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.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

Corporal Edward Lovely DCM

Royal Irish Regiment, attached 5th Battalion Mounted Infantry,

Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for Gallantry at Tabaksberg, South Africa in January 1901,

From Blanchardstown, Dublin,

Aged 30

Edward Lovely was born in the Parish of Blanchardstown, near Dublin, in the summer of 1870. He worked as a labourer in the Ordnance Survey before enlisting into the Royal Irish Regiment at Clonmel on 24 January 1890, for a term of 12 years. He was 5ft 7, with brown eyes & brown hair. His next of kin was his brother John, who lived in Marlborough Street, Dublin.

Edward served at home until October 1890, when he was posted to the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment in India. During his time in India, Edward took part in the campaigns on the Northwest Frontier, receiving the Indian General Service Medal with clasps for the Punjab Frontier 1897/98 & Samana 1897. In total Edward served almost 7 1/2 years in India returning home in January 1898, before transferring to the Army Reserve.

Royal Irish wounded in India 1897.
Photo; https://www.royal-irish.com/sites/default/files/stories/XWounded_Tyrah_Campaign.jpg

With the outbreak of the Boer War in South Africa, Edward rejoined the colours in May 1899, arriving with the 1st Battalion at Cape Town in January 1900. Edward then transferred to the 5th Battalion as part of the Regiment’s Mounted Infantry.

When the South African War broke out it became apparent that more mounted troops were needed to cover the great distances. The infantry regiments were asked to provide men to train as mounted infantry.

Mounted infantry watering their horses, in South Africa, 1901
Photo: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20131215/life-features/The-Malta-Mounted-Infantry-in-the-Second-Anglo-Boer-War.499554

The 5th Regiment saw action at, Paardeberg, 18th-27th Feb 1900 & at Bothaville, 6th Nov 1900 before arriving at Tabaksberg late in January 1901.

‘Towards the end of January, 1901, it was discovered that De Wet was secretly concentrating his burghers for another attempt to raid into Cape Colony. Many columns, including that in which the 5th M.I. were serving, were directed against him and caught up his rear-guard at the Tabaksberg, where on the 29th of January the Boers fought a delaying action, in the course of which a handful of the Royal Irish earned praise for their dash in “rushing” a kopje, and then for holding it against very heavy odds.’

It was here that Edward was recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM). The Regimental history states that ‘‘An intelligent & most useful N.C.O. Showed great gallantry in rushing a Kopje at the fight at Tabaksberg in 1901.’

Storming a Kopje, Paardberg, 1900
Photo: http://l7.alamy.com/zooms/cb1024a3b41348d7b81699fc662d06e4/boer-war-canadians-storming-a-kopje-paardberg-1900-faxj99.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the rest of the war the 5th Regiment MI were involved in escorting convoys and clearing farms. But there were also skirmishes to break the monotony. On 17th Oct 1901 a detachment of the RI company was surrounded by a large force of Boers, and after a fight in which the officer and 3 men were wounded, were compelled to surrender. This was an unfitting end to the RI’s part in the Mounted Infantry campaigning in South Africa. Those men of the 5th MI who survived to the end of the war were awarded the South Africa medal with clasps for the Relief of Kimberley, Paardeberg, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill and Wittebergen.

Edward was discharged on 5 January 1903, on termination of his limited period of engagement and received a gratuity of £20.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Sergeant John Tait

2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers,

Died of Wounds (Gas Poisoining),

26th May 1915,

From Dublin aged 21

 

 

 

 

 

Serjeant John Joseph Tait enlisted in Royal Dublin Fusiliers at Naas and first served in France with the 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers from 23 August 1914 as Lance Serjeant. The 2nd Battalion landed at Boulogne as part of 10th Brigade in 4th Division.

On the 24th August, the British Expeditonary Force (BEF), began to retreat from the Belgian City of Mons. It was during this retreat that the 2nd Dublin Fusiliers, as part of the 4th Infantry Division, were brought over from England and placed around the town of Le Cateau. Their objective was to provide a rear guard force that would cover the retreating BEF.

On April 25th, 1915, the 2nd battalion force marched 50 kilometres to fill a gap in the British lines to try and retake the village of St Julien from the Germans. They got within 100 yards of the German lines before being “mown down, like corn, by machine guns in enfilade. They remained lying dead in rows where they had fallen”, as the British official history put it.The battalion suffered 500 casualties, though John came through unscathed. It was possibly here, where John may have received his recommendation for the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM). For all ranks below commissioned officers, it was the second highest award for gallantry in action after the Victoria Cross..

Worse was to follow a month later at a place called Mouse Trap Farm which exists to this day. Mouse Trap Farm was a place of dread for the British soldiers, who nicknamed it Shell Trap Farm.

Mouse Trap Farm 1915.
Photo: http://firstworldwar.westminster.org.uk/?tag=the-london-regiment

The assault on Mouse Trap Farm was to be the Germans’ last attempt to take Ypres from the British. On the morning of May 24th, 1915, they drenched the Allied lines with chlorine gas along a 12 kilometre front.

Three Irish battalions held the line around Mouse Trap Farm. To the right was the 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, in the centre was the 2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers and to the left was the 2nd Royal Irish Regiment.

The RDF bore the brunt of the German assault on the trenches surrounding Mouse Trap Farm. Their trenches were within 35 metres of the German lines. They could hear the hissing of the gas being released. Within seconds the Germans were on top of them.

German troops starting a gas attack 1915

The Dublins quickly lost their commanding officer, Lieut Col Arthur Loveband, from Naas, Co Kildare, who was shot through the heart. The situation for the RDF grew ever more desperate. One officer sent out the message “For God’s sake send some help, we are nearly done”. No help was forthcoming. The only surviving officer, Capt Leahy, recalled that the men “died fighting at their post”.

At the end of the day all that was left was one officer and 21 other ranks out of a total complement of 658 officers and men. Rarely in that terrible war had a single battalion suffered such a wipeout.

The Royal Irish Regiment, drawn mostly from the southeast and the Royal Irish Fusiliers from Armagh, Cavan and Monaghan, also suffered grievous losses in what was the bleakest of bleak days for Irish regiments. The whole of Ireland was affected by the tragedy, which also claimed the life of Pte John Condon from Waterford city who was with the Royal Irish Regiment. At 14, he was the youngest Allied soldier to die in the war.

John died wretchedly of gas poisoning two days later. His will confirms that he died at No 8 Casualty Clearing Station on 26 May 1915 having made out his will in hospital and that all his effects should go to his wife on the event of his death. Serjeant Tait is buried in the Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France.

It is this particular horror of gas that is captured in Wilfred Owen’s poem Dulce et Decorum Est, arguably the most widely read description of the horrors of war in the English language.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

 

 

Private William Lindsay

2nd Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment

Wounded in Action, 9th May 1915

From Dublin, aged 29

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William was born in Dublin to Patrick & Sarah Lindsay in July 1886, at 16 Summer Place, Mountjoy Square in Dublin.

In the summer of 1904 , William decided to join the army and attested for the East Lancashire Regiment at Dublin. According to his medical records he was 5ft 3inches tall & weighed 115lbs.

He joined the 1st battalion spending the years 1905 – 1908 based at the Curragh in Co. Kildare. He served till 1913, when he was discharged to the army reserves, marrying Marie O’Toole in August 1913.

When the Great War broke out in August 1914, William was recalled from the reserves, was mobilized and posted to the 2nd battalion, East Lancashire Regiment. They landed in Le Havre, France on the 6th November as part of the 24th Brigade in the 8th Division.

At this time William got his first frontline experience in the muddy trenches of France & Flanders.

Soldiers of the East Lancs Regiment in early 1915
Photo: http://www.archive.oneguyfrombarlick.co.uk/www.oneguyfrombarlick.co.uk/forum_topic0928.html

At the Battle of Aubers Ridge on the 9th of May 1915, William was wounded badly in the shoulder, caused by a bursting shell which exploded only a few yards from where he was entrenched, killing many of his comrades.

The following describes the 2nd East Lancs on the morning of May 9th.

As the men left the trench at 5.40 am the following morning the front ranks of the attacking companies were swept by machine gun fire and all suffered heavy casualties before reaching their own advance trench.
Forced to ground, they were told to attack again at 1pm after a barrage from their artillery, but the barrage fell upon the East Lancashire men instead.

A young officer, in this, his first action, reported:-

“Suddenly there broke over us a hail of shrapnel. It seemed to come from everywhere except the enemy, and men were being hit right and left. I realised that our artillery were bombarding the enemy trenches, after which we would assault if there were any of us left. From all around came the cries of wounded men mingled with the splitting crash of shrapnel, and every few minutes one’s ears were numbed by bursts of Jack Johnsons behind the forward trench.”

The attack was a failure, with 10 officers killed & 9 wounded, 63 other ranks killed, 325 wounded with 42 missing. The vast majority being within yards of their own front-line trench.

William was evacuated to Britain with his wounds, spending the next four months recovering at Stobhill military hospital in Glasgow.

Photo: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/397513104586188419/to:

Fully recovered, William transferred to the 9th Service Battalion. His unit was moved at the end of October to Salonika, as a part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, arriving on the 5th November 1915.

Compared to other theatres of war, stalemate characterised this arduous campaign in mountainous Balkan terrain, with offensive operations largely confined to raids and patrolling. In December 1915 the 9th East Lancashires were in action at Kosturino and, on 13th-14th September 1916, the same battalion saw more serious fighting at Macukovo.

Dec 1, 1915 – British troops prepare for Bulgarian assault at Kosturino Ridge in southern Serbia (modern Macedonia). Photo: http://www.scoopnest.com/user/prchovanec/671820335193436160

For the best part of two years the battalion took their turn in trenches overlooked by the immensely strong fortified heights of Pip Ridge and Grand Couronne. These were their objectives when the second battle of Doiran was launched in September 1918.

On the 19th, the East Lancashires made a heroic solitary assault, enfiladed by machine guns on both flanks. Their sacrifice was not entirely in vain, for three days later the enemy abandoned their positions and on 29th September Bulgaria was the first of all the Central Powers to unconditionally surrender.

For William his war was over, he had survived. He returned to England serving on for a further year, before being discharged in January 1920. He returned to Dublin, where he remained for the rest of his life, dying of heart failure on the 28th February 1951, aged 65. He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

 

Private Peter Sherlock

12th Battalion Highland Light Infantry

Killed In Action 1st September 1916

From Rathmines, Dublin

Aged 33

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter,  an old soldier with 15 years service in the army, was living in Wishaw, Scotland, when he enlisted into the 12th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry in the spring of 1915. He landed with his battalion, in Boulogne on the 2nd of October 1915 as part of the 46th Brigade in 15th (Scottish) Division.

Peter was killed in action whilst attached to a working party of the Royal Engineers, on the 1st September 1916.

A working party, 1916
Photo: http://www.army.mod.uk/firstworldwarresources/archives/1575/a-working-party-1916-c

Working parties were regularly sent out to mend shell damage to the trenches and their defences. These soldiers carry coils of barbed wire and corkscrew pickets (metal stakes) for repairing the belts of wire that protected the trenches. This was done to prevent the enemy from getting close to front-line positions.

Peter’s body was found and he is remembered with honour at Vermelles British Cemetery.

“TRUE GLORY
LIES IN NOBLE DEEDS”
CICERO