Branch Meeting. 20 May, 2017.
Peter Leo McGrane
3 Royal Irish Regiment
Att. 1 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Killed in Action, 20 May, 1917.
Peter was born on 6 April, 1889, Son of James Henry McGrane, J.P., and Kathleen McGrane, of Knocklyon Castle, Templeogue, Co. Dublin.
Peter worked in banking prior to his enlistment in September, 1915, he received officer training in London and was sent to France in November 1916.
His letters home from France (1) describe playing sport behind the lines and how used he had become to the sound of the guns at night-time. He describes the fun of the Brigades sports day during their period of rest and the 'extremely good music', remarking wryly that 'most people here thought on yesterday afternoon that this was a very fine war'. The awareness of danger was however ever present and he mentions how glad he is that there is a Catholic chaplain with them to provide services before going into danger.
In April 1917, he was hospitalized for scabies and was due to be sent home but the hospital ships were cancelled and he remained in France. In May the battalion was in the Arras/Duisans area and on the evening of the 19 May they were ordered to take part in an attack on the German lines in which they were to take Infantry Hill and the Bois de Aubepines.
However, the attack was a failure due to severe casualties from machine gun fire, 10 officers and 192 other ranks were either killed, wounded or missing, one of the officers named as killed in the attack was Peter. The battalion war diary states that he was killed on 19 May, however, the annotation on his Medal Index Card says that he died on the 20 and this is also the date shown on the CWGC ‘Debt of Honour’ database
Peter has no known grave and is remembered on the Arras Memorial, he was entitled to the British War and Victory Medals.
Notes: (1) Some of Peters letters can be seen on http://www.europeana1914-1918.eu
Ian Chambers. May 2017.