Message from the Chairman 2019

Posted on: February 23, 2019


Acknowledging that shared military heritage is valued by the different political, religious and cultural traditions on the island, the Military Heritage of Ireland Trust (CLG), as a voluntary and non-profit organisation, advances an all-Ireland, cross border, non-denominational and non-political approach to military heritage and the story of the Irish Soldier. The Trust promotes the widest understanding and appreciation of Ireland’s distinctive and shared military heritage.

In the context of the Good Friday Agreement, the dedication of the Peace Park in Messines, and on the initiative of President Mary McAleese, the Trust was established 20 years ago in June 1999. President McAleese, as the founder Patron, saw the Trust, as a North – South institution, which would attempt to add an impetus, towards the reconciliation of the different traditions on the Island, using shared military heritage as the conduit.

President Michael D. Higgins, as Uachtarán na hÉireann, has honoured the Trust by becoming its Patron. During 2018, the Trust’s Chairman attended a Garden Party hosted by An tUachtarán for those organisations which he is Patron.

The Trust’s membership is drawn from the different traditions in Ireland, and a variety of backgrounds including business, public service, military service, academia, archivists, historians, students, researchers and the general public. Membership also includes Veterans’ Associations. Membership enhances the influence of the Trust, provides the unique opportunity to be part of the network of people who care about the preservation of Ireland’s military heritage for future generations, and funds the Trust’s activities including research.
Topics. The following topics are covered: Obituary, Governance, Board of Directors, Data Protection and Privacy Policy, Activities, Research Bursary, Web Site, Social Media, Flickr Albums, News Bulletins, Military Service Information, Digitisation of Great War Archives, Promotional Videos, Decade of Centenaries, and the Irish Infantry Grove.

Colonel J.A.V. Mortell (Retd) RIP

Regretfully, the membership was advised of the death of a founder member of the Military Heritage of Ireland Trust, Colonel J.A.V. Mortell (Retd), who died peacefully on
13 November, 2018. Supporting the Trust’s objectives, and in the context of the Good Friday Agreement, Colonel Jim Mortell was proactive in promoting the widest understanding and appreciation of Ireland’s distinctive and shared military heritage, thus adding a significant impetus towards the reconciliation of the different traditions on the island of Ireland. A Family Man, Soldier, Peacekeeper, Diplomat, and Bridge-Builder, may Colonel Jim Mortell Rest in Peace.


As a Company Limited by Guarantee and not having a Share Capital, the Trust implements the provisions of appropriate legislation, including the Companies Acts 1963 to 1999, and the Trust’s Memorandum and Articles of Association. As a voluntary body, the Trust is not engaged in commercial activities.

The Trust’s annual return to the Companies Registration Office was submitted by our Auditors in June 2018. The Directors’ Report and audited Annual Financial Statements for 2018 will be formally presented at the 19th Annual General Meeting on the 28 May 2019. The report and financial statements will be made available to the Revenue Commissioners on request. In order to comply with best practice as a Charitable Trust, our Annual Financial Statements for 2018 will be posted on the Web Site in June 2019.

The Trust’s Annual Internal Data Protection Audit, for the period ended 31 December 2018, will be noted by the Board of Directors during its February 2019 meeting.

Board of Directors

In accordance with Article 49 of the Trust’s Memorandum and Articles of Association, Mr Philip Hamell will be formally proposed for co-option as a member of the Board of Directors on 26 February, 2019. The newly co-opted Director will be put forward for formal election to the Board of Directors at the 2019 AGM on 28 May, 2019.
Having served the Trust as its Chairman since October 2013, I have advised the Board of Directors that I will be standing aside as Chairman at the next Board meeting on 26 February, but will remain on as a Director. I will have the honour of proposing Brigadier-General Paul Fry (Retd) as Chairman on 21 February.
I would like to take this opportunity of conveying my personnel appreciation to all Directors, our Company Secretary, Assistant Secretary and Legal Adviser, to all our Members, and to our Webmaster, for their steadfast commitment to the Trust, and for their much appreciated support during my tenure of office as Chairman.
In the same vein, I would like to acknowledge the support the Trust receives from the Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of Defence, the National Museum of Ireland, numerous museums in Northern Ireland and the Defence Forces – Óglaigh na hÉireann.

Data Protection and Privacy Policy

During the September Board meeting, the Directors formally adopted the Trust’s revised Data Protection and Privacy Policy. The revised Data Protection and Privacy Policy, which replaced the 2014 version, was circulated to the membership and posted on the Trust’s website.

The Directors expressed his appreciation of the advice and support received from the Trust’s Legal Advisor Commandant M.J. Baynes (Retd) in advancing the process associated with the elaboration of the Policy.


Since the 2018 Annual General Meeting, the activities of the Trust included: Board of Directors Meetings; liaising with museums, veterans associations and regimental associations; and participating in ceremonies, lectures and seminars.
As in previous years, the Trust had an active involvement in the National Day of Commemoration in July 2018, and hosted a lunch in the Palatine Room, Collins Barracks for Northern Ireland attendees, which is funded by the Department of An Taoiseach. Reinforcing the cross-border nature of the Trust’s activities, attendees included representatives of the Royal Ulster Rifles, Royal Irish Regiment, Combined Disbanded Irish Regiments Association, The Royal British Legion, the Somme Heritage Centre, the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum, the Royal Inniskillen Fusiliers Museum, UK Aftercare Service, and the RUC Federation.

The Trust was represented at events such as:

  • Presentation of Colours to the Battalions of the Royal Irish Regiments, Patron’s Concert and Garden Party at Áras an Uachtaráin, Numerous receptions hosted by the British Ambassador to Ireland, 60th Anniversary of Ireland’s Participation in UN Peacekeeping Operations, Annual 1916 Commemoration, IUNVA’s Annual Peacekeepers Commemoration, Annual Ceremony of Remembrance, Islandbridge,
  • Unveiling of VC Commemorative Stones, honouring Maj Edward Mannock, 2/Lieutenant Edmund De Wind VC, Royal Irish Rifles, Private Claude Nunney, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Company Sergeant-Major Martin Doyle, Royal Munster Fusiliers, Private James Crichton, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and Private Martin Moffat, Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment.
  • Wreath Laying Ceremony, honouring Cpl Nolan ONUC in Grange Con, Dedication of the Kilkenny War Memorial, First World War VC Commemoration Service, at the Presbyterian Assembly Buildings, Belfast, Commemoration Ceremony for RMS Leinster, Opening of The Fallen, featuring 36,000 messages (in the form of a leaf) hanging from the ceiling of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Civic Reception – The Hauntings Soldier, St Stephan’s Green,
  • Armistice Day State Ceremony Glasnevin Cemetery, and Ecumenical Service of Remembrance at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

All registered members of the Trust and their respective spouses will be included in the application for invitations from An Taoiseach to the 2019 National Day of Commemoration Ceremony, which is taking place in Collins Barracks Dublin, on Sunday, 14 July.

The Military Heritage Research Bursary

By educating, inspiring and fostering public awareness of Ireland’s military heritage, and by nurturing a new generation of researchers, the Trust continues to safeguard the legacy of Irish soldiers for future generations.

In this context, the Trust is funding an annual bursary to an individual conducting original and innovative research into an aspect of Irish military heritage and the Story of the Irish Soldier. The Terms of Reference for the “The Military Heritage Research Bursary” can be accessed on the Trust’s Website.

The amount of the bursary will reflect the Trust’s financial resources and, in some cases, could be determined by a legacy provided to the Trust. Subject to available finances, it is envisaged that the bursary will be awarded on an annual basis. Currently, bursary will be an ex-gratia payment of €500.

The product of each bursary will be an academic paper between 4,000 and 5,000 words excluding footnotes and bibliography. The paper will be formally presented by the author at an appropriate forum, such as seminars and workshops, as decided by the Trust. Completed work will become the property of the Trust for distribution and publication, as appropriate.

The bursary commemorates Major-General P.F. Nowlan (Retd) RIP, a founding member of the Trust, who was elected its first Chairman (1999 – 2011), and remained as an active and highly respected member of its Board of Directors (1999 – 2015).

During the 2018 AGM, the last in the series of Military Heritage Awards was presented to Mr. Mark Scannell, who had just completed a PhD programme in History. His paper titled “Four Irish Catholic Generals in Victoria’s Army”can be accessed on the Trust’s Website.

Web Site

By means of the Web Site and News Bulletins, the Trust endeavours to enhance public knowledge of its vision, mission, objectives, activities, current projects, military heritage and upcoming events. The Trust’s Web Site is professionally managed by its Webmaster Sergeant Michael Burke, Defence Forces CIS Corps.

During 2018, 33 News Items were posted on the Web Site and details of 84 events were inserted on the Web Site Calendar. Currently, the 2019 calendar contains 22events. Please contact the Trust if you would like to list a particular event on the Trust’s website, have suggestions about which events could be listed, or provide changes to details of events listed.

Although non operational from 16 January through 15 March, 4,093 individuals (4,071 new), in 4,988 sessions, accessed the Trust’s Web Site during 2018. These included 1,914 from Ireland, 921 from the USA, 498 from the UK, 74 from France, 65 from Australia, 60 from Romania, 59 from Japan, 57 from Canada, 54 from Peru, and 44 from the Phillipines.

Social Media

All items posted on the Web Site, such as News Items and Events, are captured on Facebook and the Trust’s Twitter account. Concurrently, they are circulated to the Trust’s Facebook and Twitter Followers. The Twitter tag is @militaryheritag

On 10 February, the Trust launched its You Tube Channel, which can be accessed on the Home Page of the Website. Members are encouraged to log on, subscribe and provide appropriate videos for posting on the Channel.

Flickr Albums

By means of Flickr, the Web Site’s Media Gallery facilitates the posting of a limitless number of photographs on the site. At the moment, there are 1,686 photographs in the Trust’s Flickr photo-stream, in 126 Albums. Recent postings include Presentation of New RIR Colours, Commemorative Service VC Recipients, Commemoration RMS Leinster, The Hauntings Soldier, Production of Corporate Videos, People’s Remembrance, Armistice Day Enniskillen, Remembrance Service, State Ceremony Armistice Day.

News Bulletins

In order to retain an appropriate interface with the Trust’s membership and like-minded individuals, the publication of items on the Web Site is communicated by means of a News Bulletin. During 2018, eight Bulletins were promulgated: 18 January, 21 March, 02 May,
17 July, 23 September, 03 October 22 November, and 21 December.
200 individuals received Bulletin 8/2018, representing an increase of 44 since the last Chairman’ Message (April 2018). If you do not wish to receive these News Bulletins, please advise the Trust’s Secretary in order to unsubscribe from the Trust’s mailing list. Your personal data (email address) will not be retained.

Military Service Information

Through its Web Site and Contact Information, the Trust actively assists families, researchers and students throughout Ireland and worldwide world, to access information on the military service of relatives, friends and individuals.

The numerous requests for information through the Web Site are a significant component of the Trust’s objectives. In this regard, the Board of Directors acknowledges the valuable work conducted by Colonel Billy Gibson (Retd).

Digitisation of the Great War Archives

The Trust is fully supportive of the Army Museums Ogilby Trust’s initiative for the Digitisation of the Great War Archives, which includes archives held by Regimental Museums and Regimental Associations on the island of Ireland. The £5 million UK treasury funded project is bounded by the dates 1900-1929. It is estimated that the project will capture over 2.3 million images and the target date for completion is April 2020.
In particular, the Trust acknowledges the inclusion of the archives of the Disbanded Irish Regiments, should the associated Regimental Associations wish to participate. In this context, under the Chair of Lieutenant-Colonel Andy Hart (Retd) OBE, Development Manager for the Consolidation of the Royal Irish Regiments Museums, a scoping conference is scheduled for 12st March in the Old Board Room, Collins Barracks, Dublin.

Promotional Videos

The Trust’s promotional videos, professionally produced by Feenish Productions, were launched and posted on the website’s home page and media gallery on 10 February. This marketing and information asset will be used as a valuable communications asset and posted on electronic media such as the Trust’s You Tube Channel. The promotional package of three 3 videos was filmed in Collins Barracks Dublin, availing of the Soldiers and Chiefs Exhibition by kind permission of the National Museum of Ireland.

The themes are: Overview of the Trust; Research and Website; and Testimonials.

The Board of Directors acknowledge those external individuals who participated in the process including: Gabrielle Nugent, Brenda Malone (Curator Military History, National Museum of Ireland – Soldiers and Chiefs Exhibition), Shabnam Vasisht (Digging Up the Raj), Declan O’Doherty and Mark Scannell (Military Heritage Award Winners), Lt Col Andy Harte OBE (Military Museums Northern Ireland), Comdt Claire Mortimer (Military Archives), and Cpl Michael Whelan (Air Corps Museum).

The Directors also acknowledged the presence of personnel from the 2 Field Artillery Regiment Association for the photo shoot.

Decade of Centenaries

The Irish Government continues to implement the Decade of Centenaries programme in an informed, inclusive, measured and reflective manner, commemorating significant events that shaped the history of the island of Ireland one hundred years ago. Reconciliation is a key element of the Government’s programme, ensuring that the decade fosters renewed and strengthened cooperation between the communities and traditions on the island of Ireland, whilst reinforcing North-South and East-West relationships.

The Military Heritage of Ireland Trust remains proactive in supporting the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, the Government’s Expert Advisory Group, the Glasnevin Trust, the Defence Forces, and other Government Departments, agencies and organisations.

The unqualified successful programme for the first phase of the Decade of Centenaries witnessed memorable events, which took place throughout the island of Ireland including: the centenary commemorations marking the Gallipoli Landings. the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Messines Ridge, the 1916 Rising, the Armistice Day Centenary, and the unveiling of Victoria Cross Commemorative Plaques. Events also marked the introduction of voting rights for women, and their right to stand in parliamentary elections.

The National Museum of Ireland exhibitions “Soldiers and Chiefs”, Recovered Voices – the stories of the Irish at war 1914 – 1915 and “Proclaiming a Republic: the 1916 Rising” inspired the museum’s commemorative programme. Between 2014 and 2018, the National Library of Ireland provided an exhibition programme, titled “World War Ireland”. The Military Archives released the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection.

The second phase of the Decade of Centenaries, 2019 – 2023 encompasses a complex period in the history of the island of Ireland, including the struggle for independence, the civil war, the foundation of the State and partition.

The Trust fully endorses the objective that this informative period of history is remembered appropriately, proportionately, respectfully and with sensitivity. The Government’s programme aims to promote a deeper understanding of the significant events, and recognises that the shared historical experience of those years gave rise to very different narratives and memories. It will also take account of sensitivities across communities in Northern Ireland, and continue to recognise that very different perspectives persist on many of these events.
It is envisaged that the following events and themes will be commemorated during the period 2019 – 2023:

  • The Struggle for Independence 1919 – 1921;
  • The Civil War;
  • The Foundation of the State;
  • The Royal Irish Constabulary, Dublin Metropolitan Police;
  • Establishment of the Defence Forces and An Garda Síochána;
  • The Experiences of Minorities and Border Communities in Ireland, 1918 – 1923;
  • Partition and the Foundation of Northern Ireland; and
  • The Admission of the Irish Free State into the League of Nations 1923.

Looking ahead, and as already advised, the 12th June 2022, marks the 100th anniversaries of the handing over of the Regimental Colours in Windsor Castle, and the 31st July 2022, the formal disbandment of six Irish Infantry Regiments and the South Irish Horse. The Trust’s Directors will be exploring realistic options to mark the centenary of these historic events.

Irish Infantry Grove

Dedicated in 2000, the Irish Infantry Grove at the National Memorial Arboretum in England, honours and commemorates soldiers who served in Irish Infantry Regiments which were disbanded in July 1922. Since 2015, within its competencies, the Military Heritage of Ireland Trust has frequently engaged with the appropriate authorities on this initiative. Currently, the Directors are engaging with the Department of An Taoiseach on this issue.
In the context of the Belfast Agreement and the Decade of Centenaries, and further enhancing East West and North South relations, the Trust’s overarching objective is for an appropriate financial contribution towards the redevelopment of the Irish Infantry Grove, coupled with an appropriate attendance at the re-dedication.


In conclusion, the Trust’s Directors are currently focussing on activities associated with the second phase of the Decade of Centenaries, enhancing partnerships with stakeholders such as Museums and Regimental Associations, advancing the Military Heritage Research Bursary, consolidating membership, and through its Web Site, promulgate the latest news and lists of events, and further develop the support provided for research.

Once again, over the last 6 years, I was honoured to work with all Directors, our Company Secretary, Legal Adviser and Auditors, in further advancing the Trust’s objectives, in order to promote and preserve Ireland’s unique military heritage for future generations.

Finally, a reminder that our 19th Annual General Meeting is scheduled for 28 May, at 1430 hours, in the Lecture Theatre, National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin.

Beir Bua,

Pol A. Pakenham
Brigadier-General Paul A. Pakenham (Retd)
15 February 2019


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