Templemore Town Council is set to unveil a memorial stone and three Great War Cannons in memory of 76 soldiers who left the town, never to return.
A parade of O.N.E (Organisation for National Ex-Servicemen and Women), from all over Ireland, with schoolchildren from three local schools will march from the eastern end of town next Saturday at 2pm, followed by a short ceremony at the Town Hall where three WWI guns will be commissioned. Cllr Jim O’Shea, who has been involved in restoring and transporting the guns from Collins Barracks in Cork, says a roll call will be made of the local men who left during the Great War. Cllr O’Shea said a huge thanks goes to Templemore Town Council, who gave financial backing to the project. “This will be a fitting testimony to them. This is the last ceremonial project under the auspices of Templemore Town Council.” Cllr O’Shea, an FCA and ONE member, was approached by Company Quartermaster Sergeant Dominic Wixted about three years ago, with the idea of restoring and replacing the 4.5” Howitzer Guns to their rightful place in Templemore. The weapons saw active service in 1918, near the end of the Great War, and were later used by the Irish Army and FCA right up to 1976, when they were finally decommissioned and stored in Clonmel. From there they were brought to Cork, and fell into a state of disrepair. “All the paint had to be taken off them, and they were primed and painted. They were gone nearly duck egg blue,” says Cllr O’Shea. The guns were returned to Templemore in June 2013, having left the town in 1976, being replaced by 25lb guns which were also later decommissioned. The cannons will be mounted at the end of the Town Hall on Thursday, with the ceremony on Saturday to be attended by the O.N.E Chief Executive Ollie O’Connor, and the Thomas MacDonagh Pipe Band. Amemorial stone will be dedicated to the men who served in McCann Barracks from the foundation of the state, and to Templemore Priest Fr Francis Gleeson, who served as a Chaplain in the army.