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TV star Ant McPartlin discovers heroic Irish ancestor while tracing family history

British TV stars Ant and Dec discovered some interesting tales of their ancestry as part of their latest show ‘Ant & Dec’s DNA Journey’.

Their research included some fascinating insights into Ant McPartlin’s Irish heritage.

The Geordie duo visited the Tyneside Irish Centre where they met Bill Cororan who told them about Ant’s great grandfather, Peter, who had fought in the First World War.

Ant & Dec

Peter was part of the Tyneside Irish Brigade and was awarded the Military Medal for bravery after taking part in the Battle of the Somme.

Corcoran told the stars: “They were a group of pals who joined the Army as friends and they marched into the battle together and most of them died together.

“If you two had been there in 1914, you probably would have joined up together.”

He said to Ant: “Your great grandfather is an absolute hero.”

Ant replied: “Wow, don’t say that you’ll start me crying. This is really fascinating.”

Corcoran explained: “He fought and he fought as a warrior. When you win the Military Medal, you get that for something heroic.”

Ant said: “To fight at The Battle of the Somme and to be awarded the Military Medal, he was a hero. It’s quite emotional.”

Declan Donnelly also had an ancestor who was in the military, although not quite so heroic.

The duo went to the Royal Chelsea Barracks to learn about Dec’s great-great-grandfather, James Donnelly.

James fought in the Crimean War, but military expert Glenn Fisher told Dec that his ancestor had been court-martialed and labelled a deserter.

A document said that James had been ‘tried and imprisoned for habitual drunkenness’.

Fisher said: “It would be quite a shame and a disgrace really. He’s gone for a soldier and he’s deserted after six weeks. It would have brought shame upon his family.”

Dec said: “It was not what I was expecting at all, nowhere near. I didn’t ever expect it was going to be a colourful history.”

Take a look at the trailer below.

Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcallingJoin our community

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