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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

2nd Lt Herbert Edward Callaghan


AlanCurragh

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Herbert was my great uncle Bertie. All I know of his Great War service is on the attached medal card - what I've managed to pick up is that he was a private in the RAMC, arrived in Gallipoli on 7th August 1915, and was subsequently commissioned into the Royal Irish Rifles on 25.9.17.

Other than that, and the fact I need to get to Kew to have a look at the medal rolls and his officer file, I was wondering what else can be picked up from the many notes on the card, or from RAMC/RIR experts on the forum. For instance:

Would he actually have been a member of the Royal Irish Rifles, or simply attached to them as a medical officer? Is there any means of knowing which part of the RAMC he was attached to?

If he was fully fledged RIR, could that have still been in a medical capacity?

Any clue as to what battalion he might have been in? He was living in Coleraine, as the card states, but presumably that would have no relevance after serving with the RAMC?

Thanks for any help

Alan

post-2705-1226864094.jpeg

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As he was a Private in the RAMC he would not have been a medical officer. He would have been a stretcher bearer or an orderly in a dressing station. He would have beentrained in one of these roles, so when hewas commissioned it would have been as an infantry officer not a medical officer.

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The names of ( Presume) his mother and father and other members of the family are on Ulster Covenant (google and use search terms). Address in two cases is 'Brookdale'. There are two Edwards in Belfast ... no Herberts. Could he have been beginning medical studies at Queens and then joined up? Dunno.

Been through Eddie's News Extracts for Presbyterian RoH for Coleraine Presbytery. Two Callaghans in Castlerock (not far from Coleraine town) but none in town itself.

Some reasoning - one imagines that family were unionist if they signed the cov. Which would also suggest (that's the way it is ..) that they were protestants. Having virtually ruled out their being Presbyterians, I reckon you are looking at the Church of Ireland as denomination (basically Irish Anglicans but not so high church!)

Thus, try and find some punter in Coleraine town who can have a gander at the Church of Ireland war memorial plaque .. pretty sure it must exist. And (2) try the Local Studies Library in Ballymena. Ask them if they can look up the Coleraine Chronicle for around the date of his commission. I'd be fairly sure that it will be mentioned in the Chron. cos the Ballymena paper lapped that sort of stuff up.

To get in contact with Local Studies, google NEELB and navigate your way through. Ask for a Liz Hoy who is a very nice lady and may well be able to help.

Des

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Many thanks for that, Des - hadn't thought of searching the Covenant - those two in Brookdale are Bertie's brother and sister. Bertie survived the war so would only be on the memorial if it listed those who served - worth a try though. Will certainly contact Liz at the Local Studies library.

Thanks Dave, too - it hadn't occurred to me that he would have been commissioned as a soldier. Stretcher bearer in 1915 to 2nd Lt in 1917 sounds quite impressive progress!

Thanks to Brian for the pic - I was aware you had a photo of him, but hadn't seen it till now

Alan

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If the Coleraine plaque follows the Ballymena pattern, I'm fairly certain he will be there ... again. IF he's CofI!

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Des - having spoken to my mother, he was indeed C of I - so that looks like a good lead to follow up

Cheers

Alan

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Alan,

Bertie .E. Callaghan, Union Street, Coleraine, Co Londonderry. Unusually doesn't give his rank.

15th Royal Irish Rifles.

1918 Absent voters list for North Londonderry County.

And written by the side of his name is 'no trace'.

So presumably no longer at that adress.

Below his name is listed Frederick Callaghan but no regiment listed so not a serviceman.

Rob

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Rob - many thanks for that - that is certainly him. And his brother was Frederick.

Is that information available online?

Alan

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Alan,

To the best of my knowledge its not on line.

I have Londonderry City [90%] and North County Londonderry [complete] absent voters lists.

Did Frederick serve at all?

15th R.I.Rifles, North Belfast.

Rob

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Alan

He is listed on the ROH at the back of Robert Thompson's book "Coleraine Heroes" as:

Lieut Herbert E Callaghan, Union Street, RAMC.

There are two other Callaghans listed as well:

Pte James Callaghan, Castlerock, RGA

Pte William Callaghan, Castlerock, American Forces.

These are probably the two Des found on the Covenant site.

No Trace of a Frederick I'm afraid.

Might be worth giving Robert T a call to see if he turned anything up during his research in 2004.

Regards, Tommy.

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Just to second Alan, thanks to all who have helped on this search.

As regards Frederick - it is interesting that he appears on the Absent Voters list as we don't have any indication that he served. There is a WW2 era photo that shows him as a member of the British Red Cross Society but that's all we know for now.

I will get in touch with Robert Thompson in case he has any further information on Bertie.

Regards

Brian

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Brian,

The absent voters lists do not necessarily indicate that a man or woman were on war service in the armed forces.

They list anyone that was eligble to vote but were not home at the address given before the election.

So frederick may just have been working away from home in his normal civillian job

Rob

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Alan,

I have a case of an RAMC stretcher bearer enlisted Sep 1914 aged 16 who was commissioned a 2nd Lt in 6th South Staffs in Oct 1917.

Dave

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Dave - I'm hoping to get to Kew this weekend to see if Bertie's officer file reveals any more about his wartime service - do you have any idea how your chap ended up an officer after such a (relatively) inauspicious start?

Thank

Alan

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Alan,

no, I haven't been able to get his officer records yet. A trip to Kew one day I hope.

Dave

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