Rifleman Samuel Flanagan

1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles

Wounded in Action, 13th March 1915, At Neuve Chapelle

From Dublin, aged 21

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Samuel Flanagan a painter from the North Gloucester Place in Dublin, enlisted for the 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Rifles on the 15th January 1912 aged 18. A pre-war regular soldier, Samuel was garrisoned  in Aden, with the 1st Battalion, at the out break of the Great War in August 1914. They embarked for Britain on the 27th of September 1914 and arrived at Liverpool on the 22nd of October they joined 25th Brigade, 8th Divison at Hursley Park, Winchester. They proceeded to on the 6th November 1914 landing at Le Havre a much needed reinforcement to the BEF and remained on the Western Front throughout the war.

The battalion’s first major action was the Battle of Neuve Chapelle between 10 and 13 March 1915. After an initial artillery bombardment, the battalion advanced to the previously captured German front lines and helped to secure the village of Neuve-Chapelle. It then had to weather heavy German counter-attacks which failed to dislodge the members of the battalion but caused very heavy casualties, amounting to 18 officers and 440 other ranks, including its Colonel.

Bitter fighting as british troops enter German trenches at Neuve Chapelle Photo: http://www.royalulsterrifles.com
Bitter fighting as British troops enter German trenches at Neuve Chapelle
Photo: http://www.royalulsterrifles.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In his first action Samuel was wounded. Shrapnel to his right arm put him out of the fray. He was immediately taken to the 10th General Hospital in Rouen, where he was described in his service papers as ‘Dangerously Ill’ and that his relatives were to be informed immediately.

Samuel went on to recover from his wounds, but for him the war was over. He was finally discharged on the 14th November 1915, having lost the use of his right arm.

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After the war Samuel went to work for the Post Office in Pearse Street, Dublin 2. He married his wife Catherine with whom they had three children. By the 1930s the family were living in Churchtown, Dublin 12

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