Sunday, 2 March 2014

9249 Private John CONDRON (1898 - 1915)

I wrote previously about the beginning of the Gallipoli campaign (see here). The Allies had missed what opportunity there might initially have been on 25-26 April to make rapid advances inland from the less well-defended landing beaches. Now, with the Turkish defenders reinforced, the campaign became one of trench warfare, much like on the Western Front. The conditions as experienced by the ordinary soldier are well described in the original diaries of Private Horace Bruckshaw (Royal Marine LightInfantry).

In the following weeks, the Allied troops who had landed at Cape Helles made painfully slow advances up the tip of the peninsula. The 1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers (the “1st Dublins”) suffered such grave losses between 25 April and 30 April that they were reduced to a single officer and 374 men (from an initial strength of 25 officers and over 900 men). The numbers of casualties were so great that on 30 April the 1st Dublins and the 1st Battalion Munster Fusiliers, who had also suffered enormous casualties, were amalgamated. The composite battalion became known as the “Dubsters”. On 19 May, some reinforcements arrived and the 1st Dublins were reconstituted as a separate unit.

The Allies slowly advanced on Krithia, a small town on the slopes of Achi Baba. Private Bruckshaw described Krithia as looking “very quaint and picturesque from our front line of trenches”. But he went on to explain, “I have not yet had the privilege of seeing it from a nearer point owing to the strenuous resistance of the Turks”. The Irish troops were very much in the midst of the action. Another witness  recounts in late May: “We got to the spot at Achi Baba where the Munsters and the Dublin Fusiliers, during a gallant advance, had been enfiladed by machine-gun fire, and literally mown down. From the trench we had occupied we could see the men lying just as they had fallen, while trying to take cover. There they were, on the open ground, absolutely riddled with bullets … .” A witness account for 21 June reads, “I passed in The Gully what remained of the Dublin Fusiliers, less than a company”.

Private John CONDRON (service no. 9249) was killed in action on 15 June 1915 in Gallipoli. John CONDRON was born in 1898, south of Dublin. He was the son of John and Mary (née WALSHE) CONDRON. John is described as a “labourer” in the 1911 census for Edmondstown village, Whitechurch, Dublin, where he is living with his parents, four brothers and two sisters. Subsequently he joined up in the 1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

John’s father, also John CONDRON (born about 1853), married Mary WALSH(E) (born about 1870) on 14 November 1892, south of Dublin. The couple had at least ten children, of whom I know of eight: Michael Joseph (born 1893), Bridget Mary (1895), Mary Teresa (1896), John (1898), Patrick (1901), James (1905), William (1907) and Susan (1910).

John senior is described as a labourer in the 1901 and 1911 censuses. I believe that Mary WALSHE was probably his second wife, and that he previously married a Margaret CROTTY in 1885. That couple had a daughter, Margaret Mary, born in 1886. This child as well as Bridget Mary and Mary Teresa were all baptised at Bohernabreena church, south-west of Dublin.

John CONDRON was killed in action on the Gallipoli peninsula on 15 June 1915, aged 16, and is buried in the Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery, Turkey.

For other blog posts about CONDR*Ns in the First World War, click on "First World War" in the Labels list on the right of the blog web page. Comments and corrections welcome, either by leaving a comment below or by email to me: CONDRAN[AT]ONE-NAME.ORG

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