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.