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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Royal Irish Rifles 1st July 1916

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I am new to this site and am currently doing some research on my Grandfather, James Morgan Kelly, a Rifleman with the 2nd Batt Royal Irish Rifles. Family lore has it that the photograph known as the Royal Irish Rifles in the Somme 1st July 1916 contains my Grandfather (the one with the smile 3rd from left). How true this is I am unsure but am naturally cautious. I have variously seen this photograph described as a Ration Party or simply as a Communication Trench and that it is '...possibly 1st Batt Royal Irish Rifles'. The image adorns James Taylor's book on the 1st Battalion. Can anyone for definite say which Battalion it is? Has anyone managed or tried to name those present in the photograph? My Grandfather served with the 2nd batt from August 1911 - March 1920 and would have been 23 at that time.

Much obliged for any assistance,

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I take it you mean this photo?


The photo is also used on the cover of "Journey of Remembering: The Belfast Book of Honour". It's been flipped horizontally and cropped to fit the cover but IF that is your Grandfather (3rd from left with the smile in the original photo) then he's very prominent on the "Journey of Remembering" cover. I think this photograph was chosen because of it's iconic nature and not because the soldiers pictured are neccesarily remembered in the book. (Unlike the portrait on the spine and the extremely fine picture on the back cover ;) ).

The obvious person to ask is Jimmy Taylor himself - he's a member of this Forum. If Jimmy doesn't know, I don't know anybody else who would.

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The first seated man from the left has been ID (by his daughter) as Pte 12/289 Joseph Bailey 12th York and Lancs 'B' Coy Ration Party, but if this is fact then the photo cannot have been taken on 1st July since Bailey went over the top that fateful morning and never returned. Of the 16 or so men who can be seen in the picture there doesn't appear to be any insignia of any description. The only claim made at the time was that of the photograper who dated the photo as the 1st July 1916, I doubt we'll ever really know for sure. It's interseting to know that there is another possible name for one of the faces.

cheers, Jon

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see above - see caption underneath. All kinds of people have claimed to ID this pic down to names etc. I have grave reservations about every ID claim.

Will post more links below.


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