Post, the area which had just been won from the enemy. Next day they were ordered to move up the Chailak Dere, but the Turks were well aware that this was one of the few paths by which reinforcements could approach the Chunuk Bair, and were shelling its entrance persistently.

    First Lieutenant Graham Martyr’s platoon was almost annihilated. After slow progress, since the gully was half choked already with supplies and reinforcements going up to the hills, as well as with the wounded coming down, they didn’t had much time to rest, since at 9.15 p.m. they were aroused to take part in the assault on the Chunuk Bair.
    For this, three columns were being organized, the Royal Irish Rifles and Hamsphires being allotted to the centre column under the command of Brigadier-General A.H.Baldwin. The right hand column was commanded by Major-General F.E.Johnston and consist most part of New Zealanders and on the left there were Australians under the Major-General H.V.Cox.
    The intention was that the centre column should start from the Chailak Dere and deploy behind the line already occupied by the New Zealanders, who post to be move along the crest of the Chunuk Bair to assault Hill Q. Unfortunately this complicated manoeuver miscarried. The column on the left had been more fortunate, and its head succeeded in reaching its objective, occupying the col which connects Hill Q with the Chunuk Bair.
    The centre column was closing up and getting into formation for the attack but the enemy shrapnel fire and machine-guns was beyond human power.
    Dawn came and with it the Turkish counter-attack. They used artillery unceasingly and when light grew, an enormous mass of the enemy threw itself against the battalions holding their positions were pushed back or annihilated. Turkish throw in their reserves and tried to gain extra but when also all extra reserves (except for one battalion five miles away) were put in, there were finally stopped. Losses were terribly heavy and especially officer casualties. General Baldwin was killed, almost at the same instant General Cooper fell; Colonel Bradford of the Royal Irish Rifles was one moment most senior officer with the column but was as well seriously wounded. In quick succession, Major Henry John Morphy received a bad wound in the thight and Major Eastwood, their Adjutant, was killed.
    But he was lucky to live on. Almost whole Brigade staff were either killed or seriously wounded but they were all able to stop the Turkish strong counter attack.

    Following year, on the 10 June 1916, Major Henry John Morphy was recovered of his wounds and he was posted for duty at Birr with the depot of the Leinster Regiment.
    Then he was attached to the 13th Home Service Battalion North Lancashire Regiment. They were formed in Blackpool 4 December 1916 as part of 219th Brigade, 73rd Division. In January 1917 they were sent to Danbury in Essex but in October 1917 they moved to Southend. The battalion was disbanded on 29 March 1918.

    Also his name appears on the newspaper at the 13th November 1917 when he took part of Court Martial work against Michael Reynolds of Dunlee, charged of drilling and wearing uniform of a military character at Drogheda.


    1914-15 Star is a replacement (if some of you have his original star then please let me know)

    After the war he settled in Old Vicarage, Preston Candover, Basinstoke, England. He died in England on the 23rd July 1930.

    Finally, friend of mine owns original drawing below. I am hoping to "re-unite" that next to his medals coming time soon!



  • #2

    Last Whytes auction:

    James Patrick Roche MC (1886 – 7 June 1917 )
    Captain, Leinster Regiment Att: 47th Trench Mortar Battery

    “An Roisteach Flaitheamhail, Fearamhail nar thug ariamh Eitheach”
    (The genberous and mainly Roche who never uttered a falsehood)

    James Patrick Roche was born in 1886 in Cork as a son of Stephen Barry and Elsie Roche, of Monasterevan, Co Kildare. Native of Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry. Based on the newspaper article, his father was working for Revenue office.
    He got his first education in Blackrock Catholic boarding school for boys and then studied law in Queen’s Cork College. Based on the 1911 Census he is shown as Customs and Excise Assistant (probably as well in the Revenue office like his father). After his studies he became a barrister-at-law.
    A gifted athlete, Roche ran for Knockrea Athletic Club. He won the 220 yards at the Gaelic AA Championships in 1906. He went on to complete in the Irish AAA Championships, coming first in both the 220 and 100 yard sprints in 1907 and the 100 yards again in 1908 and 1909. He also won the 110 yards for Ireland vs. Scotland three times between 1907-08 and 1910.
    He was selected to take part in the 1908 London Olympics. He competed in both – 100 and 200 yard sprints. In the 100 yard race Roche won his first round heat with a time of 11.4 seconds pushing him through to the semi-finals. However he only managed third I the semi with a time of 12.8 seconds and failed to qualify for the final. He did slightly better in the 200 yards reaching the semi-finals where he was edged out by fellow countryman George Albert Hawkins, who was also to die in the war a few months after Rouche. Both runners were timed at 22.6 seconds.
    When the Great War started James enlisted almost immediately and he received commission with the 7th Battalion, Royal Leinster Regiment. This unit was formed in Fermoy in October 1914. Early next year they were moved to Kilworth and in September they were sent to England. There whole 16th (Irish) Division received their final training and was inspected by general command.
    2nd Lieutenant JP Roche landed in France 28th December 1915. Following year he was transferred into the 47th Trench Mortar Battery. This unit was supporting 47th Brigade of 16th Division. Basically he stayed with the Leinsters and worked there as a Artillery Liaison Officer.
    In January 1917 Captain Roche was decorated with the Military Cross (MC) for bravery on the field.
    Leinsters took part in the horrific great offensive at the battle of Messines. In there James Patrick Roche was killed in action on the 7 June 1917 . An Irishman's Diary – in The Irish Timee from 17 August 2000 wrote that just night before, on the eve of the Battle of Messines, the men of the 16th Irish Division had a dinner to which officers of the 36th Ulster Division were invited. Three officers of the 16th gave speeches - Major Willie Redmond, who prayed for consummation of peace between North and South, Major Thomas Stannus, DSO, and Captain James Roche, MC. "The speech of Major Redmond was one of the best, and I never heard such broadminded speeches ever," wrote Major Jourdain. "Everyone was proud of the Old Country."
    History doesn't relate anything of the Stannus or Roche speeches, but one can imagine that Stannus's was soldierly, and Roche's was funny, for a colleague regarded him as "one of the wittiest raconteurs I have ever met, and as brave and ready a soldier as I have ever seen. As brigade trench mortar officer, he was a genius."

    Next day, when officers were looking an effect of the mines when a German shell landed in brigade headquarters, killing James Patrick Roche and Thomas Stannus, father of the future Ninette de Valois. Crossing the battlefield at about the same time, Willie Redmond too was fatally injured. By evil mischance, all three of the speakers at the divisional dinner had been killed on a day when casualties were light.
    His parents and friends inscribed on his commeoration cross these Irish words: "An Roisteach Flaitheamhail, Fearamhail nar thug ariamh Eitheach - The genberous and mainly Roche who never uttered a falsehood."


  • #2

    Bertram Raymond Long (11 February 1890 – 21 January 1962)
    Lieutenant, 6th Battalion
    Royal Irish Regiment

    Bertram Raymond Long was the son of an agent of the Bank of Ireland, Joseph Henry Long, and his wife Mary Evelyn Sarah (nee Jennings). A Wicklow lad, he was born on 11 February 1890, presumably in the bank’s premises on Main Street, Arklow.
    Bank agents went wherever the bank required them, so when Bertram was still a baby the family moved to Mullingar, and a decade or so later to Dundalk. If a story told by his friend and obituarist Mrs Gwendolyn Anley is true (which is likely), and young Bertram began to take an interest in irises at the age of just four, it would have been in Mullingar. Oddly it was not, as we might expect, the native wild irises that encircle every lough in the Irish midlands that took his fancy. Rather he was attracted by the tall, white-flowered species then called Iris ochrolenca, now Iris orientalis, from Turkey and Greece.

    The extraordinary interest shown by young Long in the oriental iris was boosted when he was brought to Dublin and visited the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin where he saw the collection of bearded irises in all their glory. By the age of nine, he was attempting to make new varieties by cross-pollinating them.

    Mrs Anley recorded in her obituary of Bertram Long that the lad was overheard saying that “school does certainly interfere with gardening”. Bertram, like his older brother Frederick, attended Campbell College in Belfast but after two years there, he was sent to Warwick Grammar School, a sojourn, which, no doubt, further interfered with gardening.

    University followed. In 1907 with a scholarship, Bertram entered Trinity College, Dublin and was a brilliant student of both Experimental Science and Logic and Ethics. He graduated in 1911, winning a gold medal in physics. During these years, Bertram Long frequently went to Glasnevin; he was looking early-blooming Algerian irises that still grow in front of the Aquatic House;
    “I used to watch the yearly flowering of Iris unguicularis at Glasnevin between 1907 and 1912: the clump against one of the houses where the great waterlily grew looked as if it had been there for years when I first saw it; it looked much the same each year and when I saw it again some years later, possible about 1920, it still looked much the same and I doubt if it had been split up and replanted”.

    Long decided to join the Indian Forest Service and was selected as one of the probationers in 1912. This entailed studying at the Forestry School in Cambridge under Dr. Augustine Henry, although Henry left to become Professor of Forestry in the Royal College of Science in Dublin soon after he entered King’s College, Cambridge. Long did not persist and abandoned forestry in 1913, moving to Argentina apparently as a private tutor. In May 1915 he was back in Ireland and enlisted in the 6th Battalion Royal Irish Regiment. He was among the tens of thousands who fought on the Somme. At Ginchy, on 9 September 1916 he was severely wounded but survived.
    Bertram Long was nearly six feet tall and weight 15 stone. He was a member of Blackrock swimming Club and won silver and bronze medals. The trauma of his wounds must have remained with him for the rest of his life and may well explain his reported diffidence. Mrs. Anley wrote that Long was at times “difficult”… It took time to penetrate his defences but once that was done Long become relaxed and talked easily on many subjects. His speech, that of a true Irishman… invariably charmed the listener as a “bird off a tree”…
    In March 1920, he was appointed one of HM Inspectors of Factories and Workshops in England and Wales, a post he retained until he retired in 1951. He married Emily Frances Dowse of Monkstown, County Dublin, at about this time, too and it is likely that from that date they lived in Britain. Being an inspector of factories meant that the Longs moved around the country – in three decades they had homes in six different locations; Surrey, Kent, Lancashire, Birmingham, South Wales and lastly Boxfod, Suffolk. It was from Richmond in Surrey that the Longs staged those first prize-grabbing exhibits in June 1927. At that time, judging by what they showed, Bertram Long was evidently just growing bearded iris for pleasure – the varieties were not new ones. A decade later his prize-winning irises were ones he had raised himself.

    Long was sufficiently expert at raising new bearded irises by June 1931 to win Runciman Cup., awarded by the Iris Society to the best exhibit by an amateur, with a collection of his own seedlings.
    In 1933 he made more than a hundred crosses using the pollen from just two seedlings.
    Although he gained medals and awards frequently, none of Long’s irises gained highest accolades such as the RHS’s Award of Merit.
    In the early 1960s Mrs Anley noted that many of Bertram Long’s irises were still to be found in nurserymen’s catalogues, yet only a handful have survived into the twenty-first century: “High Command”, named in 1945, “Bulwark” and “Lambent”, “Killiney” that Long showed in 1939, is no longer commercially available but does grow in National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, as does “War and Peace”.

    Long’s choice of names for his seedlings seems somewhat odd at times: “Fury”, “Necromancy”, “Tyrant” and “Oligarch” suggest a rather dark side to his view of life, not surprising in the light of his horrendous experiences in the 1914-1918 War.
    A pink variety was called “Rhona” after the Long’s adopted daughter and “Gwendolyn Anley” was a tribute to his friend and fellow iris enthusiast.

    Bertram Raymond Long died on 21st January 1962. In the iris world he is still remembered and some of his seedlings may have given rise, generation upon generation, to some of the new irises still released in hordes every year, for the gardening world thrives on novelty. In his native land, hardly anyone knows his name or is able to recount his achievements, yet the first seeds were sown by a wee lad, little more than a toddler, living in the Bank House, Mullingar.


  • #2

    more will come coming evenings...

  • #2


    James Henry Gordon Casserly (25th July 1869 – 7th April 1947)
    Lieutenant Colonel
    120th Rajputana Infantry / 20th Regiment, Bombay Infantry
    Honorary Commander of the United Arts Rifles

    James was born 25th August 1869 as a son of James Henry Casserly and Maria Rourke. At that time they lived in 1 Chatham Street, Dublin. This property was owned by Casserly family at least from 1853. Up to 1887 there was a pub called “Casserly Travern”. The pub called “Neary’s pub” can be traced back to 1887 when Thomas Neary was the proprietor and the name has stayed with the bar ever since. Even today there are some old belongings from that period in this old pub in Dublin city centre.

    Young age James studied in the Trinity College. He passed his final exams on 1889 based on the Daily Express, 15th November 1889 list.

    Then he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the 4th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He was promoted on the 23rd April 1890 to the rank Lieutenant serving in the 4th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers 23 April 1890.
    4th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers was a City of Dublin Militia unit and from that, on the 10th October 1891 he was commissioned into the Northamptonshire Regiment as a Second Lieutenant for regular service. Shortly after that transfer he travelled to India with the unit.

    Two years later he was transferred to the Indian Army on the 5th June 1893 as a Lieutenant.

    Lieutenant Casserly was appointed to the 20th Regiment of Bombay Infantry on the 27th February 1897.

    During that time he was two years a Commandant of outpost near Himalayas called Buxa Duar which guards the pass into India from Bhutan. Based on his experience there he wrote later on one of his well-known books “Life in an Indian Outpost”. He describes the daily incidents of social and political life in an isolated station, varied by sporting expeditions and visits to Darjeeling.


    Forest Lodge the Second, which was built after a destructive elephant had ruined the first house in the trees. From “Life in an Indian Outpost” by Major Gordon Casserly

    Few years later he became a double company commander with 20th Regiment of Bombay Infantry on the 4th August 1900.

    He was attached to the 22nd Regiment of Bombay Infantry 2nd July 1900 and is noted as being employed as a Company Officer but also in charge of the depot of the Hong Kong Regiment according to the January 1901 Indian Army List. The 22nd Regiment served on the China 1900 campaign – it was their first battle honour.

    Within the China Expeditionary Force the 22nd Bombay (Native ) Infantry was listed as comprising 13 British Officers,17 Native Officers and Hospital Assistants, 721 NCOs and men, 59 Public followers, 35 Private followers, with 13 officers chargers and 8 ponies. In their attached transport detail they had 108 pack mules with 2 Jemadars and 4 Daffudars and 36 Drivers.
    The bulk of the Regiment were at Hong Kong as Garrison Troops but on the 9th June 1900 the HQ Wing embarked at Calcutta on the m.v.Patiala arriving on the 24th July 1900.

    It would appear that they did not deploy to North China and remained in Hong Kong as Garrison troops.



    After tour in China during the Boxer Rebellion he was promoted to the rank of Captain on the 10th July 1901.

    In 1903 the regiment name had changed to 120th Rajputana Infantry. After six years of service he was promoted once again to the rank of Major on the 10th October 1909.

    In the January & April 1915 Indian Army List he is noted as being on leave, outside of India on a medical certificate from 28 November 1913 and this had been extended 6 months.

    The 120th Rajputana Infantry went to Mesopotamia in November 1914 as part of the original expeditionary force and ultimately forced to surrender at the fall of Kut in April 1916. However it does not look like he was with them.


    Instead Belfast News from 13th April 1914 shows that at that time he published one of his first books;

    “Mr. Werner Laurie is just publishing “Life in an Indian Outpost” by Major Casserly. This is a thrilling account of the life of an Indian officer in command of a native garrison in a small post on the frontier. The outpost is called Buxa Duar, and is on the face of the Himalayas, guarding one of the Gates of India. The book gives a wonderfully vivid idea of the peculiarity and loneliness and risks of such a life.

    Major Casserly tells his story in a manly, straightforward, and direct way, and the book will appeal to all lovers of sport and daring.”

    In the July 1915 Army List is noted as being on leave, outside of India on a medical certificate 1 year 8 months.

    Probably due to his age and ill-health he was transferred to the Half-Pay List on the 28th November 1915 (LG 4 Feb 1916)

    In the January 1916 Army List is still noted as being on leave, outside of India on a medical certificate.

    On 10th January 1916 he received a Special Appointment, graded as a Staff Captain (LG 27th January 1916) but in the same year he retired as a Major due to ill-health on 11th October 1916 (LG 1 Dec 1916).
    In the Indian Army List he was classed as Major retired but liable to be recalled to active service until 1919 (Jan 1919 IAL).

    Major Casserly was promoted to the rank Lieutenant Colonel on 14th November 1919 on the retired list in accordance with, the provisions of A.C.I. 644 .and 1213 of 1918 the London Gazette 17th February 1920. In the same date he became a Battalion Commander of 14th County of London Volunteers Regiment. Also he became a Honorary Commander of the United Arts Rifles.

    In the Great War Major Casserly didn’t take actively part of the war overseas, therefore 1900 China Campaign medal is his sole entitlement.

    Colonel Gordon Casserly, how people know him, was a life member of the Société de Géographie d'Alger. Also he was a British Consul St.Moritz 1916-1917.

    He published following books:


    “The Elephant God”
    “The Jungle Girl” (1922)
    “The Red Marshal” (1920)
    “The Desert Lovers”
    “The Sands of Death”
    “The Monkey God” (1929)
    “Tiger Girl”
    “Love’s Lottery” (1938)

    Short stories

    “Daughter of Eve”


    “The Land of the Boxers”
    “Algeria To-day” (1928)
    “Tripolitania” (1925)
    “Life in an Indian Outpost” (1914)


    “Dwellers in the Jungle” (1925)
    “In the Green Jungle” (1927)


    “Bubbies and the Don”

    One-act plays

    “The Idol”
    “The Test”
    “Lady Hamilton”
    “The Fatal Empress”
    “The Lunatic”


    “Jungle and River Warfare” (1914)
    “Training of the Volunteers for War”
    “Tactics for Beginners”
    “Company Training”
    “Trench Warfare”




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