Ireland & WWI

Published in Issue 5 (September/October), Letters, Volume 22

Sir,—Congratulations on your special issue ‘Ireland & WWI’ (HI 22.4, July/ Aug. 2014), which made very interesting reading. Allow me to add some additional information. One gets the impression from reading Edward Madigan’s article on the Cross of Sacrifice, erected recently at Glasnevin Cemetery, that Company Sergeant-Major Martin Doyle was serving with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers when he won the Military Medal and Victoria Cross, when in actual fact he was serving with the 1st Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers. When he retired from the Irish army in 1937 he was employed by Guinness as a security officer. He died on 20 November 1940. The headstone over his grave is that of the Commonwealth Graves Commission design and is maintained by that organisation through the Office of Public Works here. It was paid for by subscriptions from members of the Old Comrades Association of the Royal Munster Fusiliers, and the money left over was presented to his widow, who also received a yearly pension from the association.

Mark Phelan’s article, ‘From Mons to Ypres: Irish battalions in the BEF, 1914’, briefly referred to the heroic action of the 2nd Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers at Étreux. This battalion was held in reserve during the Battle of Mons and was designated to provide part of the rearguard to cover the withdrawal of First Corps under the command of Lieutenant General (later Field Marshal) Sir Douglas Haig, which it did effectively; it had held off nine battalions of the 19th and 2nd Divisions of the 10th Reserve Corps of the German army for twelve hours—quite overwhelming odds. When the last shot was fired and the Munsters had surrendered, twelve miles separated First Army Corps from the Germans.

The photograph (p. 39) depicting the handing over of the regimental colours of the Southern Irish regiments did not state their names. They were the Royal Irish Regiment, the Prince of Wales Royal Canadian Leinster Regiment, the Connaught Rangers, the Royal Munster Fusiliers and the Royal Dublin Fusiliers—five in total (not six, as stated in the caption). The South Irish Horse did not have a regimental colour; instead it presented a silver plate to the monarch. I hope that this additional information is of interest to readers.—Yours etc.,



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