Local historian Trevor Temple chronicles the individuals associated with Londonderry who lost their lives in WWI.
Miller, Private Robert, 12146
Robert Miller, 12th Battalion Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) and formerly 11966, Highland Light Infantry, was born at Londonderry, enlisted at Glasgow, and died in France on July 7, 1915.
His name is recorded on the Le Touret Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.
The 12th Battalion Royal Scots was raised in Edinburgh in August 1914, and then moved to Bordon, Aldershot, as part of the First New Army (K1), joining the 27th Brigade of the 9th (Scottish) Division. They moved to France in May 1915, and gained their first experience of trench duty in the area of Festubert in early July 1915.
McGilloway, Corporal Thomas, 7445
Thomas McGilloway, 1st Battalion Connaught Rangers, died on July 10, 1915.
He was possibly the husband of Bridget McGilloway, 15, Dungiven Road, and brother of Patrick McGilloway, 9, Meehan’s Row, Waterside, Derry. His remains are interred in La Gorgue Communal Cemetery, France – located about 15 kilometres south-east of Hazebrouck, on the River Lys. His name is commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.
The 1st Battalion Connaught Rangers suffered two other fatalities in the three days prior to the death of Corporal McGilloway. Private John Nolan died of wounds on July 7. He was born in County Tipperary, and is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, France. The following day, July 8, Private James Grogan also died of wounds. Born in County Kildare, he was the son of Thomas and Esther Grogan, of Skerries, County Dublin. His remains are interred in Ste Marie Cemetery, France.
Brown, Private James Robert, 7860
James Robert Brown, 2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment, was born at St John’s, Aldershot, Hampshire, and lived in Londonderry before the Great War, where he worked in the Shipyard.
He enlisted at Portsmouth, and died on July 11, 1915, at Gallipoli. He was the husband of Nellie Brown, 14, Cuthbert Street, and brother-in-law of John Houston, 24, Windmill Terrace, Londonderry. His name is recorded on the All Saints’ Church (Church of Ireland), Clooney Parish 1914-18 Roll of Honour, and commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.
Private Brown had been involved in fighting in France and was wounded in Flanders in November 1914. He rejoined his regiment shortly afterwards and was sent to Gallipoli. His body lies interred in the Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery, Helles, Turkey – situated about half-a-mile south-west of the village of Krithia.
2nd Hampshires had landed at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915. As part of the 88th Brigade in 29th Division, they were required to make an advance along Fig Tree Spur in the Third Battle of Krithia on June 4. In the subsequent counter-attacks, Second Lieutenant George Raymond Dallas Moor was awarded the Victoria Cross for stemming a retreat by shooting four of his own men.
Shortly after Private Brown’s death, his sorrowing wife, Nellie, had the following lines placed in a Londonderry newspaper:
‘He wandered far from where his heart
Had bound its earthly tie,
And in a strange and foreign land
His body doth now lie’
McFaul, Private John, 2707
John McFaul, 7th Battalion Highland Light Infantry, died at Achi Baba, Dardanelles, on July 12, 1915.
He was the son of Robert McFaul, 3, New Street (off Bishop Street), Derry. His name is recorded on the Helles Memorial, Turkey.
Private McFaul belonged to Derry. He went to Scotland, resided at Glasgow and was employed in the Corporation Electricity Department. He enlisted in October 1914, and set sail for the Dardanelles in May 1915.
7th (Blythwood) Battalion, Highland Light Infantry was a unit of the Territorial Force with its HQ at 69 Main Street, Bridgeton, Glasgow. It was made up of Companies A to H. They were part of HLI Brigade, Lowland Division. They had just departed for annual summer camp when war broke out in August 1914, They were at once mobilised and moved to Dunfermline in a defensive role. On May 11, 1915, the formation was renamed 157th Brigade, 52nd (Lowland) Division. On May 26, they sailed from Devonport for Gallipoli, via Egypt and Mudros. They landed at Cape Helles on July 3, and moved up to the firing line and support trenches on the 5th. They were quickly in action in the battle of Achi Baba on July 12. The 7th mounted a gallant attack on enemy trenches F12 and E10, advancing under heavy shrapnel, machine-gun and rifle fire, ‘like a thunder-shower on still water’. Although the Turkish trenches were taken, consolidation was difficult owing to the number of casualties clogging the battlefield.
The Battalion War Diary for July 12 states: ‘Orders were received that the battalion would attack in four waves. The first two waves had orders to jump over the first two Turkish lines, and occupy the 3rd. The 3rd wave was to occupy the 2nd line of Turkish trenches and the 4th wave the Turkish firing line. The Attack was ordered for 16:50. The Turks were subjected to a heavy bombardment in the forenoon, and again in the afternoon, the latter bombardment ceasing about 1 minute before the time of attack.
‘At the Hour of attack, the men left the trenches with the 5th A & S.H. (Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders) on our left. Our right flank was guarded by the South Scottish Brigade who had made a successful attack in the morning. The men advanced under heavy shrapnel, machine gun, and rifle fire, a number of casualties being sustained. All 3 lines Turkish trenches were taken, but as the third indicated was only a “dummy” the first 2 waves had to retire, two hours later, into the trench occupied by our 3rd wave which trench hand been as far as possible consolidated and it was held overnight.’
Privates J. H. Cowan and T. Crichton of the 7th HLI were awarded DCM’s for their gallant work at Achi Baba.
They were two of only three DCM’s awarded to the 7th Battalion at Gallipoli. Interestingly both men, Cowan and Chrichton have the identical citation for their awards: ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the night of 12-13 July 1915, on the Gallipoli Peninsula, when he searched the ground up to the firing line and brought in under fire over 50 wounded men.’ (London Gazette: 15 September 1915)
A Major Mundy, in a letter to John McFaul’s sister, said that Private John McFaul was killed in the forefront of the troops, having been one of the first in action. He displayed great bravery, and was shot through the head. He showed an example to others, and had he lived would, no doubt, have been honoured.
On the first anniversary of Private McFaul’s death, his sister, Lizzie Lynch, had the following lines placed in a Derry newspaper:
‘A loving son, a gentle brother,
A chum’s joy and pride,
A manly spirit that was always ready
To take the weaker side.’
Sweeney, Private Hugh, 10456
Hugh Sweeney, 1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers, was born at Raphoe, County Donegal, came to Derry with his parents when seven years of age, and died at the Dardanelles on July 12, 1915.
Aged 25, he was the son of Mary Sweeney, 33, Cross Street, Waterside, Londonderry, and his remains are interred in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery, Turkey. His name is commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.
In his book, ‘Remembrance – A Brief History of The Blue Caps...,’ Patrick Hogarty describes the activities of the 1st Dublin Fusiliers in the month leading up to the death of Private Sweeney: ‘...On June 9th the 1st Dublins moved to X Beach, the strength of the Battalion was the 830 officers and men. On the 12th in an action at “Turkish Trench” the battalion threw back enemy lines and suffered losses of 12 killed and 31 wounded. The battalion then returned to Gully Ravine, a bivouac area. On the 30th, the Turks launched a fierce attack and the Battalion was ordered to remain as a reserve to 87th Brigade at Geoghan’s Bluff. By the end of June the Battalion strength had fallen to 8 officers and 595 other ranks. After this action and the failure to take Achi Baba, the 29th Division were taken out of the line and returned by brigades to Lemnos for a well-earned rest...’
Alongside Private Sweeney, the other men belonging to the 1st Dublin Fusiliers, who died on July 12, 1915, were: Lance Corporal Michael Boyne; Private Peter Callinan; Private James Corrigan; Bandsman Percy Davies; Private Michael Evoy; Private Frank Fanning; Private William Feeney; Private John Freeman; Private Patrick Gannon; Lance Corporal James Grogan; Sergeant Edward Hare; Sergeant Alfred Harmen; Private Thomas Holohan; Private Henry McHugh; Private Thomas Shannon; A. C. S. M. William Henry Shannon; Private Michael Thompson; and Sergeant Thomas Walker.
Doherty, Stoker William, 300914
William Doherty, Fleet Reserve Royal Naval Division, Nelson Battalion (RFR/DEV/B/3821), was an American born citizen of Londonderry. He died at Achi Baba, Dardanelles, on July 13, 1915, and was the husband of Nellie Doherty, 6, St Patrick’s Street, Londonderry.
His name is recorded on the Helles Memorial, Turkey, and commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.
The 3rd Royal Naval (Marine) Brigade of the Royal Naval Division, was ordered to attack at Achi Baba, at 16.30 on July 13, 1915, in conjunction with the French on their right. In confused circumstances, the orders were late in reaching the Royal Naval battalions, and the Chatham (11th) Battalion failed to attack, leaving the Portsmouth (9th) Battalion and Nelson (5th) Battalion to attack alone.
The War Diary of the Royal Marine Brigade, July 13, states: ‘16.30 hrs the attack commenced except by the Chatham Battalion. Enemy pouring in a very heavy shrapnel fire. On our left, Nelson Battalion advanced and took the line E12b, E11 and J. They then advanced further but could not hold this ground...
‘Casualties very heavy. Colonel Eveleigh commanding Nelson Battalion was killed. Nelson Battalion report only 4 officers and 120 men left...’
Smith, Private John Miller
John Miller Smith, Royal Marines, died on July 14, 1915. He was the son of Mr Smith, 12, Dargyle Street, Belfast, and his name is commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.
Gregory, Frederick Gent, 40538
Frederick Gent Gregory, 62nd Field Company, Royal Engineers, was born at Aldershot, Hampshire, enlisted at Londonderry, and died in Flanders on July 19, 1915. He was the son of Mr and Mrs Gregory, Northern Counties Club and Sunbeam Terrace, Derry, and possibly the grandson of Henry R. L. Gent, who died on May 14, 1922, aged 81, and was interred in Londonderry City Cemetery.
Frederick Gregory, who was employed in the Derry Shipyard when he volunteered, was six feet two inches high, and only twenty years of age.
He was a half-company commander in the U.V.F. before the Great War, and, according to a young brother Engineer who wrote home to Frederick’s parents, death was instantaneous, the result of a bullet in the brain.
Frederick Gregory’s remains are interred in Bedford House Cemetery, Belgium.