Blue Plaque Unveiling Ceremony – Private Thomas Hughes VC – Castleblayney

The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys T.D. unveiled a Blue Plaque in honour of Private Thomas Hughes VC, at Hope Castle Gate Lodge, Castleblayney, County Monaghan, on Monday, 17 February, 2017. Thomas Hughes was born on 10 November 1885, in Corravoo, Donaghmoyne, County Monaghan, and enlisted as a Private in the 6th Battalion, The Connaught Rangers.

On the 3rd of September 1916, the village of Guillemont was captured after a number of attacks that were part of the Somme offensive.  Two Irish Victoria Crosses were won during this battle, one went to Private Thomas Hughes of 6th Connaught Rangers, and the other to Lieutenant John Vincent Holland, a native of Athy, Co Kildare serving with the Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment.

Although wounded in the initial attack on Guillemont, Private Hughes returned to his unit after being treated by a medical orderly.  Later that afternoon he single-handedly captured an enemy machine gun position, killing the two gunners and capturing the remainder of the gun crew in spite of having been again wounded twice.

His Victory Cross was gazetted on 26 October 1916. While still using crutches, he was decorated by King George V at an investiture in Hyde Park on 2 June 1917. He also received the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal.

His Victory Cross was gazetted on 26 October 1916. While still using crutches, he was decorated by King George V at an investiture in Hyde Park on 2 June 1917. He also received the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal.

Promoted to the rank of Corporal, he survived the remainder of the war, and died in Carrickmacross on 8 January 1942. He is buried in Saint Patrick’s Church cemetery in Broomfield, County Monaghan.

Corporal Hughes’ Victory Cross was purchased by the Connaught Rangers Association in 1959 and presented by them to the Sandhurst Military Museum. It is now in the National Army Museum, Chelsea London.

Blue Plaque

Serving as a historical marker, a Blue Plaque is a permanent sign installed in a public place to commemorate a link between that location and a famous person or event.

Victory Cross Commemorative Plaques

Under the auspices of the Glasnevin Trust, Armistice Day Commemorations were conducted in Glasnevin Cemetery Dublin, on Friday 11 November, 2016. The commemorations included an Ecumenical Service in the Church of the Resurrection, a Parade to the Cross of Sacrifice, the Unveiling of Victory Cross Commemorative Plaques and a Wreath Laying Ceremony.

The four Commemorative Plaques unveiled on this occasion were in honour of four Irish men who received the Victoria Cross for their bravery in the First World War: Lieutenant John Vincent Holland VC, Sergeant Martin O’Mara VC, Private Thomas Hughes VC and Corporal Frederick Edwards VC.

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