Michael Joseph O'Callaghan, Private 10005 Royal Munster Fusiliers

o'callaghan medal card

IrishBrigade Machine Gunners

Michael O'Callaghan

The two photos on left are Michael, the one on right may be Jeremiah

Keogh view of O'Callaghan

Keogh's view of Michael O'Callaghan

Michael O'Callaghan was Jeremiah O'Callaghan's brother. They were in different regiments, so it must have been pure chance that they ended up being captured and imprisoned in Limburg.

1894. From an Ancestry Tree I can see that Michael O'Callaghan was born 21 November 1894 at Bridewell Lane, Mallow, Co. Cork.

1901 census living at Bridewell Lane, Mallow

1911 census entry Residents of 8 Bridewell Lane (Mallow, Cork) all Roman Catholic and born Co Cork

Surname Forename Age Relation to head Occupation Marital Status
O' Callaghan Jeremiah 60 Head of Family Mason Widower
O' Callaghan Jeremiah 19 Son Apprentice Single
O' Callaghan Michael 16 Son Apprentice Single
O' Callaghan Elizabeth 13 Daughter - Single
O' Callaghan Bridget 12 Daughter - Single
O' Callaghan Edward 34 Son Labourer Single

1913 Enlisted into the Munsters about March 1913 from his service number. Curiously there is another Michael J(ohn) O'Callaghan in the RMF at the same time.

1914 Aug 13 he lands in France with his regiment. Is captured within weeks and ends up in Limburg POW Camp. Here he joins the Irish Brigade, in which he becomes a Lance-Corporal and followed the rest of the Irish Brigade through Limburg, Zossen and Danzig

1915 Dec. He appears not to have volunteered for Egypt but carried on as L/Cpl and appears in April 1916 pay list as such.

Monteith notes that he was "a quiet, religous chap who appeared to be in spiritual control of the barracks. He was the recognised ecclesiastical authority in the Brigade. With his quiet sympathetic nature he was only one degree removed from Holy Orders, and could, I believe, one day save more souls in one day than a company of clergymen in a week. Kavanagh was his close friend."

1918 Nov . O'Toole when he was debriefed gives a list of men whom he says left Danzig camp soon after the armistice, insisting on going to a POW camp in order to be transported home. He appears on O'Toole's list

1920 Feb 3. Discharged from British Army and goes to Reserves. Not a stain on his character from his Irish Brigade times. He had been employed a a cook for 9 months prior to discharge, indicating that he returned to Ireland before May 1919

discharge mm o'callaghan

Michael O'Callaghan discharge cert

Must have rejoined army after returning from Germany, as he has new number issued 7211309, which shows that he was serving in Aug 1920 when the British Army renumbered.

civilian pass

He married a Bridget (or Margaret) Hayes, and they had two children, a son Patrick O'Callaghan and a daughter Kathleen O'Callaghan who died in 2005. There is no marriage recorded in England, so I assume he married in Ireland, and it would seem to be this marriage to Bridget in 1922 ( Registration district: Mallow. Registration date, Jan - Mar 1922. Volume: 5, Page: 371).

In Oct 1923 Michael was given as being at "NAA Institute, Bere Island, Cork" by his widowed sister-in-law. Bere Island was a treaty port,and therefore British sovereign teritory right through till 1938. So by implication Michael had to be doing something with or for the British government. They would not have let, particularly an ex-Casement man, live there unless he had been vetted. The address is in fact the NAAFI on Bere Island

Bere Island Military Information 31st Fire Command, Royal Garrison Artillery manned these defences and 33rd Fortress Company, Royal Engineers which manned the Cork harbour defences were also at Bere Island. Some members of the Bere Island garrison were injured in August 1922 in an attack by ant-treaty forces.

bere attack

From the Times of 28 August 1922

1925 Feb 2. Discharged from the Reserves at the end of his agreed time.

1925 Oct/Dec Bith of his first child Jeremiah Patrick O'Callaghan born Mallow, Oct - Dec 1925 vol 5, p323.

He later was known to have worked on the building of the 'Shannon Scheme' in which the contractors were a German firm. In 1924-25 the new Irish Free State commissioned Siemens-Schuckert, a large German engineering firm, to progress a scheme to build a hydro-electric station from harnessing the waters of the Shannon. The Shannon Scheme was officially opened at Parteen Weir on 22 July 1929. One of the largest engineering projects of its day, it subsequently served as a model for large-scale electrification projects worldwide. Operated by the Electricity Supply Board of Ireland, it had an immediate impact on the social, economic and industrial development of Ireland and continues to supply significant power in the 21st century

Most of the skilled workers and engineers on the power station were Germans. A camp was set up for the workers that included living quarters for 750 men and a dining room that seated 600. Initially employment for 700 was provided, whilst at its peak there were 5,200 employed during the construction phase, with this dropping back to 2,500 near completion. The commission of the turbine in November 1933 marked the final development at the Ardnacrusha station.

1928 Kathleen Josephine, their second child, was born in Limerick in Apr/Jun 1928, so Michael and his wife were living in Limerick at that date

shannon contract

1930 Aug 15. Shannon Project finishes

Michael later lived in Malvern, Worcestershire, for a time and then moved on to Yorkshire.

And he died 24 Sep 1952 at 12 Brockley Close, Church Fenton, Tadcaster, Yorkshire. His occupation was a Stone Mason, as his father had been.

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