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Annual Award


2010 – 2017



The Military Heritage of Ireland Trust (CLG) promotes activities that facilitate an enhanced awareness and appreciation of Ireland’s military heritage. This unique heritage is common to the different political and religious traditions of Ireland. In advancing military heritage, the Trust promotes the study of Irish military history and, in particular, the study of Irish men and women in the profession of arms both at home and overseas, irrespective of the Theatre of Operations, National Flag or Regimental Colour.

Annual Award

The Trust will give an Award, ordinarily annually, of €500 to the undergraduate student whose paper is deemed outstanding by a panel of judges, and which, through new research, adds to our knowledge of Ireland’s military heritage. The title of the award is “The Military Heritage Annual Award”.

The 2017 competition was the last in the series, and has been replaced with the “The Military Heritage Research Bursary”.

Benefits to Students

From a student’s perspective, The Military Heritage Annual Award encourages research and study in the area of military history; enhances a student’s status in the academic environment; and increases the student’s interest and participation in award schemes.

Funding of Award

The funding for this award was kindly donated by Mr A.W.B. Vincent. Mr Vincent has requested that the Award Scheme commemorate the late Major Charlie Trainor MM who died in 2009. The inaugural Military Heritage Annual Award was made in respect of 2010. Major Trainor’s biographical details are attached.

Coordination of Competition

The Board of Directors will select two is its members to coordinate the Award process, one of whom will interface with academia and the other will interface with the judges.

Announcement of Competition

In order to encourage submissions, the Trust will advertise the Annual Award on its Web Site and through appropriate faculties and lecturers within Irish Universities, in the first semester of the academic year preceding the competition year. For example, for the 2014 competition, the announcement would have been made in the October timeframe of 2013.

Competition Cohort

The Trust’s Annual Award targets a cohort of cross-border undergraduate and postgraduate students which facilitates enhanced opportunities, extending the potential for a higher number of interested students and an appropriate standard of research and product. The competition cohort encompasses a range of students including 1st to 3rd Year undergraduates, Final Year undergraduates, postgraduate students undertaking a Full-time or Part-time MA course, and postgraduate students engaged in the NUIM Masters Degree in Leadership, Management and Defence Studies.

Scope of Annual Award

The scope of The Military Heritage Annual Award is not merely on a record of individual activity, unit activity, or group activity, or the success and failure of military leadership, in battles, campaigns and wars. The scope of the Award also includes contemporary military operations such as peace support operations, humanitarian operations, and in the maintenance of law and order in aid to the civil power duties.


Consequently, submitted papers must have a military dimension and concentrate on one or more aspects of military heritage. Furthermore, the impact on the economic, political or social environment, across the selected aspect of military operations, may be relevant to a particular paper. Our knowledge of the history of the Irish soldier, in the context of Ireland’s military heritage, should be enhanced through the student’s research and the submitted paper.

Submitted Papers

Submitted papers should be between 4,000 and 5,000 words long, inclusive of footnotes. All papers should be clearly marked with the applicant’s name, college affiliation, contact details, and the words “Military Heritage Annual Award”. Papers should be submitted to the Trust not later than 13 November of the competition year, e.g. for the completion year 2021, the date of latest entries is 13th November, 2021

Adjudication of Papers

At the request of the Trust’s Directors, the papers will be assessed by a panel of eminent judges. In assessing the papers, due cognisance will be afforded to the worldwide nature of Irish military heritage and the range of military operations embraced by that term. The judges reserve the right not to recommend the prize if no paper meets the required standard.

Announcement of Annual Award

Having considered the findings of the panel of judges, the Trust will announce the result in the last quarter of the competition year. The award will be presented on a suitable occasion, or during the Trust’s Annual General Meeting, which normally takes place during the month of May. Subject to the author’s permission, the Trust will endeavour to have the winning paper published in an appropriate journal and will post the paper on the Trust’s web site.



Annex A. Previous Recipients of The Military Heritage Annual Award

Annex B. Biography of Major Charlie Trainor MM, 1919 – 2009.

Annex A

Previous Recipients of The Military Heritage Annual Award

The winner of the inaugural award in 2010 was Mr Paul Maguire, a history student at St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra in Dublin. His paper was titled “The Fingal Battalion: A Blueprint for the Future ?”

The award was not presented in 2011.

The winner of the 2012 award was Mr Paul O’Brien, a PhD candidate at the Department of History, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. His paper was titled, “Provincial Recruiting in the First World War: The Glynns of Kilrush, Co.Clare”.

The winner of the 2013 award was Mr Matthew McGinty, a MA student of the National University of Ireland Galway. His paper was titled, “O’Neill, O’Donnell and the Nine Year War”.

The winner of the 2014 award was Caithlin White NUIG.  Her paper was titled “An Irishwomen Abroad – the Truth of Kit Cavenaugh”.

The winner of the 2015 paper was Declan O’Doherty QUB.  His paper was titled – An Analysis of the social Composition of the Irish Republican Army (1919 – 1921).

The winner of the 2016 paper was Anthony Farrell NUIM.  His paper was titled “A Brief Outline of the Development of British Military Pensions in Ireland, 1914 – 1922″.

The winner of the 2017 award (last in the series) was Mr Mark Scannell NUIG.  His paper was titled “Four Irish Catholic Generals in Victoria’s Army

Winning Papers

2010 Paul McGuire – The Fingal Battalion: A Blueprint for the Future?

The Fifth Battalion of the Dublin Brigade, also known as the Fingal Battalion, was the Irish Volunteers one military success of Easter Week. Eschewing the static-point defensive strategy that was adopted in the city, the Fingal Battalion, operating just a few miles away in north County Dublin, demonstrated the potential of guerrilla warfare.

Download Mr Paul McGuire’s Paper PDF

2013 Matthew McGinty – O’Neill, O’Donnell and the Nine Years War

When looking at O’Donnell’s character it is obvious that he was quite aggressive. English observers at the time noted Red Hugh’s antagonistic nature. For example one English official described O’Donnell as the firebrand of all the rebels, while another official appointed to a commission in early 1596 to partake in peace talks with the Irish also remarked on O’Donnell’s insolence.


Download Mr Matthew McGinty’s Paper PDF (206 Kb)

2014 Caitlin White – An Irishwoman Abroad – The Truth of Kit Cavenaugh

While she, again quite unusually, neglects to name her peers and comrades in the army, focusing instead on her superiors, she cannot help but name ordinary people she encounters in her early life in Ireland. While Irish historical documents are, for the most part, incomplete or destroyed, there are still avenues to explore when trying to verify the facts of Kit’s account.

Download Ms Caitlin White’s Paper PDF (264 Kb)

2015: Declan O’Doherty’s – An Analysis of the social Composition of the Irish Republican Army (1919 – 1921).
“This paper challenges a comment made by historian Charles Townshend which described the social composition of the IRA (Irish Republican Army) between 1919 and 1921 as young, obscure individuals and uses it as a stimulus for an examination of the social make- up of the IRA in two counties; Limerick and Waterford.”

Download Mr Declan O’Doherty’s Paper PDF (43 Kb)

2016: Anthony Farrell’s paper titled “A Brief Outline of the Development of British Military Pensions in Ireland, 1914 – 1922”, outlining the origins and early years of the system put in place to deal with the unprecedented numbers of servicemen who were discharged as disabled because of the war.

Download Mr Anthony Farrell’s Winning Paper PDF (364 Kb)

  • 2017: Mr Mark Scannell’s paper titled “Four Irish Catholic Generals in Victoria’s Army.

Download  Four Irish Catholic Generals in Victoria’s Army by Mark Scannell NUIG

Annex B

Major Thomas (Charlie) Trainor MM

Thomas James Trainor was born in Greencastle in Belfast, Northern Ireland on the 25th of September 1919. Joining the ranks of the 2nd Battalion of The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in 1938 at Catterick Camp, he became known to all as Charlie Trainor.

Soon after the declaration of war in September 1939, the Battalion was sent to France and into Belgium. In May 1940, Charlie Trainor was detailed to forward reconnaissance patrol to gather information about enemy activity and saw action before being evacuated from Dunkirk on the 31st of May 1940.

The next few weeks were spent on standby in the South of England in readiness for the expected German invasion. When the immediate threat receded, the Battalion was sent to Scotland and brought up to strength with reinforcements. Their next assignment was in Bootle on fire watching duties, helping to protect the vital industrial areas around Liverpool from the effects of German incendiary bombs.

In early 1942, the Battalion travelled to Glasgow where they boarded the RMS Franconia II and sailed for Durban. Here, preparations were made to land in Madagascar in May 1942. Charlie was detailed to the reconnaissance patrol, their main enemy on this mission turned out to be mosquitoes, black water fever and the dense tropical undergrowth. After a brief but uncomfortable stay on the Island they rejoined the Franconia and sailed for Bombay.

The Battalion’s stay in India was shorter than expected, being recalled and diverted to Basra. The men travelled by road from there through Iraq to Lebanon, arriving in November 1942. It was here that Col. J.P. O’Brien Twohig took over as Commanding Officer. He saw the need for a small, agile unit of well trained men under battalion command to carry out reconnaissance and disruptive action. To this end he asked for volunteers, some of whom were sent to the Mountain Warfare Training Centre at Cedars, Lebanon to hone their skills. Charlie Trainor was amongst them.

From Lebanon the Battalion moved to Egypt in June 1943 to prepare for the invasion of Sicily. Charlie Trainor was involved with the activities of Battle Patrol throughout the Sicilian and Italian campaigns. He was active at the landing in Sicily, the crossing of the Garigliano, Anzio and the attack on Mount Spaduro and was awarded the MM in late 1943.

The citation reads: “Sgt Trainor’s dash, determination and personal bravery were undoubtedly responsible in a large measure for the way in which the patrol succeeded in achieving its object in the face of enemy fire”
He was commissioned in the field, succeeding Lieutenants Paddy long and Jock Crawford in command of Battle Patrol. He was wounded in late April 1945 during the crossing of the Po Delta and was convalescing in Rimini when victory in Europe was declared.

After the war he continued his recovery in Villach, Austria where his experience at Cedars, Lebanon qualified him to set up a mountain warfare training school at Schmelz which he ran for two years until 1949. In 1948 he was married. He was posted to Cyprus during the Suez crisis, leaving there in 1956 for England, before being posted to Singapore from 1959 to 1960.

He retired from military service in 1961. Charlie Trainor died peacefully on 25 July 2009 at his home near Camberley, Surrey after a long illness. He is survived by his wife Mitzi and two sons.

He was a soldier.

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