In this time of remembrance for those who fought and died in the ‘Great War’ an interesting little letter to the Editor, from 1969, surfaced over the weekend which gives an insight into the attitudes of yesteryear.
The writer, retired Capt. Robert Laver calls on us to remember veteran Dan Grant (originally from Ballingarry and father of Margaret O’Neill, Dominic Street) a resident of the British Army houses in Haig’s Terrace, Windmill, who had just died.
The Late Dan Grant of Windmill
Sir-Seventy years ago there were 10 first World War veterans occupying the cottages on this ‘concessionary’ estate. Though concessionary is a misnomer, the British government did not concede but were more or less compelled to fulfill the promise of Lloyd George of ‘homes fit for heroes to live in’ when the 1914/18 war ended. John Redmond ensured that those of the 20,000-odd Irishmen who volunteered and left about 10% on the battlefield of France or Gallipoli had a home to return to. Some 2,000 2-bedroom well built houses on the outskirts of most small towns were erected (administered in the 32 counties by a Trust) and to this day only 1914/18 veterans are acceptable as residents. Yesterday the 5th of those veterans on this estate faded away at the ripe old age of 80. Dan Grant was a regular soldier in 1914- in the Field Artillery and when the retreat to the coast was bitterly contested from Mons he was in the world renowned ‘L’ battery- who after heroic fighting, brought their 18- pounder through, leaving half the crew casualties. One crewman got the Victoria Cross, Dan got the military medal. I think we should be proud of him even though serving a ‘foreign’ country and not a IRA veteran, as a man of courage and loyalty. Five green bottles remain here-soon all will have faded away.” - Robert Laver.