In the First World War, the Royal Munster Fusiliers raised a total of 11 battalions from the pre-war, two regular and two reserve battalions. The regiment won 51 battle honours and three Victoria Crosses, but lost 3,070 casualties.
The 1st Battalion was in Rangoon, Burma at the outbreak of war and sailed for the UK in December 1914, arriving at Avonmouth on 10 January 1915.It was moved to Coventry where it joined the 86th Brigade in the 29th Division. On 16th March 1915 it sailed from Avonmouth for the Dardanells operation, arriving at Alexandria and then Mudros, Greece in April. On the 24th April 1915 it landed at Helles Beach. By 30 April 1915, the battalion had lost so many casualties that it temporarily amalgated with the 1st Battalion, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers; the composite batallion being known as the ‘Dubsters’. They resumed their own identities on 19th March 1915 after receiving battle casualty replacements from the reserve battalions. The battalion was withdrawn from Gallipoli in January 1916 and rested in Egypt.
On 16th March 1916 it sailed from Port Said and arrived in France at Marseilles on 22th March 1916. After two months in the Lines of Communications it was assigned to the 48th Brigade in the 16th Division on 28 May 1916. On 30th May it absorbed 3 officers and 146 men from the disbanded 9th Battalion. On 22th November 1916 it was transferred to the 47th Brigade and absorbed 21 officers and 446 men from the disbanded 8th Battalion. On 19th April 1918 it absorbed the surplus of the 2nd Battalion which had been reduced to a cadre. On 20th April 1918 the battalion was transferred to the 172nd Brigade in the 57th Division. It ended the war at Lille, France in that formation.
The 2nd Battalion was based at Malplaquet Barracks, Aldershot, Hampshire on the outbreak of war and was assigned to the !St (Guards) Brigade in the 1st Division. It embarked from France as part of the original British Expeditionary Force on 14th August 1914, landing at LeHarve. On 14th September 1914 it was transferred to Army Troops and in November to the 3rd Brigade in the 1st Division. On 13th May 1916 it absorbed 7 officers and 140 men from the disbanded 9th Battalion. On 3rd February 1918 it was transferred to the 48th Brigade in the 16th Division. On 19th April 1918 it was reduced to a training cadre and the surplus men were transferred to the 1st Battalion. On 6th June 1918 it was reconstituted with drafts from the disbanded 6th Battalion and later that month was transferred to Lines of Communication duties. On 15th July 1918 it was transferred again to the 150th Brigade in the 50th Division at Martin Eglise. It ended the war in that formation at Sars Poteries, north-east of Avesnes, France.
The 3rd (Reserve) Battalion was mobilised at Tralee on 4th August 1914 and later that month deployed to Berehaven and Bantry Bay. In October 1914 it was moved to Cork. In May 1915 it was relocated to Aghada and Cork Harbour. In October 1917 it was located at Ballincollig. In November 1917 the battalion was moved to England at Devonport. About May 1918 it absorbed the 4th and 5th Battalions but remained at Plymouth Garrison until the Armistice.
The 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion was mobilised at Kinsale on 4th August 1914 and moved later that month to Queenstown. In November 1914 it was at aghada and Cork Harbour. In May 1915 it was at South Shields and in September 1915, at Fermoy. February 1916 found the battalion at Fermoy, followed by a move to The Curragh in April 1917. In August 1917 it was at Castlebar, Co. Mayo. In November 1917 it was moved to Scotland at Dreghorn, Ayrshire and in April 1918 to Portobello, Midlothian. About May 1918 it was absorbed by the 3rd Battalion at Plymouth.
The 5th (Extra Reserve) Battalion was mobilised at Limerick on 4 August 1914 and deployed to Queenstown later that month. In October 1914 it was at Bere Island, moving to Crosshaven and Cork Harbour in March 1915. The battalion moved again to North Shields in May 1915 and in September to The Curragh. August 1917 found the battalion at Galway from where it was moved to Scotland in November 1917, being based at Invergordon. In April it was at Fort George, Inverness before being absorbed into the3rd Battalion at Plymouth in May 1918.
The 6th (Service) Battalion was formed at Tralee in August 1914 as part of Kitchener’s First New Army and moved to The Curragh in the 30th Brigade in the 10th Division. In May 1915 the battalion was moved to England at Basingstoke. On 9th July 1915 it sailed for the Dardanelles campaign from Liverpool, arriving at Mudros, Greece in late July 1915. On 7th August 1915 it was landed at Suvla Bay. On 2nd October 1915 it was withdrawn to Mudros, then moved to Salonika. On 3rd November 1916 it absorbed the remainder of the 7th Battalion. In September 1917 it was moved to Egypt. On 30th April 1918 it left 10th Division and sailed for France arriving at Marceilles on 1st June. On 5th June it was absorbed by the 2nd Battalion. The remaining cadre was disbanded on 3rd August 1918.
The 7th (Service) Battalion was formed at Tralee in August 1914 as part of Kitchener’s First New Army and moved to The Curragh in the 30th Brigade in the 10th Division. InMay 1915 the battalion was moved to England at Basingstoke. On 9th July 1915 it sailed for the Dardanelles campaign from Liverpool, arriving at Mudros, Greece in late July 1915. On 7th August 1915 it was landed at Suvla Bay. On 2nd October 1915 it was withdrawn to Mudros, then moved to Salonika. On 3rd November 1916 the remainder of the 7th Battalion was transferred to the 6th Battalion.
The 8th (Service) Battalion was formed in September/October 1914 as part of Kitchener’s Second New Army and was moved to Fermoy in the 47th Brigade in the 16th Division. In Nonember 1914 it was moved to Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, in February 1915 to Templemore, and in May 1915 to Fermoy. In September 1915 it was moved to England at Blackdown, Hampshire. About 18th December 1915 the battalion landed in France at LeHarve. On 30th May 1916 it absorbed 12 officers and 200 men from the disbanded 9th Battalion. On 23 November 1916 the battalion was disbanded in France; 21 officers and 446 men being drafted to the 1st Battalion.
The 9th (Service) Battalion was formed in September/October 1914 as part of Kitchener’s Second Army and was moved to Kilworth in the 48th Brigade in the 16th Division. In January 1915 it was moved to Ballyvonare, near Buttevant, and in June 1915 to Ballyhooly near Formoy. In September 1915 it was moved to England at Blackdown, Hampshire. About 20th December 1915 the Battalion landed in France at LeHarve. On 30th May 1916 the battalion was disbanded in France: the remaining personnel being drafted to the 1st, 2nd and 8th Battalions.
The 1st (Garrison) Battalion was formed at Cork on 1st April 1917 from the 1st (Home Service) Garrison Battalion, Durham Light Infantry. In November 1917 it was moved to England at Prees Heath, Shrposhire. On 11th November 1917 the battalion HQ and 3 companies formed the 1st Garrison Battalion which went to Italy where it remained on the Lines of Communications until the end of the war.
The 2nd (Home Service) Garrison Battalion was formed at Prees Heath, Shropshire in November 1917 from one company of the 1st Garrison Battalion. In April 1918 it was relocated to Cosham, Hampshire where it remained as part of Portsmouth Garrison for the remainder of the war.
In common with other Irish regiments of the British Army, the Royal Munster Fusiliers were disbanded in 1922 with the creation of the Irish Free State.
Unit history of the Royal Munster Fusiliers from their formation in India in 1861 until their disbandment on Irish independance in 1922. It principally focuses on their deployment at Gallipoli and their service on the Western Front late in the First World War.
This history relates the story of one of the British Army’s fighting Irish units from the middle of the 19th century to its disbandment in 1922.
Originating in India as the 101st Regiment of Foot (Royal Bengal Fusiliers) the Munster Fusiliers subsequently served in the Boer War. The bulk of this history, however, covers their distinguished record in the First World War when they were deployed at Gallipoli - being among the units that landed on ‘V Beach’ fron the ‘River Clyde’ on April 25th 1915. The Munsters subsequently landed at Suvla Bay in August 1915, and continued to serve in the Dardanelles until the evacuation in January 1916.
After being re-deployed to France in March 1916, the Munsters served at Ginchy on the Somme; at Wytschaete in the battle of Messines in July 1917; at Cambrai in November 1917; and resisted the German offensive in March 1918. They took part in the final Allied advance to victory from July 1918,serving on the Drocourt-Queant Line; and the Canal du Nord. The Munsters were formally disbanded in July 1922. This is a handsome unit history, with colour illustrations, which will fascinate any student of the First World war - particularly Gallipoli - and anyone in the Irish units of the British Army.
Ballymullen Barracks in Tralee was the regimental depot of the Royal Munster Fusiliers prior to the establishment of the Irish Free State. It was through the barracks gates that Kerrymen enlisted for a career in the Munsters.
‘Kerry and the Royal Munster Fusiliers’ examines the reasons why Kerrymen enlisted during the First World War, and how these citizens-turned-soldiers endured this World War they found themselves participating in.
By using local sources, this book documents the rapidly changing political situation in Kerry, -how support for the conflict diminished after 1916 and how this change affected the returning soldiers.
‘Blackpool to the Front!’ was a rallying cry first heard at Étreux in August 1914 when the Royal Munster Fusiliers halted an entire German Army Corps. The experience of the hundreds who enlisted from the industrial Cork suburb of Blackpool mirrors the experience of the 200,000 Irishmen who joined up.
At least sixty-nine Blackpool men made the ultimate sacrifice: factory workers, sons,husbands and fathers. Some enlisted to escape poverty, some to defend ‘the rights of small nations’. They fought in France, Flanders, Gallipoli, Palestine and on the high seas. This is their story.
-Published by The Collins Press 2014.