WW1 - John T Durkin



WW1 - John T Durkin
John T Durkin
Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo
Died 22nd May 1923
John T Durkin was a native of Tubbercurry (image 1). He lived most of
his life in England and was a policeman but no ordinary one. He was a
detective sergeant at Scotland Yard where he served as a body guard to
both King George the Vth (grandfather of the present monarch) and the
prime minister. (image 2)
At 7pm on the evening of the 4th August 1914 Britain declared war. Ten
hours later, early in the morning Durkin became the first man to enlist in
the army for the conflict, even though his profession exempted him from
serving (image 3). He was in France by the 12th August 1914 serving
with the Royal Fusiliers attached to the Intelligence corp and took part
in the first big engagement of the war at the Battle of Mons.
He had close links to the Kennedy family back in America. There is a
photo of him bouncing JFK as a baby on his knee.
Durkin survived the war serving with distinction and returned to police
work, he died in 1923 from the effects of both gas and shrapnel wounds
he had received during 1917. John T Durkin is buried in Kent.
John Durkin’s grandson was invited to meet Queen Elizabeth II at Dublin
Castle on her state visit to Ireland in 2011. His grandson proudly wore
his medals (image 5) as he met the grand daughter of his grandfathers
former employer.
When he married in Sligo in 1916 (image 4) he was still serving, his
best man was an old IRA Int Officer and his groomsman had served In
the US Army on the front during the war.