SOLD Hammer price: €500, Estimate: €600-800
“Letters from Flanders”
Meagher (Henry, descendant of the Young Irelander T.F. Meagher of Waterford). A very good collection of eleven autograph signed letters and cards to (Edmund) Downey of Waterford, 1908 – 1916, including nine pencilled letters and cards from the Flanders trenches where he was serving with the First Northumbrian Brigade, B.E.F., 1916 – 16, datelined ‘n the Field’ ‘Mud View, Flanders,’ etc., including a seven page letter dated 16 August 1915, also a photo card showing Meagher in battle dress.
Meagher’s first letter, 27 Nov. 1908, from his home in Newcastle-on-Tyne, evidently in response to an enquiry from Downey, lists works relating to T.F. Meagher in his possession, and gives details of other relatives who may have materials of interest.
His second letter, April 1909, is written in his professional capacity as a cement supplier and makes some cogent points about the new Waterford bridge.
A card dated 1914 carries a photo showing him in uniform, and the remainder of the correspondence comes form Flanders. His long letter of August 1915 gives news of the German attack using chlorine gas and the subsequent 2nd Battle of Ypres. ‘The infantry of our division.. lost heavily, but never flinched from gun, rifle or gas attack. It certainly was a most severe baptism of fire.. I went right forward with the small arms section of my ammunition column and had to supply ammunition for the trenches taking it through Ypres which was pretty well like a burning volcano, dead horses & men lying in every street, broken wagons, carts etc. lying everywhere, troops being rushed forwards, wounded being brought back, & the never ceasing roar of guns & bursting of shells..’ There are further harrowing eyewitness details of the intense fighting and shelling, and an evocative description of exhausted soldiers attending Mass having come straight from the trenches. ‘mud from head to foot, uniforms stained & torn, unshaved & unwashed…’
An important collection. (1)
Provenance: E. Downey.