Lance Corporal William Devine, 5th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

The 5th Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was raised at Omagh in August 1914, part of Kitchener's First New Army. They joined 31st Brigade, 10th (Irish) Division and moved to Dublin for training then on to Kildare by early 1915. In April 1915, they moved to Basingstoke, England for final training. They departed from Liverpool on the 9th of July for Lemnos and landed at Sulva Bay on the 7th of August 1915 and made an attack on Chocolate Hill on the 7th and 8th. They were withdrawn from Gallipoli on the 29th of September 1915

1st Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers landing on the beaches at Gallipoli, 25th. April 1915.

31st Inf Bde War Diary (actually the personal diary of Brig Gen Hill comd 31st Inf Bde) and 5th Royal Inniskilling Fus War Diary for 15th-16th August....Along with the 6th R Innis Fus which includes the battle orders for that day

31st Inf Bde (Gen Hill)

15th Aug 15. : SUVLA BAY: 1130. 30th and 31st BDE and 65th and 66th FD COY RE were placed under comd of Brig Gen HILL for an attack on a position known as KIDNEY HILL in accordance with attached operation order marked G - the 162nd INF BDE of the 54th Div: to cooperate on the right flank and the movement to be covered by the Artillery of the 10th Div: - as will be seen these orders recd at 1130 gave very little time for arrangements to be made. Units were occupying positions from 135 P 1 117 D 9. The 162nd INF BDE being about 117 J 6 - The position of the Artillery was not known but a Mountain Battery arrived at 135 Y 3 early in the action and rendered good service.........Orders were issued by GOC 31st INF BDE for the attack by troops place under his Comd /vide operation order marked H. The 5th Bn R INNIS FUS moved out for the attack at 1315 & quickly came under rifle fire from concealed trenches about 135 U 9 and alond the spur running due south pushing on however with great gallantry the Bn was early held up by heavy rifle fire and Artillery fire from the direction of KIDNEY HILL. It was soon discovered that the 162nd INF BDE was not cooperating in the attack and an urgent message was sent to GOC of that BDE. A reply was received to the effect that the BDE was waiting for the advance of the 5th R IRISH FUS holding a position near 117 D 9. Further delay occurred in explaining that this Bn was holding its present position in accordance with operation orders. It was about 1400 when the 162nd INF BDE commenced to move. The Turks in the meantime had reinforcements along the Southern slopes of KIDNEY HILL and the 162nd INF BDE failing to press home the attack on the right flank it became enfiladed. The 5th R INNIS FUS with a loss of 6 Officers killed and 14 wounded and very heavy losses among R&F effected a retirement on to the main position. The OC 5th R INNIS FUS Lt Col VANRENEN was among the killed, Capt VERNON was killed while gallantly leading his Company......1700 in the meantime the 6th R MUSNTER FUS and 6th R DUBLIN FUS pushed on along the Northern slopes and crest of KIRETCH TEPE SIRT in line and beyond the position occupied by the 5th R INNIS FUS and the 6th R DUBLIN FUS and at about 1700 charged over the crest at the BENCH MARK near the T in KIRETCH TEPE SIRT and att that spot caused the Turks to evacuate their trenches but the success was only momentary as a heavy fire was opened on them from KIDNEY HILL. With the assistance of the 7th R DUBLIN FUS from the Reserve the forward position was held but no further progress could be made as owing to the failure of the 162nd INF BDE to cooperate in the right the Turks had transferred troops to this area. .....The 7th R MUNSTER FUS were also held up in their advance towards point 103 by a Bn of Turks entrenched on the salient at 135 p 5..

16th Aug 15. SUVLA BAY: During the night and all day on the 16th the situation was unchanged, our line being constantly attacked and bombed by the Turks who enfiladed our position from the high ground E of the BENCH MARK and the casulaties were very heavy. Units in the front line were relieved t dawn by those in reserve......At 2000 on the 15th Aug Brig GEn HILL took temporary command of the Div owing to the departure of Lt Gen Sir Bryan MAHON to IMBROS - but returned to the 31st INF BDE on the 19th Aug on the arrival of Maj Gen PEYTION.......at 0900 on the 16th it was reported to GOC 9th Corps that f the forward position on KIRETCH TEPE SIRT was to be held, reinforcements would be required - two Bns were promised but at 13000 the promised Bns not having arrived Brig Gen HILL telephoned to 9th Corps to the effect that if the promised Bns were not forthcoming he could not hold himself responsible for holding the forward position - at 1930 matters were in a precarious condition on the left of the line and Brig Gen NICOL who was in Comd at this spot decided to retire to the position held previusly on 15th. This he carried out. The promised reinforcements arrived too late. During these two days the troops of the 30th and 31st INF BDEs behaved with the most conspicuous gallantry - as was evidenced by their losses. Owing to the hard and rocky nature of the soil the digging of trenches even if picks and shovels had been available was practically impossible in the time at disposal and the troops were constantly much exposed. The Turks also were well supplied with bombs but none were available for our men who were forced to rely by throwing rocks and stones.......the heat too was terrific and the flies a plague while water was very scarce, one bottle a day being the alowance but this small allowance often failed owing to the Mule Convoys being stampeded by shellfire. Our Artillery cooperation was disappointing

5th R Innis Fus

15th Aug 1915. ANAFARTA SAGIR 135 U 7. The Bn received orders to move in an easterly direction and attack KIDNEY HILL (ANAFARTA 136 U 5) - Formation: A Coy on the left, D Coy on the right - B & C Coys in support. Our right to be connected up by the Territorial Force. The advance came under fire about 13:00. Fire at this hour (rifle fire) became very heavy and was kept up. The line advanced steadily. At this juncture enemy artillery fire was concentrated on the advance. About 15:00 Lt Col VANRENEN commanding the Bn was mortally wounded. About the same hour the Adjutant Maj BEST was wounded. At about 16:30 the second in command Maj OWEN was wounded - both these Officers having been put out of action. At this hour the line had advanced to 136 Q 4-5. Firing ceased at 19:15. Capt ADAMS OC D Coy received instructions at 20:00 from Gen HILL GOC 31st INF BDE to retire to the position held at noon, Capt ADAMS then being in command of the Bn as far as was known. At this juncture D Coy with parts of A & C Coys had entrenched themselves and were prepared to hold the line until such time as relief came up. Upon receiving instructions to retire, Capt ADAMS sent word back stating that he would retire when he had collected the wounded which were numerous in the vicinity. This was a difficult undertaking - there being no stretcher bearers at hand and to be attained. The collecting of the wounded being successfully carried out by the aid of an oil sheet. By 24:00 Capt ADAMS and Lt LINDSAY with the remainder of D Coy had collected the following wounded Officers: Maj OWEN, Capt SCOTT, Lt McWILLIAM, 2 Lt FALLS, 2 Lt DARLING and about 100 NCOs and men at a place where they could be conveniently reached by stretcher bearers. There being no possibility of stretcher bearers arriving before dawn Capt ADAMS decided to remove the whole some 600 yards to the rear under cover from the enemy's fire. At about 03:30 Maj HOLDEN RAMC arrived with stretcher bearers - the ground over which the advance was carried out was extremely undulated covered with rocks and thick bush - consisting of broken and irregular spurs from the hillside making advance very difficult and exposed to heavy fire. The following casualties amongst the Officers were reported: KILLED: Lt Col VANRENEN, Capt VERNON, Capt ROBINSON, Lt H H McCORMAC, Lt NELIS, 2 Lt GRUBB, WOUNDED: Maj OWEN, Maj F A D BEST, Capt SCOTT, Lt McWILLIAM, Lt STIGANT, Lt BALLANTYNE, Lt WHITSITT, 2 Lt KIRKPATRICK, 2 Lt FALLS, 2 Lt HALL, Lt HASTINGS, Lt F M McCORMAC, Lt VERSCOYLE 2 Lt DARLING. ORs: Killed: 28, Wounded 230, Missing 78.

16th Aug 15. ANAFARTA SAGIR 135 U 7. At daybreak Capt ADAMS retired with D and part of C and A Coys and some Territorials which had been collected and reported to BDE HQ, the Bn occupying the ground occupied by them preivous to the attacks. Capt ARMSTRONG with a party composed chiefly of A Coy did not return from the firing line until 11:30, this Officer and party having remained throughout the night 15th-16th Aug on the ground gained, joining the 7th R DUBLIN FUS at 5 a.m. on his left. At the request of the OC of that Bn he remained with them until 12:00. On his return he reported to BDE HQ and was placed in command of the Bn, which had then taken up its position in trenches on the east side of the ridge KIRETCH TEPE SIRT. Position on Map 135 Y 2. Lt LINDSAY was appointed acting Adjutant by Capt ARMSTRONG - Lt C N PETHERICK and 2 Lt CROMIN both of the 6th Bn R INNIS FUS were attached to the Bn for duty and reported themselves. The distribution of Officers was then as follows: - Commanding Battalion - Capt G A ARMSTRONG... Acting Adjutant Lt A P LINDSAY, Comd A Coy 2 Lt N CRONIN,... Comd B Coy Lt C N PETHERICK,......Comd C Coy 2 Lt V O'MALLEY,.... Comd D Coy - Capt A ADAMS..... MO (Temp) Capt BIND RAMC, ....QM Lt KENNEDY.

6th Bn R Innis Fus (parts slightly illegible in the original)

15th Aug 15. KIRETCH TEPE SIRT. 1115. Received the following orders from GOC 31st INF BDE.:

1. Turks hold 136 LQV and 135 PV eastern halves only. The line of reinforcement and retreat of Turks appears to be from Knoll on 136 Q called KIDNEY HILL to and from houses SE of it....

2. GOC 10 DIV intends to take posession of the line 135 V 5 north and to point 103 in square 136 L and establish himself on it connecting with the left of the 54th DIV i.e. 162nd INF BDE.

3. 30th and 31st INF BDEs and 65th and 66th Coys RE will move from present position 1 pm objective the line 136 V 5 to Pt 103.....

4. As soon as the line has been occupied it will at once be entrenched by the Reserve.......

5. R INNIS FUS will advance and occupy from 136 V1 to 135 Y? U? the 6th R MUNSTER FUS and 6th R IRISH FUS will support the movement and as soon as it is completed will advance to direction of Pt 103. ....

6. The 7th R DUBLIN FUS followed by 6th R IRISH FUS and Field Coys RE carrying picks and shovels will move along northern slope of KIRETCH TEPE SIRTS. this reserve will be under the comd of Brig Gen NICHOLL and will form the Reserve.....

7. The 6th R INNIS FUS and the 5th R IRISH FUS will remain in their present positions but must be ready to move at short notice....

8. The 162nd INF BDE (54th DIV) will cooperate on the right. It will be ready at 11 am near the 5th R IRISH FUS will move north up to squares 118A and 136 VQ against KIDNEY HILL. The CRA 10th DIV is arranging artillery support to commence at 12:30. Advance report centre ill be at MG trench 6th R INNIS FUS from 1 pm and subsequently near JEPHSON's POST.........1 pm.

Orders complied with as far as they affected the unit. The 5th R INNIS FUS made good Knoll beyond JEPHSON'S POST by 1700 suffering very heavy loss. The unit assisted with MG fire throughout attack throughout night. Lt PORTER wounded this day.

My great-Grandfather was killed on August 15, 1915, a mere 8 days after they landed. He was just thirty years on this earth. He left behind my Great-grandmother and 4 small children.

Views: 534

Tags: Anniversary, Gallipoli, HIstory, Omagh, WWI


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Comment by Fran Reddy on August 4, 2014 at 3:05pm

How sad that your Great-Grandfather was taken so early as were so many in the wars. A brave man for sure..

Comment by Bit Devine on August 4, 2014 at 5:00pm

I just discovered that his records might be available through the Inniskilling Museum in Enniskillen Castle. I just put in a request for his records. When I put in the surname, I believe that his siblings names also came up.

As part of the research request, they ask you for sibling names, I provided all the sibling names, birthdates and death dates. I also indicated which had been KIA

Fingers crossed

Comment by Bob Nagle on August 4, 2014 at 8:41pm

My grandfather was with the "Dubs" on the Kiretch Tepe Sirt, which is where your Great Grandfather fell from the look of things, in what was a very very brutal fight. As news of the casualties reached heme whole streets in cities and towns across Ireland had curtains drawn closed for lost fathers and sons of the Tenth Division. They joined up together along with family and friends and  consequently died in great numbers together as well.

I found my grandfather's detailed service record at The National Archive in Kew, London. Do let us know how you go with the Inniskilling Museum.

Comment by John W. Hurley on August 4, 2014 at 10:13pm

Bit the sad truth is that if you have an ancestor or relative KIA in the Great War, there is better documentation about them than if they survived. Most of the service records of those who served were destroyed in the Blitz in WWII but there are other things on-line that you can get as well. Between wars they indexed the paperwork of all who served so though the information is minimal you can get exact dates of when they entered the front, where they were and when they were wounded/died etc. And on-line you can find where they are buried and sometimes get a photograph of the actual headstone or marker through the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. I was able to find my wife's grand-uncle who was killed while serving in the Irish Guards in Flanders. Of course you probably already know all this but just trying to help. I hope your search at the Museum is a great find for you - all these great men deserve to be remembered and I'm sure he's proud of your interest in him and his generation.

Comment by Patrick J. O'Leary on October 1, 2014 at 10:35pm

Could not help but read up on Lance Corporal William Devine, 5th Bn, Royal Innniskilling Fusiliers  It is sad indeed that he was killed on 15 August 1915, just 8 days after landing in the war zone. One particular  item instantly caught my attention -- that of the  31st Infantry Bde. This particular numbered unit of Infantry  has a corresponding unit in the  United States Army  rolls  -  that of the  31st Infantry Regiment.  This was the regiment my father was a member of when the Allied Forces in the Philippines  had to meet up with the Japanese  during WW2.  During the Battle of Bataan, the 31st had a high casualty rate, and many were in the Bataan Death March when Bataan  fell. My dad was with them thru the march, then Camp O'Donnell, then Cabanatuan, then the coal mines in Japan. Fortunately,  he survived the war and came home. Lived a rather long life, attending a few veterans' reunions of members of the Battling Bastards of Bataan, the 31st Infantry Regiment.  Bit,  there was a member of this 31st Infantry Regiment who lived in Tucson -- James Johnson, know as the Baby of Bataan.  I do not know if he is still alive at this time.   Btw, I have one of my sons living in Tucson. >>>

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