A Short Record of the Services and Experiences of the 5th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers in the Great War

Andrews UK Limited
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The 5th Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers formed part of the 10th (Irish) Division raised at the outbreak of the Great War in response to Kitchener’s call for volunteers. This very concise history relates the battalion’s exploits which began at Gallipoli in July 1915. After a hard mauling in this doomed campaign, the battalion recuperated on the Greek island of Lemnos before being hurled into yet another forlorn enterprisxe : the attempt to save Serbia from being overrun. The unit’s two years in the Balkans ended on the Macedonian front, to which they bid farewell in the autumn of 1916, with memories ‘chiefly composed of hasrdship, disease and ennui’. The battalion’s next port of call was the Palestine campaign of 1917-18, exchanging mountain warfare for the desert. In Palestine the Battalion at last tasted victory against the Turks, helping to drive them from the Gaza-Bethsheba line and deep into the hills of Judea. The battalion finally embarked for France in May 1918. After a well-deserved spell of leave, and despite enduring its first gas attack, the battalion joined the pursuit of the Germans across the River Scheldt in the final weeks of the war.
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Andrews UK Limited
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Dec 19, 2011
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History / Military / General
History / Military / World War I
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In this history the two battalions are dealt with separately but the list of Honours and Awards combines both battalions. When war broke out the 1st Battalion was in Bombay and sailed for home on 3 Sep 1914, arriving on 2 October and joining the newly formed regular division, the 8th. They landed in France on 5 November 1914 taking part in the battles of Neuve Chapelle, Aubers Ridge and Loos. Both the regiment’s VCs were won by the 1st Battalion, at Neuve Chapelle and during the Aubers Ridge battle. Subsequently the narrative describes the battalion’s part on the Somme, at Third Ypres, at Villers Bretonneux and the Chemin des Dames in 1918, and the Second Battle of Arras. The 2nd Battalion in August 1914 was stationed in Sheffield, part of the 18th Brigade of the 6th Division which was widely dispersed with two brigades in Ireland and one in Northern Command. They landed in France in September 1914 and after taking part in the Battle of the Aisne moved north to the Ypres salient where the division stayed for the next thirteen months sustaining some 11,000 casualties before moving down to the Somme. The battalion fought at Lens in June/July 1917 suffering losses of 183 or a quarter of its trench strength, and it was also at Cambrai. Wylly’s is a factual, unembellished account avoiding dramatics. Casualty figures are given from time to time following actions with individual officers named, as are officers with incoming drafts. After the war a memorial tower was erected at the summit of Crich Cliff, near Ripley, to be seen for miles around. The account of its opening, on 6th August of some unspecified year is reproduced from the Derbyshire Advertiser: It commemorates 11,409 of the Regiment who died in the Great War and the 140,000 who served in its thirty-two battalions.
The Cheshire's (22nd Foot) mustered thirty-eight battalions during the course of the war, of which fifteen saw action. Between them they served in every theatre of war: Western Front, Gallipoli, Italy, Macedonia, Palestine and Mesopotamia. Total dead amounted to 8,420, seventy-five battle honours were awarded and two VCs. The construction of this history is unusual: each theatre of war is taken separately and within that theatre the narrative unfolds chronologically, but instead of chapter or section headings there are, in the main, Battle Honour headings with dates and descriptions, some brief, some extensive, of the action which won the Honour and the identity of the battalion or battalions involved. There are a few headings that relate to less significant events, these are shown in lower case while the Battle Honour headings are in upper case. So with this history, when you look at the list of contents you are looking at the roll of Battle Honours awarded to the Regiment. Usually such lists are shown either on the title page or in a separate appendix. It is a history full of action with many personal contributions, with maps and sketches to support the narrative which often summarises the casualties at the end of an action. There are some useful appendices. The Roll of Honour is introduced with a summary showing the totals of dead, officers 378, other rank totals by battalions followed by the nominal rolls, officers grouped alphabetically, other ranks in their battalions. The 56-page list of Honours and Awards, including Mentions, is arranged alphabetically, the rank of the recipient is not given but citations are given for VC, DSO, MC and DCM awards; and the final appendix, entitled 'Mobilization', gives briefly the story of each battalion before it went overseas.
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