THE DI­ARY

Mid Louth Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Hu­bert Mur­phy’s look at life by the Boy­ne­side and sur­rounds hmur­phy@drogheda-in­de­pen­dent.ie | 041 9876820

I DON’T know if it’s un­der the aus­pi­cious of the county coun­cil, lo­cal his­tory groups or what­ever - but Wed­nes­day De­cem­ber 6th next in Col­lon should be cel­e­brated as a defin­ing mo­ment in its his­tory.

On that date, ex­actly 100 years ago, Se­cond Lieu­tenant James Sa­muel Emer­son was killed in ac­tion dur­ing World War 1.

How he died is what makes his story so poignant.

He was serv­ing with the In­niskilling Fusiliers on the Hin­den­burg Line north of La Vac­querie, France when he was mor­tally wounded.

But he would be awarded the high­est brav­ery hon­ours a sol­dier can re­ceive when awarded the Vic­to­ria Cross (VC) for his courage that day.

The Lon­don Gazette re­ported on his ‘con­spic­u­ous brav­ery’.

‘He led his com­pany in an at­tack and cleared 400 yards of trench. Though wounded, when the en­emy at­tacked in su­pe­rior num­bers, he sprang out of the trench with eight men and met the at­tack in the open, killing many and tak­ing six pris­on­ers.

‘For three hours af­ter this, all other Of­fi­cers hav­ing be­come ca­su­al­ties, he re­mained with his com­pany, re­fus­ing to go to the dress­ing sta­tion, and re­peat­edly re­pelled bomb­ing at­tacks.

‘Later, when the en­emy again at­tacked in su­pe­rior num­bers, he led his men to re­pel the at­tack and was mor­tally wound- ed.

‘His hero­ism, when worn out and ex­hausted from loss of blood, in­spired his men to hold out, though al­most sur­rounded, till re­in­force­ments ar­rived and dis­lodged the en­emy.’

He was 22, and was a son of Mr. John Emer­son and Mrs. Emer­son, Sevenoaks, Col­lon. He was ed­u­cated at Moun­tjoy School, Dublin, and joined the Royal Ir­ish Ri­fles on the out­break of war. He was wounded in ac­tion at Hooge, and on re­cov­ery went to France for the se­cond time in July, 1916, and sub­se­quently joined the Royal In­niskilling Fusiliers.

To­day he is re­mem­bered on the mon­u­ment at the front of the Church of Ire­land in Col­lon.

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