War records of Irish sporting stars among unearthed archives

The war records of a Banbridge Hockey Club player, who also represented Ireland and Scotland, are included in a new archive of information brought to light by the research website Ancestry.ie.

Captain JG Anderson of the Royal Army Medical Corps was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry while serving in France. He was killed in action while tending the wounded in March 1918.

British troops firing into a German dugout on the Western Front. Picture courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk and Getty Images Archive

British troops firing into a German dugout on the Western Front. Picture courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk and Getty Images Archive

A Northern Ireland hockey competition – the Anderson Cup – was established in his honour and is still held to this day.

The results of the new research into the Irish contribution to the war effort have been published to coincide with this weekend’s Armistice commemorations.

Another fallen sportsman featured was rugby international Basil Mclear.

Mclear joined the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and was killed in 1915 during the Second Battle of Ypres. His remains were never recovered.

Government records show that around 80,000 Irish men enlisted into the British army during the first 12 months of the Great War, joining an estimated 50,000 who were already serving.

The exact number of Irish fatalities remains unclear but up to 49,000 are thought to have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Joe Buggy of Ancestry said: “The collection gives families a chance to add the ancestors who fought in World War One to their family tree and learn more about their stories.”