Contributed by: Mary Connor, on 2008-12-03
|Year of Birth||1880|
|Year of Death||1954|
|Regiment||Royal Northumberland Fusiliers|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Newcastle, Northumberland|
Captain George McBrearty was the Brigade Padre of the Tyneside Irish Brigade (Northumberland Fusiliers). He was commissioned on 23rd March 1915 and he served throughout the war as Chaplain, until he was wounded, one week before the Armistice.
A cherished friend to soldiers, survivors and families.
Fr. McBrearty was remembered as a brave, well-loved and respected priest. In June 1919, the Colour of the 24th Battalion (2nd Tyneside Irish) was laid up in St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Newcastle. At the request of the survivors, Fr. McBrearty gave the sermon. He spoke movingly of the privations and sufferings of the men and he expressed the hope that, "their memory will never fade on Tyneside, or it will be to the eternal shame of Tyneside if it does". He described the troop's conditions as follows:
"When they were resting in back areas (resting it was called, but resting it never was), they had a barn for shelter and straw for a bed. In the line they had literally nothing. In wind and rain, snow and frost, they had to keep the vigilance of the night, exposed to all the inclemency of the weather. In the daytime, when they could snatch an hour or two from the never-ending fatigues, all that remained for them was to throw themselves down in some rat-infested covey hole under the parapet, or in some rudely or hastily built shack of corrugated iron. Really it was a mystery how the men were able to endure so much."