Diamond War Memorial Project

Private Michael Keelan

6th Battalion Royal Irish Regiment (Irish Brigade). Regimental Number 2446
Born: ---- Died: 1916-09-09 Aged: -- Enlisted: Derry.

Name recorded on Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, Somme, France. Name also commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.

Only son of Mrs Keelan, 35, Sloan's Terrace, Derry. Brother of Margot McGlinchey, 10, Sloan's Terrace, Derry.

Before enlisting Michael Keelan was a member of the Irish National Volunteers. He came through the battle of Guillemont unscathed, but fell on the attack on Ginchy. On the first anniversary of his death, his mother and sisters had the following lines placed in a Derry newspaper:

When he whispered adieu to the green shores of Erin;

And sailed with his brave hearted comrades away,

We cherished the hope when the war clouds had vanished;

He'd return to the scenes of his boyhood some day.

But O! never more in the hush of the even',

Shall a fond mother dream of her son coming home;

For 'neath foreign skies by the blood-sodden mountain,

Mid the slain he lies sleeping afar o'er the foam.

Weep not for me, my mother, dear,

Nor yet be ever sad;

The shorter time I spent on earth,

The fewer faults I had.

On the second anniversary of Private Keelan's death, members of his family had the following lines inserted in a Derry newspaper:

'We little thought when he left home,

That he would ne'er return;

That he so soon in death would sleep,

And leave us here to mourn.'

On the third anniversary of the death of Michael Keelan, his mother placed the following sentiments in a Derry newspaper:

'When the shadows are falling soft and still

And the heat of the day is done.

I see through the dusk, as a mother will,

The face of her only son.

The face of a lad with a stalwart frame,

Whom God once gave to me,

With a fearless heart and a stainless name

And a soul of a chivalry.

I remember the day when the letter came,

And I knew that his race was run;

And nothing was left but an honoured name

And the grave of my only son.

And every night when the sun goes west,

And the toil of the day is done,

Oh; I long for the boy who loved me best

And the smile of a lad that's gone.'