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This is just a single BWM but it belonged to a man who had experienced two momentous events in Irish History,

The Great War and the Easter Rising of 1916, and he also had the misfortune to be wounded in both.I had the

good fortune to find Pte. Byrnes service record on Ancestry and gather the following information.

Pte Michael Byrne was a 28 year old postman from The Demense,Lucan,Co. Dublin who enlisted into the 10 Batt RDF

on the 21/1/1916 stating his Mother Annie of the same address as his NOK.He stood 5ft 6ins with a 38in chest.

The 10th Batt. were a newly formed service Batt. formed from the Commercial Company of the 5th Batt RDF.

They were dubbed the Commercial Pals but there are references to them being also called "Redmonds Shopkeepers"

by local wits.Some of the recruits may also have been members of Redmonds National Volunteers, and would have

had previous military training.

By the 24/4/1916 the 10th were stationed at Royal Barracks,Dublin,(Now Collins Barracks).Approx 37 officers and

430 men of the 10th were in the barracks that day when Rebel forces occupied key buildings around Dublin, when

rifle fire was heard around the city some companies of the 10th were mobilised for action.

The RDF had their first contact with the Rebels at the Medicity Institute where the rebels were led by Captain

Sean Heuston and 15 men who were to prevent and delay crown forces from relieving Dublin Castle.Byrne was most

likely wounded in this or a subsequent action as his SR states he received bullet wounds to the chest, abdomen,

and arm on the 24/4/16 in the Dublin Rebellion.Further notes from his SR refer to 6 puncture wound from shrapnel,

and his addmission to King George V Hospitial Dublin on the 13/5/16 with GSW's (various).Newspaper reports from

the period suggest Byrne was first treated at the Meath Hospital.

Pte. Byrne appears to have made a full recovery as he was with his battalion when it went to France on the 18/8/16

Where they joined 190th Infantry Brig of the 63rd royal Naval division.September and October was spent learning

trench warfare and preparing for the next offensive.This came on the 13th of November when the battalion went in to

action with the 63rd Div in the battle of the Ancre, over the next 3 days the battalion suffered 242 casualties from

an initial attacking force of 493 officers and men.I dont know whem Michael Byrne was wounded but he was in the 3rd

Canadian general Hospitial on the 15/11/16 with a shrapnel wound to his back.He was shipped back to England on the

18/11/16 to recuperate at the Cambridge Hospital ? Aldershot (SR hard to decipher).

Byrne never went back into action but did attend bombing and anti gas school at Otley on two occasions in 1917/18

and finished the war with the rank of L/Serjeant,(or is that an appointment?)Byrne was discharged on the 21/2/1919

and his character was described as very good, he was entitled to the BWM and VM.All in all a fascinating journey for

an Irish soldier

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I think I saw this one somewhere already, boards? It is surelly something very special and you were lucky with the service papers! Especially Easter Rising part is interesting extra for any Irish related award. I have only one 10th Bn. award and I can't approve nothing because lack of papers.

It is meantime so sad to read about the man who fought against their own relatives. Happened as well in my family: my grandmother had 5 brothers. In WW2 3 of them fought in German side and 2 in Russian.... only one came back from the war + units where they was, fought against each other in few battles. Ok, out of the topic....

Again, great story and the medal!

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Thanks timo, you did indeed see it on boards.I have to say your trio to McIntosh is a cracker,a great find, well done.

Edited by renmore

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  • Blog Comments

    • Brian, Thanks for initiating this discussion. For me, it’s a combination of the thrill of the chase, the history behind the item, and the aesthetics, although this latter factor may seem a bit strange to some. To illustrate this, the very first thing I collected as a kid in the 1950’s was a Belgian WW1 medal, for service in 1914-18, which is bell shaped, with a very striking profile of a very dignified soldier, wearing an Adrian helmet which bears a laurel wreath. It was the image that
    • Thank you for sharing your story, it was most interesting and greatly appreciated, it makes this blog well worth the time to post. Regards Brian  
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