Ulsterdiv Posted 31 January , 2018 Share Posted 31 January , 2018 Hopefully this might be of use to some members plus hopefully get some feedback So how did Major General Nugent select the Infantry Battalions to stay and the Battalions to go in the reorganisation of the 36th (Ulster) Division? The British Army prior to 1918 had four infantry Battalions per Brigade and with heavy casualties, lack of new soldiers and plus a rethink on tactics they followed the German Army to reduce Brigades to three Battalions. Already the 36th (Ulster) Division has seen some changes in the 107th Brigade the 8th & 9th Battalions emerge into the 8/9th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers joined the Division in August 1917 Very similar in the 108th Brigade as the 11th & 13th Battalions emerge into the 11/13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, who gain the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in November 1917 and not forgetting the 7th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles who joined October 1917 and emerged into the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in November 1917 General Nugent had always been impressed by the 109th Brigade, one just needs to look at Battles up to 1918 to see why but he always wanted a Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Brigade. He also thought in December 1917 that the 14th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles had lost the will to fight (in one day 118 men reported Sick in December 1917). In a letter to Adjutant General GHQ dated 11th December 1917 he asked can anything be done to make up the strength of the 3 Battalions of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in the 109th Brigade as they are “first rate fighting Battalions”. The 14th Battalion (YCV) Royal Irish Rifles fate was sealed as he stated” This Battalion should in my opinion be broken up in any case”. (To make up numbers in the other Royal Irish Rifle Battalions) He had made a decision on who would stay and who would go, it was simple and in a letter dated 28th February 1918 to the Lord Mayor of Belfast he explains his thinking. “As General Officer Commanding the Division, I had the most unpleasant duty of selecting 2 Battalions of Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and 4 Battalions of Royal Irish Rifles for disbandment” He continued “I decided that the Battalions to remain in the Division should be those which were composed of the men who first came forward to form the Ulster Division” So it was clear it would be the most senior Battalions “I therefore selected the senior of the 3 Battalions of Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers to remain” That decision guaranteed that the 9th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers who remain, but as to the Royal Irish Rifles “I selected the senior Battalion to remain, this was the 15th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, a Belfast Battalion originally raised as the 7th Battalion” The 15th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles was to remain but there would be a twist “The senior of the original Battalions of the Ulster Division would been 10th Royal Irish Rifles. This was also a Belfast Battalion and I decided that it would be unfair the the Counties of Down and Antrim that they should no representation amongst the original units of the Division. I therefore selected the 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles as the other Battalion to remain” In a sudden twist of fate the 10th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles would be disbanded but ironically they would be the last Battalion to be disbanded to man the frontline. February 1918 107th Brigade 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles 15th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles 108th Brigade 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles 109th Brigade 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers 9th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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