Local historian on the BBC

Colin Cousins with the cover of his new book. INLM3211-135gc
Colin Cousins with the cover of his new book. INLM3211-135gc

Former Lurgan man Colin Cousins will feature in the opening episode of new BBC Northern Ireland series World War One At Home.

It begins on Monday night and has been scheduled to coincide with the centenary of the beginning of World War One.

The programme features powerful local stories from the war years and the first episode includes a contribution from historian Colin Cousins, who wrote a book detailing the social, economic and military impact of the First World War in County Armagh.

Colin grew up in Mourneview and first developed a passion for the Great War through his grandfather’s stories. His granddad, John Cousins, served with the 13th Royal Irish Rifles.

Colin said: “Early conversations that I had with my granddad were always about the First World War.

“He survived the battles at the Somme, Ypres and Messines.

“His brother James was killed on September 7, 1914. He was with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

“My grandfather joined in the same month in which his brother was killed.

“He’d have enlisted when he was 16. When he came home he was around 20. He’d have been in his late 60s and 70s whenever he was telling me the stories.”

Colin’s granddad and great uncle came from Dollingstown where volunteers would have transferred into the British Army via the 13th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles.

Colin himself served with the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf, the West Indies, the Arctic and the USA.

Following retirement from the service, he completed a PhD in Modern History at Queen’s University and is a member of the Birmingham Centre for First World War Studies, the Western Front Association and the Military History Society of Ireland.

Colin is married and now living in Richhill.

His book entitled Armagh and the Great War is published by The History Press Ireland.