Matania Paints the Munsters
On Saturday evening the 8th May 1915, prior to the battle in the Aubers Ridge area, the 2nd Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers marched through Rue du Bois, about one mile out from the town of Neuve Chapelle in Belgium. The Battalion halted near a wayside shrine. Moving off the road they formed up in their respective Companies, 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'D'. In front of each Company was a green flag with the Irish Harp and word "Munster" embroidered on it.
Father Francis Gleeson on horseback, facing 'A' Company troops and wearing his stole, administered to them a 'General Absolution'.
The scene was captured by the famous war illustrator Fortunina Matania, who came from Naples.
On the following day, 9th May 1915, 22 officers and 520 soldiers went into battle. Only 3 officers and 200 soldiers survived.
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