Mary Clements (b. 1921)
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Mary Clements (b. 1921)


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Track 1: Mary Clements (née O’Kelly) discusses her family history and she explains that her paternal grandparents had ten children. She recalls her easy childhood and her education at Ascot school. During WWI, her father, Charles O’Kelly, remained at home to run the T. and C. Martin family business, while another brother cared for their father William. The remaining seven brothers served in WWI. Mary names her uncles: Bob (RAMC), who lived Kilpeacon, Co. Limerick and was her godfather; Ned (Veterinary Corps of the RASC), who later successfully ran a stud farm which was later run by his daughter Pat; Harry (The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment) lived in England for a long time and then in Bray, Co. Wicklow; William, later a stockbroker; John, the eldest, who was also in the Veterinary Corps; and Dick (RAMC) who died from disease during the war in Egypt. Mary reads a letter addressed to her grandparents which expresses the King’s congratulations on the fact of having seven sons serving. Track 2: Mary says that she knew all of her uncles, but she does not remember any of them ever talking about their experiences during the war. She reads Harry’s letter to Charlie, her father, dated October 21st, 1914, and the accompanying account of the battles of Mons and Le Cateau. Track 3: Mary further discusses her uncles, who said that her father Charles had the hardest part to pay as he could not go to war. She describes their love of the game of croquet after the war years, and she recalls one of her childhood homes at Garryard and later Millbrook. Her brother Robin was killed during WWII. Mary recalls her work with the CWL (Catholic Women’s League), going from Aldershot and London to Belgium, Holland and Germany. She explains that her husband, Charles, of the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars, was a prisoner of war for four years. He spent time in three prisoner of war camps and was eventually rescued by the Americans. Track 4: Mary’s attitude to war is discussed, and she remembers life in Ireland during the Emergency and also recalls a Canadian pilot who escaped from the prisoner of war camp in Ireland. Her own work with the CWL is recalled as she remembers the head, Mrs Christopher Critchley-Salmonson OBE, and talks about being in Brussels shortly after the Germans had left, and then travelling on to Antwerp and Germany. She mentions John Kennedy, who was killed, and her brother who was keen on horse racing and who died so tragically young. Track 5: Mary further recalls her wartime experiences in Germany, and the Clements title is considered. Robin Clements, the Republican, is also recalled.

Additional information



Audio series:

The Irish Country House and the Great War


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

7.77 MB, 11.24 MB, 5.68 MB, 11.38 MB, 4.54 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



The O'Kelly brothers who served in WWI

Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore