Title: The 1st Battalion The Faugh-A-Ballaghs in the Great War
Author: Brigadier-General A.R.Burrows
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 2003
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 188 pages & 11 maps
Comments: The story of the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers in the Great War – a rare one volume history of a single battalion.
“Faugh-a-Ballagh” (Clear the Way) was the motto of the Royal Irish Fusiliers and the regiment was known as ‘The Fogs’ or the ‘Faugh-a-Ballaghs’; its depot was in Armagh, Northern Ireland. This is a rare history, not only because today it is rarely seen and hard to come by, but also because there are very few single volume Great War histories devoted to just the one (regular) battalion, and this is such a history – the story of the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers.
In his War Books Cyril Falls comments: “This is how the history of units in the Great War should be written, if units can afford it,” At the outbreak of war the 1st Battalion was in Shorncliffe, part of 10th Brigade, 4th Division and it went to France with the division in August 1914, arriving just in time to fight the Battle of Le Cateau on the 26th. The battalion fought on the Western Front for the rest of the war, transferring to the 36th (Ulster) Division in August 1917, and remaining with that division till the armistice. The narrative concludes in 1922 when the 1st and 2nd Battalions were amalgamated.
This is a very good history, supported by good, clear maps and interesting contemporary photos, and there is plenty of detail which would hardly have been possible in a multi-battalion history. The author has arranged the narrative on a year by year basis with a chapter to each year and the actions, battles and other events taking place in each year arranged chronologically. Appendices include the nominal roll of officers who served with the battalion in the field between 23rd August 1914 and 11th November 1918, showing the approximate dates of joining, distinguishing those of the original battalion and identifying the dead and wounded.
Of the 269 officers who served 69 gave their lives, or 1 in 4. The other ranks roll of honour is taken from “Soldiers Died”. The list of honours and awards, headed by the VC won by Pte R.Morrow, gives citations for that VC and for the awards of the DSO and DCM, in alphabetical order with the London Gazette date; all the other awards are listed by name only, mention in despatches are not included though foreign decorations are. A very informative appendix on strength figures shows that 7,601 warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men served with the battalion and of these 1,051 died.