Private Daniel Fay and "The Three Dubs"

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Daniel Fay in 1914The Private Daniel Fay collection is part of the extended Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association Collection and concerns the life of three brave soldiers from 2nd Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Their story is one that exemplifies the experience of soldiers in the First World War. One man died in combat, one man was committed to an asylum, and one man returned to his old life.

Image: RDFA/111/02 – Daniel Fay in 1914, sitting in full dress uniform.

Daniel Fay was born in 1987 in Dublin City. He worked as a grocer’s porter on Mountjoy Street until 1908 when he joined the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Daniel Fay served with the 2nd Battalion, nicknamed “the Old Toughs”. In 1910 he married Mary Moore in the Pro Cathedral.  Serving with him in 2nd Battalion were his two brothers-in-law, James Joseph Moore and Bartholomew “Bartle” Moore. Daniel served with 2nd Battalion until his discharge due to injury in the summer of 1918.


Daniel Fay in 1917, pictured standing on the left, wearing regimental cap.The Private Daniel Fay Collection contains little information about the early action of “The Three Dubs”, however it does contain James Joseph Moore’s “The Small Book.” This was an item issued to each soldier to record personal information, soldier’s wills, and to remind them of elements of basic training. Sadly James Joseph Moore was killed in action, near Ypres, on the 2 March 1915.


Photo: RDFA/111/03page1 – Daniel Fay in 1917, pictured standing on the left, wearing regimental cap. (click to enlarge)


The collection contains more information about the treatment and discharge of Daniel Fay. He was discharged in 1918 as he was no longer physically fit for war service. His discharge certificate remarks that he was “a very good man; served his country well and was wounded in its defence.” In the post-war period, like a great many soldiers, Daniel was diagnosed with Melancholia as a result of his experiences in the war. However Daniel was luckier than many other soldiers, not only did he return home physically intact, but he was also offered his old job back. The collection contains a memorandum from the Dublin Port and Docks Board informing Daniel Fay that his old job is waiting for him.


RDFA/111/05page2 – Daniel Fay’s Discharge Certificate, issued to him on the 26 August 1918.

Photo above: RDFA/111/05page2 – Daniel Fay’s Discharge Certificate, issued to him on the 26 August 1918 (click to enlarge)

The story only grows sadder for the second of the Moore brothers. While James Moore was killed in action in 1915, his brother Bartholomew was mentally scarred from his experience. Bartholomew Moore was institutionalised in 1919 after his discharge from the army. He was visited on a weekly basis by his brother-in-law Daniel, and following Daniel’s death, by Daniel’s son William Fay, until Bartholomew’s death in 1957.

Finally, the collection contains items related to the visits and research of Daniel Fay’s children. It includes a photograph of James Joseph Moore’s grave in Belgium, which was visited by some of Daniel’s children in 1998.

The collection highlights the difficult nature of the history of the First World War. Many soldiers were killed in action, and the soldiers who returned home frequently suffered from terrible psychological issues and mental scars for the rest of their lives.

About Guest Blogger

Cillian Fearon, intern at Dublin City Library and Archives catalogued the Private Daneil Fay Collection in November 2016

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