Nurse Eva Adelaide Dawson

 

 

 

 

 

Eva Adelaide Dawson was born in Carlow in 1864. August 1914 saw Eva serving as Lady Superintendant with the Voluntary Aid Detatchment (V.A.D) in Dublin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The V.A.D. was a detachment of nursing and ambulance members that were trained and readily available to provide field or hospital services. Hundreds of men and women across Ireland joined the detachment with the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Eva being one of these trained nurses.

 

THE BRITISH ARMY ON THE WESTERN FRONT, 1914-1918 (Q 2405) Voluntary Aid Detachment, Order of St John (VAD) nurses and convalescents in a ward in Dublin

 

During the First World War it was common to see ships pulling into Dublin with hundreds of wounded soldiers returning from war but many of them too were not even from Ireland but were sent to Ireland as hospitals across England were trying to cope with the overcrowding and sometimes it was purely just ships heading directly to Ireland with mail and food supplies. These injured soldiers were cared for by waiting members of the St. John Ambulance and with assistance from the Royal Irish Automobile Club and the corporation ambulance. A lot of the men returned home after they recovered to Great Britain while some settled in Ireland.

From Eva’s Red Cross service card, she describes her duties as Lecturing on Home Nursing, Meeting Hospital ships & taking charge of Hospital trains to Cork & working for the wounded.

Voluntary Aid Detachment Recruitment poster seeking women for Great Britain & Ireland’s Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD)
Photo: https://i.pinimg.com/736x/80/4f/53/804f537f87061d5d3e1e2e3b153f6600–ww-posters-red-cross.jpg

In addition, she states, with the Commandant of No 2 V.A.D, she started the Irish Counties Hospital Supply Depot in Nassau St. Here volunteer women made dressings and bandages, such as papier mâché surgical applications and sphagnum moss dressings.

Irish War Hospital Supply Depot Photo: http://www.scarletfinders.co.uk/178.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eva died In Birmingham in October 1925, where she had been living with her late husband William…

 

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Private Matthew Gibney

2nd Battalion Irish Guards,

From Drogheda, Co. Meath,

Slightly Wounded in France, 1st April 1916,

Aged 20

Matthew Gibney was born to Michael & Jane Gibney of Nunswalk in Drogheda on the 7th May 1896. A coachman by trade he enlisted into the 2nd Battalion Irish Guards, in Drogheda, on the 9th January 1915. Following a period of training he landed with his battalion at Le Havre and came under orders of 2nd Guards Brigade, Guards Division.

In September that year, the battalion, as well as the 1st Irish Guards, took part in the Battle of Loos, which lasted from 25 September until early October.

Loos 25th September 1915 Photo: http://www.s234171324.websitehome.co.uk/saunders/images/loos25a.jpg

On September 25th, 1915, some 75,000 British soldiers rose from their trenches under the cover of a gas cloud the British swore they would never use.

They attacked the German lines centred on Loos-en-Gohelle, an unremarkable place, framed, then as now, by two huge slag heaps which dominate the flat terrain for miles around.

The third day involved the Guards Division. The 1st and 2nd battalions of the Irish Guards suffered grievous losses. The battle continued for another fruitless three weeks, but was effectively over after three days.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists some 10,240 British deaths from September 25th, 1915, including 8,500 who fell on the battlefield of Loos. The six British divisions in action that day suffered more casualties per unit than during the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Loos Battlefield today
Photo: http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/battles/battles-of-the-western-front-in-france-and-flanders/the-battle-of-loos/

The 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards spent much of the remainder of 1915 in the trenches. Matthew suffered his only injury of the war, when slightly wounded in the right hand & right leg whilst in trenches near Ypres, on the 31st March 1916. “The last day of March brought them for one breathless half-hour the heaviest shelling they had yet undergone; but it ended, as so many such outbursts did, in nothing but a few slight wounds”.

The 1st Battalion, Irish Guards spent much of the remainder of 1915 in the trenches, but, on 1st July 1916. the Battle of the Somme began, it was, and still is, the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army. The 1st Irish Guards took part in an action at Flers-Courcelette, where they suffered severe casualties in the attack in the face of withering fire from the German machine-guns. The battalion also took part in the action at Morval They were involved in the capture of the northern part of a village, during the action and were relieved the following day by the 2nd Irish Guards.

In 1917 the Irish Guards took part in the Battle of Pilckem which began on the 31 July during the Third Battle of Ypres. The Irish Guards also took part in the Battle of Cambrai in that year, the first large use of the tank in battle took place during the engagement. In 1918 the regiment fought in a number of engagements during the Second Battle of the Somme, including at Arras and Albert. The regiment then went on to take part in a number of battles during the British offensives against the Hindenburg Line. On 11 November 1918 the Armistice was signed.

The sacrifice by the Irish Guards during the First World War, however, was immense. Over 2,300 officers and men had been killed and well over 5,000 wounded. The regiment was awarded 406 medals, including four VCs, during the Great War.

After three and a half years service on the Western Front, Matthew had survived and come through virtually unscathed. Before he was demobbed in March 1919, Matthew was the servant/batman to Major Terence Edmund Gascoigne Nugent MC , Irish Guards.

Major T.E.G Nugent, in later life..Photo: http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portraitLarge/mw134409/Terence-Edmund-Gascoigne-Nugent-1st-Baron-Nugent

On his return from the war Matthew found time to marry Mary Josephine Bartley on the 25th June 1919. He was 23, and lived in Drogheda for the rest of his life.

 

Private Christopher Byrne

1st Battalion Irish Guards,

Wounded in Action, France 1915,

From Drumcondra, Dublin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christopher from Dublin, enlisted, pre war, with the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards on the 16th of October 1912.

Following the outbreak of the Great War, 1st Battalion, The Irish Guards was deployed to France almost immediately, and they remained on the Western Front for the duration of the war. Christopher, in fact, was one of the first to go, his battalion landing at Le Havre on the 13th of August 1914 as part of the 4th (Guards) Brigade, 2nd Division.

The 1st Battalion was involved in fighting for the duration of ‘First Ypres’, at Langemark, Gheluvelt and Nonne Boschen. The 1st Battalion suffered huge casualties between November 1–8 holding the line against near defeat by German forces, while defending Klein Zillebeck.

In May 1915, the 1st Irish Guards took part in the Battle of Festubert, though did not see much action. Two further battalions were formed for the regiment in July. In September that year, the battalion, as well as the 2nd Irish Guards, who had reached France in August, took part in the Battle of Loos, which lasted from 25 September until early October.It was here I believe where Christopher was wounded in action. Both battalions spent the rest of 1915 in the trenches and did not fight in any major engagements.

This relative quiet period for the regiment was broken on 1 July 1916 when the Battle of the Somme began. The 1st Irish Guards took part in an action at Flers-Courcelette where they suffered severe casualties in the attack in the face of withering fire from the German machine-guns. The battalion also took part in the action at Morval, before they were relieved the by the 2nd Irish Guards.

The Irish Guards going up a communication trench. Elverdinghe, 30 July 1917.
Photo: http://media.iwm.org.uk/iwm/mediaLib//355/media-355114/large.jpg

In 1917 the Irish Guards took part in the Battle of Pilckem which began on the 31 July during the Third Battle of Ypres. The Irish Guards also took part in the Battle of Cambrai in that year, the first large use of the tank in battle took place during the engagement.] In 1918 the regiment fought in a number of engagements during the Second Battle of the Somme, including at Arras and Albert. The regiment then went on to take part in a number of battles during the British offensives against the Hindenburg Line. On 11 November 1918 the Armistice with Germany was signed. 

The sacrifice by the Irish Guards during the First World War, however, was immense. Over 2,300 officers and men had been killed and well over 5,000 wounded. The regiment was awarded 406 medals, including four VCs, during the Great War.

Christopher was discharged & returned to Dublin in February 1919, having served almost 5 years, surviving the savagary & bloodshed of the war in Europe.

Sergeant Augustine Hackett

6th Battalion Connaught Rangers,

Killed in Action, 19th February 1917,

From Dublin aged 21

Augustine Hackett landed in France with the 6th Battalion Connaught Rangers on the 17th December 1915, attached to the 47th Brigade in 16th (Irish) Division, for service on the Western Front.

The Battalion was involved in action during operations in Guillemont & Guinchy. In just over a week’s fighting here in September 1916, the 6th Battalion lost 23 officers and 407 other ranks. Augustine coming through this attack unscathed. It was during this battle that he was awarded a Divisional Parchment Certificate for gallantry in action.

February 1917 saw the 6th Connaughts involved in fighting during the Battle of Messines (near the Petit Boise and Maedelstede Farm mines), carrying out numerous trench raids aimed at forcing temporary entry into the enemy’s line in order to kill defenders, destroy fortifications and weapons, gain intelligence by the capture of maps and documents, and return with prisoners.

Augustine was part of large trench raid, near Kemmel, on the 19th February,  when 9 Officers & 190 men went forward under cover of a dense fog The war diary mentions the men ‘cheerfully tucking green miniature Irish flags into their caps or buttonholes’, before moving out at 7.15am.

The Germans however, put up stiff resistance, and at no point did the Rangers succeed in getting past the German wire.

The battalion lost 3 Officers & 8 men killed 2 Officers & 17 men wounded. Augustine tragically, was one of those men killed. The Commanding Officer, Rowland Fielding, mentions his death.

“The first wave of the left party, started off well under 2Lt. Cummins, a very gallant young officer whom I had put in command in place of the original commander. Then Sergeant Hackett, was almost immediately killed”.

The Germans offered a chivalrous local armistice, allowing Augustine & his comrades bodies to be recovered.

He is remembered with honour at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery

 

HE WENT TO WAR
FOR THE SAKE OF PEACE
HE DIED WITHOUT HATE
THAT LOVE MIGHT LIVE

 

Corporal Wallis Darlington

6th Battalion Leinster Regiment,

From Inchicore, Dublin,

Aged 31

Wallis Darlington was born in Dublin in March 1884 to James Faucett Darlington a printer and his wife Ellen. From the 1901 Census, Wallis aged 17 is living with his parents at 2 Spences Terrace, near Cork Street, right in the heart of the Liberties area in Dublin. Wallis was an Engine Fitters Apprentice at Inchicore Rail Works.

More information can now be gleaned from the 1911 Census returns. Wallis(27) is now married to Matilda(23) and they have a baby daughter Charlotte(1). The family were now living at Tyrconnell St, in Inchicore in Dublin, tenements to be blunt!! Wallis & his family were Church of Ireland and he had been married to his wife for three years. Charlotte their daughter died in August 1911, from scarlet fever, a terrible bereavement for this young family. Not uncommon though for the time, as many children perished through living in squalid conditions. Their son Ralph arrived though in May 1912.

His occupation is now giving as an Engine Fitter, for the Great Southern & Western Railway at Inchicore Works. Tyrconnell Road where he now lived, is practically a stones throw, from the station works at Inchicore. From an article in the Evening Herald of the 6th November 1915, we gather that before the war, Wallis played half back for the railway team & was described as a ‘fine player’.

A GS&WR railway engine built by the Inchicore Works in 1902.
Photo: https://ansionnachfionn.com/2016/03/23/improvised-armour-from-the-british-army-1916-to-the-islamic-state-2016/

With the advent of the Great War, Wallis enlisted into the 6th Battalion the Leinster Regiment, at Dublin in September 1914. Following a period of training, on July 9th the Battalion as part of the 29th Brigade of the 10th Division, sailed from Liverpool on board the SS Mauretania, bound for the Dardanelles.

They arrived at Mudros on the small Greek island of Lemnos, on 26th July 1915. Mudros was only a staging post and on the 5th August the battalion arrived at Anzac, the 29th Brigade being at this time attached to the Australian & New Zealand Corps.

And so arrived Wallis at the front line, a trained and fighting man, ready to take on the Turks. The battalion were straight into the thick of things. Part of the 29th took part in actions on Sari Bair 6-10 August and at Hill 60 later that month.

Sari Bair on the whole, was the centre piece of the total August offensive, the breakout from Anzac!

The assault began late on the evening of the 6th August and although the first attacks on the Turkish covering were successful, it soon became clear that the operation was too ambitious.

The assaulting columns began to lose their way as they struggled through the maze of inter-cutting ravines, harassed by the light but elusive opposition of the Turks. This slowed progress to a crawl. When dawn broke on the 7th August, the columns, which should have been on the summits along Sari Bair ridge, where still languishing far below in the gullies & lower ridges, leading up to the peaks.

The fighting at Sari Bair August 1915 Photo: http://www.6thgurkhas.org/website/regiment-battles/gallipoli-campaign

A further series of attacks were ordered, which resulted in lodgements on Chunuk Bair and Hill Q on August 8th. But by the end of August 9th, the question was no longer whether the British could seize control of Sari Bair, but whether they could hold on to the gains they had made.

The men were in badly entrenched, enfalided positions; they were exhausted, hungry, thirsty and lacking in local leadership, as a result of the high casualties among their Officers & NCO’s. Above all the divisions & brigades had become totally intermixed, with no clearly defined command structure, and they were bereft of orders to tell them what they were meant to be trying to do. It was a potentially disastrous situation.

On the 10th August, Mustafa Kemal led the newly arrived Turkish reserves in a massed counter-attack across the top of the Sari Bair Ridge. Pushed back from Chunuk Bair & Hill Q, the British came tumbling back from the hills, sometimes in good order, sometimes not. The attempt to seize the Sari Bair heights had ended, as it had begun, in failure.

The Sari Bair Range…
Photo: http://apostrophenz.blogspot.ie/2015/08/2015-term-3-week-3-centenary-of-chunuk.html

On the morning of the 11th of August, the 6th Leinsters along with the rest of the Brigade, was relieved and marched back in the direction of the beach. The men had earned a rest, since they had been fighting hard for thirty six hours and had been going two days without sleep.

Wallis & the 6th Leinster’s fighting on the peninsula, was at an end, with this one battle. The Leinster’s lost 6 Officers & 81 men killed at Sari Bair

Allied casualties over the five day period amounted to 12,500 men out of a total of 37,000 present, more than 33% of the Allied force at Anzac.

Wallis went on to survive the war, eventually transferring & finishing with the Royal Engineers (Waterways, Railways & Roads) section. For his service during the Great War 1914 – 18, he was awarded the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal, (Pictured below).

He returned to his job at Inchicore Works as an engine fitter. Wallis died of heart failure in May 1945 and is buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery, in Harold’s Cross, Dublin. His wife Matilda outlived him, for a further twelve years, dying on 30th July 1957.

 

 

 

Rifleman James Neville

1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles,

Killed in Action, 9th May 1915,

Born Forkhill, Co. Armagh

 

 

 

 

James enlisted with the 1st Battalion, the Royal Irish Rifles at Dundalk in late 1914. Landing in France on the 21st of April 1915 as part of 25th Brigade in the 8th Division.

May 1915 saw James with his battalion preparing for the Battle of Aubers Ridge.

May 9th, 1915, the taking of Aubers Ridge marked a major loss of life for the Royal Irish Rifles in the war, wiping out almost 80 per cent of the battalion, with over 100 men dead. James Neville being one of these. He died 18 days after landing in France.

James’ body was never found. He is remembered with honour on the Ploegsteert Memorial to the missing.

 

 

Private John Tiernan

D/B Company,

2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers,

Prisoner of war 24th May 1915 (Mouse Trap Farm),

From Dublin, aged 19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another casualty of the 2nd Battalion at http://Mouse Trap Farm was John Tiernan from Dublin.

One of 294 men originally posted as missing after the battle, John was in fact captured and spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner in Limburg POW camp in Germany.

Limburg, Prisoner of War camp…
Photo: http://www.irishbrigade.eu/camps/limburg.html

John spent nearly four years in captivity, returning to his widowed mother, in early 1919. She was living at 16 Rathdown Terrace on the North Circular Road in Dublin City.