On Sunday next February 2, the people of New Ross and further afield will gather and march together to celebrate the life of a “gone but not forgotten” local hero Martin Doyle of Gusserane New Ross, one of Ireland’s most decorated war veterans.
At 1.15pm on Sunday a parade of approximately 150 retired military personnel will begin at Maher’s Yard public carpark and march along south Street to the Tholsel where an ecumenical service will take place at 2.00pm and his commemorative VC stone will be unveiled. Both the British Defence attaché and Charge D’Affaires will attend on the day.
Doyle and his 6 sisters lived at Gusserane, New Ross County Wexford, with their parents Larry and Brigid. When he was only 15 years of age (though he claimed to be 17 at the time) Martin travelled to nearby Kilkenny where he joined the 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment and left to serve in India. He returned to Ireland at the outbreak of WW1 and in December of that year embarked for France with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, serving through the Battle of Mons where he was one of the lucky ones to survive. Rising through the ranks to Company Sergeant Major, Doyle transferred to the 1st Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers and was awarded the Military Medal on 24 March 1918.
Martin Doyle was awarded the Victoria Cross for his war heroics, Britain’s premier award for gallantry and courage, and was summoned to Buckingham Palace on 8 May 1919 to receive his medals. On his return to New Ross, he was given a hero’s welcome by the townspeople,
He left the army in July 1919 and embarked on a new career, when he joined the I.R.A. As an intelligence officer in the Mid-Clare Brigade Doyle served throughout 1920 and 1921 in Ennis, stationed at the Home Barracks of the British Garrison there. Doyle was to serve in Waterford, South Tipperary and Kilkenny, and in February 1924 he served in his hometown of New Ross.
In May 1924, Doyle re-enlisted into the peacetime army and joined the 20th Infantry Bn as a Company Sergeant of “D” Coy. Over the next 13 years C.S. Doyle divided his time between the 20th Bn (re-designated 7th Bn in 1927) and finally 2nd Bn (1930) and the School of Instruction.
This great but little remembered Irish soldier rests in peace in Grangegorman British military burial place, off Blackhorse Ave., near McKee Barracks, Dublin, under a headstone erected by his old comrades in the regiment.
Ar Dheis Dé Go Raibh a Anam.