Blue plaque in honour of Donegal WW1 Victoria Cross winner

James Duffy is buried at Conwal cemetery in Letterkenny.

A BLUE plaque is to be unveiled in Letterkenny to commemorate a former Donegal World War One soldier who was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery.

Britain's highest and most prestigious award for gallantry, the Victoria Cross is presented to British and Commonwealth forces for bravery.

A native of Gweedore in west Donegal, James Duffy was a soldier and stretcher bearer with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers during the First World War when he was posted to Palestine.

Two days after Christmas 1917, he tried with a colleague to rescue a seriously wounded comrade at Kereina Peak. When the other stretcher-bearer was wounded, Duffy returned to get more help.

However, the second stretcher-bearer was killed almost instantly. Despite this, Private Duffy went out alone and, under heavy fire, managed to bring both his wounded colleagues to safety.

He eventually returned to his native Donegal and spent most of his life in Letterkenny where he died at the age of 79 in April 1969.

He is buried at Conwal cemetery in Letterkenny. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Inniskilling Museum in Enniskillen Castle.

In 2007, then Letterkenny mayor, Ciaran Brogan unveiled a bench in memory of the Donegal war veteran at Letterkenny Town Park.

Private Duffy was again honoured last year when Chaplain to the Irish army's Finner Camp, Bundoran, Fr Alan Ward celebrated a Mass in his memory at Donegal County Museum. Private Duffy's Victoria Cross was brought from the Inniskilling Museum for the service.

Next month, the Ulster History Circle will unveil a blue plaque at Castle Street, Letterkenny in his honour. The unveiling ceremony will take place on November 10.

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