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Letters from James to his half-brother Papers from War Office
We didn’t really know much about my uncle James Murtagh and I never met him. He was my father’s older brother and he was killed at Somme in 1916. All I have really are some letters which he wrote home to his half-brother. There’s only about four of them. We wrote to somebody in the War Office and find out more about James. So he looked it up but he didn’t find out a lot but I’ve brought all those papers with me. It says in the papers that James joined up in Manchester, I think it was in 1915. He was told that his name would be taken down and then he was called up in 1916. It was part of a scheme to get people to join up. My dad was fighting (GPO) when James was training. My dad was then sent to jail in England and I don’t think they ever managed to get in touch with one another. Because my father would have been very much on the republican side, I think that he would have been horrified that James would have joined the British Army. I did actually go to the Somme and I did find his name. He didn’t have a grave but his name was on a monument. I had written to the Wargraves Commission and they told me where I might find it. I found it very, very easily which was great.