“Professional Soldiers” Duke- family,
Bandon, Co. Cork.
The four sons of Edward and Rebecca duke, of Castle Road Bandon, Co Cork answered the call to arms 1914 -1918 war like so many other Irishmen. The four brother’s /
Charles R.F.A. / William Connaught Rangers / Edward R.F.A. / Thomas Royal Welsh Fusiliers and their nephew Benjamin Blake Connaught Rangers / were on the firing line at the same time. Thomas was killed at the battle of Loos 1915 the other’s to return home after the war.
44905 Cpl Charles Duke [Military Medal] Royal Field Artillery he has been in France and on the firing line right through the campaign. Bombardier Charles Duke R.F.A. was awarded the “Military Medal” for Gallant Conduct on 26 November 1917 and received the following letter from Lieu General –Sir Alymer HunterWeston, K.C. B. D.S.O. M.P. Commanding 8th corps.
To No 44905 A/BDR C. Duke R.F.A. I heartily congratulate you on the honour done to you by “his Majesty the King in awarding you the Military Medal for gallant conduct on 26 November 1917.
Signed Alider Hunter Weston Lieu General 7th December 1917.
B.D.R. C. Duke also served in India and U.K. for 7 years before W.W.1 and 7 years in WW1. 14 years military service. He also went to enlist for the Second World War but was turned down because of his age. Died in Wales, Age 69.
His son George Duke is Hon. President of Bandon War Memorial and his grandson Albert Duke also a member.
Private 33087 William Duke / Connaught Rangers also on the firing line survived the war died in Bandon at the Age of 94 in 1974. The inscription on his head stone reads veteran of the 1914-1918 war.
Private 30625 Edward Duke /R.F.A. Survived the war. He had served in the Boar War before WW1. As well as his W.W.1 medals, He also had the South African Medal with 2 clasps, -orange free state, and cape colony. Died in Bandon, Age 64.
Private 17406 Thomas Duke 1st Bn., Royal Welsh Fusiliers / enlisted R.M.F.
Died aged 25 on Saturday 25th September 1915 at the battle of Loos/ on Somme.
He has no grave, but is Remembered with honour Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France. Dud Corner Cemetery and Loos Memorial to the “Missing” lies on the Lens to Bethune road. A large concentration cemetery it takes its name from the exceptional number of dud shells fired on the spot during the Battle of Loos. The cemetery it self records 1,772Uk and 28 Canadian burials while The Loos Memorial records 20,693 “missing” who fell in the Battle of Loos, September and October 1915 and at Lees, Estaries and Betune,1918. George and Albert Duke Have been to loos a number of times laid reeds to honour Thomas Duke and his fallen comrades.
Private Benjamin Blake / Connaught Rangers survived the war He was wounded in action WW1.
Also killed in action was Gunner John [jack]Troy R.F.A. friend and comrade of Cpl Charles Duke. George and Albert Duke have been to Jacks Troy’s grave also, as it was Georges Father, Charles who dug the grave, helped bury Jack, looked after the grave until he was sent up the line.
In a letter home to his Mother Charles Duke R.F.A. says- Dear Mother-just a few lines in answer to your letter. You will be surprised to hear of poor Jack Troy being dead. He was wounded on the 13th of the month at 2o`clock and died same night at10 o’clock. I am sure his mother will feel it very much when she hears it . But we made sure we made him a nice grave and a priest from cork was there when we buried him, the priests name was Bradley, our Chaplin was also there. Im going to plant some flowers on his grave to –morrow and look after it while I am here.
After referring to domestic affairs Cpl Duke concludes his letter saying “Mother you must excuse my short letter, as I feel so much for loosing my chum Jack Troy . We used to talk very much about what we would do when the war was finished. He was like a brother to me .I feel very lonely without him”.
John (Jack) Troy is buried in Vlamertingue, Belgium
Close by is another grave a relative of Albert Duke and The Bolster family.-Second Lieu. Samuel Levis Trinder 9th Bn, Royal Irish Fusiliers Died aged 36 Friday,17th August 1917 of Dromkeen House Innishannon,Co. Cork.
Brandhoek new Military Cemetery, Vlamertingue, Belgium.
“World War Two” 1939-1945
B.D.R Charles Duke Sons, G.D.S.M. Charles Duke /Royal Irish Guards.
G.D.S.M. Richard Duke /Royal Irish Guards.
FUS./RFN. William Duke /Royal Inniskillinkg Fus.
SGT. George Duke / Royal Ulster Rifles/ R.I.Rangers.
44905 G.D.S.M. Charles Duke R.Irish Guards, No1 Guards Independent Company, the Parachute Regiment.
Medals/ France and Germany Star 1939-1945. / War Medal 1939-1945.
Palestine Medal 1946-1948
2725377 G.D.S.M. Richard Duke R.Irish Guards.
Medals/ War Medal 1939-1945 / Palestine Medal 1945-1948.
Also served in Cairo.
21187318 Fus/Rfn. William Duke R. Inniskilling Fusiliers / also R.U.Rifles
Served / Jamaica 1949 / Honduras 1951/ Hong Kong 1952.
Medals/ Voluntary Service Medal / Eastern Service Medal/ U.N.Medal/ N.A.T.O Medal/ Hong-Kong Medal.
19039620 Substancive SGT. George V. Duke R.Ulster Rifles also R.Irish Rangers Served / Austria 1947 Guarded –Hapsburg and Schonberg Palaces Vienna ./ Security Police at G.H.Q. Allied Commission Austria . / Hong Kong at Chinese Border 40 Division 1949. / Malay 1949-1952 Guerrilla Warfare against Chinese communist led by Chin Peng who was later awarded O.B.E. for his co-operation with British during WW2. / Cyprus 1956-1958 E.O.K.A. Campaign. Germany1961 1962 [Berlin Wall] N.A.T.O. Troops always on alert. / Borneo 1963 -1966 Fierce Jungle War campaign. General Walker in charge he referred to the Royal Ulster Rifles as his “whiteGurkas”. Northern Ireland 1968-69 St. Patrick’s Depot as squad training instructor. Germany 1970 1St Bn. Ulster Rifles relieved Royal Canadian and Black Watch Regt. Northern Ireland 1971-72 Duties- Squad Instructor/ Depot Provost sgt./ Quartermaster Sgt. / Sgt. Major Depot H.Q Company
Medals – Malay / Hong Kong / Cyprus / Borneo / N.Ireland / Germany / Voluntary Service / Eastern Asiatic / United Nations / N.A.T.O /
Demobbed from forces with 22 years service in 1972.
Duke Family Bandon Co. Cork,
Ireland and U.K.