In solemn remembrance of David Drennan

Posted : 1st September 2020 at 06:19:33

On this poignant September 1 date Linfield FC recalls the sacrifice of former player David Drennan with recently uncovered images of him on this sad anniversary date of his passing in 1916.

The images have been provided to us by Linfield military expert Johnny Jamison who would acknowledge the contribution of John McCormick and Nigel Henderson in making them available to him.

The name David Drennan is etched on the war memorial in the Linfield office in the Railway Stand at Windsor Park.

Rifleman David Drennan lost his life exactly 104 years ago today in the First World War in Flanders Fields in Belgium.

In mid-September in 2015 his final resting place close to the French / Belgian border was visited by the Linfield Academy during their sporting, educational and cultural trip to Belgium and an image of his cemetery headstone is reproduced below in honour of the sacrifice of the former Linfield player exactly one hundred and four years ago today

By way of further tribute to Rifleman Drennan, extracts from an article first published on this website on June 10, 2014 are reproduced below and the source for the article on his life is the handwritten archives of the former chairman, the late David Crawford.

David Drennan was born on June 17, 1877 in Whiteabbey. He lived at 42 Vernon Street and in 1900 was living at 37 Palestine Street both in Belfast. He was the son of James and Eliza (nee Hughes). His brother George was born in 1867 and he was father to Alex, Richard and Derek.

He married Hester (Hessie) Mary and they lived at 27 Agnes Street with their 4 sons Alex (born 1900), Donal (born 1903), George (born 1907) and James (born 1910). David's widow died in New York, USA in May 1960.

David was employed by the GPO between 1892 and 1915 although he lived in Canada for a short period before the War. He left the Postal service in April 1915 to join the RIR.

He was a goalkeeper who signed professional for Linfield in October 1899 remaining until May 1902. He was the seventh Linfield goalkeeper. Previously he was with Woodvale FC, Distillery in 1898/99 and Cliftonville. After leaving Linfield he was with Willowfield in 1902/3 and then he rejoined Cliftonville in season 1903/04.

With Linfield he made 3 appearances in season 1899/1900 and then a further 10 appearances in season 1900/01 making a career total of 13 Linfield appearances.

His Linfield debut came on December 16, 1899 in a 1-1 home City Cup draw against Glentoran and his further appearances included a 3-1 win away to Cliftonville on December 30, 1899 and a 3-0 home win against Belfast Celtic on January 6, 1900. He played in a friendly 4-1 win away against Cliftonville on February 3, 1900.

In the following season (1900-1) he featured in an Irish Cup 4-1 win away to Bohemians on November 17, 1900 as well as Belfast Celtic league games on October 6 and 13, Distillery on October 20 and a scoreless draw away to Glentoran on November 3, 1900. He featured in City Cup games against Belfast Celtic, Distillery, Cliftonville, Glentoran and his final game was a 2-1 away win against Belfast Celtic on December 29, 1900 - although he did play in a 1-1 friendly game away to Distillery on February 23, 1901.

During the First World War Private Rifleman David Drennan served in the 11th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles (No 18-4). He served in France and in Flanders, Belgium and he was killed in action aged 37 on September 1, 1916. His final resting place is Burial plot 2, grave 4 - H C 27 - Ration Farm, La Plus Douvre Annex, Belgium.
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