Rosaleen Tonson Rye
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Rosaleen Tonson Rye


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Track 1: Rosaleen Tonson Rye’s grandfather and two granduncles fought on the Western Front during World War I. The eldest, Richard, was a professional soldier who was in the South Cork Militia, her grandfather Reginald was a Major in the Supply Corps while the youngest brother, Lieutenant-Colonel Hubert Tonson Rye DSO served in the Royal Munster Fusiliers. Reginald died of Spanish flu in 1919 before his return home. Rosaleen reads some of the weekly postcards he sent to his son John (her father) from the Front, and she discusses his three campaign medals, framed and mounted, which are no longer in her possession. Track 2: Rosaleen’s granduncle Hubert was bitter about the entail under which the son of the second son inherited the family home at Ryecourt, though her father John became the best of friends with his uncle in adulthood. After public school in England, Hubert joined the army and while stationed in India he met Harriet Moore whom he married in 1909. They later lived at Killinardrish House, not far from Ryecourt. Track 3: Hubert had served in the Boer War and later in India. Rosaleen mentions his decorations and explains that in 1913 he was appointed an instructor to cadets at Sandhurst. In 1915 he was appointed to the staff of the 34th Division as a Deputy Assistant Adjutant General in France with the rank of Major. He was involved in the Battle of the Somme and was mentioned in dispatches for his devotion to duty. In 1918 he was appointed OC 2nd Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers following the imprisonment by the Germans of the commanding officer. Rosaleen reads an account of the cavalry operations in 1918 and explains that Hubert was awarded a Distinguished Service Order and later a Bar for his involvement. He retired from the army in 1924 with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the North Staffordshire Regiment, settling in Devonshire, and during WWII, he served as a private in the Home Guard. After the war, he returned to Ireland and he died suddenly in November 1950. Rosaleen recalls visiting her grandmother’s second husband and her own godfather, Jock Sterling, when he lived in Scotland, and how shell-shocked he was even years later, following his service in WWI. Her grandmother married for the third time in the late 1930s and she ended her days in Kinsale. Track 4: The Delmege family in Limerick were her grandmother’s cousins and Rosaleen recalls her visits to Jack and Lily Delmege’s home, and the fact that these visits engendered her family interest in horses. She describes the house, now demolished, various ghost stories relating to it and the background to the Delmege family. Track 5: Her Uncle Hubert is described as a ‘man’s man’ and Rosaleen remembers Julia Lane, a maidservant who had worked at Ryecourt and later with Hubert and his wife and who told her the old stories about the family. She discusses Hubert’s son Eudo, a military attaché in Madrid who went on to manage the Duke of Wellington’s estate in Granada for some years. The fact that both the first and the last male in the Rye family were both named Eudo is remarked upon, as is the fact that every Thursday her mother would meet with other ladies in the County Club in Cork.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The Irish Country House and the Great War


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

11.69 MB, 5.67 MB, 14.85 MB, 6.71 MB, 12.59 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



A Cork family's dedicated service

Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore