2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment from August to October 1914

2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment from August to October 1914

I have focussed on the men who served with the battalion during the first two months of the war partly because the events that unfolded between August and October 1914 are in themselves extraordinary. In a few short weeks there took place the first hostile contact between the British and the Germans at Mons, the crucial battle of Le Cateau, the long and hot retreat to the outskirts of Paris, the successes on the Marne and the stalling of the allies’ advance at the Aisne. Then, at the beginning of October 1914 the battalion was redeployed north and took part in the fighting around La Bassee. On the 20th of October at Le Pilly, they were surrounded and overwhelmed. All but 135 men and one officer were either killed, wounded and/or taken prisoner. This means that since they had disembarked in France on 14th August well over a thousand members of the battalion had become casualties. Such a casualty rate among the battalions of the First World War may not in itself be exceptional. However, what needs to be taken into account is the fact that many of those who proceeded to France with the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment had been serving together for years and in some cases decades. Some may have fought together in the Boer War or have had a shared experience of the hardship of years of service in India. They genuinely were comrades in arms, which must have made the destruction of this regular army battalion all the more affecting for those who survived. The first day of the Somme may well have produced equally shocking statistics. However, the close camaraderie of the regular army was by then a thing of the past and replaced by a weary acceptance of the brutalities of trench warfare and an understanding that too great an investment in those around you was best avoided. It is the poignancy of all those friendships and long-standing associations torn asunder in eight short weeks that makes this tale so compelling.

Created by: Patrick63223

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  • Profile picture for Patrick Flynn

    Born 1895

    Died 1914

    British Army 6130 Private Royal Irish Regiment 2nd Battalion

  • Profile picture for John Denys Shine

    Born 1894

    Died 1914

    British Army Second Lieutenant Royal Irish Regiment 2nd Battalion (attached from 1st)

  • Profile picture for Michael Collins

    Born 1892

    Died 1915

    British Army 10250 Private Royal Irish Rifles

    British Army 10250 Private Royal Irish Regiment 2nd Battalion (BEF)

  • Profile picture for Michael Sullivan

    Born 1881

    Died 1914

    British Army 7225 Private Royal Irish Regiment 2nd Battalion

  • Profile picture for Thomas Taylor

    Died 1918

    British Army 6962 Private Royal Irish Regiment 2nd Battalion (embarkation for France to join BEF)

  • Profile picture for Edward Brien

    British Army 6751 Private Royal Irish Regiment

  • Profile picture for Arthur Burville

    Born 1892

    British Army 8947 Private Royal Irish Regiment

  • Profile picture for John Grace

    British Army 101824 Private Liverpool Regiment

    British Army 8218 Private Royal Irish Regiment

  • Profile picture for John Byrne

    British Army 8953 Private Royal Irish Regiment

  • Profile picture for Arthur Daw

    British Army 8032 Lance Corporal Royal Irish Regiment

  • Profile picture for William Charles Bain

    Born 1891

    Died 1914

    British Army 10540 Private Royal Irish Regiment 2nd Battalion

  • Profile picture for Michael Deasey

    British Army 2311145 Private Royal Engineers

    British Army 8432 Private Royal Irish Regiment

  • Profile picture for Thomas Connolly

    British Army 4350 Private Royal Irish Regiment

  • Profile picture for John Davis

    British Army 8584 Private Royal Irish Regiment

  • Profile picture for John Greene

    Died 1915

    British Army 8707 Lance Corporal Royal Irish Regiment

  • Profile picture for Augustine Greeley

    British Army 9856 Private Royal Irish Regiment

  • Profile picture for Albert S Cooke

    British Army 9909 Corporal Royal Irish Regiment

  • Profile picture for Thomas Croke

    British Army 6906 Company Quarter Master Serjeant Royal Irish Regiment

  • Profile picture for Patrick Casey

    British Army 9005 Private Royal Irish Regiment

  • Profile picture for John Galvin

    British Army 8071 Private Royal Irish Regiment