Private Patrick Dolan Collection

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Private Patrick DolanThe collection of Private Patrick Dolan comes to the Dublin City Library and Archive as a continuation of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association collection. Patrick Dolan joined the 1st Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in July 1908. He served in British colonies in India before being sent on the dreaded Gallipoli campaign. He was wounded while in Gallipoli and was discharged in early 1916. The Private Patrick Dolan Collection highlights the opportunity to travel that existed within the British Army and the horrors and futility of the Gallipoli campaign.

Photo: Detail of photo RDFA/103/11 showing Private Dolan

Private Patrick DolanThe 1st Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers were based in Madras, India, until the start of the First World War. While the collection contains little information about Patrick Dolan’s service in India, it does include a number of regimental postcards and a photograph of eighteen year old Patrick Dolan in his dress uniform. It also includes certain artefacts like the Royal Dublin Fusilier cap pin and Private Dolan’s identity disc.

Photo: RDFA/103/01 Young Private Dolan in dress uniform in 1908. (click image for larger version)

1st Battalion received their first wartime posting to the Mediterranean theatre. The 1st Battalion was co-opted into the 29th Division to serve in Winston Churchill’s ultimately doomed Gallipoli campaign. The division was commanded by Major-General Aylmer Hunter-Weston. The assault on the beaches of Gallipoli would very nearly kill Private Dolan. In September 1915 Dolan was evacuated after he suffered a gunshot wound to the head. Shortly after this, Patrick Dolan was sent for medical treatment in the Ear and Throat Hospital in Golden Square, London. From this time there is a wealth of material including a photograph of wounded men in the hospital and postcards wishing Patrick a swift recovery. However the injuries that Patrick Dolan sustained in combat were too severe to warrant his return to action. In March of 1916, the military authorities issued Dolan with discharge papers. They had decided that he was no longer physically fit for active war service.

Private Dolan with other wounded soldiers in 1916

Photo: RDFA/103/11 Private Dolan with other wounded soldiers in 1916. (click image for larger version)

The collection contains a number of interesting artefacts from the post-war period. Patrick Dolan received a number of medals and acknowledgements which were donated as part of the collection. The collection contains a 1914-1915 Star, a Silver British War Medal, and a Victory Medal. It also includes the annual report of the Royal Dublin Fusilier Association for 1924, of which Patrick Dolan was a member. Despite the horrors he must have suffered on the Gallipoli beaches, Private Dolan remained involved with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

About Guest Blogger

Cillian Fearon, intern at Dublin City Library and Archives catalogued the Private Patrick Dolan Collection in November 2016.

Comments

Literally a throwback to history! I wish we had more of these photographs.

Well done Cillian.

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