During the First World War, the Royal Irish Regiment raised a total of 10 battalions from the pre-war, two regular and two reserve battalions. The additional battalions included two service battalions in Kitchener’s First and Second Armies, a battalion formed in 1917 from the dismounted South Irish Horse, a further service battalion and two Garrison Battalions. The regiment won 42 battle honours and one Victoria Cross, but lost 2,780 men as casualties.
The 1st Battalion was in Nasirabad, India in 1914 and embarked at Bombay on 19 October 1914, arriving at Devonport, moving to Winchester as part of the 82nd Brigade in the 27th Division. In December 1914 it went to France and Flanders. In November 1915 it was redeployed to Salonika on the Macedonian front in the 30th Brigade of the 10th Division. In September 1917 it withdrew to Egypt and ended the war in Palestine.
The 2nd Battalion was in Devonport in August 1914 in the 8th Brigade of the 3rd Division. It landed at Boulogne on 14 August 1914 as part of the British Expeditionary Force. The battalion remained in France and Flanders for the duration, serving in a number of formations.
The Battle of Le Pilly. Between the 19th & 20th October 1914, 300 men of the 2nd Battalion, from the south east of Ireland, lost their lives.
The 5th (Service) Battalion formed at Clonmel on 29 August 1914 as part of the 29th Brigade in the 10th Division. It sailed to England in May 1915 and was Re-rolled as a Pioneer battalion. It sailed to Gallipoli from Liverpool on 7th July 1915 landing at Suvla Bay on 7th August 1915. The battalion was withdrawn from Gallipoli and redeployed to Salonika on October 1915 and then to Alexandria, Egypt in September 1917. From Egypt, the battalion sailed for France and spent the remainder of the war in France and Flanders.
The 6th (Service) Battalion formed at Clonmel on 6 September 1914 in the 47th Brigade in the 16th Division. In March 1915, it was joined by a company from the Guernsey Militia. It was at Fermoy until September 1915 and then moved to Aldershot. In December 1915 it landed in France and remained there until February 1918, when it was disbanded, the remaining personnel being reassigned to the 2nd and 7th Battalions.
The 7th (South Irish Horse) Battalion was formed in France on 1st September 1917 from the dismounted 1st and 2nd South Irish Horse. (The two yeomanry regiments had been in I and XVIII Corps in France, but were dismounted in August 1917 for retraining as infantry.) on 14th October 1917 the battalion was attached to the 49th Brigade in the 16th Division at Ervillers. On 18th April 1918 the battalion was reduced to a cadre and on 28th June 1918 reformed with 500 all ranks from the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 250 from the Royal Munster Fusiliers and 85 from the Royal Irish Regiment. On 4th July 1918 the battalion was transferred to the 21st Brigade in the 39th Division at Hellbroucq. It ended the war at Ellezelles, east of Renaix in Belgium.
The 8th (Service) Battalion was formed as a Garrison battalion on 25 May 1918 from the 2nd (Garrison Guard) Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment in the 178th Brigade of the 59th Division in France. On 13th July 1918 the (Garrison) term was removed. The battalion ended the war at Lannoy, south of Roubaix in France.
The 1st (Garrison) Battalion was formed at Dublin on 2 August 1915 and after service in England was dispatched to the Dardanelles from Devonport on 24 September 1915. Based on Mudros Island, it sent working parties to Suvla Bay. On 5 February 1916, the battalion was transferred to Egypt where it remained for the duration.
The story of the Royal Irish Regiment in the First World War in which its nine battalions served in all major Western Front battles and most other theatres. Includes maps, Rolls of Honour, etc.
In the long history of Irish Regiments serving with the British Army, few units have acquired more battle honours than the Royal Irish Regiment, ranging from Marlborough’s great victories in the 18th century to the Crimean and Boer Wars. These are in Volume I.
Volume II covers the actions of the regiment’s nine battalions in the First World War, in it saw continuous action from the first battle (Mons) to the last (Hindenburgh Line). As well as service in all the major and minor battles in France and Flanders - Marne, Aisne, the tree Ypres, the Somme, Messines, Passchdendaele and Cambrai, the regiment served in other theatres including Gallipoli, Macedonia and Palestine. It is a proud record to which this history does full justice, with appendices on the distinguished Colonels of the regiment (including Field Marshal Sir John French) and Rolls of Honour.
In 1916 the regiments 3rd (Reserve) Battalion took part in the suppression of the Easter Rising in Dublin. It was disbanded in 1922.
This book gives a good account of all the Battalions and the battles they fought in. It also includes lists of all Privates, as well as Officers, wounded or killed.
This book is available online (for free) at -
The following is also a good website -