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peeohkneel

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peeohkneel last won the day on December 22 2013

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About peeohkneel

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    Senior Member
  • Birthday 07/01/1916

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  • Location
    Northern Ireland
  • Interests
    History of the 36th Ulster Division

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  1. Through the crackle of an ages-old wax recording, you can clearly hear the distinctive tones of a tuneful Belfast accent. But this isn't just any old recording of another Irish traditional song. What makes this one so remarkable is that the voice belongs to a prisoner-of-war (POW) being held in a German camp during World War One, hundreds of miles away from his home in Ireland. And even more than that, it tells the story of a Belfast Catholic soldier in the British army, whose wartime history has been hidden away in a Berlin university archive for almost 100 years. Captured Now his family have heard his voice for the very first time, moving them to tears as their grandfather's story in sound unfolds before them. The singing soldier is John McCrory. Born in 1881 and from Conway Street in the predominantly nationalist Falls Road area of west Belfast. He was a private in the Royal Irish Fusiliers. Within days of joining the war he was captured at Caudry, near Le Cateau, on 27 August 1914 and taken to a POW camp in Giessen, north of Frankfurt. More than three years later, he was still there. That was when German linguist Wilhelm Doegen arrived at the camp. His intention was to collect language, music and song from around the world, and preserve these for study and teaching. Visiting German POW camps, Doegen collected around 250 languages and dialects spoken by the prisoners, and - in some cases like that of John's - their traditional music. On 27 September 1917, starting at precisely 10:25, he recorded John at least four times, the first as the soldier sang The Pride of Liscarroll. As his voice sparks up amid the fuzz of the first recording, there is something haunting and aged about it, perhaps weathered by his time in the camp. She is the pride of Liscarroll, is sweet Kitty Farrell, Cheeks as red as roses, teeth as white as pearl. And the neighbours all pity the colleen so pretty, And oh, how we all love the blind Irish girl. On another recording, he reads a Bible passage, the parable of the prodigal son. And the father said to him: 'Dear son, you were always with me and all that I have is yours. But this, your brother, was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.' John's grandson Dr John Simpson, who lives in Belfast, was aware of his grandfather's time in the camp, but had known precious little else about him - he was, quite simply, a "mystery". "I'm getting choked up just thinking about it," he says. "I know he never spoke that much about his experiences as a POW, as I suppose most men in those days didn't. "It's a fascinating period of history, and to find out your grandfather was in the middle of it is very emotional… it's a big shock." Stirring For much of the last 98 years, the audio has been stored in the Humbold University's Lautarchiv in the German capital. Trawling through the files there, not only can you find the recordings, but also a transcript of the lyrics to The Pride of Liscarroll, handwritten by John at the time. For Dr Simpson, his grandfather's neat, precise, joint-up handwriting is almost every bit as stirring. "That whole old-fashioned thing where everyone had to sing or recite something, that happened in every McCrory household. "But the handwriting is almost as moving and emotional as the recording. His handwriting is like my mother's and like mine. "The whole thing is bringing alive a man who we knew so little about." Shortly before he left for war, John and his wife Mary Ann had their first child, Catherine, and another daughter, Mary Jane, was born while John was imprisoned in Giessen. On his eventual return to Belfast, he and Mary Ann went on to have nine more children. Rascal Dr Simpson was born shortly after his grandfather died from stomach cancer in 1947, and his only memory of him is through his mother Julia. He heard how his grandfather had a carefree attitude to life and was intent on enjoying himself. But Mary Ann would not allow him to get carried away, regardless of his three years as a POW. "He was a rascal but my mother always described him with a smile on her face," he remembers. "Granny McCrory was a very tough woman. My grandfather came home from the war and maybe floated about a bit. But my Granny McCrory didn't have time for that - there was work to be done, there were 11 kids to raise." Unique The significance of the recordings is not lost on Grace Toland, the director designate of the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin. She says he has never heard anything quite like it before. "It is totally unique because of the people involved and the circumstances in which it was recorded," Ms Toland says. "It's quite ordinary in terms of the song, but this is the first time we've heard this sung live from that period. The sheet music exists, of course, but to have the immediacy of sound adds such richness to the history." And Fintan Vallely, a musician, writer and lecturer on traditional music, said John McCrory's choice of song was interesting. "Liscarroll is in County Cork at the other end of Ireland, so there are lots of other songs he could've been signing, songs from closer to his home in Belfast," Mr Vallely explained. "Sad songs would've been of high value among soldiers given the high casualty rate they were surrounded by at the time." Media caption German linguist Wilhelm Doegen collected gramophone recordings of soldiers in German prisoner-of-war camps. In this clip, Belfast man John McCrory sings The Pride of Liscarroll Through the crackle of an ages-old wax recording, you can clearly hear the distinctive tones of a tuneful Belfast accent. But this isn't just any old recording of another Irish traditional song. What makes this one so remarkable is that the voice belongs to a prisoner-of-war (POW) being held in a German camp during World War One, hundreds of miles away from his home in Ireland. And even more than that, it tells the story of a Belfast Catholic soldier in the British army, whose wartime history has been hidden away in a Berlin university archive for almost 100 years. Captured Now his family have heard his voice for the very first time, moving them to tears as their grandfather's story in sound unfolds before them. The singing soldier is John McCrory. Born in 1881 and from Conway Street in the predominantly nationalist Falls Road area of west Belfast. He was a private in the Royal Irish Fusiliers. Within days of joining the war he was captured at Caudry, near Le Cateau, on 27 August 1914 and taken to a POW camp in Giessen, north of Frankfurt. More than three years later, he was still there. Media caption Soldiers of many nationalities were recorded for Doegen's language and dialect project. Here John McCrory sings the second verse of The Pride of Liscarroll That was when German linguist Wilhelm Doegen arrived at the camp. His intention was to collect language, music and song from around the world, and preserve these for study and teaching. Visiting German POW camps, Doegen collected around 250 languages and dialects spoken by the prisoners, and - in some cases like that of John's - their traditional music. On 27 September 1917, starting at precisely 10:25, he recorded John at least four times, the first as the soldier sang The Pride of Liscarroll. As his voice sparks up amid the fuzz of the first recording, there is something haunting and aged about it, perhaps weathered by his time in the camp. She is the pride of Liscarroll, is sweet Kitty Farrell, Cheeks as red as roses, teeth as white as pearl. And the neighbours all pity the colleen so pretty, And oh, how we all love the blind Irish girl. On another recording, he reads a Bible passage, the parable of the prodigal son. And the father said to him: 'Dear son, you were always with me and all that I have is yours. But this, your brother, was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.' Media caption Here John McCrory reads a Bible passage, the parable of the prodigal son John's grandson Dr John Simpson, who lives in Belfast, was aware of his grandfather's time in the camp, but had known precious little else about him - he was, quite simply, a "mystery". "I'm getting choked up just thinking about it," he says. "I know he never spoke that much about his experiences as a POW, as I suppose most men in those days didn't. "It's a fascinating period of history, and to find out your grandfather was in the middle of it is very emotional… it's a big shock." Stirring For much of the last 98 years, the audio has been stored in the Humbold University's Lautarchiv in the German capital. Trawling through the files there, not only can you find the recordings, but also a transcript of the lyrics to The Pride of Liscarroll, handwritten by John at the time. Handwritten transcription of The Pride of Liscarroll lyrics John McCrory's handwritten transcript of the lyrics to The Pride of Liscarroll are filed away with the recording in Berlin's Lautarchiv For Dr Simpson, his grandfather's neat, precise, joint-up handwriting is almost every bit as stirring. "That whole old-fashioned thing where everyone had to sing or recite something, that happened in every McCrory household. "But the handwriting is almost as moving and emotional as the recording. His handwriting is like my mother's and like mine. "The whole thing is bringing alive a man who we knew so little about." Shortly before he left for war, John and his wife Mary Ann had their first child, Catherine, and another daughter, Mary Jane, was born while John was imprisoned in Giessen. On his eventual return to Belfast, he and Mary Ann went on to have nine more children. Rascal Dr Simpson was born shortly after his grandfather died from stomach cancer in 1947, and his only memory of him is through his mother Julia. He heard how his grandfather had a carefree attitude to life and was intent on enjoying himself. But Mary Ann would not allow him to get carried away, regardless of his three years as a POW. "He was a rascal but my mother always described him with a smile on her face," he remembers. "Granny McCrory was a very tough woman. My grandfather came home from the war and maybe floated about a bit. But my Granny McCrory didn't have time for that - there was work to be done, there were 11 kids to raise." Unique The significance of the recordings is not lost on Grace Toland, the director designate of the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin. She says he has never heard anything quite like it before. "It is totally unique because of the people involved and the circumstances in which it was recorded," Ms Toland says. "It's quite ordinary in terms of the song, but this is the first time we've heard this sung live from that period. The sheet music exists, of course, but to have the immediacy of sound adds such richness to the history." And Fintan Vallely, a musician, writer and lecturer on traditional music, said John McCrory's choice of song was interesting. "Liscarroll is in County Cork at the other end of Ireland, so there are lots of other songs he could've been signing, songs from closer to his home in Belfast," Mr Vallely explained. "Sad songs would've been of high value among soldiers given the high casualty rate they were surrounded by at the time." Media caption John McCrory's wife Mary Ann brought up two children as he was imprisoned in the Giessen camp. Here he reads the lyrics to the second verse of The Pride of Liscarroll One of John's great-grandchildren, Moira Porter - born in Belfast but now living in Nova Scotia - also knew of John's time as a POW. She feels his capture, ironically, may have been life-saving. "If only his family back home could've heard that it would've given them so much comfort. "When you think of it, he was in in the camp when he could've been on the frontline - his time there could actually have saved his life." Cherished For Dr Simpson, this has been an unforgettable week in his family's history. "You get to an age where you become aware of your own mortality, so to find something concrete which tells you so much about your family's background is so valuable. "Fair play to the Germans for the diligence they had in keeping that stuff. "We've got something to hold on to now, something that can be cherished." To listen to the recoding use the link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-32131758
  2. If you want a wee laugh give me a ring (Its about the iphone we were talking about)

  3. Cara could you give me a wee ring, I need some help.

  4. You scored: 860 / 2000 You scored 8 questions correct on your first try. You have earned 143 FunTrivia points for this quiz. The average score for this quiz: 12 / 20 Just goes to show what I know about the Irish famine. You could write it on the back of a postage stamp. A shame really to be honest. One of the subjects we spent very little time on in school (all those years ago).
  5. Did not think you cared-its not going to stop the arguments/debates-lol-

  6. Was wondering could you reccomend a few books to me about your community as i'm looking to do a bit of self-education.I'm mainly looking for books about the comtempory PUL community,tbh I wouldn't read a book that's 500 pages long and excessively detailed,just something that's short and easy to read.Thank you.

  7. Really don't know Dubh......... I remember those days so well. To be honest for many if us it was such an exciting time. Mind you I was only 14 years old, and the sense of unity among the loyalist/unionist community was akin to 'us against the world' Having said that, I am of the opinion that power sharing was something alien to the majority of my community. Our attitude was ....".Northern Ireland is our country, if you don't like it, then clear off down to Dublin".......... I think most of us have changed since then, (agreed some still hold to that view). Looking back, it took many more deaths and just as much heartache before getting to where we are now. It's not perfect, but hopefully bit at a time we'll get there.
  8. Who's the new avatar your showing?

    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. n187

      n187

      Aye he was lucky to get out of Belfast after the Rev was captured. His house still stands outside Roughfort, albeit modernised. I only found this out recently. His grave is in Mallusk cemetery. A must see old burying ground of you haven't been already mo chara.

    3. peeohkneel

      peeohkneel

      A nationalist friend if mine use to live in a town called Portaferry.....he lived in a street called Steel Dickson Gardens........I asked where the name came from and he ended up giving me a history lesson......

    4. n187

      n187

      Aye I'm a bit of a bore like that myself as I'm sure you've realised! There's actually a blue plaque for Dickson on Portaferry Presbyterian church which is nice. Newtownabbey was at the heart of the Rebellion back then. Everywhere you look there's a story!

  9. We will not agree on many things, but just wanna say well done on your debating skills when so many have ganged up to attack you......enjoy reding your posts.

    1. Barrack Buster

      Barrack Buster

      Very much appreciate that I see you are a victim of it yourself and hold your dignity commendable friend.

  10. Ha Ha. Sound mate, I'm sure I'll be hoarse with singing so wont mind a wee bit of horse from yer Tesco burgers...3-1 Cliftonville, though it will be a tough match....Seeing as it's on your slate, I'll order burgers for the whole RED ARMY!!..

    1. peeohkneel

      peeohkneel

      Enjoy it mate...hope it's a good game.

  11. Best wishes to the wee crues tomorrow mate ........ Score prediction ..... Cliftonville 1-3 Crusaders.........enjoy the match if your going. And get yerself a burger, tell the man to put it on my slate, and I'll square him up next time I'm there.

  12. hope you stayed safe over the past few days my friend. I see a republican poster was trying to give you a bit of a hard time tonight (Saturday).......he hasn't a clue what he's talking about. Keep up the good work on your side of the fence, and we never know things might start to calm down. Take care....peeohkneel.

  13. Yes Seabird locked the thread.......... 'It's a Republican site she said'......fair play to you for your comment......respect.

    1. peeohkneel

      peeohkneel

      Thread back open again....

    2. donnlass

      donnlass

      Yes but even so, such an appalling event should be marked and remembered. Just the same as Greysteel would be.

      Glad she opened it again, I'll go back and read your post:):)

  14. Hi POK how you doing? Was your Darkley post deleted? Only I cant click on your reply or find the post. Strange..Thanks:)

  15. Major William Redmond MP of the 16th (Irish) Division was wounded during the Battle of Messines (7th June 1917). He was rescued from the Battlefield by a patrol from the 36th (Ulster) Division and it was an (Ulster) Division padre who tended to his religious needs in the short time before his death. Major Redmond was buried at the convent in Locre, he was the brother of the well known MP and Home Rule activist, John Redmond. The Redmond story is just one example of the mutual respect shared by the men of the 16th and 36th Divisions during The Great War.