6th (Service) Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers

Formed at Naas in August 1914 as part of K1 and attached to 30th Brigade in 10th (Irish) Division
Sep 1914 it was moved to Fermoy at 29th Brigade in 10th Division
Moved to the Curragh.
May 1915 : moved to Basingstoke.
11 July 1915: embarked at Devonport and sailed to Gallipoli via Mytilene.
7 August 1915 Landed Suvla Bay .
early October 1915 : moved via Mudros to Salonika.
14 September 1917 : moved to Egypt for service in Palestine.
27 April 1918 : left the Division.
3 July sailed from Alexandria, arriving Taranto five days later and then moving by train to France.
21 July 1918 ; transferred to 197th Brigade in 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division.
10 september 1917 : transferred to 198th Brigade in same Division.
disbanded on 12 Sep 1918 at Abancourt.

Route march RDF Basingstoke

Route march near Basingstoke

In the late spring of 1915, the newly formed Battalion was in training near Basingstoke and, towards the end of June, it received orders to prepare to leave Britain to go into action at Gallipoli.

6 and 7th Battalions RDF sailed from Avonmouth on the Alaunia. They embarked on the 'Alaunia' at Devonport at about 7am on Saturday July 10th (though it had been rumoured they would be sailing from Liverpool a train stop in Exeter finally quashied this). They sailed via Gibraltar (brief stop on Wed 14 July) arrived in Valletta (Malta) on Sat 17th July. Next stop was Alexandria on Tues 20th July. Arrived in Mudros Bay on island of Lemnos on Saturday 24th July. They believed this would be the final destination but following day set sail again for Mitylene where they were joined a week later by 31st Infantry Brigade. A magnificent concert party was held on board on Sun 1 August by the 6th & 7th Battalions entertaining about 300 sailors from a French battleship before an inspection the following day by General Sir Ian Hamilton and Staff. On 6th August the two Battalions were packed onto 4 Fleet sweepers and set sail, arriving at 5am the following morning in Suvla Bay.

They landed on 7 August and, for the remainder of that day and the next, the men undertook fatigues carrying water and ammunition, attached first to 31st Brigade on water & ammunition fatigues, then attached to 33rd Brigade on 9th Aug.

Moved forward to positions near Chocolate Hill in support of Brigade attack (heavy casualties) Relieved 12th Aug. and to rest camp 'A' Beach. Few details of the day still exist but it appears that the Battalion was not called upon to go into action. Nearly 40 soldiers were killed, however; most probably by enemy shellfire.

Rejoined 30th Brigade on Kietch Tepe Sirt 13th Aug. Took part in attack along the ridge on 15th and suffered further casualties. Took over positions at Spion Kop on 16th. More casualties during counter attacks. First reinforcements arrived – 3 officers and 157 other ranks. Relieved and to 'A' Beach on 17th then rest camp near Hill 145 on 18th Aug. To Lala Baba on 20th. "Moved forward in reserve for attack on Hetman Chair – Kazlar Chair line on 21st August 1915. Casualties - 41 other ranks. "





2) Field of Bones: An Irish Division in Gallipoli, by Philip Orr

Orr has very much gone for the soldier's-eye-view of the Suvla Bay campaign (with a minor excursion to follow the Irish soldiers detached to support the Anzacs further south).Of course, it seems that in this case the geopolitical or wider strategic aspects of the campaign would not make a lot of sense; he is deliberately concentrating on the experience of the 10th (Irish) Division, not the Allied forces as a whole. Also his source material is vivid stuff and he has put it together well. Orr also reflects on the way in which the Suvla Bay campaign has been ignored by later Irish historians, in total contrast to the nation-forging effect of the Anzac landings on the people on the far side of the world.

6th Royal Dublin Fusiliers held the line between Lake Doiran and Strumica briefly in early December 1915. Ward Price's book, on-line, has this map:


Sgt Paddy Cummins of the 6th Dublins was a baker from Pearse Street. He survived the war to rear a family, one of whom became a Fianna Fáil TD and served under Taoiseach Seán Lemass.