Capt. Joseph Edward Lynch

Joseph Edward Lynch was born in 1880 the second son of Mr. Michael Palles Lynch J.P. Barrister at Law and Annie Josephine of 4 Clifton Terrace Monkstown Co. Dublin. He was educated at first in Clongowes Wood College from 1892 to 1897 and later at Trinity College Dublin. In 1905 Lynch joined the army for the first time being gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers who were at that time stationed in India, but unfortunately while serving there he suffered from enteric fever and malaria. Due to his sickness Lynch was invalided home and shortly afterwards he retired from the armed forces.

On the outbreak of the First World War the temptation to rejoin the army proved too much for Lynch, he offered his services and in September 1914 he was appointed to the 10th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment as one of their first officers. Lynch was promoted on the 3rd of April 1915 from Lieutenant to Captain, and finally on the 9th of September of the same year the battalion left Witley Camp for France, they marched to Milford and from there a train to Folkstone, reaching Boulogne in the early hours of the 10th. The regimental history records Lynch as being one of the first officers of D Company on arriving in France, it also goes into detail about the battalions first action of the war in which Lynch was to be killed. The following passage is taken from the regimental history.

Very little time was spent in the rest camp at Boulogne, for in the early hours of the 11th the Battalion marched to the railway station and took the train for Watten, where it arrived at about 7.40 A.M., and then marched to Noeux-Le-Mines, halting and bivouacking (billeting) en route at Houlle, Wittes, Ames and Burbure. Noeux-Le-Mines was reached at 1 A.M. on the 25th, and all lay down in a very wet bivouac for such of the night remained, marching on the same day to Vermelles and crossing the Bethune-Lens Road where, for the first time the 10th Yorkshire Regiment came under shell fire and adopted an open formation.

On the afternoon of Saturday the 25th the 62nd Brigade leading, the division passed through the village of Loos, and the battalion arrived at the front trenches, as then held by the 18th London Regiment, about dusk. "We inquired of the Londoners what they were doing, and they said they had decided to dig in for the night, so we did likewise except two platoons of 'D' Company who pushed on a little further and it was then that Captain Lynch previously shot through the wrist, but carrying on was killed. These then fell back into the line with the rest.

After his sons death Lynch's father received a letter from a fellow officer regarding his death.

October 1915,

Dear Mr. Lynch,

Many thanks for yours of the 3rd inst. I can give you a few more details but only a few, I can assure you that that it is no trouble to me at all, I am only glad to be able to tell you something, knowing what sorrow you will be in. Your son was first wounded in the wrist, just before entering the village of Loos and went on with us to the assault of Hill 70. It was growing dusk at this time. We charged past the troops who had attacked on the morning of Saturday, and it was during this charge that your son was fatally wounded on the German side of our trenches. We however got him in during the night, and laid him near the side of the Slag Heap at Loos Pylons. We ourselves were unable to bury any of our comrades much to our sorrow, not even our C.O. and our 2nd in command who both fell. He was in the best of spirits all the day before the action as in fact he always was. We had a good long march before going into action, but all the battalion did well, though hungry and wet through the rain. I am afraid I can give you no hope of being able to identify the grave. I should not like to tell you that our comrades are not buried yet but owing to the continuous bombardment of Hill 70 where we laid our comrade the burial parties have been unable to work, but I personally could almost exactly show you were he fell and where he was placed but that does not help you much. I only had the chance to say good bye to him about four miles before we went into action. I had very little chance of having a word with him after that. You will be receiving his kit etc. back through the W.O. It has already been sent onto the base and will be sent on from there to you. If as I say, fate or fortune sends me ever your way, I shall not forget to see you, or if you come to England and have time to come to Scarborough. I shall be glad to see you. I miss your son.

Yours very faithfully,

V. Fowler

Captain York Regiment

Captain Valentine Fowler was later commissioned to the rank of Major during the war but was killed in action on the 2nd of June 1917. He was the husband of Evelyn Fowler of 5 Esplanade Gardens, Scarborough, and is now buried in Croisilles British Cemetery Pas de Calais France.

Lynch's body never was recovered after the war, today he has no known grave and is commemorated on panel 44 and 45 of the Loos memorial. Just one of the many Irish men who fought and died with English regiments during the First World War.

For an email link to the author of this article, email Conor Dodd

Copyright © Conor Dodd, November, 2004.

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