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  • Christina Drummond

Captain (Acting Major) Peter Martin Connellan, 1st Battalion, the Hampshire Regiment

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1914, Captain (Acting Major) Peter Martin Connellan, 1st Battalion, the Hampshire Regiment, was killed in action near Armentieres in France.

The only son of Major J.H.F.H. Connellan JP, DL, he was educated at Newton Abbott School and Harrow, before joining the Hampshire Regiment in 1901. He served as Brigade Signalling Officer with the Aden Boundary Delimitation Column 1903 and 1904, and was promoted to Captain in 1907, became Adjutant of the 1st Battalion in 1908 and the 3rd Battalion in 1911. In 1909 he was awarded the Royal Humane Society's medal for saving the life of a drowning soldier.

Major Connellan rejoined his battalion in 1914, and left for France on the 21st of August, 1914. He saw action on the front and for some weeks was in command of his battalion during the Battles of the Marne and the Aisne, his superior officers having been killed, wounded or taken prisoner. He was mentioned in Sir John French's Despatches in October, 1914, and January, 1915, and after the Retreat from Mons, General Hunter-Weston sent forward his name for "special promotion and reward."

Major Connellan was killed in action near Armentieres the day after his name first appeared in Sir John French's Despatch. General Hunter-Weston wrote strongly that “death should not be a bar to the honours for which he had been previously recommended”, but beyond the second mention in Despatches no notice was taken of his services. The General stated in a letter that he looked upon Major Connellan as a "born soldier, and one of the ablest of his commanders, who would, if he had been spared, have reached the very top of the tree." He is buried in the graveyard at Pont de Nieppe in France.

Peter, from County Kilkenny in Ireland, was 32 years old and married.

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