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.

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:

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…

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.