College unveiled a memorial stone in honour of the staff, students and alumni who fought and died in the British army during the First World War on September 26th. The memorial stone is located outside of the Hall of Honour, the entrance to the 1937 postgraduate reading room. It was designed by sculptor Stephen Burke, who has been commissioned for work on such historic buildings as Russborough house in Co. Wicklow and Suffolk Cathedral in Bury, St. Edmunds. An estimated 49,000 Irish volunteers died fighting on the side of the British army during World War one, which includes 471 Trinity College staff, students and alumni.
The Trinity college website notes that the Hall of Honour, as well as the 1937 reading room, was designed by Sir Thomas Manley Deane, whose son Thomas was killed in action during the battle of Gallipoli. Each November the lives lost are honoured by a ceremony in the college chapel which is followed by a procession to the hall. Commemoration of Trinity war dead has been a source of some contention in recent years with the launch of the Trinity College War Memorial Project in 2013. The project seeks recognition for the 111 Trinity College volunteers who fought and died in the British Army during the Second World War.
Speaking on behalf of the campaign, Professor Gerald Morgan stated that: “[The] 26 September 2015 will be an historic day for the College, and a source of pride to us all. I think that the Provost, Dr Prendergast, is to be greatly commended for the central part he has played in this… I am sure that the Provost will lead the campaign for a Memorial for the Trinity Dead of World War II. But first things must come first, and we have to do justice to our heroic dead, fighting I believe, in many if not most cases, for Irish Home Rule, in 1914.”
The Hall of Honour memorial stone was unveiled in a ceremony in Front Square at 11am on September 26, followed by a reception in the Dining Hall.