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Premonition in Bow Lane
Cornelius (Connzer) Kennerk
Birth certificate Photo of Con Kennerk
Cornelius (Connzer) Kennerk was born in 1898. He lived with his family at No. 17 Bow Bridge - a small red-brick house near James' Street which they shared with a widow named Farrell and her daughter. The Farrells lived on the top floor . Over the heads of hens pecking in the yard, Mrs Kennerk could often be seen hanging out snuff handkerchiefs. Con’s father Michael was a stout but dapper man who worked in Dublin as a bricklayer. During his youth, he had served with the British Army (Royal Irish Rifle Corps) in India. According to a work-card kept in the archives of the Bricklayers' Guild; he re-enlisted with his son in October 1914 and returned to active service. The walls leading up the nearby steps at Cromwell's Quarters were daubed with the posters of the general recruiting office encouraging young men to sign on and, following in his father's footsteps, young Con was assigned to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers as Private 29352. Initially, he was sent to the Regimental Depot in Naas, County Kildare for training. There was a river at the back of the barracks that some of the lads renamed the 'Madras River”, a reference to the former title of the Regiment - the 102nd Royal Madras Fusiliers. On 30 April 1915, having been shipped overseas, Con was assigned to the 1st Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers. The Dublins and Munsters had sustained heavy losses in the landing at V Beach, Gallipoli and afterwards, a composite battalion was formed, known as the 'Dubsters'. Later, when the battalions resumed their own identities, Con stayed on with the Munsters. During the months of January and February 1917, the men were holed up in trenches in the Spanbrock sector. These were hard times as they had little protection from the elements, apart from being able to dig a small shelf in the trench to sleep on. They pressed on nevertheless and in June were engaged in battle at Wytschaete ridge and later in November at Cambrai. Towards the end of August 1918, Con's mother had a dream in which she saw her son lying on a battlefield. He died on Sunday, 1 September. Some say that he was killed by a sniper's bullet but there is no known grave. He was just two weeks away from his twentieth birthday and two months away from Armistace. Mrs Kennerk never fully recovered from the loss of her son and she still spoke of him with sadness in old age. Her husband Mick made it home - a father without his son.