6th class students from Scoil Cholmcille, Termon, Co. Donegal helped to trace a WW1 Medal to the soldier’s family in Tipperary.
The story came to light yesterday when Scoil Cholmcille was announced as the winner of an All-Ireland ‘Decade of Centenaries’ schools history competition.
Speaking to John Murray from RTÉ Radio 1, a wonderful story of fate and circumstance of a WW1 medal found in a back garden in Co. Donegal and how it made its way back to the soldier’s family unfolds.
Benny Gallagher, who works as a Park Ranger in Glenveagh National Park, found the medal in his back garden last summer and then passed it on to Christy Gillespie a historian and teacher at Scoil Cholmcille in Termon where the 6th class students immediately took an interest and began to research the history of the medal.
Three of the students joined the John Murray show to share the story – Maolíosa O’Toole, Molly Gallager, and Áine McCaughan.
Not only did they manage to find out who the medal belonged to, but they managed to track down descendants of the soldier in Co. Tipperary.
When the students were first presented with the medal Molly Gallagher explained to John Murray how they put it in coke to clean it, once it was clean “4048, P. Hynes, Leinster Regiment” could be seen on the back.
Molly explained on the RTÉ Radio 1 show how once they began investigating all the pieces ‘came together like a jigsaw puzzle’, and through dedicated internet research they were able to track down descendants of the WW 1 soldier Private Philip Hynes.
The family were more than willing to help the student in their research and sent on memorial cards, and a photo of Philip’s brother Edward, unfortunately there are no photo’s of Philip.
Further research uncovered that Hynes was a ‘bomber’ or grenade thrower and that he died in Flanders on August 15th, 1915. His medal was given to his nephew Philip Hnyes Jr. who hid out in Donegal during the Civil War, and it was thought he had merely lost the medal.
Philip Hynes’ great-grand-niece Deirdre and great-grand-nephew Philip also joined the show with Philip saying he was ‘delighted’ to have the medal back in the family.
Their project was entitled ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary – The Mystery of the Medal’.
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