|Date of Birth||January 22, 1891|
|Place of Birth||Clogheen, County Cork|
|Next of Kin||Annie O'Flaherty, mother, Kerry Pike, Carrigrohane, County Cork, Ireland|
|Trade / Calling||Warehouse clerk|
|Battalion||1st Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||April 12, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||25|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||March 22, 1983|
|Age at Death||92|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
The son of Thomas and Anne (née O’Dell) O’Flaherty, John Joseph O’Flaherty was born on 22 January 1891 in Clogheen, County Cork, Ireland. Children born to the family were Thomas Francis, Lawrence, Margaret Mary (Peggy), Jeremiah, John Joseph, Edward, Jane Mary, Morgan, Annie Kathleen, and Elizabeth (Betty). Parents Thomas and Anne were school teachers and opened and ran the first school in the community of Clogheen. Both the 1901 and 1911 Ireland censuses found the family in Coolymurraghue, Saint Mary’s, Cork, with Anne listed as a widow in 1911. On the 1911 census Joe’s occupation was given as ‘Commercial Clerk Stationery’.
Joe enlisted with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in Dublin on 12 April 1916 and was attached to the 10th Battalion that had been formed in Dublin in late 1915. He gave his mother Annie in Kerry Pike, Carrigrohane, Cork as next of kin.
The Easter Rising, an armed insurrection mounted by Irish republicans with the aims of ending British rule in Ireland, began on 24 April 1916 in Dublin. Lasting six days, key locations in Dublin were seized and proclaimed the Irish Republic. The British Army was called on to quell the Rising and as a member of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 10th Battalion, Joe would have been involved in the suppression of the actions of his fellow country men, the first engagement of the 10th Battalion given as ‘the relief of Dublin Castle and building clearance including clearing the Mendocity Institute’ during the Rising. The Rising claimed the lives of 450 persons, with another 2 614 injured and 9 missing, almost all in Dublin, with Joe caught in the middle of it all.
In August of 1916 the 10th Battalion proceeded overseas, landing at La Havre on the 19th. On November 13 during the first day of the Battle of Ancre, the final large British attack of the Battle of the Somme, Joe was reported as missing. Recovered by another battalion, he had sustained a gunshot wound to his back. Invalided to England later that month, it would be December of 1917 before he was returned to active service overseas, joining the 1st Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers in the field.
In late February of 1918 Joe’s mother Annie received a dreaded telegram: Joe was ‘dangerously ill from a gunshot wound to the abdomenвЂ¦permission to visit cannot be granted’. On March 11th a second telegram was received, ‘have pleasure to inform you 26789 Private O’Flaherty Dublin Fusiliers condition improved 11 March 1918 5th Casualty Clearing Station France’. On March 27th Joe was returned to England and by the fall had been discharged as no longer fit for service.
Joe returned home to recuperate, his case written up in a medical journal due to the severity of his injury and loss of a good portion of his stomach. In 1922 he was awarded the British War medal and Victory medal for his service during the war.
Joe was next found on the passenger list of the Melita that arrived in Quebec on 30 August 1924. His occupation was given as printer foreman and destination as Kenora, Ontario, joining his brothers Thomas and Edward and sister Margaret who had previously immigrated to the area.
Joe first found work in the logging industry in Atikokan, and then returned to Kenora where he worked as a civil servant, filling in as needed at the jail, the courthouse, and the liquor store. He eventually became manager of the liquor store, a position he held until his retirement.
At the age of 92, Joe died on 22 March 1983 in the Lake of the Woods Hospital, Kenora. He was survived by his sister Elizabeth Ryan back in Ireland and his brother Edward in Kenora as well as many nieces and nephews. Over the years he had been a member of the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion, the Kenora Golf and Country Club, the Rotary Club, and the Notre Dame Roman Catholic Church.
Joe is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora along side his brother Thomas and family.
Joe’s brother Lawrence served during the war with the Royal Munster Fusiliers and was reported as killed in action on 22 March 1918. His brother Thomas and cousin Laurence O’Flaherty enlisted in Kenora on 22 October 1914 and served overseas with the 27th Battalion. Laurence did not survive the war, having died of his wounds on 17 April 1917. Laurence is commemorated on the Kenora Cenotaph.
by Judy Stockham