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Remembered Today:

Irish Units and War Diaries


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Hello all,

I am an early career researcher and I am delving into Irish soldiers who suffered from shell-shock. Part of my research is to delve into the Irish experience at the front and, also, how the Irish were perceived by their British superiors. I was hoping someone could help me by explaining how helpful the diaries of Irish units could be for this line of enquiry before I delve into it further. I have no experience of accessing unit diaries so any advice on their usefulnes and how to best go about accessing them would be hugely appreaciated.


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If you search for the regiment you are after at the link below using 'Search Within' and WO95 you can find the various battalion - looking at each will show whether the diaries have been digitized or not. If so they can be downloaded for about £3.50. If not you'll need to use the reference given to look them up on a visit to Kew. Otherwise specific units may be found by asking on this forum.


Example for Connaught Rangers.

With regards to them telling you about the attitudes of the high command to individual units you may be let down - to find that sort of information you may need to look at personal accounts by various generals and other army officers. If you can provide me an email address by private message I can provide you with a somewhat amusing comment in a published officer's diary comparing his division to an Irish one nearby.

I hope it is of interest.

Kind regards


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I don't think that the War Diaries will do the job for you. I have originals and transcriptions of many of the RDF battalions. Whilst the War DIaries did depend on who wrote them, they are more factual then narrative. At randon the War Diary for 10th RDF in Oct and Nov 1916



and the COs report of the Ancre Attack


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Morning Corisande

Hoping you can help me with a small problem.

Researching a man from the 1st Battalion, RDF who was KiA on Wednesday 3 April 1918.

I have downloaded the War Diary from the NA for that period BUT the months October 1917 to April 1918 seem to be missing.

Would you, by any chance, have the WD for the date I need, please ??

Many thanks,


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I have sent you a PM

NTA do not have those months (or at least they are not in the box) . I photographed them myself and the box was in a complete mess. That was a couple of years ago, and I suggested to them that they withdrew it and re-organised it. I was hopeful somewhere that the missing months would emerge, but if you have only just had that period from TNA, they are obviously still missing.

If anyone knows of their whereabouts can they pipe up here :-)

My notes on the period covering 3 Apr are on this link


The bit you are interested in is

1, 2, 3 April 1918

1st and 2nd Dublins remained in position. The 1st Battalion by now had received 200 reinforcements.

On 3rd April they were relieved, and marched via Aubigny to Blangy-Tronville, where the took buses to Saleux on the outskirts of Amiens.

4th April 1918

Entrained for a journey that eventually took them north to Campagne les Boulonnais, a village 12 miles SW of St Omer

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As the risk of facing the wrath of many on the forum, I often wonder what is the benefit of this type of research. I don't believe the Irish were treated that differently to any of the other nationalities in the British army or extended 'Empire' There would be far more evidence to show equal treatment or more probably similar ill-treatment of all nationalities in the British army. I think the Australians or Scottish or whoever could give examples of harsh treatment but I reckon there are as many 'home' regiments who might believe they were treated. Similarly, it is worth noting that the majority of Irish were not in Irish regiments but were in the other support services such as artillery, engineers, service and medical corps so using Irish units as a basis of research, in my view, would be a narrow study. Obviously, there are examples from the American Civil War, French wars etc of the Irish being commented on as brave or fearless or similar attributes, but I don't believe you will find any more references than you will find for other nationalities. Mark

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I agree with you with out any shadow of a doubt, but I also think that anyone ought to be free to research whatever grabs them as there is always the possibility that it might lead to results that are unexpected. :thumbsup:

My own grandfather was in the RDF and was invalided out with shell shock in 1916, and spent a year or more in hospitals. I don't think he was treated any differently than anyone else on the grounds of race. Part of his time was in hospital in England, part in Ireland, but many spent time in Irish hospitals who were English born.

I am researching the Auxiliaries at the moment, I doubt that my results will convince you that they were not scraped from the jails of England, but it keeps me happy trying to see who they were. I suppose I feel most research would never get off the ground if people accepted "conventional wisdom". Conventional wisdom is not always right!

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