Granddaughter Claims Soldier’s Medal
The Irish Times, Friday, November 14, 2008
The granddaughter of a Co. Clare man who died in France during the first World War has come forward to claim a medal which had been awarded to her grandfather posthumously, after it had been found in the grounds of a church. The King George V Victory Medal was discovered about three years ago in mud on the grounds of Clarecastle Church in Clare by local man Alan Barnes.
Despite discovering that Pte Patrick King, whose name appeared on the medal, was originally from Ennis and that he died of wounds received in France on February 2nd, 1915, the local taxi driver had been unable to track down the soldier’s family. Mr. Barnes offered the medal to the Clare Museum in Ennis after they sought artefacts relating to the so-called “war to end all wars”. The medal was put on display on Wednesday in the hope that Pte King’s family would come forward so that the artefact could be returned to its rightful owners. Within hours, Patrick King’s granddaughter Frances Morrissey made contact with the museum after seeing an article on the internet about a Patrick King who, she realized, was her grandfather.
“I have always had an interest in history and particularly in the story of the first World War. I was surfing the net on Wednesday and the name Patrick King popped up and the alarm bells started ringing. I realized this was my grandfather and I contacted the Clare Museum,” she said.
It has been confirmed that Pte King died at the age of 27 and is buried in a communal cemetery in the town of Bailleul in France, near the Belgian border. Official records show his “casualty type” as “Commonwealth war dead”.
After seeing the medal for the first time yesterday, Ms Morrissey said she would leave it with the Clare Museum until the end of the current exhibition, when she will decide what to do with it.