Today, on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, we remember the late Lanty Gallagher from Dunmore. The Rosses, west Donegal, Ireland who fought and survived the decisive battle.
Lanty Gallagher was born in Dunmore, Carrickfinn about 1878 to Johnny “the Sailor” and Bridget Gallagher nee Forker. After recieving a good standard of education from Richard Given, schoolmaster at the local Island and Coast funded school, he followed his family’s seafaring tradition and joined the Navy in 1898. Lanty was fishing off Gola Island when he stopped a naval vessel and asked the captain if he could join; getting approval they towed his punt into Downings.
During his naval career he sailed the seven seas on the corvette HMS Champion and in the Mediterranean aboard the flagship HMS Queen. He also served on the pre-dreadnought battleships HMS Resolution and HMS Russell as well as the cruiser HMS Galatea and the King Alfred before joining the new state of the art battleship HMS Lion when it was commissioned on June 4th 1912. HMS Lion became flagship of the Grand Fleet during World War One under the command of Vice Admiral David Beatty.
Promoted to the rank of gunner, Lanty was to the fore at the first battle in modern naval warfare at Heligoland Bight in August 1914 and Battle of Dogger Bank in January 1915. At the decisive Battle of Jutland that began onMay 31st 1916, he was responsible for firing the first shots from the Lion’s new 13.5 inch guns. During this battle HMS Lion suffered a serious propellant fire that could have destroyed the ship had it not been for the bravery of the turret commander, who posthumously received the Victoria Cross having ordered the magazine to be flooded. Lanty saw out the remainder of the war aboard the Lion; retiring in July 1918 after a long and successful career. Both his brothers also served in the Navy but they weren’t as fortunate. Michael Gallagher also known as Buckie died after contracting malaria from one of his naval voyages and his brother Dan was last seen rounding the Cape of Good Hope on board a merchant navy ship during World War One. Shortly after Lanty’s retirement, he married Margaret Gallagher from Crolly Bridge, and raised their family in his native Dunmore.
He died on July 6th 1957 and is buried in the family plot in Annagry cemetery.