In 1816 the author’s great-great grandfather, Thomas Kearey, arrived in England to seek his fortune. He was the latest – but by no means the last – in a line of strong and resourceful men. This book is the story of the Keareys, and of their place in history through the centuries. It relates how the Ciardha (‘Ciar’s people’) in the Ireland of the Dark Ages evolved into the modern Keareys, how holders of that name laboured, loved and fought through the centuries, and how in more recent times they were proud to fight with honour for their adopted country of Britain in two world wars. Terence Kearey has woven the carefully-researched story of what happened to his family over the centuries into the economic and social history of these islands, explaining how his ancestors coped with, and in some cases helped to change, the vicissitudes of poverty, war and economic and social change. The result is a detailed and vivid picture of a past that is quickly fading from memory.
Terence Kearey was born in North Harrow in 1935, one of three children of a hard-working lower middle class family. In the 1950s he embarked on a career in the printing and reproduction industry, but dismayed by the industrial greed and strife of the 1960s and 70s, he abandoned a successful career to become a college lecturer. Along the way he developed a keen interest in history and spent many years researching the story of his own family, all the way back to the Irish Ciardha clan of the Dark Ages from which the family name is derived. He has taken a similar interest in his mother's family, the Collinses of Chard in Somerset.
Having studied the lives and times of his forebears over the centuries, he has woven their stories together into a fascinating narrative thread which reaches all the way from the Irish clans of the early centuries AD to his own personal experiences of love, life, work, marriage and parenthood in the 20th century. He is now working on a film script involving moments from the first three of this quartet, Country Ways, History, Heroism and Home and A Changing World.
His next book focuses on a key campaign of the First World War in which his father, Regimental Sergeant Major (later Major) Albert Kearey, played a key role. On a summer's day on the Somme in 1916, one brave battalion, The Kensingtons, lost half its men in less than an hour, cut to pieces by enemy artillery. The Kensingtons, guardians of the right flank on the battlefront at Gommecourt, were ordered to march on the enemy without proper preparation in a move later condemned as foolhardy and suicidal. The author sets out a candid account of the action, examining why this tragic and unnecessary slaughter was allowed to happen.