The late Christopher Byrne
Last August saw a major milestone for the family of a Rathangan soldier who died in World War One.
On August 27 2018, exactly 100 years passed since the death of Christopher Byrne — an uncle of the late Andy Byrne, who was a barber in the town for many years. He was also brother to Denis and Willie.
Christopher was in the 305th infantry 77 Division and was laid to rest in France.
Commander in Chief, General John J. Perching said he “so bravely laid down his life for the cause of his country, his name will ever remain fresh in the hearts of his friends and comrades. The record of this honourable service will be preserved in the archives of the American Expeditionary Forces. ”
His great niece Bernadette and her sons Raphael and Piere recently visited his graveside.
In an article published in the Leader in October 1918, it announced the news of his death.
It said he was well-known played for his county and the old Monasterevan Football Club.
“A devout Catholic of strictly temperate habits, his kind and genial disposition gained for him the highest esteem from his numerous friends and fellow Gaels, and both his club and county will sadly mourn the loss of one whose place ‘twill be hard to fill,” it said.
Christopher left Queenstown on March 29 in 1912 arriving in New York on April 6 on board the RMS Baltic — the last liner to leave Queenstown before Titanic and on her maiden voyage in 1904, it was the largest liner in the world at 23876 tons.
The Master was Captain Edward Smith who was also the Master of the Titanic on her maiden voyage April 10 1912.
On the RMS Baltics return journey she warned the Titanic of the dangers of the icebergs.