Book of the Seventh Service Battalion the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
In September 1914 the 16th (Irish) Division was formed, comprised of 47th, 48th and 49th Brigades, and among the infantry battalions allocated to the 49th Brigade was the 7th R Inniskilling Fusiliers, formed on 2nd October 1914. In the initial stages recruiting was difficult but a gradual improvement received an almighty set-back when in June 1915 the battalion was required to send a draft of 300 to the 10th Irish Division then in England, getting ready to embark for Gallipoli. This nearly resulted in the disbandment of the battalion, which had to start all over again, but by the time the division began its move to England in September 1915 the battalion was about 700 strong. After final training the division embarked for France in December, less the artillery and 49th Brigade which eventually crossed in February 1916. All this is recounted in Part I of the history.Part II is the story of the battalion on the Western front where it served till August 1917 when, on the 23rd, during Third Ypres, heavy losses resulted in amalgamation with the 8th Bn and henceforward it was the 7th/8th Bn. At this point the story ends. The battalion's introduction to trench warfare was in the Loos salient where it spent six months, and the memorial to this period is the plot in Philosophe Cemetery where 115 officers and men lie side by side in five rows, at the end of the book there is a plan of the cemetery showing the graves and who is buried in them. The battalion also fought on the Somme, notably at Ginchy and Guillemont. 7th Inniskillings were to the fore in the assault on Messines Ridge on 7th June 1917, in this major attack the battalion lost only 22 killed and died of wounds. It was after this assault that the feature known as 'Unnamed Wood' became 'Inniskilling Wood.' The battalion's final action before amalgamating with the 8th Bn was at Langemarck during Third Ypres. Almost the last photo in the book is one of the survivors of the original ",Seventh", taken in March 1918 - they number twenty-two. At the end is the Roll of Honour.This is a competent and well written account, based on the War Diary, Battalion orders, records and personal memoirs. The author, who served as Signal Officer in the battalion for nearly two and a half years, stresses he took special care to avoid matters which might have led to political, military, or religious controversy.
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