IT’S a Long Way to Tipperary. A song neatly associated with the First World War which will be commemorated in the coming weeks with services and prayers.

Our own grandfather will be in our thoughts. His name was John O’Donnell, who left his native home in Tipperary – a little cottage by the hills in the beautiful Galtee mountains – to join the British Army in France, leaving behind his wife and three children and another on the way.

My father John O’Donnell, who was only seven at the time my grandfather left for the war, would still cry remembering him as he lifted his hat on reaching the end of the road and waved goodbye.

The story affected all of us.

He never returned, for he died in the battle of Ypres in May 1915 and is buried in France.

We are left with a picture of the grave, his war medal and some pieces of the letters he sent.

He does, however, leave behind a legacy of four generations of his name.

Yet as my father always said: “Wars still go on. Will they ever learn?”

In memory of Pte John O’Donnell, 2 Royal Irish Regiment. RIP. 24 May, 1915, aged 31.

Bridget (O’Donnell) Larkin Lune Court Andover