About Denis David McSherry,(b. Nov 30, 1869d.Aft Nov 14, 1919)
Denis signed a Short Service Attestation at Liverpool on May 31, 1889 with the Royal Artillery; (although his service seems to have started the previous day) He states that he is a farm labourer who is 20 years and 6 months old, and that he was born in Rossinver near Ballyshannon in Co Leitrim, He is 5 foot seven and a half inches tall with a fresh complexion, grey eyes, and brown hair. He is Roman Catholic by religion. His Regimental Number was 73829
Denis’s Military History Sheet shows that he served-
UK - May 30, 1889 - October 14, 1895
Singapore - October 15, 1895 - February 26, 1898
Hong Kong - February 27, 1898 - January 14, 1901
UK - January 15, 1901 - February 3, 1904
India - February 14, 1904 - December 26, 1904
Aden - December 27, 1904 - March 24, 1905
UK - March 25, 1905 - September 30, 1908
Sierra Leone - October 1, 1908 - November 8, 1909
UK - November 9, 1909 - May 29, 1910.
His Next of Kin are named as -
His father, Peter, and Mother Ellen of Glenaniff, Co Leitrim,
Wife: Mary Elizabeth Neill,
Siblings: Francis, Thady, Terence, Peter & Patrick,
He received an injury to his right little toe followed by a Court Enquiry whilst on duty on February 2, 1897 where he spent February 3 - February 17 in hospital in Singapore with a fractured metatarsal bone. This was followed with bouts of Ague (Fever?), and Diarrhea which involved a total of 49 days and 5 different hospital stays in Singapore and Hong Kong between February 1898 and November 1900. There was also an accident at Hong Kong which resulted in a crushed left toe on October 2, 1902, followed by 20 days in hospital. Denis’s health didn’t improve from then on, and he suffered from Beriberi and Malaria whilst in Aden and Sierra Leone resulting in 47 days being spent in various hospitals, the last date of hospital discharge was February 12, 1909 in Sierra Leone.
The Military History sheet states he married without leave at St John’s Cathedral in Portsmouth.
His time in the military seems to have punctuated with promotions, demotions and various trials. I don’t know the details of the various trials, as no further details are shown in his records.
After attesting, Denis became a Gunner, before being promoted to Acting Bombardier on August 11, 1890. A promotion to Bombardier followed on November 11, 1891. He became a Corporal on November 30, 1893 and a Sergeant on November 21, 1894.
On June 2, 1895 he was awaiting trial, where he was tried and reduced to the rank of Corporal, although the sentence was remitted.
On July 16, 1895 Denis extended his service to complete 12 years in the colours.
On October 15, 1895 or 1896 (the record isn’t clear) he was made Sergeant again.
On 6 March 1897 he was again awaiting trial, and on 16 March 1897 was reduced to the rank of Corporal. On September 1, 1897 he was again in trouble, and again tried, and reduced to the rank of Gunner on September 7. On December 22, he had been promoted to Acting Bombardier, but two days later he was again awaiting trial, before being tried and imprisoned for 28 days on December 31, 1897. Another demotion to Gunner followed his return to duty on 28 January 1898. He was discharged on 29 May 1910.
At some time between 1910 and 1914 Denis went to Canada (his wife Mary departed Liverpool on December 23, 1917 on board the S.S. Metagama, arriving St John, New Brunswick, Canada on January 5, 1918, and headed for London, Ontario.)
He then signed an Attestation Paper on 21 October 1914 with the 22nd Battery of the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force in Kingston, Ontario. He states he had previously spent 21 years and 346 days in the RGA. He appears to be 44 years and 11 months old at the time of enlistment, and has a fresh complexion, grey eyes, and grayish-brown hair. He is a Roman Catholic by religion, and 5 foot eight and a half inches tall.
The date of birth of 30 November 1869 is from the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force Attestation Paper signed in 1914. He states his place of birth to be Inniskillen (sic) in Ireland
The Casualty Form-Active Service sheet states he proceeded to England on February 23, 1915 where he was based at Shorncliffe Camp in Kent. Prior to this he seems to have been absent on five occasions where he received detention or loss of pay. On May 28, 1915 Denis was drafted to France. On April 19, 1916 he was back at Shorncliffe and classified PB. (Permanent Base - i.e. men who were fit enough to remain as soldiers but restricted to regimental duties at the Base. There are different categories of PB, and Denis was allocated Batman duties (1 Batmen, 2 Cycle Orderlies, 3 Graves Registration Units -mostly for digging, 4 Light fatigues, 5 Escort with PoW Companies, 6 Stretcher Bearers, 7 Heavy Fatigues)
On July 7, 1916 he was admonished for being dunk.
On July 14, 1916 Denis was admitted to the Moore Barracks Hospital at Shorncliffe (the barracks were temporarily converted as a Canadian Military Hospital), before being transferred to Bear Wood Hospital at Wokingham in Berkshire (a Canadian convalescent hospital) On August 17, 1916 Denis was discharged from Bear Wood.
On August 14, 1917 Denis embarked at Liverpool for Canada.
On August 28, 1917 in London, Ontario, Denis was pronounced fit for duty, and promoted to Sergeant on April 1, 1918, and then Company Sergeant Major on July 30, 1919. On September 14, 1919 Denis joined the Special Guard of the Canadian Military Police Corps at Halifax Nova Scotia, before being discharged on October 7, 1919 as being medically unfit for further general service.
Denis McSherry and his wife Mary arrived in London aboard the S.S. Castellano on November 14, 1919. They had boarded the ship at Halifax. Denis is shown as a 50 year old Sgt Major and Mary a 45 year old wife and British National.