Local historian Trevor Temple chronicles the individuals associated with Londonderry who lost their lives in WWI.
Heggarty, Private Daniel, 9125
Daniel Heggarty, 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in action at the Dardanelles on April 29, 1915.
His name is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Turkey, and listed on the Diamond War Memorial.
In his book, ‘The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in the World War,’ Sir Frank Fox described the activities of the 1st Inniskillings at Gallipoli, around the time of Private Heggarty’s death, in late April 1915: ‘The line was advanced, April 27, over fairly open country towards Achi Baba.
‘The enemy’s shell- and machine-gun fire were heavy but did not cause serious casualties: the chief losses were from snipers, one of whom was found concealed in the chimney of a small house.
‘On advancing to the outskirts of Krithia village in the afternoon, the fight stiffened. The country now was covered with thick scrub in which the enemy had established rifle pits and machine-gun nests.
‘He had apparently no fixed trench line, but a series of strong points, which were held with resolution. The 1st Inniskillings, with the Borderers on their left, made repeated charges to take these posts in detail.
‘Towards evening, owing to the retirement of the French on the right, the attempt to take Krithia village was given up for the day and our position consolidated at a place known as White House. The casualties in the day’s fighting were severe.
‘For the next three days there was little but outpost fighting and sniping...’
Achi Baba was a hill in Gallipoli. A barren ridge nearly 600 ft. high, it sent out rocky spurs on each side to the sea, and so formed a barrier across the western end of the peninsula. In 1915, it was fortified by the Turks, and the repeated and costly British attempts to take it were incidents in the Gallipoli campaign.
Krithia was a village of Turkey. It was situated four miles north-east of Cape Helles, near the southern end of the Gallipoli peninsula, to the west of the Dardanelles. It gave its name to a series of battles fought between the Allies and the Turks during the campaign in Gallipoli in 1915.
Love, Private James, 10773
James Love, ‘A’ Company, 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, and a native of Tamneymore, died at the Dardanelles on May 2, 1915.
Aged 18, he was a member of Waterside Presbyterian Church, Londonderry, and the third son of John and Margaret, and brother of Harry Love, Prehen Road, Londonderry. His name is recorded on the Helles Memorial, Turkey, and commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.
Relating the actions of the 1st Inniskillings at Gallipoli on the first two days of May 1915 – the second day’s fighting claimed the life of Private Love – Sir Frank Fox wrote: ‘On the night of May 1 the Turks attacked with determination and in great force, shouting as they rushed up to our trenches, “Eeneeskeeling, Eeneeskeeling, do not fire.” Clearly their Intelligence Service had informed them of the troops they were facing. Intelligence on our side had been also on the alert, for we had had notice of the contemplated attack, and a warning had been issued to the men to hold their fire until they had orders to fire. Our trench had a single line of barbed wire as protection.
‘The first line of the enemy was made up of bombers: they were killed on the parapet with the bayonet. Not a shot was fired until the main mass came on: then rapid fire did dire execution at a range of from twenty to thirty yards. The enemy came on again and again with great resolution, and had the advantage that he could enfilade our right flank, as our position was in somewhat of a salient. But there was no hope of surviving within the field of that well-directed fire. In the morning the ground in front of our trench was piled high with the dead. At one small pocket of ground which offered some slight shelter there was entrenched a body of the enemy. When fire was opened on them they showed a white flag. “A” Company went out and took them prisoners, and found that they had hand-carts with entrenching material. Another party of the enemy holding a position in front of White House were gathered in by C Company...
‘Following on that night’s heavy lesson to the enemy a general advance was ordered at 8.30 a.m. on May 2, the Inniskillings in the centre. Progress was slow on the right and left flanks. Then the Battalion on our right retired in some confusion, and the order came for the whole line to fall back on the trench from which we had advanced. Lt.-Col. F. G. Jones, while he was endeavouring to re-organise the men of the Battalion on the right of the Inniskillings, was struck by a shell and mortally wounded...’
Private Love enlisted at the start of the Great War, and had been a short time with his battalion at the Dardanelles. While training in Londonderry he volunteered several times to go out with drafts to France, and eventually he was allowed to join the 1st Battalion for service against the Turks. Before joining the colours he was employed in Harper’s boot factory. Two of his brothers also served in the Great War, one of whom, John, died in May 1916.
In the course of the service at Waterside Presbyterian Church on Sunday, May 23, 1915, the Reverend Dr Stuart made reference to the death of James Love, who was the first member of the congregation to fall in action in the Great War.
Private James Love’s father, Mr John Love, was a Drum Major in the Abercorn Pipe Band for many years. He was a lifetime member of the Angling Association, and was also keenly interested in cricket, especially the Brigade Club. He was a staunch Unionist, and a member of the Ulster Unionist Labour Association. He was over fifty years in Loyal Orange Lodge 1166, and Royal Black Preceptory No.237, being presented with a bible from the latter a few weeks before his demise, at the age of seventy-four, in May 1944. A wife, two sons, and seven daughters survived him.
Scott, Private (Lance Corporal) George, 10062
George Scott, 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, was born at Londonderry, enlisted at Hamilton, Lanarkshire, and resided at Dublin.
He died of wounds on May 2, 1915, and his remains are interred in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France.
2nd Royal Irish Regiment was in Devonport serving with 8th Brigade, 3rd Division, when war broke out in August 1914. They proceeded to France, landing at Boulogne on August 14, 1914. They saw action in the Battle of Mons and the rearguard action at Solesmes, Battle of Le Cateau, Battle of the Marne, Battle of the Aisne, and at La Bassee where the Battalion suffered very heavy losses near Le Pilly, with many troops taken as prisoners of war. On October 24, 1914, what remained of the 2nd Royal Irish transferred as Army Troops to Lines of Communication. Reinforcements arrived over the winter and on March 14, 1915 they transferred to 12th Brigade, 4th Division.
4th Division had been assembled in France by August 22, 1914, and moved quickly up to the front to take part in the Battle of Le Cateau on August 26, where it lost some 3,000 men. Following service on the Aisne in September, it moved to Flanders in the sector on the French/Belgian border north-east of Armentières. Here it stayed until the spring of 1915, when it moved up to the battlefield north-east of Ypres to fight at St Julian, April 25 – May 4.
During that period, on April 30, the 12th Brigade was moved to Ouderdom and came under orders of the Canadian Division. The battalion arrived in the evening at La Breque, where they relieved the 1st Battalion, The Queen’s Own, in support trenches. They were heavily shelled on the march and in the trenches. The days of the following week are described in the war diary as ‘quiet’ or ‘comparatively quiet’ but the casualties varied from 4 to 18 a day.
McCauley, Private Cornelius, 9532
Cornelius McCauley, 1st Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers, died from wounds at the Dardanelles on May 3, 1915.
He was the son of Thomas, and brother of Joseph McCauley, 2, Harvey Street, Derry. His name is recorded on the Helles Memorial, Turkey, and commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.
The 1st Royal Munster Fusiliers was in Rangoon, Burma, at the outbreak of the Great War and sailed for the UK in December 1914, arriving at Avonmouth on January 10, 1915. It was moved to Coventry where it joined the 86th Brigade in the 29th Division. On March 16, 1915, it sailed from Avonmouth for the Dardanelles operation, arriving at Alexandria and then Mudros, Greece, in April.
On April 25, the 1st Royal Munster Fusiliers, aka ‘The Earlsdon Company’ went ashore at V Beach, Sedd El-Bahr, Gallipoli, with their comrades from the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, as the invasion of Ottoman Turkey began. It turned into a bloodbath from the off, with the Munsters and Dublins being cut to ribbons. On the following day it was decided to destroy the wire entanglements facing the men that the naval bombardment had failed to do. It was during this attack that Cpl. William Cosgrove, 1st Royal Munsters, performed an action that was to earn him the regiment’s first Victoria Cross of the war. The action was described by Cosgrove himself: ‘Our job was to dash ahead, face the trenches, bristling with rifle and machine guns and destroy the wire entanglements. Fifty men were entailed for the work, poor Sergeant-Major Bennett led us, but was killed, a bullet through the brain.
‘I then took charge, shouted to the boys to come on, from the village near at hand came terrible fire to swell the murderous hail of bullets from the trenches. Some of us got close to the wire and we started to cut it with a pliers, you might as well try and snip Cloyne round tower with a scissors.’ Cosgrove then grabbed hold of the stakes holding the barbed wire, ‘I dashed at the first one, heaved and strained and it came into my arms … I believe there was wild cheering when they saw what I was at, but I only heard the screech of bullets and saw dirt rising all round from where they hit. I could not tell you how many I pulled up. I did my best and the boys around me were every bit as good as myself.’
By April 30, 1915, the battalion had lost so many casualties at Gallipoli that it temporarily amalgated with the 1st Battalion, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers – the composite battalion being known as the ‘Dubsters’.