James Shine (b. 1932)
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James Shine (b. 1932)


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Track 1: Jim Shine’s grandfather came from Freemount in North Cork and he moved to Dungarvan with his wife, Catherine O’Shea, when he became master of the workhouse there. Jim describes various members of the Shine family and their history. His father, James Matthew Shine, qualified as a surgeon and joined the Army in the 1880s, serving in India, Burma and South Africa. He married Kathleen Williams of Dungarvan and they had five children. He rose to the rank of Colonel in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was Assistant Director of Medical Services based in northern France during WWI. Jim details the military service of his three half-brothers, James’s sons, during the war. The eldest son Jim was gazetted to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in India. The next son, John Denys, served with the Royal Irish Regiment, headquartered in Clonmel. The youngest son, Hugh, joined the Royal Irish Fusiliers. James’ first wife died soon after WWI. He remarried and had three further sons, including Jim, with his second wife. He died shortly before his son Jim was born. Jim provides further detail on the movements of his half-brothers in WWI. Lieutenant John Shine was badly wounded at the Battle of Mons in 1914 which resulted in his death. Captain Jim Shine was sent home from India on training duties to Cork and then rejoined his battalion. He was wounded in the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and was invalided to Cork and home before returning to the front. He was killed at Passchendaele in 1917. The youngest son, Hughie, was in action close to Ypres in 1915 and was killed by shrapnel. During this time their father was working in a military hospital in northern France and Jim discusses the content of some letters sent home and the medals awarded to his half-brothers. His father retired some time after the war and returned home. His second wife, and Jim’s mother, was Margaret Coleman. They had three sons: Owen, Henry (Harry) and Jim. Owen joined the Irish Army and later the Army Air Corps. Later still, he became a pilot with Aer Lingus, while Jim and his other brother both qualified as engineers. Track 2: Jim explains that he never knew his father. He has researched his and also his half-brothers’ military lives. Fortunately, many of their letters were preserved, and he got much information from his half-sister Kitty. Jim’s paternal great-uncles were also involved in the army and he gives some detail of their service. He discusses what he considers to be the myth about animosity towards those who served in the British army. He feels a close connection with his father and his half-brothers and keeps memorabilia in relation to them. Track 3: Jim’s maternal uncle, Tommy Coleman, who joined the Royal Army Service Corps is recalled. Tommy served in Egypt for a time and later in Salonika during WWI. He survived the war but Jim remembers him as being badly shell-shocked and also suffering from malaria. Jim relates an anecdote concerning a former soldier, Tommy Murray, who defied the Black and Tans in Dungarvan. He talks about the fact that young men, at the time of WWI, regarded involvement as a ‘big adventure.’ The difficulties his mother faced in bringing up three sons after her husband died are considered. Track 4: Jim talks about the local memorial plaque to the war dead in Dungarvan, which records over 1,000 names. He says that the aim in erecting the plaque was to retrieve people from obscurity and he discusses the efforts in France and Belgium to remember those who fell. He again mentions Tommy Coleman and his last days in hospital, a sad reminder to him of his time in a military hospital in Salonika. Finally Jim discusses some old photographs of his father and his half-brothers.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The Irish Country House and the Great War


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

10.16 MB, 8.83 MB, 10.09 MB, 11.12 MB, 7.99 MB, 7.95 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



The great cost of war paid by the Shine family

Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore