A postcard featuring John J. Tierney (Patrick great-grandfather), 1918.

A postcard featuring John J. Tierney (Patrick’s great-grandfather) in his army uniform in 1918. John volunteered and joined the 199th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force, the Duchess of Connaught’s Own Irish Canadian Rangers in 1916. The battalion was raised by Montreal’s Irish community at the beginning of the First World War. John was likely seeking a bit of adventure and perhaps a simple change of scenery, because despite being 45 years old, married, and the father of four children, Canadian military records indicate that he claimed to be three years younger than he was when he enlisted. The Irish Canadian Rangers sailed for Europe in December 1916 and were then marched across Ireland in January and February 1917 by the British government (not long after the Easter Rising of 1916) to show the Irish people examples of the Irish abroad who answered the call of King and Country to serve in the Great War. The battalion never fought as a unit, however – its men were used to replace soldiers killed or wounded in other Canadian units fighting on the Western front, and on 17 May 1917 the battalion was absorbed into the 23rd Reserve Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force.