|Information: ||James was born c.1883 in Richmond Street, Longford. He was the eldest of 6 children, including Peter and Charles (next-of-kin), William, Rosetta and John Patrick. Prior to enlistment, James worked as a smiths-labourer. Rifleman Keenan enlisted in Longford, and served on the Western Front where he was taken as a prisoner of war in 1914. It was initially believed that he had died, but the Longford Leader on the 23 January 1915 wrote the following: 'CAPTURED BY GERMANS: - His people in Longford were greatly surprised and delighted to receive a letter from Private James Keenan, Royal Irish Rifles, who was reported from the War Office as being killed in action on the 26th October last, at Niewene [?] Germany. He is now captured by the Germans, and is a prisoner of war at Lazarett, Turnhall, in Germany. In a letter to his mother in Richmond St., Longford, which she received on Monday morning last he says: "I know you will be surprised and delighted to hear from me. I have been wounded but am almost well again. Although I am a prisoner of war don't worry about me as I am very well treated here and I am getting very good food. I would be more than pleased to receive some "woodbines" from you. They are the only things I feel the want for." All of his friends in Longford were delighted at the news for everyone thought he was dead. He was even prayed for at all the Masses in Longford on Sunday 6th December last, when the news came from the War Office that he was killed. We learn that several presents have been sent to him this week from his numerous friends in Longford and also from his own people, and we trust that he may receive them all safely, which will be a great boon to him.'
. Sadly, Keenan passed away from tuberculosis in shortly after in June 1915. |