Private Ernest Percy Irish
Southwest Corner of Robinson Street (Garfield Lane) and Burton Avenue
Ernest Percy Irish, the 29-year-old son of William and Alice Irish, was severely injured two days before Armistice Day and underwent two months of rehabilitation in Europe before being transferred home.
During the rehabilitation, he arranged a meeting with his brother, Charles, who was serving as an ambulance attendant with the 112th Army Engineers. That was the last time they saw each other.
Seeing the Statue of Liberty one last time, he died on January 26, 1919, from lobar pneumonia in the arms of the accompanying physician as his ship sailed into port. He was buried with full military honors at Lakeview Cemetery.
Ernest was always modest and unassuming and when he enlisted in the U. S. Army in 1917 during World War I the Army wished to make him a captain, but he declined the honor, preferring to go with his men as a private.
He had been in charge of telegraph and telephone construction through several states in the west for the Santa Fe railroad and was well qualified for work in the signal corps.
He became a lineman in the 411th Army Signal Battalion and served in the Chateau-Thierry/Argonne Forest battlefield in France. Irish received a commendation from the French government for helping to divert a German attack that threatened to overrun a French camp. Under enemy fire, he strung phone lines used to communicated troop movements to repel an assault. He strung the longest phone line in the war from Versailles across France.
When signal work was no longer needed, he drove army transport trucks, and in the notice of his death sent to his parents, he was classed as a chauffeur.
Ernest Percy Irish was born on December 23, 1888. He moved to what is now Bratenahl with his family in 1895. Ernest attended Bratenahl School through the seventh grade. He studied for two years at Hawken School and graduated from Shaw High School.