8th Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers,
Wounded, 31st March 1916,
Cornelius (Con) Scarry was born on the 19th Sept. 1878 in Buttevant, Mallow, Co. Cork, Ireland. He married on 25th Feb. 1900 to Margaret Collins, born in Greenock, Scotland and was living in 15 Thomas Street Dublin, by the time of the 1911 census, with Margaret and their 5 children. He was a carter by profession.
Con enlisted in early 1915 into the Royal Munster Fusiliers. Following a period of training he departed with the 8th Battalion.
Sailing from Southampton the 8th RMF landed in France with the 16th (Irish) Division under its new commander Major-General William Hickie on 19. December 1915 with 33 officers and 948 other ranks, going straight to the deeply frozen trenches on the Loos salient, the front line of the earlier lost Battle of Loos, alongside the 15th (Scottish) Division.
Casualties occurred throughout January. During February it was stationed at Béthune for training, returning to the lines, rotating with the 9th RMF through April. In May its casualties were replenished by 12 officers and 200 men from the disbanded 9th Battalion. During June and July it took part on several raids along the Loos sector with its brigade, suffering significant losses, often the battalion’s best soldiers. Con was wounded during this period of service in the front line.
Following his recuperation from his wounds, Con transferred to the 1st Battalion.
Up to the middle of March 1917, rotating routine trench duties continued with light casualties (2 officers and 20 men killed). The battalion rehearsed special training during April and May for the assault on the strategic Messines Ridge.
It was during this time that Con was invalided, suffering from Trench Fever. This infectious disease was characterized by sudden onset with fever; headache; sore muscles, bones, and joints; and outbreaks of skin lesions on the chest and back. It was transmitted from one person to another by lice. First recognized in 1915, trench fever was a major medical problem during World War I.
Trench Fever attacked all armies and until the final year of the war baffled doctors and researchers. Chief symptoms of the disease were headaches, skin rashes, inflamed eyes and leg pains.
Despite such wide-ranging symptoms (which resembled typhoid and influenza) the condition was not itself particularly serious, with patients recovering after some five or six days although prolonged hospitalisation amounting to several weeks was common.
Con finished out his war with the Labour Corps, being demobbed and returning to Dublin in May 1919, finding work as a hotel porter. He lived in Kilmainham for the rest of his life, dying aged 80 in December 1958.