The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Day by Day
2nd November 1914On this day:
- Recruitment of 16th Btn. Royal Irish Rifles
A second call to arms was published in all County Down Newspapers on
Saturday the 7th November 1914, exhorting all able bodied men wishing to enlist to go to their local railway stations on Monday 9th November, where they would be issued by local UVF Company Commanders with free rail tickets to Lurgan. On arrival in Lurgan, they should then report to Brownlow House for enlistment in the new volunteer Service Battalion. Initially called the Second County Down Battalion, it later took on its official title of the 16th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (Pioneers).
The Battalion adopted the renowned “South Down Militia” as their marching song changing the words as follows:
From which derived their nickname as “The Terrors”.
- "You may talk about th’Irish Guards and Fusiliers of course
- You may talk of Inniskillings and the gallant Irish Horse
- Or of any other regiment under the King’s command
- But the 16th Irish Rifles are the Terrors of the Land."
The Battalion strength was to be 1139 all ranks and it was to be a separate unit to support the three brigades in the 36th Ulster Division. This was indeed an early clue as to its specialist role as Pioneers. They were commanded by Major Leader who was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel prior to the move to France. He proved to be a very able leader of his battalion. It was to be organised on the lines of 4 companies of 230 all ranks each, a Headquarters unit of 79 all ranks and a Machine gun section of 35 all ranks. Headquarters could be split into three sections namely Operational Headquarters, Quartermasters and the Transport Section. An additional 50 was later added to Battalion establishment to bring overall strength target to about 1200.
Other key appointments were Sir William Allen, well known in Lurgan as a local Justice of the Peace and a highly placed member of the Orange Order, who was initially appointed as Adjutant and Second- in-Command of the Battalion.
The Quartermaster was Honorary Lieutenant A. Forsyth, who had been a sergeant-major with the Antrim Artillery in Carrickfergus and was promoted for this position.
Other Officers and senior NCOs were appointed as they became available including the author’s father - 2/Lt. WR White. With accommodation and equipment being prepared and assembled at Brownlow House, these and other early appointees were ready to equip and train the awaited recruits.
Recruitment. – November 1914 to June 1915.
Recruitment was slow and 250 men were transferred in December from Clandeboye Camp. A series of public meetings were held at which pressure was applied by speakers to encourage or indeed shame men into enlisting to help their compatriots at the Front. Uptake was still quite slow and by the end of January 1915, numbers were about 350 below strength. A series of marches throughout the county by a contingent of 150 officers and men during February helped boost the intake. Other measures were regular inspections by well-known public figures, to which the public were invited as spectators. Despite all these measures the battalion was still short of their 1200 all ranks target in mid-June, so 200 members of the Belfast Young Citizen Volunteers were transferred leaving a full strength of about 1200 prior to the move to England.
The rigorous task of physical training began in Lurgan and the surrounding areas. A lot of this was in the form of route marches and competitive sports. It then progressed to tactical manoeuvres and mock assaults and defences. This brought the unit to battle readiness as fighting troops with the exception of musketry and machine gun training which because of the lack of live ammunition was to be carried out in England.
- 2 Life Guards move into wood just south of Hooge At 5 am on the 2nd of Novemeber the 2nd Life Guards moved into south edge of wood just south of Hooge and remained there till about 3 pm when it was hurriedly sent for to be ready in support against a strong attack on Westhoek c/on 15 Menin-Ypres road about 2 miles from Ypres. From there Regt moved to a farm halfway between Zillebeke and Hooge.
- Australian Troop Transports
HMAT A7 Medic White Star Liner HMAT A7 Medic leaving Fremantle on the 2nd November 1914. From: The Western Mail, 20th November 1914, p. 25.
The HMAT A7 Medic weighed 12,032 tons with an average cruise speed of 13 knots or 24.07 kmph. It was owned by the Oceanic SN Co Ltd, Liverpool, and leased by the Commonwealth until the 26th October 1917. The Medic was well known by the Australian forces as it was a key troopship for Australia during the Boer War, some 14 years before this re-engagement.
- Fighting continues E Battery 3rd Brigade RHA
Started at 0530 and went into action to check German attack on Point 75 from Messines - Wytschete ridge which was successfully done. Most of the fighting dropped off to our left. In the evening the French Cavalry took over our positions and we withdrew to billets in St. Jans Cappel at 2000. Fired about 200 rounds from three guns. Two guns returned from D battery and now four guns as one of the returned is in action. Two out of action till new pistons can be fitted. Captain Craven was severely wounded today
- 3rd Dragoons leave camp On the 2nd of November squadrons left the Rest Camp at intervals of an hour and entrained at the dock station, Headquarters and ‘C’ Squadron being the first away at 8:00pm. The regiment reached Cassell about midnight on the 3rd.
- 2nd November 1914 Reinforcements and Appointments
- 2nd Nov 1914 1st East Lancs under fire
- 2nd Nov 1914 Losses for 1st North Staffs
- 2nd Nov 1914 Holding the Line
- 2nd Nov 1914 A Brutal Lot
- 2nd Nov 1914 Fix Bayonets
- 2nd Nov 1914 In Action
- Minutes of the Committee Meeting Cocken Hall November 2nd 1914
Present: Lord Durham, Lord Southampton, Major Tristram, Captain Lowe, Colonel R. Burdon.
The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed, as amended.
Parade state was given as 1065, and 24 officers.
It was decided to obtain some oil stoves for the purpose of turning two huts into temporary drying sheds for the men’s clothes.
The tender of the Darlington Construction Company for the Range, according to Government plans, was accepted, at the price of £195.
Major Tristram was instructed to communicate to Mr Gradon our opinion that undoubtedly the drains of the ablution sheds should – as he suggests - be made of proper sanitary pipes, and not let into field drains.
Colonel Burdon was instructed to accelerate the carrying out of the drying room as far as possible.
It was decided not to line the roofs of the huts; and that an attempt should be made to find other premises for the Orderly Room, in order that the present Orderly Room might be turned into the Guard House.
Major Tristram was instructed to obtain 6 Sentry Boxes from the Contractor or elsewhere.
- 2nd Nov 1914 Demolition
- 2nd Nov 1914 In Action
- 2nd Nov 1914 Luck
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