Walter Harrington as a small child, with Minnie his mother, father Michael and older brother Albert, seated below him | Source: John Cogan
Walter was born 1897 in Mullingar, County Westmeath. He was my grand uncle. His father was a Colour Sergeant in the Marine Light Infantry, who unfortunately died in 1905 of the food borne infection typhoid, while garrisoned with Crown forces in Gibraltar.
Walter was then seven years old.
He was sent as a boarder to the Royal Hibernian Military School, at the Phoenix Park in Dublin. The school was for the sons of Non-Commissioned Officers of the British armed forces in Ireland. It was effectively a feeder of new recruits to the British army. At the school, playing the trumpet, he proved to be a talented musician. It was as a trumpeter that he joined the 19th Hussars.
He was sent to France on the Western Front and took part in the 5 month long battle of the Somme, of which the German officer Friedrich Steinbrecher wrote: "Somme. The whole history of the world cannot contain a more ghastly word." Walter Harrington died of his wounds at the Somme on Sunday 13 August 1916. He was 18 years of age.