Greaser Thomas Phillips

Merchant Navy,

Lost at Sea (Drowned), 26th January 1918,

From  Dublin, Aged 33












Thomas Phillips was born in Dublin in 1885, son of the late Thomas and Catherine Phillips and Husband of Christine Phillips of 30 Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin. Serving as a Greaser aboard the Cargo Ship SS Cork on a journey to Liverpool with a general cargo, she was torpedoed by the German Submarine U-103 on 26th January 1918, nine miles North East off Lynas Point, Anglesey, Wales.

1916 illustration by Willy Stöwer of a German submarine destroying an English fishing steamer. The SS Cork was a victim of Germany’s naval blockade. Photo:

On this occasion, two torpedoes were fired and both struck the port side of the vessel over the water line. The first entered the engine-room and the second, immediately after, struck near the foremast. Within five minutes, the ship had sunk.

Two lifeboats, containing 30 survivors, were launched. They were located and picked up a couple of hours later by a passing steamer and, after being transferred to another ship, were brought to the nearest port.

12 crew were lost including Thomas Phillips from a ship’s company of 42.

Thomas is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial, in London. It commemorates the men of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets who have no grave but the sea.

Tower Hill Memorial, London Photo:



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

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.


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:

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 William Murray

11th (Prince Albert’s Own) Hussars

Killed in Action, Messines

November 1st 1914,

Aged 26, From Dublin


William Murray a Tailor from Dublin,enlisted with the 11th Hussars in Dublin on the 8th July 1904 at the age of 16.  Before war broke out he was serving with the 11th Hussars in India. August 1914 he was at Aldershot, as part of the 1st Cavalry Brigade in the Cavalry Division. Moved to France,on the 9th September 1914.

The 11th Hussars passing in review before King George V at Aldershot in June 1914 Photo;
The 11th Hussars passing in review before King George V at Aldershot in June 1914


William arrived on time to see action at Messines. The region right in the north of France near Lille and the Belgian border was where the 11th fought their next historic battle. It was part of the BEF’s struggle to hold the line at Ypres. Between October 19th and 23rd 1914 the 11th fought successfully in the Ploegsteert area, helping to stop the advance of 3 German cavalry divisions. Then Allenby ordered them to a small Belgian village called Messines which stood at the southern end of a ridge 2 miles south-east of Wystschaete. The Messines Ridge offered a good vantage point over the surrounding flat countryside and it was a barrier to the Germans wishing to pass south of Ypres.




















The 11th were no longer mounted. They fought in the trenches just like the infantry. At the end of October the Germans brought in 6 new divisions to make an all-out assault on the British line between Messines and Gheluvelt. The British were heavily outnumbered. On the 30th Oct a heavy German bombardment of Messines stared at 8am.

The big German attack came the next day, Oct 31st at 4.30am. The town came under attack from infantry as well as artillery fire. One of the 11th’s machine-guns proved very effective from a top window in one of the buildings. This was a dangerous place to be as houses all around were being destroyed. The shelling devastated regimental HQ where most of the senior officers, including Col Pitman were wounded.

The town was now a place where every man fought with rifle and bayonet. The streets were barricaded and holes hacked in walls to shoot through. Luckily the 11th prided itself on more than it’s fair share of marksmen, so their firing with the new Mark III Lee Enfield rifle was deadly. The battle lasted for two days until Nov 1st when the Germans succeeded in capturing Messines, but they had paid a heavy price.

THE BATTLE OF MESSINES, OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 1914 (Q 51161) Main street of Messines held by the 11th Regiment Hussars (Prince Albert's Own), 31st October 1914. The Germans were held at bay throughout the day. In two days' fighting the Regiment lost half of its fighting strength. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:
THE BATTLE OF MESSINES, OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 1914.  Main street of Messines held by the 11th Regiment Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own), 31st October 1914. The Germans were held at bay throughout the day. In two days’ fighting the Regiment lost half of its fighting strength. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

The 11th Hussars suffered dreadfully with 17 Other Ranks killed and over a 100 wounded, William being among the dead. His body was never recovered and he has no known grave and is remembered with honour at the Menin Gate Memorial to the missing.

William left behind his pregnant wife Margaret who was living just off Baggott Street in Dublin City, and was expecting their first child.

In finishing William’s story it would be remiss of me not to mention his prowess as a boxer. He won several Bantam Weight championships whilst in the army.

Menin Gate memorial to the missing, Ypres Photo from
Menin Gate memorial to the missing, Ypres
Photo from




Rifleman Samuel Flanagan

1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles

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

From Dublin, aged 21











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:
Bitter fighting as British troops enter German trenches at Neuve Chapelle









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.






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

Able Seaman John Allen

Royal Navy

From Kingstown, (now Dun Laoighre), Dublin

Scan_20140529 (10)John Allen was born on the 24th September 1879 in Kingstown, near Dublin. He joined the Royal Navy on his eighteenth birthday in September 1897.

At the time he is described as being 5ft5 in height with brown hair, blue eyes and a fair and freckled complexion with various tattoos on his left forearm.

He began his career on board two training ships, HMS Curacoa & HMS Vivid 1, both at his home base of Devonport near Plymouth.

He goes on to serve on the following ships over the next number of years. Hermione, Arrogant, Tamar, Spartiate,Repulse and Carnarvon.

This brings us to 1911 where John was serving on board HMS Defence till September 1913 and it was on board this ship that he was awarded his Long Service & Good Conduct medal (LSGC), pictured above, after 16 years service in the Royal Navy.

John’s Great War service was primarily aboard the Destroyer HMS Albatross. He took his discharge on January 20th 1916. His character & ability rating during his 19 years service, earned him the above, LSGC Medal.  He earned three Good Conduct badges during his time, the last being in September 1910, with his character being listed on the ships on which he served as being very good.

Further notes from his service papers indicate that he received a pension from the Navy in September 1919 and that he had been paid a war gratuity whilst on board HMS Defiance.

John Allen













In addition to his LSGC Medal, John was awarded the 1914/15 Star trio for his service in the Navy during the Great War.

John lost two brothers during the war. Daniel who was also in the Royal Navy, was killed on board HMS Hawke when she was sunk on the 15th October 1914 & Stephen of the 2nd Leinsters, killed in action 20th October 1914, just five days after his brother Daniel