This is the Irish grave at Lourdes where my Dad is buried.
My Dad, John McGillicuddy was a retired sergeant from the Army School of Music. He had started with the No. 1 Band in 1923 when the band was formed. It was based in Portobello Barracks in Rathmines, Dublin, which is now named Cathal Brugha Barracks after the 1916 hero.
When the Army No. 4 Band was formed some years later, he was transferred to Athlone and was based in Costume Barracks there. It served the west of Ireland. He returned to Dublin after a few years and became an instructor in the School of Music which post he retained until retirement in 1955. In those days, boys aged about 14 years came as residents to the school, where they had ordinary schooling as well as musical training. Shortly after his retirement he was admitted to the army hospital, St Bricin’s in Dublin, where he was diagnosed with cancer. He had a lung removed in St Mary’s Hospital in the Phoenix Park.
In 1958 the first International Pilgrimage to Lourdes was held. This is still continuing with soldiers from many countries participating. His friends in the army invited him to join them as an invalid. He accepted and they arranged for him to travel with the Meath pilgrimage which was going at the same time.
Sadly the travel proved too severe for him and he died in Lourdes.
The army authorise offered to give him a military funeral in Lourdes if we would allow it, and after consultation the family agreed it was a fitting end to his hear lifetime service in the army.This name plate was placed by the army on the tombstone.
I am attaching some photos of the funeral and will add a few more later. I was privileged to attend but due to the cost my wife Kathleen could not come. I was always sorry my brother Willie could not attend either. I am extremely grateful to my employers, P. Donnelly & Sons the Coal merchants who arranged and paid for my trip.The funeral was attended by the the whole army contingent, including many senior officers. A fitting tribute to a great man. I have been told, by some of the boys that he taught, that they affectionately called him ‘Daddy Mack’