The Brigade Roll confirms the man and service number. Said by Mahony to be hard line nationalist who believed in the Irish Brigade as an ideal. Correct on roll. Jockey
1896 April 14. Born in town of Kildare. Civil Registration show Jan/Mar birth.
The 1901 census gives his family. They are living at Newrow, Kildare.
1911 census shows him aged 14 living at 20 Church Lane, Kildare, with his widowed father William, aged 44 and a labourer who cannot read, and his sister Mary aged 12. His service record shows other siblings, Patrick (an older brother in RFA in Athlone), a younger brother John (living at home with the father) and two younger sisters Dina and Mary. Whilst he was a POW some of his pay, 9d per day, went to his cousin, Miss Josephine Forde, Tolley, Kildare. And later he gives her addtress as c/o Mrs Berry, Beech Grove, Athy, Kildare.
1912 Nov 21. Joined the 3rd Battalion (Special Reserve) Connaught Rangers aged 17 years 7 Months. He underwent recruits training until he became a regular 4 months later. His service record survives
1913 March 15. Joined the Connaught Rangers as a regular. He was a farm labourer. He was 5 ft 3 inches tall and weighed just on 8 stone, with fresh complexion, brown eyes and auburn hair. With a pulse of 74 he must have been a little nervous. He was posted to Curragh Camp.
1914 Aug 14. Arrived in France
1914 Aug 16 Became a POW. He must have been among the first POWs of the war1914 , and followed the rest of the Irish Brigade through Limburg, Zossen and Danzig
1914 Sep 23. The War Office writes to Mr William Forde, Church Lane, Kildare, to report that he is missing
On a list of 2nd Connaught Rangers men sent to Zossen as 10664 Private F Forde, Church Lane, Kildare. A groom before he enlisted. From Celbridge, Kildare on Keogh's notes. Mahoney describes him as one of 6 committed Irish Brigade men (Keogh, Kavanagh, O'Toole, Quinlisk, Dowling and Forde)
1915 Feb 16. The War office inform the Forde family that he is a POW in Germany
1915 Oct 25. In answer to a question, gave his Ireland address as Church Lane, Kildare.
1916 Jan Volunteered for service in Egypt
1916 May 5. Forde writes to Gaffney telling him that he, Forde will write to Holohan's sister in the Lincoln, Nebraska, informing her of her brother's death.
1916 Jun. FO383/296 contains information regarding Casement and the Irish Brigade including that 30 men had been moved to Danzig-Troyl, Gunner Carr's alleged preferential treatment and Pte P J Forde's alleged support.
1917 Nov 19. The British evidence against him is not enough for his parcels to be stopped
1918 Nov 15 circa. Kavanagh writes that he and Zerhusen went to Berlin, then on to to Munich where they met Keogh, Granaghan and Delamore. Kavanagh says after their meeting
1918 Dec he is said to have joined Kavanagh in Hamburg
1919 Apr 16. Technically ceased to be a POW and returned home
Water damaged service record, but clearly censored to remove POW era remarks
1919 Aug 19. Posted
1920 Apr 10. Transfers to Reserve. Described as an honest, sober, hardworking man. "of good character"
1920 Aug 20. Discharged for the purpose of residing permanently outside the UK. His letter is difficult to read with water damage, but he appears to be going to Toronto. His character is given as "Very Good". He writes a letter to a Capt Harris in Cork thanking him for his help in obtaining his release, and saying that he was applying for an overseas resettling scheme to Toronto,
1921 William James Ford, year of birth 1895, male, departure year 1921 Liverpool to Saint John, NB, Canada on the Minnedosa. But is probably not him, as I see no reason for him to be using a false name.
1935 Aug 5. Attends Casement memorial service in Dublin
Keogh has him as active in Old IRA 1920 - 1921, and was still alive in 1960.
Irish Brigade Recruits