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Michael Hughes - Grandad & Auntie Mary
I had known very little about my Grandfather (he died 19 years before I was born). He entered the British Army (in peacetime) as something for him to do in a place where work was not plentiful. He served for 12 years (until 1904). The photographs attached shows him with his eldest daughter, Mary (she was 5) taken in 1915. She died in her 99th year in 2009. He had 3 daughters before he left for Gallipoli and had 4 sons upon his return from the war. His medal roll is probably all that survives of his war records. They were matched from the number on the reverse of one of the 3 service medals.
His name was Michael Hughes. from Prospect Hill in Galway City, (West of Ireland) He had been in the British Army in the 1890's and into the early 1900's mostly in India, and in South Africa (Boer War). He had killed a Boer in a trench infiltration incident. As a devout Catholic Family they prayed the rosary every night and he always added a decade for the man he had killed (according to my father who was 8 at the time of his father's death). He finished up in the regular army in 1904 and then re-volunteered at the outbreak of the Great War. He had 3 daughters at the time. He was very expert with horses so he was sent into the Royal Garrison Artillery (Heavy Guns) and served in Gallipoli and afterwards in Mesopotamia (present day Iraq). He had come to the attention of his commanders when a horse bolted at a parade and he brought it under control. So they said they needed his talents in the artillery where teams of 6 horses pulled the big guns. He held 3 service medals (known as Pib, Bubble & Squeak). His medal roll card is attached and the relevant numbers are on the reverse of the medals but they have gone to relatives and I do not know where they are now. We know they worked the battery in shifts on the campaign so the guns were nearly always in action. His battery took a direct hit 5 minutes after he came off shift and most of the gun team were killed or badly wounded. These counter barrages were common practice, in what was really an artillery war for the most part. Thereafter he was in the Royal Engineers and served until 1919. He died in 1931. The photo is from early 1915 before his departure and taken with his eldest daughter Mary. The photo is staged in a photo studio but is a happy one and his pride in his daughter is obvious.