This morning, I had an early morning stroll around the cemetery in Castlebar. It was not yet bright. I was very puzzled with the final line on this headstone.
It was only when I compared with the adjoining headstone that it appears that the person who repainted the engraving may not have followed the original old-Irish font - Beannacḋ Dé lena hAnam. (Beannacht Dé lena hanam – Blessings of God on his soul).
The original old-Irish script is not the easiest to follow but I cannot figure why anyone might paint it as BG21nH7100 De le W21 2412120.
Standing reading the two headstones, an entry was made on the ‘To Find Out More’ list as to the West Kent Militia – which appears to be unit of the British Army.
Maybe from disputes in Middle East and Africa, but I had filed ‘militia’ away as being a guerrilla-type armed force, a grouping of armed personnel not part of the armed forces. I know now that, not for the first time, my understanding was not correct.
MacMillan defines ‘militia’ as ‘a group of ordinary people who are trained as soldiers to fight in an emergency’. Merriam-Webster has a few alternatives including ‘a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency’ which appears to be the role of the West Kent Militia and the Light Infantry Militia.
As I have said, more than once, it is a bad day when one does not learn something new.