Celbridge’s Lost Son – Private Robert Beveridge
Over the past year and half we have been researching for our first project – Celbridge’s Military Story. This project has led us down history trails we never envisaged. A project by the History Squad in Scoil Na Mainistreach on Celbridge’s casualties of the Great War led us to Major William Dease – son of Sir Col. Gerald Dease – who in turn had recruited local men into the Remounts in 1914. By pure chance we came across a casualty of the Great War not on the Celbridge war dead list: Private Robert Beveridge 28th Remount Squadron who is buried in Naas, County Kildare. Robert died on 25 January 1919 in the Curragh Military Hospital. The Kildare Observer confirmed he had been given a military funeral with honours paid by the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Robert’s military records have not survived and no birth cert exists. Last year we inconclusively connected Robert to Celbridge through census records: the census listed a Robert Beverage, foster child with the Lennon family in Celbridge and later a labourer. Digging up several conundrums we came to multiple dead ends to conclusively prove the two Roberts were one of the same.
Not wanting to leave it at that we endeavoured to find out more. With the help of historians Drs Ann Mathews and Brendan O’Shea, local historians Jim Tancred and George Bagnall, Graham Hughes and Martin Whyte of St. Corban’s cemetery, and David Grant (www.cairogang.com) the story of Robert began to come together piece by piece. Through documents such as Robert’s Soldier’s Effects we were able to link the Private Beveridge buried in Naas to Celbridge and the Lennon family. As it turns out the Lennon family are still in the area and proudly remember Robert. We met the Lennon family – who still poses Robert’s medals and his photograph – and paid tribute at his grave. The History Squad had the key all along. 100 years ago, the Lennon family were the stuart’s of the Dease estate in Celbridge Abbey and Kilmacredock.
We will be bringing you Robert’s full story in the coming months.
This project is sponsored by Kildare County Council Heritage Office.